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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Lessons in Trust from David Ross’ Book "Teammate"

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 8, 2017 7:22:00 AM

Being an avid reader and a huge Chicago Cubs fan, when 2x World Series Champion and Dancing With The Stars Runner-Up David Ross announced his bookTeammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, I knew it was going to go to the top of my reading list.

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Lessons on Lean from the Spurs, and How to Get Staff On Board

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 7, 2017 7:01:00 AM

If you haven’t checked out the KaiNexus webinar series Ask Us Anything yet, we would like to invite you to have a look here. In it, our CEO and Co-founder Greg Jacobson joins Mark Graban, our Vice-President of Improvement & Innovation Services and founder of LeanBlog.org, to answer questions from KaiNexus webinar watchers and continuous improvement knowledge-seekers just like yourself.



Continuous Improvement Lessons from the Court

In episode 12 of Ask Us Anything, Jacobson and Graban spoke about continuous improvement in a way that will resonate with sports fans. Both Jacobson and Graban are fans of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, and explained it is easy to find lessons in Lean principles while watching the game.

“I was thinking about, why I love the Spurs and why has it become more meaningful to me as I’m going through my continuous improvement journey. The Spurs are just a great example of applying a discipline, and creating a system, and then believing in that system and recognizing that if they follow a process, that the results will be a side-effect, so to speak, of that process,” Jacobson explained. “You don’t get to the playoffs 19 seasons in a row because of random events.”

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11 Steps to an Effective Gemba Walk

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 6, 2017 8:23:00 AM

Gemba walks are an increasingly popular management technique. By visiting the place where work is done, leaders gain valuable insight into the flow of value through the organization and often uncover opportunities for improvement and learn new ways to support employees. The approach is a collaborative one, with employees providing details about what is done and why.

Great results depend on thoughtful planning, execution, and follow-up. Here are the most important steps you can take to ensure that your next Gemba walk is successful.

1 – Prepare the Team

It is important that the team members who will be observed and engaged during the walk have a good understanding of what a Gemba walk is and how it will be useful. They should know that the purpose is ultimately to remove obstacles that make it more difficult for them to add the maximum amount of value. Talking about the walk before it happens will help everyone feel more comfortable and open to the interaction.

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Topics: Gemba Walk

Meet Up With Us at the 2017 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit!

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 5, 2017 10:10:33 AM

This week in Palm Springs, California, organizations from around North America (and beyond!) will be coming together for a two-day conference highlighting advancements of (and challenges within) Lean in healthcare. The 2017 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit is hosted by the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Catalysis Healthcare Value Network, organizations that have a long history of helping other collaborate and spreading Lean throughout healthcare. Highlights of the Summit include keynotes from progressive healthcare practitioners, a CEO panel with senior leaders, plenary sessions, and workshops.

As the leading provider of continuous improvement software with a deep history rooted in improving healthcare, of course KaiNexus is going to be there. This year, our KaiNexus attendees include Mark Graban (our VP of Innovation and Improvement), Jeff Roussel (our VP of Sales) and Greg Jacobson, MD (our co-founder and CEO). They are stoked to be meeting leaders of the Lean healthcare world along with our KaiNexus customers who are also HVN members (and Mark is teaching a sold-out workshop on Tuesday and is moderating the CEO panel).

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How Do Principals Really Improve Schools?

Posted by Matt Banna

Jun 2, 2017 7:03:00 AM

Schools in the United States are currently in a precarious position. It looks as though the Federal Department of Education is pivoting toward a school choice model and past legislation, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, pushed schools to incorporate research into their school improvement strategies.

In the April 2013 issue of The Principalship, Rick DuFour and Mike Mattos questioned why these legislative pieces pushed for schools to use research to improve but simultaneously use methods have that proven to be inefficient and ineffective at improving in their piece titled “How Do Principals Really Improve Schools? 

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Why You Need Continuous Improvement Software to Share Vital Improvement Knowledge

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 1, 2017 7:52:00 AM

The role of continuous improvement software as a means to share information across organizational boundaries and between levels in a company is one of its most valuable - yet underrated - functions. We've written quite often about the need to share information openly and often in an improvement culture, believing that this is a fundamental practice in any successful organization. In today's post, let's see how some Lean professionals describe the benefit of this function of improvement software.



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Finding Your Creative Side to Deliver Service Excellence

Posted by Jeff Roussel

May 31, 2017 7:27:00 AM

Whether you work in healthcare, politics, construction, or really just about any industry, providing Service Excellence is particularly important for your business.

If you’re not sure what Service Excellence is yet, I invite you to check out our post What is Service Excellence, where we shared our interview with Karyn Ross, the co-author of the Shingo Award-winning book The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations, which she co-wrote with Jeff Liker. Ross is a purpose-driven consultant and Lean coach at karynrossconsulting.com and she spoke to our VP of Improvement & Innovation Services Mark Graban, in a recent KaiNexus webinar titled, How to Coach for Creativity & Service Excellence.

In addition to explaining what Service Excellence is and isn’t in the webinar, Ross also spoke about creativity. Ross defines creativity as combining previous knowledge and/or experiences in new ways to generate ideas about how to do things differently. Doing things differently isn’t as impossible as most people tend to make themselves believe. Ross said that many of the products and services once thought to be impossible are now commonplace.

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“Think about 30 years ago, 40 years ago, what would someone have said if you would have explained to them that you were going to carry around a small, handheld computer, it had a phone in it and it had a camera in it,” Ross said. “Unfortunately, most people I know don’t think that they’re creative. When I’m doing a presentation or a workshop and I ask people to raise their hand if they think they are creative, do you know what happens? Well, most people look away, or they look down at their feet, or they pretend they haven’t even heard the question. Very few people are willing to raise their hand and say, ‘Yes, I’m creative.’ And that’s actually the saddest thing to me because I believe that as human beings we’re all innately creative, we just were born that way.”

Part of the problem is false beliefs that creativity happens like flashes of inspiration that come out of nowhere like lightning bolts, or that creativity is something that happens to other people.

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Quotes to Make the Case for Strategy Deployment Software

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 30, 2017 12:30:53 PM

We get the chance to chat with folks who are interested in implementing strategy deployment software within their organizations almost every day. Most of the people we talk to really understand the need for this kind of solution and how it can benefit their company. Convincing others, however, can be a challenge. Not everyone immediately recognizes the valuable returns that a structured approach to strategy execution can provide. We’d like to help. Here are the most important elements of a compelling case for strategy deployment software, along with some relevant quotes from business leaders and other visionaries.


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Topics: Strategy Deployment

The Value of Millennials in a Kaizen Culture & How to Keep them Happy

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 25, 2017 4:03:23 PM

Millennials. The generation everybody loves to hate. The generation of cat videos, duck face selfies, and trendy eyebrows. Made up words like “on fleek” and “bae” might be making their way into your break rooms, and I’m willing to bet that they’re making you crazy. I generally consider myself to be a part of the younger crowd here at KaiNexus, and am technically a millennial, but even I have a colleague that frequently uses words and acronyms that I have to Google before responding. The struggle is real (see what I did there?).

Gen Xers are particularly irritated by millennials, often resenting the changes they demand in the workplace and finding their expectations and behaviors unrealistic and unprofessional.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the value millennials bring to our companies, and what we need to do to keep them around. Because frankly, we need them.

  1. Communication

    Millennials thrive on communication. Whether it’s chatting with colleagues throughout the day, staying connected with the rest of the world 24/7, or engaging in back-and-forth with their bosses, they like to share ideas and learn from others. This is a particularly valuable trait in an improvement culture, because when a millennial has a good idea, you can bet they’ll share it with other people. They welcome feedback from others on their ideas, and value an open line of communication across silos and up the chain of command in their organizations. These people break down barriers with increased communication.
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What is Service Excellence?

Posted by Matt Banna

May 24, 2017 1:43:16 PM

You may have been hearing the term “Service Excellence” a lot lately, and it may be because of the buzz around the recently published the Shingo Award-winning book The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations, co-written by Karyn Ross and Jeff Liker.

KaiNexus recently invited The Toyota Way to Service Excellence author Karyn Ross to speak to our own Mark Graban, about How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence. Ross is a purpose-driven consultant and Lean coach at karynrossconsulting.com. Focused specifically on services, Karyn has worked with small, medium, and large organizations in sectors as diverse as insurance, financial services, HR, transportation, and retail. Using her unique Practical Creativity (TM) approach, Karyn teaches creativity techniques in combination with Toyota Way / Lean practices to help businesses retain current customers and attract new ones.

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For webinar listeners not in a service-based organization, Service Excellence is something Karyn believes we should all be concerned with, regardless of what type of organization we work for or what role we have in that organization. 

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Topics: Webinars