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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Ten Mid-Year CI Questions to Ask Every Employee

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 30, 2020 9:00:00 AM

It's hard to believe that the first half of 2020 is in the books. Just kidding. I don't blame you if you feel like there's been 10 years worth of news in the last six months. It's been intense. COVID-19 has impacted every American to varying degrees and much has changed about the way we live and work.

This year, more than ever, it makes sense to do a mid-year check-in with every employee. Despite the challenging situation, continuous improvement driven by every team member is still essential.

By asking the right questions, you might uncover ways that leaders can provide better support for staff members trying to make the best out of difficult circumstances. Here are a few we recommend.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

When Zero is the Only Acceptable Goal

Posted by Brianna Hudock

Jun 23, 2020 1:30:00 PM

The Utah Department of Transportation has an audacious goal. Zero fatalities. According to its website, “Zero Fatalities is all about eliminating fatalities on our roadways. Some people may think zero is an impossible goal, but when it comes to your life or the lives of your friends and family, what other number would be acceptable?”

Has the department reached its goal? No. There have been 82 traffic fatalities in Utah this year as of writing this. Does that mean they should revise the target for the second half of the year? Maybe the goal should be to cut fatalities by 10%? Of course not, that would be absurd. Zero remains the only reasonable goal.

While your organization may not be involved in life or death matters, the quest for zero may still be relevant. Zero defects, zero safety incidents, zero rework, zero waste, zero customer complaints: these all may seem like impossible goals. But how many defects, accidents, do-overs, or angry customers are ok? Zero.

The State of Utah didn’t just set a lofty goal. They have a three-step approach to getting there. While the framework is simple, it is a great way to think about improving any outcome. They call it “The Three E’s of Emphasis.”

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Topics: Improvement Process

The Improvement Project Version of 20 Questions

Posted by Adam Darnell

Jun 3, 2020 9:00:00 AM

I'm sure you've all played the game 20 questions. The goal of the traditional parlor game is to uncover an object chosen by one player by asking questions that eliminate other possibilities until deductive reasoning reveals the answer. Careful selection of questions can significantly improve the odds of the questioner winning the game.

When it comes to improvement projects, it is also true that careful selection of questions can significantly improve the odds of "winning," also known as producing positive change. What follows are 20 questions, that if considered at the outset, can help set your improvement project up for success.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

How to Keep a Remote Workforce Engaged in Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Apr 6, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Before I start this post on how to keep a workforce that has suddenly moved to a remote model due to the coronavirus engaged and motivated, I want to begin by acknowledging those workers who can't do their job from home.

Without the hospital staff, grocery store workers, pharmacists, first responders, delivery drivers, utility workers, assisted living employees, and countless others in our communities, this situation would be even worse than it is.

We see you. We thank you.

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Topics: Collaboration, Improvement Process

Continuous Quality Improvement is Hard to Sustain. We Know Why.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Feb 25, 2020 12:23:46 PM

Has your organization started a quality improvement program with great fanfare and a ton of enthusiasm only to see it peter out over time? If so, you are not alone. Starting down the path to continuous improvement is easy. Sustaining momentum is not.

This post examines some of the most common reasons that CI programs go off the rails and how you can avoid or recover from them.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

What if Your Team Isn't Finding New Opportunities for Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 11, 2020 7:15:00 AM

The topic of this blog is a question that we get quite often. Teams will implement a continuous improvement program with much enthusiasm and tons of activity, but over time, the momentum slows, and new opportunities for improvement come less and less frequently. If you are in this boat, you are definitely not alone.

Because so many folks have experienced and talked to us about this, we have some advice.

Let's start with two things not to do.

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Topics: Improvement Process

5 Easy Improvement Ideas to Get Ready for 2020

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Dec 27, 2019 11:14:00 AM

I’m not sure about you, but at this time of the year, I don’t feel like tackling any major new projects. There seem to be a ton of interruptions, people are in and out of the office, and it is just harder to focus with holiday thoughts on the brain. On the other hand, these next couple of weeks present an opportunity to do a few self-contained improvement projects that can tee up 2020 and help you enjoy the holidays knowing you’re ready to rock the new year.

Here are a few ideas. If you tackle any one of them, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something useful amid all of the year-end excitement.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

Leadership Techniques for Overcoming Resistance to Change

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 26, 2019 11:12:00 AM

People like to joke that the only things that never change are death and taxes, but that's just not true. If it were, you would never hear things like, "That's just the way we've always done it," and, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Not changing, even if the current situation is rife with workarounds and rework, is more comfortable and less risky than trying something new, so it's no wonder that people push back when leaders try to shake things up.

But if you're reading this blog, you likely know that change is a vital business imperative. Overcoming your team's natural resistance to change isn't impossible, but it takes intention and effort. Here are some of the techniques that our customers have found work well.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

3 Noteworthy Continuous Improvement Books from 2019

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 17, 2019 9:01:11 AM

Every year, the collective wisdom about how to lead organizations and engage in continuous improvement continues to grow. Many of the core principles remain unchanged, but new ways of thinking about how we get close to perfection emerge, and new voices add their insight to the conversation. In 2019 several new books were published that we think are worth your consideration. If you are putting together a reading list for the holidays or you need some new audiobooks for a long drive, here are three great ideas.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process

Picking the Right Lean Tools for the Job

Posted by Adam Darnell

Nov 21, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Whether or not your organization fully embraces the Lean approach to business, the methodology has a ton of useful tools and techniques. So many, in fact, that it can be challenging to decide which one to use for various types of improvement efforts. We can't give you a definitive answer because every organization and situation is unique, but there are some situations for which particular tools are generally well suited. Here are some recommendations.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Process, Lean Software

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