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KaiNexus Blog

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10 Leadership Mistakes that Undermine Improvement Efforts

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 12, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Leaders that we speak with get very excited about the idea of creating an improvement engine within their organizations. Who doesn’t want a team of players always looking to edge closer to perfection? Of course, achieving this goal is harder than it sounds.

We’ve found that leaders who struggle to create a culture that thrives on improvement make one or more of ten common mistakes. These challenges are probably not breaking news if you’ve been a leader for a long time, but it can’t hurt to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure you are avoiding these behaviors. If you are a new leader, this is an excellent “don’t” list.

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Topics: Leadership, Spread Continuous Improvement

Leadership During Times of Uncertainty

Posted by Matt Banna

Apr 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

The coronavirus pandemic that is currently gripping the globe is unlike any other crisis that we have seen. It will directly impact the lives of those who are exposed and their families. It will indirectly change the lives of everyone else as events are canceled, schools and businesses close, and everyone is responsible for social distancing.

Although it won't be very easy amid concerns for the wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones, how you handle this situation is of profound significance to your employees and other business associates who count on your leadership.

While this crisis is utterly unique, the principles of leadership during times of uncertainty apply, nonetheless. Below are some ways you can be a source of reassurance and support for your team.

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Topics: Leadership

Bonus Insights You Get from Digital Continuous Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 13, 2020 10:00:00 AM

When we chat with people about making the switch to digital continuous improvement, many of the benefits are immediately apparent. People know that using software with workflow capabilities to manage projects is a much better option than using spreadsheets and email. They sense that having a platform designed for the purpose will streamline work and get individual projects across the finish line more often.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Leadership, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

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

Employee Engagement in 2020 – Meeting the Needs of Millennials

Posted by Matt Banna

Dec 23, 2019 1:09:00 PM

By the end of next year, Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are expected to comprise half of the American workforce. By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will belong to this group. Many large companies, including Ernst & Young and Accenture, have already reported that Millennials make up over two-thirds of their entire employee base.

In some ways, millennials aren't much different than previous generations. They want the opportunity to learn and grow while making a living that will support their families.

But there are some differences in how this generation that grew up amid modern technology and global connectedness approaches work. For example, nine out of every 10 Millennials expect to change jobs every three years. This means most Millennials will have 15 to 20 jobs in their lifetimes. A far different reality than the baby boomer ideal of being a "company man" for life.

With the changing expectations of the younger workforce, employers need to adapt to find workable solutions that help everyone meet their goals. That's leading to a change in the traditional approach to employee engagement.

Company picnics and Employee of the Month programs are giving way to more meaningful engagement strategies. Here are a few that will continue to gain traction in 2020.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture

The Art of Asking Good Coaching Questions

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 4, 2019 7:09:00 AM

Today we are bringing you another recap of a presentation from the 2019 KaiNexicon event. We were delighted to draw together leaders and change agents from a wide variety of organizations to pool our collective wisdom and get better at getting better.

We were thrilled that Jamie V. Parker agreed to participate. Jamie is on a mission to make the world of work more human. She's a trainer, speaker, and mentor with over 17 hears of multi-unit operations management in manufacturing, retail, and service environments.

We received so much great feedback about her presentation that we wanted to do a recap for anyone who missed it. Of course, you can watch the video here, if you prefer.

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Topics: Leadership

Did Microsoft Hack Employee Productivity with a 4 Day Work Week?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 25, 2019 8:00:00 AM

By now, you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s experiment with a four day work week in Japan. The trial program, which saw offices closed every Friday during August, was part of Microsoft’s “Work-Life Choice Challenge,” a summer project set up to look at work-life balance and help find ways to boost creativity and productivity.

The results were pretty amazing. Productivity increased by 39.9% versus the same period in 2018. Not only was productivity improved, but also the number of printed pages in the office dropped by 59%, and electricity consumption was down 23%.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement

Fundamental Skills Every Project Manager Must Master

Posted by Jake Sussman

Nov 18, 2019 1:25:13 PM

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global nonprofit professional organization for project management. They wrote the book on project management. Literally. It's called the Project Management Body of Knowledge, and it has become the standard by which PMP (Project Management Professional) certification through PMI is obtained.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, PPM

10 Leadership Behaviors that Promote Operational Excellence

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2019 10:42:50 AM

Operational excellence happens when an organization consistently and reliably outperforms the competition through constant improvement and a dedication to customer value. When two companies have the same strategy, the operationally excellent company will have higher revenues, lower cost, and less risk. This type of execution is only possible with a combination of outstanding leadership and a culture that supports problem-solving and transparency.

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Topics: Leadership, Operational Excellence

The Lean Linchpin: Middle Managers

Posted by Jake Sussman

Jul 29, 2019 3:07:21 PM

A linchpin is a fastener passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position. The term is also used figuratively, according to Wikipedia, to describe, “something [or someone] that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.” What an apt description of the role of middle managers in a Lean environment.

When we talk about the Lean business management approach or just continuous improvement in general, we often say that it involves everyone from the CEO to front line workers. In the literature about Lean, a lot of emphasis is put on what top leaders need to do to create a culture of improvement. There’s also much discussion about how to keep operational workers involved and engaged. Both are essential, but it is a huge mistake to underestimate the role of middle management.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership, Daily Lean Management

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