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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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The Key to Successful Process Improvement

Posted by Henry Schneider

Nov 30, 2016 8:12:00 AM

The key to successful process improvement and change is commitment from management at all levels in the organization.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture

The Lean Leadership Essentials

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 9, 2016 11:09:02 AM

The Lean paradigm is not just a set of tools and techniques for structured improvement. It is also a state of mind that brings increasing returns as more people “get” it. It is a shared way of looking at work and understanding the value of improvement. Strong leadership is necessary to build a culture around Lean and spread the way of thinking across the organization. While every leader is different and will bring their own unique talents to the task, there are some Lean leadership essentials that successful leaders share.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

Can Hippo Leadership Please Be the Next Trend in Business Management?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 7, 2016 8:09:00 AM

Many of you read my post last week about a Stanford Business article regarding problems inherent to top-down teams and how to solve them. At the end, I couldn't help but allude to a story from that article in which a leader shares how he prefers to lead like a hippo. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a separate post around this hilarious visual, so here it goes.

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Topics: Leadership

Thoughts on 3 Problems with Top-Down Teams in an Improvement Culture

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 3, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Our VP of Sales sent me an email this morning regarding a Stanford Business article he found by Luke Stangel entitled “Three Problems with Top-Down Teams (and How to Fix Them).” The body of his email was simply “Thought this was interesting, given what we do.”

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture

4 Strategies for Getting People to Embrace a New Continuous Improvement Software Platform

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 13, 2016 9:02:00 AM

Introducing a new technology platform to your staff for any business function is a daunting task, and continuous improvement software is no different. As soon as you announce that you’re bringing in a new platform, people start to worry about having to learn how to use it and how much time it’s going to add to their day. When you really think about it, that’s a pretty fair concern and goes a long way toward explaining organizational resistance to change.

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Topics: Leadership, Software, Improvement Culture

Why Your Political Beliefs are Confusing, and How that Applies to Work

Posted by Mark Jaben

Oct 7, 2016 7:58:00 AM

First off, while this blog post may be about the extraordinary election going on in the United States, this is not a partisan plea. Sorry if you were hoping for a suggestion.  Only your brain can make that choice. I’ve talked with a lot of people who are, quite frankly, disgusted with this whole political cycle. For me, though, this has been a fascinating nightly expose of how brains operate.

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Topics: Leadership

5 Lean Leadership Principles to Remember

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 6, 2016 8:46:00 AM

I’m sure you are all familiar with the saying, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.” This idea is true in many ways. Parents can relate. When your four-year-old is having a meltdown in Target, it’s hard to remember how much joy she brings to your life. I think most business people can relate too. Sometimes we get so focused on what needs to be done on a given day, or what crisis is brewing at the moment, that it is hard to remember the bigger picture.

For those implementing Lean business practices, the day to day grind can make you forget the core principles that attracted you to the approach in the first place. It is smart to step back every once in a while and remind yourself and your team why you are committed to being a Lean leader.

Here are some if the principles to keep at the top of your mind.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

Don’t Leave Your Visual Management Abilities in the Car

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 25, 2016 7:00:00 AM

The human brain processes visual images much more easily than it can text. That’s because processing visual information is innate. A newborn baby understands the image of its mother long before it has a clue what the word mama means. This is a good thing in an evolutionary sense, of course. You don’t have to have a word for "bear" to know that you should get the heck away from it.  

People have long used our ability to so easily process visual information to help us do things that otherwise would be very difficult or dangerous. Take driving a car for instance.

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Topics: Leadership

The Lean Leadership Reading List

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 12, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Maybe it is just me, but I always feel a little caught off guard this time of the year when I walk into Target or the grocery store and see the backpacks, notebooks, and colorful writing implements so prominently on display. The back-to-school shopping season is the first reminder that the summer won’t last forever.

This year it also reminded me that although grownups don’t go “back to school,” every year, we should invest in ourselves by continuing to learn. We can increase our effectiveness and value by learning new things and looking at familiar ideas with a fresh perspective. For those interested in Lean Leadership, there are just a few books by distinguished authors that might introduce some new ways of thinking about your approach to improvement. Here are some that earned five-star reviews... just a few of the books you might want to have on your shelf or e-Reader.

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Topics: Lean, Leadership

Think You Are Credible? Think Again.

Posted by Mark Jaben

Aug 11, 2016 7:30:00 AM

When it comes to gaining traction for a change in an organization, credibility trumps reason. Establishing such credibility demands we are neither deceptive with the language, data, and metrics we choose, nor coercive with the standards being implemented.

When leading any change effort, no matter if you are a senior executive, a middle manager, or front line staff, the key to establishing yourself as credible is this: those being asked to change have to see that, even while dealing with your own concerns, you have a sincere interest in dealing with theirs as well. Most people believe they act with the best of intentions and motives, even if others may not be doing the same. In reality, (most) people don't intend to be deceptive or coercive, but may inadvertently or unintentionally do so given the way they deal with language, data, metrics, and standards. Because they were well intentioned, this person then may not understand why their change efforts are unsuccessful.

But recall, you don’t determine how credible you are on a given topic: others decide that based on how you act in that circumstance. A history of acting credibly in previous situations helps to establish trust in your motives, but it does not automatically confer credibility in the current circumstances. Of course, previous experience when you have not been credible puts you behind the eight ball starting off. Unless you are aware of this reality, it is incredibly easy to be inadvertently deceptive or unintentionally coercive despite your  best intentions. The effect is the same whether or not you were deceptive and coercive on purpose.

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Topics: Leadership

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