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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Framed to Fit: Why Managers Endorse Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 5, 2019 9:43:57 AM

Dr. Ethan Burris is a Professor of Management and the Chevron Centennial Fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Director of the Center of Leadership Excellence for the McCombs School. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from Cornell University and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Google and Microsoft. He teaches and consults on topics relating to leadership, managing power and politics, leading groups and teams, and negotiations.

Dr. Burris’ current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, he has investigated how leaders shape employees’ decisions whether to speak up or stay silent and how leaders evaluate those who speak up.

We were pleased to have him join us at our annual user conference in Austin last year. This post is a recap of his presentation; we highly recommend that you watch it to learn more about the science behind which ideas for improvement are more likely to get promoted by managers.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Operational Excellence

10 Continuous Improvement Questions to Ask in Every Interview

Posted by Matt Banna

Mar 13, 2019 11:19:41 AM

Companies dedicated to the practice of continuous improvement invest a lot of time and resources into training their employees and creating a culture centered around positive change. One way to make this easier and to smooth the path to improvement is to hire people who already have the right mindset.

Bringing up continuous improvement during the initial interview and throughout the hiring process lets the applicant know how important it is to your organization, and helps you weed out people who will be resistant to feedback and change.

If you ask the right questions, you can get a pretty good idea of whether the candidate is likely to be a good fit in your improvement culture and someone that the rest of the team will gladly welcome.

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

Resolutions to Help Achieve Your Process Improvement Goals in 2019

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jan 14, 2019 10:38:48 AM

We saved this post for a couple of weeks into the New Year to give everyone a chance to get their exercise/weight loss/financial planning resolutions out of the way. Hope it’s all going well - but 98.9% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

Ha, just kidding, I just made that up. But it rings true doesn’t it?!?

Why is changing habits so hard?

Certainly, unrealistic expectations are part of the problem. (You’re not going to lose 57 pounds by Marcia’s wedding in March.) But another part of the problem is that people focus on the “what” far more than the “why” and “how.”

That’s why we are going to focus on exactly why these resolutions will help you achieve your process improvement goals and how you can do it. These are a few simple, achievable, and measurable steps you can take to make 2019 a breakthrough year for continuous improvement.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process

The Bedrock Principles of Continuous Quality Management

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Nov 1, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Continuous quality management (CQM) does not look the same in every organization. Some practice CQM as part of a business management philosophy like Lean or Six Sigma, while others implement it on its own. There are a bunch of tools and techniques that support CQM such as Gemba Walks, Catchball, and DMAIC that may or may not be used. However, there are some core principles that tie successful continuous quality management organizations together. They form the basis for the approach and are indispensable.

Quality Management is About Process Management

When you break it down, organizations are made up of hundreds, if not thousands of interlocking processes. The quality of the products or services that are delivered to external and internal customers alike is dependent on the quality of those processes. The financial health of the organization is dependent to a large extent on the efficiency of those processes. If you focus on the processes one at a time, you can fundamentally change the game and deal with the challenges facing your organization.

Quality management is not about placing blame on people. W. Edwards Deming believed that the system was responsible for 97% of the problems. The downside to simply blaming a person when quality standards are not met is that it prevents leaders investigating a bit more to find a root cause finding solutions that improve the performance of all the workers. If a worker makes a mistake, it is essential to ask why and find the process conditions that made the error possible.

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Topics: Quality, Spread Continuous Improvement

How Digital Idea Boards Accelerate Innovation

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 16, 2018 4:31:20 PM

We’ve written before about the reasons that traditional suggestion boxes rarely result in lasting positive change. The biggest problem is that they are just a passive receptacle for employee ideas without any structure for ensuring that every suggestion is evaluated and many are implemented. Fortunately, there is a modern alternative that is helping companies in every industry achieve continuous daily improvement and even a few breakthrough ideas. Digital idea boards are the ideal alternative to suggestion boxes or improvement spreadsheets.

Here’s how they make innovation happen faster.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Suggestion Systems, Daily Lean Management, Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement, Continuous Improvement Software

6 Reasons Organizations Fail to Achieve Continuous Improvement Goals

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Aug 23, 2018 7:32:00 AM

We like to keep things positive in this blog, but once in a while, it makes sense to explore the roadblocks that organizations can face when trying to achieve continuous improvement. Recently, we’ve spoken to a few leaders who are disappointed with the results of their organization’s CI efforts. A quick triage of their continuous improvement goals usually uncovers one or more of these common mistakes.

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Topics: Improvement Culture, Spread Continuous Improvement

9 Brilliantly Simple Continuous Quality Improvement Techniques

Posted by Maggie Millard

Feb 8, 2018 11:09:33 AM

I often find myself falling into the common trap of believing that if something is worthwhile, it is necessarily difficult. I think we all expect that valuable things are hard. The truth is, however, that sometimes the most effective and impactful things we can do are really quite simple.

When it comes to continuous quality improvement, this is absolutely the case.

Here are 9 examples of quality improvement tools, techniques, and technology that are uncomplicated yet extremely valuable.

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Topics: Quality, Spread Continuous Improvement

11 Rapid Continuous Improvement Tools and Techniques Explained

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 12, 2017 4:37:49 PM

Leaders who want to develop a culture of rapid continuous improvement have many tools at their disposal. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep them all in mind when deciding how to execute an opportunity for improvement or to address a difficult challenge. Or course, most organizations don’t use all of them at any one time, but each can be remarkably effective when applied to the right situation.

We thought it might be helpful to list some of the more common and useful ones all in one place. Keep on reading for links to more detailed information about each, so that you can dive more deeply into the ones that seem to fit your needs. 

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

6 Pressing Questions Your Employees Have About Continuous Improvement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 13, 2017 7:35:00 AM

We’ve written quite a bit on this blog about the questions that business leaders and managers ask us about continuous improvement (CI), Lean management, improvement technology, and more.

Today, we thought it would be useful to focus on the questions that your employees almost certainly have, especially if a structured approach to improvement is new for your company. Front line employees are often reluctant to ask questions of management, but you can bet they ask each other.

In order to make sure that folks have accurate and helpful information, it pays to answer these questions - even if they are never openly asked.

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Topics: Change Management, Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement

Top Tips for Introducing Continuous Improvement to Employees

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 17, 2017 7:36:00 AM

Obviously, all of us here at KaiNexus are huge fans of continuous improvement. But I’m not going to lie, I find the name to be a bit of a problem. It is clear, succinct, and meaningful, so what could be the matter? Because continuous and improvement are basic English words that your employees and new hires likely understand, it can seem like there isn’t much need for detailed discussion around the topic. You can end up with a conversation that goes like this:

             Manager: “Here at ACME Corp, we practice continuous improvement.”

              Employee: “Ok. That sounds good.”

You’re just not likely to hear, “What do you mean by continuous improvement? Tell me more about that.” But there is so, so much more to tell. Here are our top tips for introducing continuous improvement to new team members or existing ones who haven’t been involved with it before.

Listen to this Post and Subscribe to the Podcast:

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Topics: Spread Continuous Improvement

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