Monthly Archives: March 2009

Courage Quote

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on-it’s going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Croft M. Pentz

Change management can sometimes drain your strength.  I hope this helps you press forth when times seem tough.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement, Personal Development, Quotes

Connect Actions To Cost

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

Costs are out of control because the use of time, resources, and supplies are not always directly linked to money.

I just worked on an improvement workshop where one of the targets was to reduce cost in after-clinic dictations.  Until we discovered the rate per line associated with dictations, providers did not consider there was a meter running.

I read Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational last year and never connected his chapter on stealing and cheating to how organizations easily spend out of control.  The attached 19 minute video goes into deeper detail about his findings (RSS readers will need to open post to view).  He found people would steal a coke from a fridge but not a dollar bill.  He saw people cheat more if their reward was a token to be exchanged for money instead of the group who was given money directly.  He asks if it is easier to steal a pencil or a dime from somebody’s desk. 

His findings were people steal or cheat more the farther away from actual money it seems.

I honestly do not think staff is intentionally stealing but this concept can be applied to organizations.  If there is not a direct connection between the use of something and the cost associated with it, then spending becomes rampant.  Make costs visual, talk about them in meetings, show where you are saving money.  In this tough economy, most staff would rather help save money than risk seeing them or their co-workers lose their job.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

more about “Dan Ariely on our buggy moral code | …“, posted with vodpod

3 Comments

Filed under Business, Reflection, Visual Communication, Visual Systems, Waste

Create Improvement Capacity

You will never succeed at Lean unless you create improvement capacity in the front lines.  Lee Fried recently wrote a great article about Creating Time for Local Improvement that explores this.  I want to add some of my thoughts as well.

My hospital began Lean and Value Stream work based on creating capacity for growth.  Our alignment sessions target waste removal projects while also focusing on growth opportunities.  While we have seen growth in the last few years, improvement efforts still seem like muri that overburden staff.  It is great to create capacity for growth, but be mindful if your growth eats up any time gains for improvement. 

I recently came across a measurement for nurse productivity.  One key performance indicator is missing from the equation – time for improvement.  You need metrics that support staff to have time for kaizen.

I was able to go on a factory tour last year and their policy was to have 15% time available for improvement.  Available Time is based on 85% of the staff’s day and their Takt Time is based on this.  This allowed for daily improvements.

What are your thoughts about getting front line staff having capacity for improvements?

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

1 Comment

Filed under Business, Improve With Lean, Kaizen

Why Don’t Old Processes Die?

Have you ever improved a process and were suprised that workers end up doing BOTH the new way and the old way? 

I have seen data that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a new process has removed frustrating waste and increases value for the customer, but still the old way persists. 

I recently talked with a friend who’s business was acquired by another company five years ago.   My friend’s business was strong in the US while the other company reigned in Europe & Asia.  Seems like a good fit right? 

The company is no longer doing business in USA.  My friend’s opinion: the new company never fully integrated in the five years since the acquisition.  They continued to ride the fence of both their old way of work while adopting the practices of my friend’s business at the same time.

Here are some of the reasons why I think people do not let old processes die:

  1. Leadership Support & Alignment – With all change, leaders need to support improvements and be aligned.  If one leader is perceived to think differently about the new process, workers who want to keep the old process will reach that leader.  Once that happens, you will have people doing both old and new!
  2. Nemawashi Skipped – Consensus was not reached amongst stakeholders and those doing the work. 
  3. No Reinforcement Built Into New Process– I recently saw a great example where 5S was included during of a point improvement project.  Things like shadow boards and having a place for the right tools at the right time will help reinforce people to keep up the new process because it will be convenient.
  4. Failure to “Turn Out the Light”– Once an improvement project becomes part of operations, CLOSE the project.  If a project manager is always working on the same thing, staff never get the impression the change is finished and complete.  Yes, we do continuous improvement but the last go-round is over and the new process is finalized until we revisit later. 

 What other things do you think keep old processes from going away after a change?

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Alignment, Business, Communication, Data & Charts, Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Project Management

Slideshare: Learning from the Toyota way

Vodpod videos no longer available.  

I really enjoy seeing how others teach or have learned about the Toyota Production System and Lean.  This slideshare from whatidiscover is a nice summation of the basic concepts ( *RSS readers will have to open this post to be able to view the presentation*).  I haven’t seen the great Taiichi Ohno quote on slide 45 before and I LOVE it (skip ahead to read it if you are short on time).  I half expected a consultant blurb at the end of it but it may have been created from someone who is just reading the books and sharing their learnings.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

more about “Learning from the Toyota way“, posted with vodpod

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Improve With Lean

An Irish Blessing

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! From ThinkExist.com

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Encouragement

Beware Of Integrity Loss

Many organizations are facing difficult times due to the financial crisis.  It is an easy temptation to get things out rather than get things right when the pressure is strong.  The integrity of your Lean journey may be lost if your approach changes drastically.

There are two basic philosophical ways to implement Lean in your enterprise: Coaching towards the solution or coaching towards the method (check out Mark Graban & Jamie Flinchbaugh’s excellent discussion for more on this).  If your approach has been to coach towards the method, think of the repercussions if you begin to coach towards the solution. 

  • The “learning organization” goal may be compromised when you do not allow people time to get a deep understanding of the problem
  • Change will not feel owned by those doing the work
  • Those that coach towards the solution may not have gotten their hands dirty (think of executives who don’t go to Gemba but dictate a solution)

I highly suspect organizations that already coach towards the solution will probably not switch to coaching to the method in a crisis.

This warning is just to ensure you use discernment before choosing to change your methods.  Understand that a temporary change of course can potentially bring you to an undesired destination.

If you liked this post, then try:

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Gemba, Health Care, Improve With Lean, Problem Solving, Root Cause

The Cult of Done Manifesto and Lean

I discovered the interesting The Cult of Done Manifesto via Dan Pink’s blog.  I saw some things in this Pettis/Stark lifehack that made me think of how they can apply to Lean.  Check out the link to see the great visuals created for it.

The original text is in black and my comments are in (blue parentheses).

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.  (View everything as an experiment)
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right. (Those who do not go to Gemba do not have credibility)
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes. (Plan-Do-Check-Act allows success if you Act from the learning you received from the failure)
  11. Destruction is a variant of done. (Being innovative can mean rebuilding from scratch – think Lexus)
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

1 Comment

Filed under Improve With Lean

Visual Thinking Tips – Basic Drawing, Nodes, and Storytelling

Vodpod videos no longer available.  

An Introduction to Visual Thinking slideshare by Ryan Coleman offers great tips for communicating visually (RSS Readers will need to open post to view presentation).  It shows how to identify and label nodes in your drawing to make simple pictures more meaningful.  It also shows another visual way of explaining things using just shapes and words.

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

more about “An Introduction to Visual Thinking“, posted with vodpod

Leave a comment

Filed under Basic Drawing, Nodes, Storytelling, Visual Language

Don’t Be A Firefighter

Brian Fireman

 Like all kids, I used to want to be a firefighter when I grew up.  The above picture is me in the 70’s all ready to take out an inferno.  People may not be public-service firefighters, but we sure douse flames a lot in hospitals.

We need to change our mentality about fighting fires to focusing on prevention.  Think how Smokey The Bear advised “Only you can prevent forest fires”.  The same is true for you AND your team.

Fighting fires at a hospital are waste.  They overburden people (muri), they are the anthisis of an even production level (mura), the interruption may cause waiting for other patients, they often are a cause of defects, and there can be some overprocessing included because you have to touch something more than normally required.

How can you begin to prevent fires?

  1. Get to the root cause of the last fire you extinguished and make improvements
  2. Prioritize improvement projects to prevent fires – they are clear problems to fix
  3. Don’t get stuck in the mental trap of “this is an oddity and only happened once therefore not worth fixing”
  4. Look for standard work opportunities since the lack of them can lead to fires.
  5. Be fiercely protective of your even production level.   If other management and departments spring quick deadlines on you (usually not real fires but they act like it), add them to the appropriate heijunka slot.  If they fight this concept, be a learning organization and coach them on the importance of not adding waste.

What other advice do you have?

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Communication, heijunka

One Is Never Enough

0148_001

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Improve With Lean, Kaizen

Execs Need To Stop Solving Problems

Executives and managers are bottle-necking Lean growth when they solve problems.

They claim they do not have time to go to Gemba to gain a deep understanding of the problem because they are too busy in problem solving meetings (don’t fool yourself – even decision-making meetings are still about problems).  Leadership indirectly demonstrates lack of respect and trust when they do not engage the people doing the work to solve problems (waste of talent).  Coaching opportunities are missed when leadership doesn’t equip and support all staff to identify root cause, gain consensus, and experiment with counter-measures (becoming a learning organization).

You will never see the gains you desire with Lean until executives and managers turn over the problem-solving duties to the people doing the work.  It wil take coaching and support, but that time is better spent than solving problems in an ivory tower.

What are your thoughts?

My 2009 Hansei: Scarcity inspires creativity and innovation.  How can I help harness that inspiration?

Subscribe to Improve With Me via: RSS | Google Reader | Twitter

3 Comments

Filed under Business, Gemba, Learn Leadership, Problem Solving, Waste