Monthly Archives: June 2009

How To Get People To Change

“People do not change when you tell them they should; they change when they tell themselves they must.” – Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign policy specialist at John Hopkins University

Jonathan Frye from LeadershipJot.com has great comments about this quote and the source where it came from.

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

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Filed under Business, Change Management, Communication, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Productivity, Respect For People

What’s Next? – Kaizen Workshop Debrief

I sometimes use this blog to post things I have learned to ensure I can remember them in the future.  I hope some of these are valuable to you as well.

During a recent kaizen workshop debrief, I was reminded by my consultant partner to always ask the client what is next

We are internal consultants so this question is not designed to drum up new business.  It is framed to build on momentum created from the workshop.  It is a challenge to continue improving.  It is practical advice to be ready to see hidden problems as they are revealed and to be prepared to address them.

Asking “What’s next?” should not be limited to only the debrief after a Kaizen workshop.  Use this question throughout the auditing of the improvement.  It is a very important question when the improvement is fully handed off to operations and the consultant is no longer involved. 

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

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Filed under Debrief, Improve With Lean, Improvements

Fun With Post-Its

We use Post Its a lot for teaching people how to improve processes and understand the current state.  I thought this 1.5 minute video was fun and creative (RSS viewers will need to open post to view video).  Thanks to the Visual Management Blog for alerting me about this video!

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

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Filed under Business, Communication, Visual Communication, Visual Language, Visual Systems

The Perfect Pitch

How do you show your customers you are competent about your product/service?

My wife and I noticed a small leak near our chimney recently and was advised it most likely was coming from our roof.  We called for three roofing quotes to validate if it was truly a roof issue or if it was something else.

The first contractor came out and pointed out things on our 15 year roof to look for.  He showed me where the previous homeowner did a bad job near some pipes and that we most likely were leaking but can’t see it due to three layers of roof.  He showed where some of the roofing is curling which is a sign of needing replacing.  He inspected around the chimney (even on the side of the house away from the roof) to see where our water was coming from.  He explained how water runs around a house and what signs to look for.  He went onto our roof and measured the pitch.  The contractor gave me a quote and said I should consider replacing in a year.  The transaction was about 35-40 minutes.

The second contractor pulled up to our house and walked immediately to the door.  He sat down with me and said I needed a new roof.  I asked him how he knew since I did not see him stand and look at the roof and didn’t even look at it from the back yard.  He said he can tell because the shiny surface was missing from the front tiles.  He gave me a quote.  The whole thing took about 15 minutes.

The third contractor never came out.

The first contractor provided a lot of value added service to me.  He educated me.  Measuring the pitch made me feel the quote was more accurate.  He provided advice on the real problem why I called him but still explained that the roof will need replacing.  He actually looked at our entire roof before he provided the diagnosis.

The second contractor approached me as though he was the expert and I should just trust him.  He did not demonstrate anything to make me believe he was competent like the first contractor did.  A roof is not cheap so do not discount time spent to build credibility with your potential customers!

Do your actions help your customers see that you are competent and credible?  Do your processes allow value added time for your customers?  Do you think the first contractor wasted time with what he did to give me a quote since the second contractor was more efficient (not effective though)?

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

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Filed under Business, Communication, Improve With Lean, Value Added

Making Robots Out Of People

“All of this standard work is just turning us into robots”.

Have you heard this before when you improved a process and made standard work?  A recent workshop team was concerned this would be the response from some of their peers.  In true sensei fashion, we asked the rest of the team how they would respond to their nursing peers.  Here are some of their responses:

  • We watched the current process across the hospital and it was different everywhere.  The standard will help our float nurses be sucessful since they work across many units.
  • The data we have shows not every nurse has been completing the process in the allotted 30 minutes which is causing overtime.  The standard was designed to ensure we don’t go past 30 minutes but still get everything done.
  • The nurses we spoke to said they can get too much or too little information at handoff depending on who they are partnering with.  The standard work will be less frustrating for those in this position because we will all get consistent information from now on.

 I really like these responses because they discuss the problem with data and observations.  They do not just explain the benefits of the change but clearly explain the current situation which led to the standardization.

What would your response be to a comment like this?

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

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Filed under Change Management, Communication, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Respect For People, Standard Work

Psychological Impact of Change

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”King Whitney Jr, President, Personnel Laboratory Inc

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

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Filed under Business, Communication, Improvements, Personal Development, Quotes, Respect For People

Bad Survey Is Waste

My wife and I bought a new laptop from a major chain retail store recently and I was shocked by how bad the satisfaction survey was.  As I was at the register, a surveyor approached me and offered $15 in gift cards to answer the survey.  The questions astounded me. 

  • “Do you agree or disagree that personal PCs are creative?”  My response- People are creative, not machines
  • “Do you agree or disagree that personal PCs are innovative?” My response- People are innovative, not machines
  • “On a scale of 1-10 from horrible to outstanding what is your impression of this location” My response- Is this question based on only today’s purchase or in general since I frequently shop at this one?  Surveyor – “Either”

Maybe I was tough on the surveyor because I have written surveys before.  I was surprised how the questions are written in a way where the responder may not understand what is being asked.  The questions were not specific enough for the company to have faith they can trust the results (in my opinion).

To make matters worse, the surveyor offered me another $5 gift card if I would participate in a phone survey at a later date.  I got the call this week.  I was asked the exact same questions!  I have no idea if they compared my store results to the phone results or if my responses count as two customers.

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

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Filed under Business, Data & Charts

No Gemba Trip = BS

Film director great Akira Kurosawa learned a powerful lesson while he was working under Kajirio Yamamoto.  His mentor told him “Don’t try to BS people.  If you don’t know the answer, don’t say anything until you can find out for sure“.  The only place you can find out for sureis at gemba. 

The quote is from the outstanding book I am currently reading: The Birth Of Lean from the Lean Enterprise Institute.

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

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Filed under Gemba, Problem Solving