Monthly Archives: August 2009

Learning Mindset

Learn something like you will be required to teach it someday.

That advice was given to me when I was in college and selling knives to pay my way through it.  We had sales conferences and some speaker, I cannot remember their name, gave this principle to me and I try to use it every day.  This blog is a reflection of this mindset.

When you read a book/article, hear a speaker, or get mentored, try to learn with the intensity that you might be called on to help someone else learn the same thing.  You take on an additional responsibility if you know you are not learning just for your own sake.  Not everything taught to you will be perfect or relevant but you will begin to look for the gold nuggets to pass on to others.

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, Consulting, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization, Personal Development, Productivity, Reflection, Respect For People

Brain Rules for Presenters (and Lean)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I have not read John Medina’s book “Brain Rules” yet but this presentation from Garr Reynolds makes the book look fascinating (RSS readers may need to open post to view presentation).  If there is any trouble with the embedded video (sometimes SlideShare loads forever when I embed it), the original source is here.

Some elements really fit in with Lean thinking:

  • The comments about instruction space sucking the brain power out of people is quite apt to consider if you are trying to create a learning organization. 
  • The focus to minimize interruptions to gain quality is a form of waste to remove. 
  • I love the phrase “going analog” because it does not have to rely on technology.
  • Noticing where there is force feeding but little digestion makes me think of how respect for people is being practiced.
  • “Pictures beat text” is a great clarion call to make the workplace more visual.

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

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more about “Brain Rules for Presenters“, posted with vodpod

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Filed under Business, Communication, Consulting, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Productivity, Project Management, Respect For People, Visual Communication, Visual Language

Book Review: Flawless Consulting 2nd Edition

Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting Second Edition” is an outstanding book and I recommend it for anybody who is ever asked for advice.  Consulting skills are not limited to people with a consultant title but anybody who helps others but has no authority over the outcome of their advice.  Leaders, project managers, church elders, event planners, and many others will find benefit in this book.

I bought this book because I am an internal consultant.  I had a coach challenge me to define my role as a consultant.  I was not able to do so in a way that satisfied me.  This book helped me tremendously to be purposeful in all of my consulting work.

Block defines the roles and needs for both consultant and client.  He provides the thinking behind the business of each phase in consulting.  The definition and encouragement of how to be authentic are very actionable.  The book also highlights the differences between external and internal consulting. 

Some stand out chapters cover: 

  • Contracting with a client (this is not just a formal & legal contract but a relationship contract)
  • Understanding, recognizing, and dealing with resistance
  • Obtaining data
  • Engagement thinking and tools

”Flawless Consulting” has many elements consistent with Lean thinking such as whole system engagement, being a learning organization instead of only focusing on teaching, and moving away from just engineering to include the social side of change. 

I really like the wide margins in the book to be able to write my notes and thoughts.  A good sign that I get something from a book is the amount of pencil marks inside of it.  Practically every other page has some notation from my pencil!

If you liked this post, then try:

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

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Filed under Book Review, Business, Change Management, Communication, Consulting, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Project Management, Respect For People

Lean Is About People – Not Engineering

Do you ever feel tempted to just engineer Lean into your team?  Want to tell your team to implement one piece flow, pull systems, cell layouts, and other tools?

The above is an easy temptation.  What is missing from a desire to engineer is the understanding that Lean is about people.

Peter Block says  in “Flawless Consulting” that most problems can not be fixed by engineering alone and are usually people problems.  I love his example of how an architect can easily design and build a house, but it is more difficult to work with the family to understand their needs and wants.  He points out that organizations have more complexities than a single family house.

If you are in leadership and you want to engineer your team, I challenge your commitment to the respect for people principle.  You are not equipping your team to use their minds to solve problems if you tell them how to design their work.   You are even more guilty if you try to design their work without ever spending time in gemba.

Trust your team to solve outcome problems (reduce wait time, remove inventory, ect) not how-to problems (implement flow, create pull, ect).  Your people will gain a deeper understanding of Lean by utilizing its principles to solve outcome problems. 

If you liked this post, then try:

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

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Filed under Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Problem Solving, Respect For People