Category Archives: Encouragement

Change Through Repeated Action

“Beliefs, behaviors, assumptions, and attitudes do not change through study, conferences, seminars, and training classes; they change through repeated action. This is not dissimilar to breaking unhealthy habits such as smoking or overeating. The consistently repeated lean actions and restraint from doing old non-lean things are undoubtedly ‘painful’ in the beginning(source: The Kaizen Event Fieldbook by Hamel pages 61-62)
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Filed under Change Management, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Lean Hospital, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization

PDSA Is The Ultimate Success Formula

I recently uncovered a box of books I thought was lost years ago (before I knew about 5S!)  This time capsule contained material I read about 15 years ago while still in college and managing my own direct sales business during summer breaks.  It was fun to flip through my dusty paperbacks and read my notes.  One of these books was “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins.  Little did I know it at the time, this influential book was my first introduction to Plan-Do-Study-Adjust thinking!

Robbins writes about what he refers to as the Ultimate success Formula and points out that this is the consistent path of people who have attained excellence.  Here are the steps:

  1. Know your outcome
  2. Take action
  3. Recognize if your actions are taking you closer to your goal or farther away
  4. Develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you get what you want

These steps directly reflect the Shewhart PDSA Cycle which is a core principle for Lean practitioners.  I truly think it is the ultimate success formula!

By following PDSA, you will save yourself the waste that comes from doing an activity without knowing the outcome you want. You won’t be stuck in analysis paralysis and will actually do something to make improvements.  You will continuously improve when you seek evidence from your actions to see if they are producing what you expect. Being able to adjust and change your approach in order to achieve the results you want will put you miles ahead of someone who keeps trying different variations of the same thing but never getting different outcomes.

One big learning I had from re-discovering this book is that I have been drawn to this kind of improvement thinking for my entire professional working career.  Even tough I didn’t know what Lean was, I was getting a little glimpse of it!

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Filed under Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Plan-Do-Check-Act

Be A Difference Maker

2012 is the year to be a difference maker for all of us.  We have a lot of opportunity to make things better for our customers and better engage our teams.  Here are some tips to make a deep impact this year:

  • Embrace The Kaizen Spirit: Masaaki Imai says “The Kaizen spirit encourages thinking about how to change, rather than why it can’t be done.”  Don’t let the excuses (even really good ones) hold you back from looking to find a way to make a difference.  As Mark Graban suggested recently, let the identified barriers become your first problem statement.
  • See How Your Role Makes A Difference: Seek to discover how your role directly makes things better for customers or how it supports those that interact with them.  Also consider what you can do to make a difference with the people on your team by being a better listener, encourager, or other things that help people make improvements.
  • Be Approachable: If people avoid talking with you, you can’t make a difference because you will not understand the current situation.  Being inclusive allows you to build trust and begin to help influence positive changes.

I am sure many of my readers are already making huge impacts on people’s lives and in the organizations they work with.  What other suggestions do you have for people to be a difference maker this year?

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Filed under Business, Change Management, Communication, customers, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Productivity

Relieving Workplace Mayhem

Does your workday frequently feel like mayhem?  I have talked with many people who feel like their job is filled with unnecessary chaos.  I believe a lot of organizations self-inflict themselves with craziness.  There is a way to stop the mayhem!

Overburdening people (and equipment) is a form of waste.  Your organization must first identify where people experience this waste.  Usually it is very easy to find just by asking who feels they are overwhelmed. 

Here are some examples of what you may find (also note that most below do not have a paying customer waiting for the outcome):

  • Leaders asking for non-standard reports with quick deadlines (usually to sit on their desks for weeks before they look at them)
  • Constant edits or change of direction to documents because planning is often done after the content was created
  • Support departments get projects dumped on them without ever problem solving around their ability to have capacity to do the work
  • Somebody’s procrastination or lack of planning becomes another person’s urgent priority

The next step is to acknowledge this kind of mayhem is a problem.  This step is difficult because firefighting heroics and the rush of adrenaline from last-minute deadlines becomes “how things are done around here”. 

As an outside observer, I usually see little need for subjecting employees to this kind of work condition and believe it lowers engagement.  Until teams align that overburdening staff is a problem, it will continue unabated.

The final step is to identify the root causes of the mayhem and eliminate them. 

What sort of unnecessary mayhem do you experience in the workplace?

(NOTE: The attached video is only related to this post because of the title and I thought it was a cool rockabilly song!)

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Filed under Alignment, Change Management, Communication, Encouragement, Five Whys, Gemba, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Kaizen, Learn Leadership, Muri, Plan-Do-Check-Act, Problem Solving, Productivity, Quality, Reflection, Respect For People, Root Cause, Waste

Walk The Talk

I learned a lot at the recent Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit and will blog my reflections from it.  The first thing that stands out to me was the consistent effort leaders were making to walk the talk.  I think the list below is a great start of what will help leaders help transform and sustain their organizations.

  • Go see, ask why, show respect, and learn
  • Practice respect for people as individuals, engage their heads & hearts, and don’t shame or blame.
  • Be humble
  • Lead as though you have no authority
  • Teach and ask questions
  • Persevere
  • Experiment
  • Be inclusive of everyone
  • Be free from the “smartest society” trap and don’t fear appearing to be outed as incompetent

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Filed under Business, Change Management, Communication, Consulting, Encouragement, Gemba, Improve With Lean, Lean Hospital, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Respect For People, Standard Work

Make Healthcare Awesome

I was pretty excited to come across this “Make Healthcare Better” SlideShare presentation from Drew Weilage (RSS readers may need to click link to view).  His message of focusing on the patient and moving away from mediocrity in hospitals is exactly the mission I have.  I think Lean helps hospitals work to make things convenient for the patient and not just the provider.  I hope you find this interesting as well.  He also has a blog that is worth checking out.

This presentation really fires me up about what I do and the potential for hospitals.  I love the ending line: “Good is not good enough”.

Please share your comments about the presentation.

If you liked this post, then try:

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Filed under Business, Consulting, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Lean Hospital, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Quality, Respect For People

Funny Escalations

I recently discovered this funny online webcomic 1.00 FTE.  This particular one reminds me of the waste of overburdening people.  An unreasonable request is made to a team and escalation is conducted to force it to action.

What is a better way to meet with senior management about this? 

  • Bring the senior leader to watch and talk with the team (gemba) to find out why they can not do the task.  There may be waste causing them to not be able to complete the task.  They may not have the resources or skills.  There may be other barriers for them.
  • Deeply understand the task that is being requested.  The task may not fit into the organization’s strategy or help your customer.  The task might not be worth doing right now (or ever).  It may just be someone’s pet project.  The team may have bigger priorities.

Keep on improving!

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Filed under Business, Change Management, customers, Encouragement, humor, Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization, Personal Development, Project Management, Respect For People, Strategy Deployment

The Jury Is Out

Last month I served on a jury and really enjoyed the opportunity.   The pamphlet that was handed out to all jurors had some advice that I think is good for those in a Lean organization:

“It is enough that you keep an open mind, use common sense, concentrate on the evidence presented, and be fair and honest in your deliberations.  Remember: Don’t be influenced by sympathy or prejudice.”

Keeping an open mind is important for innovation.  So often our minds want to keep things the same or we may stretch to optimize how things are.  An open mind will help you create something  new.

Common sense is woven throughout Lean thinking.  While the concepts are simple, the applications of them are elegant.

Going to gemba will be the key piece of evidence for you to concentrate on.  The facts you witness and hear will help you make a good verdict for what improvements to make.

Lean is about focusing on your customers and what your business needs to prosper.  This focus helps you to be fair and honest while avoiding sympathy or prejudice.  Pet projects or individual agendas may not always fit into Lean thinking.

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Filed under Change Management, Encouragement, Gemba, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Kaizen, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Plan-Do-Check-Act, Problem Solving, Root Cause

Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs

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more about “The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs“, posted with vodpod

 

Steve Jobs has a reputation for being an outstanding presenter.  This slideshow from Carmine Gallo is inspired from the book of the same name which I have seen a lot of references to lately (RSS readers may need to open post to view)

What tips do you have about presenting?

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Filed under Business, Communication, Consulting, Encouragement, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization, Personal Development, Problem Solving, Productivity, Project Management, Quality, Storytelling, Visual Communication, Visual Language

Motivating Knowledge Workers

Dan Pink has an outstanding TED talk about how to motivate workers in the 21st century (some readers may need to open this post to be able to view the 19 minute video).  Dan’s message about the difference between what science knows versus what business does will hopefully give you a new perspective. 

Leadership can get into a trap when it tries to get compliance instead of commitment or engagement.  Dan discusses how incentives can do more harm for your business.  The speech discusses the need to move from a reward by carrot or punishment by stick practice. 

Dan also speaks about an interesting study by Dan Ariely whom I greatly admire.  I wrote about how his findings can help you connect actions to cost.

Please comment with your reactions to Dan’s speech.

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

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“Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”

Remember the song “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”? 

I was thinking how appropriate some of the lyrics are for people who see problems in their work area everyday that never get fixed.  Encourage your teams to make problems visible so they can begin to solve issues. 

  • Make a whiteboard where everybody writes problems they see. 
  • Have blank A3 paper handy so someone can begin to uncover the root cause. 
  • Remind people to not just keep problems limited to memory because in a fast-paced workplace it is easy to forget or trivialize as time progresses.
  • Assign or facilitate someone in the workgroup to own the resolution of the problem.
  • Reinforce a culture where leadership supports problems being visible and not used as an easy punishing device.

Giving your team an avenue to express the problems they see will bring massive improvement to your organization.

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

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Filed under A3, Business, Change Management, Communication, Encouragement, Improve With Lean, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Productivity, Respect For People, Visual Communication

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

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

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