Category Archives: Visual Communication

Lean Related Posts Roundup

Since my work banned access to twitter, it is not as easy to share great Lean related articles.  I will do this on my blog now!

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Filed under Business, Change Management, customers, Gemba, Health Care, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Lean Hospital, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Personal Development, Problem Solving, Productivity, Project Management, Respect For People, Visual Communication, Visual Language

Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs

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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

Windows Of Frustration (part 1)

As someone who helps people improve their processes and quality for a living, being a consumer can sometimes drive me batty!  I think there will always be a need for the lean principles to be applied (although some companies do not recognize the need).  My wife and I recently purchased new windows for our whole house and have had cascading problems since. 

The sales person did a quote while we were at work and mailed it to us.  To understand what the windows he quoted were, we visited the showroom and the sales person showed us a double-hung window where both the top and bottom opened.  We advised we wanted the energy-efficient and gas-filled glass.  We pointed out the measurements on the quote weren’t correct so he was going to send someone out again and provide us with a more accurate quote. 

The updated quote came and the price was good so we agreed via telephone.

During the day of the first installation I stayed out of the way from the crew.  I popped out at one point to see one of the windows that was finished.  It was a single-hung window where the top did not open like I ordered! 

I called the salesperson who was very rude stating it was on the quote I agreed to.  I advised it was not the window my wife and I saw in the showroom.  He said that was just a demo of the window brand and we were not clear to him we wanted double-hung.  I asked where it said on the quote that it was single hung to alert me as a customer that I might not be getting what I expected.  He said next to each measurement is the code “SH” for single hung.  I advised him that as the window expert, I would have expected him to explain technical codes to me the consumer and asked why he would not have tried to up-sell me on the more expensive window anyways.  We eventually came to agreement to get the correct custom windows installed.  This was truly a test of my respect for people principle!

Besides the obvious upset customer (me!), there was a lot of waste for the sales/installation company and the manufacturer: 

  • The installers have to send their crew out twice (you will find out it will be three times in part 2!). 
  • The single-hung custom windows are now scrap cost to  the installer and/or manufacturer. 
  • The time the salesperson spent fixing our problem took time away from him to generate new business for the installation company.

Potential counter-measures: 1) Train salespeople to ask customer’s the right kind of questions to ensure their needs are met prior to ordering.  2) Make quotes visual with descriptions with explicit explanations with no code so the customer can understand what they are agreeing to.  3) Don’t blame the customer when problems happen but own the issue.

I will share part 2 next week.  Any other wastes or counter-measures you see in this story?

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, customers, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Information Flow, Problem Solving, Quality, Respect For People, Root Cause, Value Added, Visual Communication, Visual Language, Waste

“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

Brain Rules for Presenters (and Lean)

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

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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Making Costs Visual For Customers

This weekend I went out for fish and chips and saw this fantastic sign.  The restaurant is very nicely helping their customers recognize the costs associated with taking excess inventoryof straws, tartar sauce, napkins, and other condiments.  I am not sure how much savings they have seen since posting this sign, but as a customer I was more aware of how much I was taking (I happen to be a ketsup maniac). 

Do you think this is a good way to help lower waste or is a sign like this is too much to ask customers?

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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 Improve With Lean, Improvements, Visual Communication, Visual Language, Visual Systems, Waste

Lean Times Require Lean Thinking

Vodpod videos no longer available. Jason Yip & Paul Heaton created this outstanding SlideShare presentation “Lean Times Require Lean Thinking(RSS readers might need to visit improvewithme.com to view).  I love the sketches throughout and really like the cartoon of 3 wastes.  The description of wastes are mostly hospital based which is nice to see.  The slide describing the difference between authority-based vs responsibility-based focus is a great reminder of the culture we are trying to create in Lean enterprises.

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

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more about “Lean Times Require Lean Thinking“, posted with vodpod

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Filed under Basic Drawing, Health Care, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Mura, Muri, Visual Communication, Visual Language

Free Visual Storytelling

I love comic books and they have played a huge part in helping me understand how to communicate visually.  This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day where you can explore this medium for free.  The comic book art form has evolved past superheros and many different kinds of stories will be available for you this weekend. Visit http://www.freecomicbookday.com/ to find your local store and to see what titles will be offered.

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

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Lean and Dental Floss

One of the things I love about Lean is the philosophy to make things more visual. 

This weekend our household dental floss ran out unexpectedly due to the classic white plastic container.  My wife commented that you can never know when you will run out of it. 

We replaced it with Oral B Dental Floss because the plastic is clear and you can see how much you have left (the attached photo shows how easy it is to see).  From looking at their website, they still use plastic you can’t see through on one of their products but the rest are clear.  We found the clear plastic to be value added.

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, Improvements, Value Added, Visual Communication

Drawing: Treasure Map To Find Truth

Royce Willard said something via Twitter (@Rwilliard) a while ago that really stuck with me when I asked about executives at gemba.  He said “The truth is not in their office.

I created this drawing to show places people try to find the treasure of truth instead of seeing where “X” marks the spot in gemba.

  • Afar Land:  This is the office or conference room where people decide what the solution is without ever seeing the problem.  An Ivory Tower is too far removed from the reality.  Think of Hall ‘N Oats “You’re Out Of Touch”.
  • Report Mountains: Taiichi Ohno states “Data is of course important in manufacturing, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts.”  Many people associate using the scientific method because they are driven by reports and graphs but miss out on the empirical aspect.  Reports only suggest facts/truths but they still need to be validated.
  • Ear-ie Canal: When someone tells you about a problem, it is usually from a subjective perspective based on their interpretation of facts.  This method becomes increasingly unreliable the more it is passed around before it reaches you.  
  • Past-Ville: Using “how it it used to be” as your basis for truth is dangerous because things may have changed since you last visited.
  • Gemba Jungles: The truth is only found when you go and see the actual work being done.  Like a criminal investigator, gathering real-time evidence in the space of the crime will paint a more accurate picture of the situation.  The wild gemba jungles do not have the limitations of the other locations on the map.  The next time you need truth, take the direct route to the gemba jungles. 

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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 Basic Drawing, Business, Charts, Gemba, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Learn Leadership, Reflection, Visual Communication, Visual Language

Connect Actions To Cost

 

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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?

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

Information Is Like Water

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Oscar Berg created this elegant SlideShare presentation about how information flows like water (RSS readers will need to open post to view).  In Lean transformations, we sometimes think of improvements in a physical sense (5S, creating cells, etc).  Information flow is just as important to target for improvements.  I hope this presentation sparks creativity for you!

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