How to Use the Power of Dialogue to Meet Your Business Goals

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Picture a senior leadership team sitting in a circle. The circle includes sales & marketing, operations, HR, scheduling, product development, finance, IT, and others. These people work in the same business, but in various locations, and have never met all together as one group. And yet, they cover the entire span of meeting their customer needs from production all the… Read the full article…

You Wouldn’t Take a Sledgehammer to Your Equipment, Would You?

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You wouldn’t take a sledgehammer to your equipment, would you? When you ask people for their thoughts and ideas and then mishandle them by not listen-ing effectively or not utilizing them, it compares to taking a sledgehammer to your equipment. An organization I worked with brought together a group of employees to surface ideas about solving a wide range of… Read the full article…

How to Integrate Your HR Team into Your Business

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I have been working with a business partner, Mark, and his HR person, Andy. Mark kept complaining that Andy seemed overly focused on all the wrong priorities. When I spoke with Andy, his perspective was that even though he had a full plate (hiring people, running engagement surveys, processing pay increases, running safety committee meetings, etc.), he felt overloaded and… Read the full article…

The Hitch in the Giddy Up

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Move beyond maintenance of the status quo in 2018 Many of the HR leaders I’ve recently spoken with sincerely want to better support their internal customers and business partners. They really want to get more done and spend more time address-ing people related issues that need attention. The ‘hitch in the giddy up’ is that many HR leaders find themselves… Read the full article…

Human Life is a Terrible Thing to Waste

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Reflections on Boston In Boston, we were blessed with a few keynote speeches that were both thought provoking and soul stirring. Upon returning to the Chicago area, I reflected on what I had gotten out of the ex-perience: it had reminded me of what had made me fall in love with lean over 35 years ago. Fundamentally, lean values human… Read the full article…

3 Strategies for Creating a Problem-Solving Workforce

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Over the years, I’ve worked in many facilities that are devoted to team-based problem-solving. Yet, as time has gone by, it has become clear that fully involving an entire workforce in problem-solving efforts is quite a challenge. Often, I’ve noticed that the visual displays of improvement look good at a glance, but upon looking closer, I see there are obvious… Read the full article…

The Waste of Blame

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Recently, a group and I were working on problem-solving. I kept running into this attitude of several people in the group feeling powerless and even victimized by their work. We were discussing steps to follow to identify opportunities and make changes, and many of them were looking at me like, “You don’t understand. We can’t really do anything about our… Read the full article…

Key Takeaways from the Champions of HR for Excellence Launch

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For the launch of the Champions of HR for Excellence program a few weeks ago, we explored a revolutionary approach to supporting change in the workplace. The meeting included a work-shop presented by Ron Oslin, Larry Anderson and Tony Chamblin, from One System / One Voice. We met a few years back, and their work was so exciting that I… Read the full article…

Looking to Increase Your Impact on Your Organization’s Success?

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Many years ago, I was talking with an operations manager whom I deeply respect. When I asked him about the role of HR in building his organization’s lean capabilities, his face scrunched up. His disappointment was palpable. His answer? “We work around them.” That moment was a pivotal point in my working life, which has been dedicated to supporting the… Read the full article…

5 Essential Aspects of Building a Lean Culture

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Recently in a workshop, we had considerable discussion about the need to create a lean culture. When I asked the group members how they define a lean culture, it became clear to me that they did not have a clear definition of what culture specifically means. They’re all going somewhere, but no one knows where it is. If we are… Read the full article…

HR: The Missing Link in Your Continuous Improvement Efforts

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Sometimes, in work and in life, we make up our minds to do things that are challenging. For me, the time has come to launch Champions of HR for Excellence. This is a community to meet the needs of Human Resources professionals and others who develop talent strategies that drive operational excellence. The goal for membership will be to develop… Read the full article…

Building to Last by Building to ‘Pull’

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Recently, I began working on a really interesting project that supports training for HR-related services in Lean enterprises, including recruitment, training, performance feedback and effective recognition. The material will be delivered throughout the world as part of an effort to strengthen Lean practices in emerging businesses so they can develop more sustainable success. However, the training has a number of… Read the full article…

Three Critical Solutions Offered by TWI

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Do your training programs successfully address your biggest challenges? Do they solve your skill development needs and create a more engaged workforce? Many groups I’ve worked with have been able to overcome these challenges using TWI (Training Within Industry). Even today, this globally utilized method continues to reveal itself as a critical component to address some of our biggest challenges… Read the full article…

Your Advice for Going Paperless: A Follow-Up to Taking Notes Isn’t Lean

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Your response to a recent article “Taking Notes Isn’t Lean” was amazing, as was the number of people that wrote back with thoughts and ideas. This article shares the highlights of the suggestions provided by others. Below are some of the practices suggested for making the transition to electronic note taking easier. Don’t carry paper. Trent suggests going entirely paperless:… Read the full article…

Partner with HR to Achieve “Wow!” Results

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Looking back, I remember the first Lean transformation I saw involved a manufacturing facility that completely changed how work was done. When I first arrived, jobs were relatively simple in definition. Sam, a machine operator, always just stood at his machine as parts were produced. Every so often, Sam would respond if the machine stopped or needed something. That was… Read the full article…