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…

How to Transform Your Business with Successful Recruiting Processes

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We’ve all seen what it looks like when the wrong people are in the wrong jobs. It’s expensive for your organization. It’s a burden on your existing work teams. It’s a strain on the employee who belongs in a different role or at a different company. But when you get the right people in the right jobs at the right… Read the full article…

Taking Notes Isn’t Lean

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Recently I’ve begun the process of giving up handwritten notes. After a 30-year history of working in the field of continuous improvement, my work is still much too dependent on paper. Writing notes, rather than typing them, has always been a way to actively listen. But it’s been causing me so much extra work with the unorganized handwritten notes everywhere… Read the full article…

Recruit Proactively to Attract the Talent You Need

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No matter what business you’re in, people are at the core of your business. When you get the right people in the right jobs at the right time, it transforms your company. Conversely, getting it wrong is costly and a burden on your existing work teams. The process of recruiting and selecting is people-centered work, so it matters. It’s important…. Read the full article…

Creating the Wave

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  My virtual learning community, or VLC, is a group of HR learning professionals working together virtually from all over the country. All of these HR professionals work in Lean Enterprises and want to strengthen their skills and work with others like them. My role is to facilitate the group and support a learning environment. One of my VLC members,… Read the full article…