Ten Guidelines for Higher ROI from Continuous Improvement Initiatives

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How to Access the Creative Solutions of Your Team

Posted by: Cheryl Jekiel | No Comments

Sitting in an audience of well over 200 team members in a production facility, I was enjoying being a participant of this team meeting. The sessions included all types of engaged presentations on various topics, such as individual/team accomplishments, reports on what was coming up, progress updates on various projects, safety statistics, and process changes to improve product quality. They… Read the full article…

3 Key Themes Across World-Class Lean Cultures

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In March, AME and I facilitated a Champions of HR event for lean HR professionals to visit 3 world-class lean cultures. Following are the highlights of each visit that made for a memorable event. The Power of Gratitude with Cambridge Engineering Our first visit was Cambridge Engineering. When you first visit the Cambridge facility, you’ll typically be invited to the… Read the full article…

Is Your Use of Discipline Interfering with Your Success with Lean?

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Recently, I visited an operation that was pleased with all the improvements they had been able to implement. They pointed to the ways team members had been involved in identifying problems and implementing solutions. I inquired on the role of HR in the overall improvement efforts and they looked at me quite puzzled. Since the focus of the improvement efforts… Read the full article…

How McKee Foods Improved Employee Retention

Posted by: Cheryl Jekiel | No Comments

Recently, I had the honor of working with McKee Foods and their HR team out of Gentry, Arkansas to capture the story of their journey with lean. As I’ve shared this with other HR teams, I believe it’s worth noting why I think it matters. It’s not so much that this HR group has done more with lean than other… Read the full article…

Describing the Richness of Lean

Posted by: Cheryl Jekiel | No Comments

Over the last few years, it’s struck me that referring to “lean” as a way of thinking is complementary to, not exclusive of, what the experience of lean feels like. But beyond being an interesting perspective, understanding the experience of lean could be really important. Watching a presentation on a lean culture at a conference, I was struck to my… Read the full article…

The Most Common Reason Expectations Aren’t Met

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Mike asks me to stop by his office before I leave for the day. As we sit down to talk, he looks quite discouraged because one of his newer supervisors is falling short of expectations. As always, my first question to Mike is, “How have you explained your expectations to the supervisor?” Mike confidently tells me that he had reviewed… Read the full article…

One and Done Just Doesn’t Work

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In talking with Mark about the leadership training the team went through last week, he comments that it seemed like great training but it wasn’t clear what’s next. While Mark is enthusiastic that everyone enjoyed the session, what’s the point if nothing changes? Mark agrees that his team needs to build stronger leadership skills. The challenge is how to change… Read the full article…

Understanding the Steps to Performance Management

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Most people I encounter link performance management to their performance review program. As lean organizations become more focused on people-centric leadership, they have often expanded this to include some type of coaching program. Yet after years of working in lean and HR, it’s critical that people realize that performance management includes all of the following steps: 1. Setting expectations 2…. Read the full article…

Redefining Success as a Manager

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Mary finds herself busy much of the day working with different members of her team. Sometimes, there’s even a line of people running out of her cubicle. She is pleased they feel so comfortable coming to her for advice and counsel. Some of the other managers are even envious that her team is in her office so much. However, John… Read the full article…

3 Ways to Get Beyond Challenging Employees

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Cindy and I are getting together to talk about our upcoming strategy session. She seems distracted and visibly stressed, so I ask her how things are going. She says that one of her managers is driving her crazy. I ask her what’s wrong. She goes into a litany of issues with his performance, including not getting his work done on… Read the full article…

How to Create a Team of Problem Solvers

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Phil had just gotten back from a senior leadership meeting where they had crafted the company plan for the next 3 years including detailed goals for next year. The development of the strategy reminds him that their last engagement survey showed that most employees don’t see their role in supporting the company goals (or the bigger picture). While his leadership… Read the full article…

Don’t Get Stuck Holding the Bag

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As Julie faces her next engagement survey to be run later this year, she realizes that the work they’ve done in the last year is still not likely to change the results. One more time, she’ll have to face the leadership of her organization and explain why she hasn’t been able to generate an improved rating. Yet as we talk,… Read the full article…

6 Ways HR Can Be a Driver for Your Lean Transformation

Posted by: Cheryl Jekiel | No Comments

A few years ago, I was visiting with an HR manager while walking through a production facility. While Jill, the HR manager, didn’t have an extensive lean background, she was eager to learn more. Jill mentioned that during the GEMBA walk that morning, she wasn’t sure about how she could best contribute to the discussions. I asked her whether she… Read the full article…

Lean As An Up-And-Down Process

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Recently, I was at a corporate HR gathering of leaders from across the country. One of those leaders, Amanda, had been involved in a lean training with her local operations group. She had been in the process for 6 months and was sharing her update. We asked her to mostly share her experience of the process, with the specific project… Read the full article…

Leading from the Heart

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Do you dread having difficult conversations with your team members about what ways they aren’t performing well in their roles? I don’t mean something little. I mean that their performance has you considering whether to keep them on your team. Awhile back, I was having an issue with one of my team members. We were close to deciding to terminate… Read the full article…