How McKee Foods Improved Employee Retention

How McKee Foods Improved Employee Retention

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...

Describing the Richness of Lean

Describing the Richness of Lean

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...

The Most Common Reason Expectations Aren’t Met

The Most Common Reason Expectations Aren’t Met

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...

One and Done Just Doesn’t Work

One and Done Just Doesn’t Work

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...

Understanding the Steps to Performance Management

Understanding the Steps to Performance Management

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...

Redefining Success as a Manager

Redefining Success as a Manager

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...

3 Ways to Get Beyond Challenging Employees

3 Ways to Get Beyond Challenging Employees

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...

How to Create a Team of Problem Solvers

How to Create a Team of Problem Solvers

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...

Don’t Get Stuck Holding the Bag

Don’t Get Stuck Holding the Bag

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...

6 Ways HR Can Be a Driver for Your Lean Transformation

6 Ways HR Can Be a Driver for Your Lean Transformation

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...

Lean As An Up-And-Down Process

Lean As An Up-And-Down Process

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...

Leading from the Heart

Leading from the Heart

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...

Where Does the Time Go?

Where Does the Time Go?

Recently, Jason was lamenting how he doesn’t have enough time to be strategic in his work. As we talked about how his days were spent, he recounted working long days, often reacting to unexpected requests, dealing with employee issues, and helping his team with their...

The Key Business Strategy You May Be Missing

The Key Business Strategy You May Be Missing

We all know that unemployment is at an all-time low. So it’s not surprising that many organizations are finding themselves either losing employees or having people come forward with lucrative potential offers from other organizations. An organization I encountered...

Confessions of an Aspiring Coach

Confessions of an Aspiring Coach

If I were to tell you that it’s important to ask your team questions versus telling them the answers, you’d likely respond “I know that!” We all know that people only learn to the degree that they find solutions for themselves. It’s not that many of us don’t know it’s...