Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archive for 'Questions' Category
Lean Frontiers

Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?

By Lean Frontiers, - Last updated: Saturday, May 9, 2015
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Lean Frontiers

Lean Frontiers: How do you undo traditional management behaviors to change to behavior as a lean manager?

By Lean Frontiers, - Last updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2015
How do you undo traditional management behaviors to change to behavior as a lean manager? (What are lean manager behaviors vs. traditional manager behaviors?)
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What should be the target value-add percentage in a process?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, February 9, 2015
What should be the target value-add percentage in a process?
Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: Key competencies to hire a team leader for the Kaizen Promotion Office?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014
What would you say the most pertinent competencies are for a team member to be promoted to join an internal Lean team (Kaizen Promotion Office) whose responsibility is training and facilitating Kaizen?
The Lean Edge

Is there a difference between visual management and visual control?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, October 19, 2014
How do you explain the difference between visual management and visual control and what is the role of shop floor management in it?

How does lean deal with sheer incompetence?

By , - Last updated: Friday, August 1, 2014
"I understand "respect" and I agree that, as managers, we never listen enough to people nor spend enough time on their development - the point is well taken. But what do you do about sheer incompetence? People who don't do the job, aren't open to listen to anything and become defensive or passive aggressive any time you try to address an issue with them."
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turn getting all your stakeholders angry?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, July 4, 2014
What would you do if you were a CEO and you tried lean the right way and were passionate about it but you seemed to be failing at every turm getting all your stakeholders angry?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Kaizen events: good thing or bad thing?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, June 2, 2014
In what cases do kaizen events help and when do they hinder? How to best use kaizen events to leverage results and support the lean culture?
The Lean Edge

What is the role of a sensei in lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Thursday, May 1, 2014
What is your experience of working with sensei, and what advice should we give executives seeking to learn lean deeply regarding senseis?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, March 28, 2014
As CEO of my company I have a grasp of lean and have experienced it in my career, but now that I'm CEO, I find it difficult to ask my people to make time for improvement work. They’re already completely busy doing their regular work. Moreover, this company is in the outdoor sports industry, and many people join these companies because they want time to climb, backpack, canoe, etc., and I'm reluctant to ask them to work more hours and sacrifice time for these activities. Any advice?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What is the place of temporary workers in lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, March 7, 2014
Indeed, we know that Toyota works with temporary workers and engineers, but how does that fit with TPS and people development? What is the lean stand on temporary work?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do I start with Lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
"How do I start with lean? My management has decided we must become a lean culture, and I've tasked to put a plan together, but there are so many different offers on the markets, books, consultants - what do you call them - senseis? That it's hard to know where to start without making costly blunders in the very first steps."
The Lean Edge

Twenty years later, have workplaces moved to multi-process cells or do you still find many isolated operators?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, December 15, 2013
When I discovered lean twenty years ago, Toyota was mostly teaching us to move from muti-machine single process halls to multi-process cells that flow a complete product (it was the days of moving machines around during the night). As you visit gembas, has this transformation happened or is it still rare? I must admit that I still come across many plants with single process machines to a hall and a broken process, and that in service, such as IT, banking, etc. flow multi-process cells are exceedingly rare - rare enough to be noticed. What is your experience?
Anne-Lise Seltzer

Anne-Lise Seltzer: Is there a lean approach to organizing value throughout the value chain?

By Anne-Lise Seltzer, - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013
Automotive companies tend to outsource all except body and engine, and service organizations such as banks and insurance companies are now arguing they should do the same in order to become lean. Is there a specific lean approach to where value should be in the supply chain? Is there a unique Toyota way of doing so?

We learn to practice lean and take personal responsibility for solving problems by using the scientific method time and time again. What else does it take to learn how to cooperate across departments and functions?

By , - Last updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
We learn to practice lean and take personal responsibility for solving problems by using the scientific method time and time again. What else does it take to learn how to cooperate across departments and functions?
Marie-Pia Ignace

Marie-Pia Ignace: How can the Chief Information Officer contribute to a lean transformation?

By Marie-Pia Ignace, - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013
My company is going through a major lean transformation. How can I, CIO of a large group, contribute to this effort? And also...what's in it for me?
Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: How can lean be sustained across a decentralized group geographically spread out?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Friday, June 28, 2013
A consumer-facing made-to-order manufacturing company has a significant service presence (sales associates, designers, customer service reps, logistics associates, installers) distributed across a wide geography in a somewhat decentralized organization structure. Each of the groups listed above is run by a different functional head. Sustaining Lean gains in a single plant is challenging enough -- doing so across several dozen groups spread across North America is tougher still. What advice do you have for the managers of this company?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How lean is the Lean Startup?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
"How lean is the lean startup? The lean startup movement is growing fast, now highlighted in the HBR yet no one in the lean movement seems to comment or connect - how do you feel about the lean startup? What can we learn from it?"
Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: Where to start with Hoshin Kanri in a not-yet-lean company?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Saturday, April 27, 2013
A mid-sized manufacturing company is finalizing its strategic plan and believes that it is time to begin Hoshin Kanri. The company is not currently operating as a Lean Enterprise -- functional silos create significant amount of waste which results in poor product/service quality and high cost to serve. Additionally, different departments and regions of the company are "pulling in different directions." What advice, resources, and lessons learned can you provide to the managers of this company to successfully organize and deploy Hoshin?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Is highlighting problems stressful and increased pressure on workers?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
"In a Lean environment we want to be able to see deviations as a starting point for improvement. This requires a transparency that in office environments is often seen as 'increasing pressure on the workers'. What are your thoughts on this? What is a good way to find the causes of this ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you change a standard?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Standards are often described as 'the best way known to perform a certain task'. Using Job Instructions, people are trained to work according to standards. Kaizen can then be used to improve standards. In this case the 'best way' has changed. Does this mean everybody needs to be retrained ...

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Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: How should we take Lean into Product Development?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Monday, February 18, 2013
A consumer-products company has recently begun its Lean journey by focusing on Lean fundamentals starting on the shop floor (standard work, 1-piece flow, pull, work to Takt).  The company is simultaneously refreshing its product portfolio.  Although the cross-functional New Product Development ("NPD") team members may have little experience working in a Lean environment, the team nevertheless desires to (1) deploy rapid NPD processes and (2) prioritize its product pipeline to take full ...

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The Lean Global Network: Is there a lean way to measure productivity?

By , - Last updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Many companies compare production hours to standard hours. Several still use indirect/direct ratios. Is there a specific lean way to measure productivity?
Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: What practical advice would you offer to companies as they establish their Kaizen Promotion Offices?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Friday, January 4, 2013
Building the KPO What practical advice would you offer to companies as they establish their Kaizen Promotion Offices?  At the beginning their Lean journey each company faces questions such as: (a)    What is the role of the KPO to serve the organization? (b)   How do we best leverage the KPO for leadership development? (c)    What is optimal size of the KPO organization? (d)   What is right mix of internal / external hires? (e)   Who should the KPO lead report to? (f)     How is the KPO best organized in order to sustain Lean both inside/outside of the plant?  (i.e. sales, distribution, marketing, product development ...

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Lean Global Network: Can you clarify the role of “ringi” in lean?

By , - Last updated: Sunday, December 23, 2012
"What is Ringi? The Lean Edge has discussed Nemawashi, but could you clarify the practice of Ringi? How is this linked to A3? How widespread is its use within Toyota? Should that practice be adopted by lean thinkers?"
Joel Stanwood

Joel Stanwood: Why has the Lean movement largely failed to capture the imagination of the sales team?

By Joel Stanwood, - Last updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Most management teams who testify to having implemented Lean will describe financial impact in terms of shop floor efficiency improvement – direct labor productivity, overtime reduction, inventory velocity, floor space utilization, etc. Paradoxically, in terms of company economics, the most alluring promise of Lean is to boost sales, delivering ever higher variable contribution margins while delighting customers and winning in the marketplace. Yet the language of Lean to unlock the growth engine of the company rarely enters the sales vernacular, and in general, sales professionals are far less likely to ...

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Andrew Turner: Where do we start in a Press shop?

By , - Last updated: Saturday, September 22, 2012
“Our company is split in 2 sections, the one a JIT assembly plant, the other a mass production Press Shop. Implementation of Lean in the JIT plant has been relatively simple (not that Lean is ever really simple), however, we are struggling with the implementation in our Press Shop. I know the importance of items like SMED and Heijunka in driving this journey, yet we are battling to get the ball rolling forward. Where do you think we should start the process in the Press Shop?”

Catherine Chabiron: Can we reduce nemawashi to lobbying ?

By , - Last updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Can we reduce nemawashi to lobbying ? Is nemawashi checking the relevance of a solution and enriching it with key field actors, or simply promoting / enforcing it ?

Klaus Petersen: How do we ensure a constant focus and momentum in our Lean transformation after these years and what are the pitfalls we must avoid ?

By , - Last updated: Saturday, July 14, 2012
We have been on the Lean journey for 5 years where we have been focusing on training people in visualizing, analyzing and solving problems. We have spend a lot of efforts in training managers to support the journey which they have done. How do we ensure a constant focus and momentum in our Lean transformation after these years and  what are the pitfalls we must avoid ?

Klaus Petersen: From silo based-organization to business processes?

By , - Last updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012
"What are the five major things we need to do to help us successfully transform a silo based organisation into one focused on business processes, and what are the biggest risks we need to look out for?"

Cécile Roche: Are work standards individual or collective?

By , - Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Standards of work: an individual or a collective discipline? I understand that standards are the basis of respect in Lean, established, followed and improved at a team level as the better way to identify successes and failures (and then act .). How to balance the individual effort of everyone and the collective contribution of the team?"
Craig Kennedy

Craig Kennedy: Why is there such resistance to creating learning organizations?

By Craig Kennedy, - Last updated: Monday, April 9, 2012
The question then, unresolved for me as a leader in an industrial American company is "given all this evidence for learners, improvement, learning organizations and strong cultures formed through these patterns, why is there such resistance and such a dearth of it in America? In essence, why are we letting our future deteriorate without doing anything about it?"

Jan van Ginkel: What distinguishes a Lean leader from a very good, Traditional Leader, in behaviour and results, in one, clear statement?

By , - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
What distinguishes a Lean leader from a very good, Traditional Leader, in behaviour and results, in one, clear statement?
Jean-Baptiste Bouthillon

Jean-Baptiste Bouthillon: how to follow Takt with falling sales?

By Jean-Baptiste Bouthillon, - Last updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
We have all learned that overproduction is muda, and that production must follow the takt of customer demand. Is there a lean way of dealing with falling sales ? Should we just adjust production to customer takt time or stabilize sales by giving rebates ? Is it important to level sales and give some stability to production or should we just adjust the production takt time ?

Eric Buehrens: What is the right lean way to evaluate executive performance?

By , - Last updated: Friday, December 16, 2011
What is the right lean way to evaluate executive performance?

Pierre Vareille: How can lean survive a change in top management?

By , - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
As we all know, Lean depends upon full support and real engagement from top management. However, this involvement cannot last forever, whereas Lean is a long multi-year or -decade journey. So the one-million-dollar question is: how can we make Lean survive a change in top management?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What is True North?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
"What would you say is the role of True North in Lean Thinking? How do can we define the concept, and it what way does it contribute to lean results? Can lean be done without True North?"
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Did the writers of books about excellence and what makes great organizations get it right to begin with and does lean add anything new?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, July 8, 2011
Did the writers of books about excellence and what makes great organizations get it right to begin with and does lean add anything new? many great management books such as The Fifth Discipline or Good To Great say things that are quite similar to general positions in the lean movement. So what would be specific to lean that contributes to performance improvement
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What are the most difficult industries and activities to introduce lean to and why?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, June 17, 2011
In your experience, where have you found lean most difficult to introduce? What specific barriers have you come across? How have you overcome them?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: what counts as “lean success”?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2011
Jeff Liker and Mike Rother wrote a piece for LEI called "Why Lean Programs Fail ." They cited an IndustryWeek survey that said only 2% of companies achieved their "anticipated results." Can the Lean Edge authors share their thoughts on how you would define "lean success?" Do companies not achieve anticipated business results because they expect too much too quickly? Is a company only a "lean success" if they have fully transformed their culture? (download article)
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What does “teamwork” mean in lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Lean focuses on individual problem solving yet stresses the importance of  teamwork. What would be your definition of teamwork in the lean sense?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Can the performance achieved by applying lean thinking be sustained over years?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Saturday, April 2, 2011
Can the performance achieved by applying lean thinking be sustained over years? Toyota seems to have been able to maintain a culture of relentless kaizen since the 1960s and over several Presidents' change, but has any other company? How can lean results be sustained over time? Has any company done it?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What is the lean approach to capital expenditure?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Friday, March 11, 2011
"What is the lean approach to capital expenditure? As Toyota announces a new plant in high-cost Japan, it also claims that the overall investment is 40% lower than an existing equivalent size plant. How is this possible? What is the impact of lean on the investment cycle?"
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Are Toyota’s troubles really over? What lessons should we learn from this?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Sunday, February 13, 2011
The US Department of Transportation has cleared Toyota of any safety issues beyond those identified and dealt with before the safety crisis. Yet Toyota has recognized internal difficulties in both growing too fast and not listening to customers enough. What should we learn from the whole episode?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Why is it so difficult to see the financial benefits from lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Why is it so difficult to see the financial benefits from lean?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do we develop people?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, January 3, 2011
How do Lean organizations develop their employees if Lean considers expenditure of resources other than for creation of value to be wasteful?

Jerry Weinberg: Is anything other than value-added-for-customers considered to be waste?

By , - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
According to Wikipedia, ""Lean," is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination." First, do you agree with this characterization (and, if you don't, why not)?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you define “Respect”?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Thursday, November 4, 2010
We're taught the lean approach is about "continuous improvement" and "respect for people." Most lean material is about continuous improvement. How would you define "respect"? What practical experience could you share with companies that use respect as an operational business practice?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How do you set objectives with lean?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Onjectives setting is a critical part of running a business - how do you do it with lean? How does that differ from traditional management by objectives?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: How can I delegate if my managers don’t “get it”?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Monday, October 11, 2010
"My company has started a lean program and I am the manager of a pilot site. I have worked on many issues with the lean sensei, who is now pushing me to delegate more in order to sustain some of the gains we've had. However, I feel that most of my line managers are not up to the job - many of them do not rise to the challenge, resist or ignore the improvement work we're trying to do. What would be the lean way of dealing with this situation?"
Godefroy Beauvallet

Godefroy Beauvallet: Is there a “Lean Way” to look at one firm’s IT? Can IT be made to change towards lean? What would be the first steps in such a journey?

By Godefroy Beauvallet, - Last updated: Friday, September 3, 2010
Lean is about creating a performance mindset, being aware of problems, and having problems solved locally as a way to develop people through problem-solving and fostering a "kaizen spirit". If one frames Lean that way, it seems hardly possible to practice it in any modern firm without getting across information technology questions: most of the work load nowadays is achieved using information systems (from emails to forms-filling); we use IT to report data, calculate indicators and analyze performance; alerts are often generated by sensors, sent through networks and treated by computers; amounts of data that can be used to analyze problems ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: What about Jidoka?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010
"For about ten years now the Lean movement has been a whole lot of JIT and a “whole little” Jidoka. Both concepts are fundamental to TPS, and can be implemented in many different ways. Please share your stories of implementing Jidoka (any process is fine), including how it was done, why it was done, and the effects it had locally or at the organization level."

Kevin Meyer: Any upsides/downsides to relying on JM/TWI process deconstruction as kaizen? Yes it works… but I can already see the limitation with non-documented processes

By , - Last updated: Sunday, July 18, 2010
A few of the thinkers and authors on this page have actually been in my operations, and I've used Michael's The Lean Manager as required reading in our lean book club.  We're a multi-site process (extrusion/molding) medical contract manufacturer, four or five years down a successful lean journey that has made us more agile and competitive, with great 5S, value stream organization, daily accountability, etc.   But one big struggle has been basic kaizen - creating the culture and finding the time.  Over the past couple years with help from Art Smalley we've successfully dived into TWI.  Now it seems like ...

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Mike Bosworth: Lean Success Stories

By , - Last updated: Sunday, July 11, 2010
“For someone involved with sales and marketing, like myself, lean is intriguing but not defined enough for a lay person without hearing more success stories. What would be your best success stories to illustrate what lean is all about?”
Sebastian Fixson

Sebastian Fixson: How does an organization build the appropriate culture such that problems (failures, mistakes, …) are seen as opportunities for improvement of the organization rather than opportunities for individuals to lose face, their job, etc.?

By Sebastian Fixson, - Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010
The negative press that Toyota recently received in association with the recalls, made me think about an issue that on one hand seems to be central to lean, but on the other is very difficult for many organizations to actually do.  That is: confronting ‘problems.’  As earlier blog entries discussed, there are two ways of looking at something like Toyota’s plant closure announcement: (i) It simply is the extension of Toyota’s commitment to ‘stop the line’ when a problem is detected to find the root cause no matter how expensive, or (ii) the size of the expense for the plant ...

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Sandrine Olivencia

Tom Ehrenfeld: How do we convince others to be lean?

By Sandrine Olivencia, - Last updated: Monday, May 31, 2010
How can we convince decision makers that lean is not a program to justify, but a way of doing business to achieve superior performance?
Dennis Sherwood

Denis Sherwood: How would you develop innovation from lean and vice-versa?

By Dennis Sherwood, - Last updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I ran an innovation event with a manufacturer of pumps a couple of weeks ago, which went very well, with a huge number of powerful ideas. This organization is a devotee of lean, and although there is a very large overlap between lean and innovation, it’s often hard to see how to exploit this in practice: how would you practically develop innovation through lean and vice versa?
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: When Is Lean Too Lean?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Lean" sounds efficient, and I like that. But I worry that it also sounds like "no backup inventory" or "no backup system." I've heard stories about what sound like too-lean operations disastrously disrupted when unexpected problems caused severe delays and there were no backups.  So what is the relationship between lean and robustness in the face of unexpected problems? Can a lean system also be resilient?
Mike Micklewright

Mike Micklewright: Why Is Quality So Rarely Central In Lean?

By Mike Micklewright, - Last updated: Sunday, April 11, 2010
I see so many internal Lean “experts” using “Lean” as a means to increase efficiencies and productivity, and therefore, reduce costs.  They still do not see the connection to quality.  They see quality and the reduction of variation in significant product characteristics as something that is outside of the Lean scope and something that should be handled by the quality folks independently of the lean effort.  What a shame!  If you agree with this observation, why does this exist and what can we do to change this perception?
Sandrine Olivencia

Tom Ehrenfeld: How do Six Sigma and Lean fit together?

By Sandrine Olivencia, - Last updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010
How do Six Sigma and Lean fit together? Is one part of the other? Does one program cover more than the other? Or should the two not be compared in the first place? Please help define each of these programs, and explain how to think about both of them in the most productive way. Finally, elaborate on how whether other programs conflict or complement lean, and how to think about those as well.

Ed Schein: Toyota’s Safety Culture

By , - Last updated: Monday, March 15, 2010
I would be most interested to get reactions to the question:  "What   happened to Toyota?  Did they abandon safety or was safety never part of their culture?"

Dennis Sherwood: what could be the 4 laws of “organodynamics”?

By , - Last updated: Friday, March 12, 2010
If thermodynamics is the science of getting useful work out of engines, then surely organodynamics is the science of getting useful work out of organisations. Thermodynamics is based on three laws (or according to some purists, four): what three (or four!) laws of organodynamics would you suggest?
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: What advice can lean offer about breaking the dysfunctional cycle of “fire fighting”? How do you shift the focus from urgent rework to systematic improvement?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010
I know of a service delivery organization plagued by administrative difficulties. Many service requests are mishandled. People within the organization who handle things effectively become known, and then everyone goes to them for help, which causes them to become overwhelmed; usually they either burnout and quit (or move to another job), or they become ineffective as a result of being overwhelmed. The reward for doing good work is that you get buried by an overwhelming volume of additional service requests. One problem this organization has is that its people don't have a habit of making problems visible. When you point out a ...

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Jacques Chaize: How is Lean to be Maintained in the Long Term?

By , - Last updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"We've been working with lean for several years and have had significant results, both financially and in terms of changing behavior. Still Tom Ehrenfeld's earlier question on finding a good balance between pushing people to progress and supporting them in difficult situations remains very relevant. We seem to regularly backslide in our lean efforts, and then have to climb back up again by exerting pressure. The question is: how is lean to be maintained in the long term? Even Toyota seems to be struggling these days, does it ever become part of the culture?"
Sandrine Olivencia

Tom Ehrenfeld: What is to be learned from Toyota now?

By Sandrine Olivencia, - Last updated: Friday, January 29, 2010
Toyota is making news for its product recalls and for suspending production on the bulk of its models to work out its problems. Naturally most public accounts focus on the question of what Toyota did wrong. I think this is a very challenging question, and perhaps not the most important moving forward. I would prefer to ask that you reflect on what remains to be learned. Given the news, could one conclude that the company has reached the limits of its potential? Has the full promise of its true practice been sufficiently uncovered and shared yet? Most of all, what ...

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Peter Senge

Peter Senge: In transformations such as the lean management movement suggests, how do you help people discover the depth of personal commitment it takes to lead such changes?

By Peter Senge, - Last updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In integrating lean and systems thinking in a genuine learning-oriented culture the part people consistently miss is the 'personal mastery' element, meaning not only personal vision but the willingness to examine deeply our taken-for-granted habits of thought and action and how we may be part of the problem. There are two types of problems embedded here: people who espouse the fad with no real deep commitment and people who are genuinely intent on transforming work cultures who lack the knowledge (and larger learning community) about how to build their own skills and challenge their own habits.
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: Can lean help operational managers realize specific targets on schedule?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2010
As a financial manager, what I'd really like from operational managers is a commitment to realizing specific targets--cost reduction, productivity improvement, whatever--on a schedule. Then I want to see people work to deliver those results on schedule.  Can lean help me get that?
Sandrine Olivencia

Tom Ehrenfeld: Can you teach the lean ideal of respecting people without actually bullying them?

By Sandrine Olivencia, - Last updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2009
From a distance, lean looks like such a nice, humanistic improvement approach—one that treats people with respect and generates knowledge from the ground up. That’s all well and good, but the practice of teaching, and doing, lean invariably involves conflict, frustration, and, to be honest, what seems like a fair amount of bullying from superiors to prod their employees to “get it.” Isn’t the reality of doing lean far more frustrating and conflicted than one would think? How do you get people on board in a meaningful way? How do you teach the gospel of respecting people without bullying them ...

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Mike Rother

Rob Austin: how do we assuage fear of cost-cutting in times of crisis?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009
As exciting as the lean ideas are, there's a concern a person might have that starts with the name: Lean.  As in "lean and mean" or as in "cut your staff by half to make your operations leaner." How do you keep lean initiatives from being bushwhacked by the cost cutting crowd, especially in today's down economy? This is not an abstract worry. I've seen some so-called "lean" initiatives that looked suspiciously like cost cutting to get an organization ready for sale or spin off. How do you keep a program called "lean" from being (or perhaps becoming, step by step, ...

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