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 November, 2011
Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: How can lean survive

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The best chance for lean to survive a change in top management is if it is seen to be delivering significant results, not just point improvements in key processes but bottom-line results for the organisation as a whole, which would be reversed if support for lean disappeared. Top management may be instrumental in leading the lean actions that deliver these results, but they are often led by managers lower down the organisation fed up trying to manage broken processes. In this case support from top management is essential to use the freed up capacity or cash to reduce costs and grow ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean is a CEO practice to improve performance

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The first thing his sensei told my father when they started working together was that the great weakness of TPS was that it rested entirely on the plant managers. Years later, this statement turns out to be confirmed, time and time again. If there’s one thing we’ve learned is that lean is a practice – and well, a practice. I’ve been discussing this issue with other CEOs and one different way at looking at lean is that it is a personal practice for the CEO to have a direct influence on his or her company’s performance. This practice is based on, ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: How do we continue to learn after current leaders move on?

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Good insights from Steve, Mike et al -- thanks. Here are my thoughts, for posting. How Does Lean Survive a Change in Top Management? Succession planning is indeed the key, but perhaps not in the conventional sense. As Mike suggest Lean thinking entails meta-cognition. Meta-cognition entails 'knowing about knowing' and answering questions like: How do I learn? What do I know? What do I know well? What do I not know very well? Great leaders tend to know themselves thereby, and can make conscious decisions. (The Lean Business System is fundamentally about wakefulness.) Leaders need to ask these questions of their organization: How do we learn best? What do we currently know, and not know, well? Most ...

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Preparing for the inevitable change in leadership

By , - Last updated: Sunday, November 6, 2011
Until someone finds the Fountain of Youth, leadership changes in organizations are inevitable. Large corporations and small family-owned businesses all have to deal with it. But sometimes they appear to occur at the wrong time. Just as your lean journey appears to have some momentum, all of a sudden the leadership changes. The leadership change might be at a plant level, an executive level, or the CEO themselves. In any of these cases, leadership changes can cause shifts to our momentum. But we're caught by surprised. And anytime that we're caught unprepared for something that is inevitable, we have only ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Developing the next generation of leaders

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
As Steve pointed out succession planning is the key, except that succession planning means different things in different organizational contexts.  Many large companies pride themselves on succession planning and have elaborate IT systems and human resources has developed formal career paths.  In a lean organization, if Toyota is any guide, these types of systems are only superficial for screening.  One of the problems with trying to transform a traditional organization to lean is in fact the way the senior management was developed.  They are often focused only on results and pay lip service to developing leaders who can follow a ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: How do you select the next CEO for continuity in excellence?

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The inability to maintain continuity with a firm's efforts around continuous improvement, operational excellence, and broad based product and process innovation has to be tied, in part at least, to poor succession planning and process. Be it the CEO or board, there must be some criteria of critical skills and capabilities that leadership candidates must posses to be deemed likely at success.  One couldn't imagine a contender who either lacked some demonstrated competency in finance, marketing, strategy and the like or who had no plan to acquire those competencies before taking over. Unfortunately, the skills relevant to achieving operational excellence are too ...

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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?
Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota’s True North Concept

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011
There are several points raised in this month's question about the concept of True North in Lean Thinking. First what is its role, second how can we define the concept, third in what way does it contribute to lean results, and fourth can lean be done without True North? I'll give my perspective on these topics one by one in the paragraphs below. True North is one of the common buzzwords of the past decade used to help explain parts of the Toyota Production System or Toyota Way. For starters I am not a big fan of buzz words like True ...

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