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, 2014
Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Warm heart, cool mind

By Peter Handlinger, - Last updated: Thursday, November 13, 2014
The previous posts have clearly given a good framework around which to establish a basic set of competencies. I would like to add that any person moving into a ‘facilitating’ role needs to exhibit what I call a ‘warm heart, cool mind’ behavioural pattern. The reasoning for this is simply that the overriding mission/purpose for anyone in a Kaizen Promotion Office is to develop people (as opposed to showing off their technical proficiency at problem solving). And to develop people you need a warm heart to establish the rapport so that learning and transfer of skills can take place. Technical ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Technical proficiency and leadership acumen – can you nail the problem statement first time right?

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
This is a great question and one that nags at me a lot. However, instead of answering the question directly, I’d like to share some fodder for considering whether a KPO is an effective structure for supporting Lean transformation. I’ll begin by sharing some real-world experience… At the Lean Coaching Summit in July, I had the opportunity to watch over 100 people attempt problem solving (one workshop and two extended concurrent sessions). Most of the participants said they were “leading” Lean at their companies. Only 2 of the 100+ nailed the problem statement out of the gate. At least 1/3 ...

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Mark Graban

Mark Graban: hiring inexperienced employees for the Kaizen Promotion Office is a recipe for failure

By Mark Graban, - Last updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014
The other posts answering this question have made me reflect a bit on a troubling trend in healthcare: hospitals far too often filling their KPOs (or process improvement departments) with very inexperienced employees. They are often inexperienced with or brand new to Lean and/or they are also new to healthcare. I'll go out on a limb and say that this is a recipe for failure. What NOT to do is to put your youngest, most inexperienced people into a KPO. I don't see how a KPO member can effectively teach and mentor others if they have no experience with Lean or ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Strong coaches are there to develop internal leaders and coaches

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014
Building on what Tracey said, think of the process of getting to be in a TPS promotion role at Toyota as a funnel with many people applying, a smaller number selected to join the company, and then a winnowing based on performance inside Toyota. People are coached and also watched carefully to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They are given opportunities to build on their strengths and overcome their weaknesses and some do that better then others. Some people have the ability to do a technical job really well, but may lack leadership skills. Others can ...

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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: A checklist of key competences to have the right people in the right place at the right time

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014
I like the question and I will try to answer from a duo perspective. One being a person who was hired and developed under specific competencies at Toyota and secondly through the lens of the trainer/leader. You know I think its important to not only look at how you promote into a KPO position but also what is the filtering process to bring team members into an organization before they even have an opportunity for promotions. Think of it as a leading indicator that is predictive for people capability. In my humble opinion ...

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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?
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Visual control as a technique and visual management as a system are essential to lean practice

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Overall, I suspect we collectively underestimated the importance of visual control. Back in the day, many of the questions I remember from Toyota sensei where about: is this situation normal or abnormal? How can we tell? As a movement, I believe we have correctly spotted the emphasis on problem solving, but maybe not so much problem finding and problem facing – what Tracey told me Toyota calls problem awareness: how can we see we have a problem? Visual control should probably be called visual autocontrol – visual signs so that all team members can see at one glance whether they’re doing ok ...

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