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 April, 2015
Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The challenge is to change our thinking and we have learned that this is done by changing behavior

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015
As Jim Huntzinger notes the question is really about behavior change, which is related to a change in our thinking. There was a reason Womack and Jones called their book Lean Thinking. Lean thinking is a broad concept. It starts with a long-term perspective. Lean leaders believe in their bones that the pathway to building an excellent organization is rooted in developing people. What people have the unique capacity to do is think creatively about how to change the organization to pursue a vision of excellent customer service. The elements of pursuing excellence include ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: Each generation matters in sustained behavior change

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015
Another aspect which most organizations fail to consider, let alone take action upon or develop the infrastructure to achieve, is a succession plan. This holds true for this particular question. The responses thus far, I believe, have this somewhat embedded in their responses on how to deal with undoing traditional management behavior and developing behavior of a lean manager, but organizations also, and definitely for longer term success, must consciously and deliberately work on their lower level people within their organization so that, as a direct result, as they ascend in the organization they are already exhibiting, practicing, ...

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Jon Miller

Ask the behavior change experts, not the lean experts

By Jon Miller, - Last updated: Thursday, April 9, 2015
The question "How do you undo traditional management behaviors to change to behavior as a lean manager?" is an important one for the success of lean endeavors. However this is not really a question for lean experts. This is a question for behavior change experts. Lean experts can (although we rarely do) attempt to define a set of agreed lean behaviors, but it is not our place to explain how behavior change happens. I have suggested to people who asked this to read Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit. In essence, habits are formed or re-formed through a reinforcing cycle ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Go to the gemba to learn to learn

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, April 6, 2015
Can we talk about behavior without talking about intent first? Mainstream management theory was born out of applying bureaucratic behavior (in the noblest sense) to business. Bureaucracy was a XIXth century effort to balancer aristocratic behavior (my every whim has to be obeyed, or else...) with rational behavior: a hierarchy of goals pursued by a hierarchy of actions. A manager in the food chain gets instructions from higher up, figures out how to carry out these instructions in his or her local conditions, and issues instructions for his subordinates. Information makes its way back up to the top through reports ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: How a Toyota leader defines Lean Leadership!

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015
I heard one of the better definitions of a lean leader from one of the Presidents of the Toyota Technical Center, Mr. Yamashina, and I published it in The Toyota Way: Always keep the final target in mind Clearly assign tasks to yourself and others Think and speak based on verified, proven information and data Take full advantage of the wisdom and experience of others to send, gather or discuss information Always report, inform and consult in a timely manner Analyze and ...

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Steven Spear

Steven Spear: Accelerated learning of what to do and how to do it

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Certain organizations “punch above their weight,” generating far more value (that accrues to everybody, not just customers or just shareholders, etc.), faster, and more easily. This despite them having access to the same technical, financial, and human resources as all their counterparts——and thereby enjoying the same advantages and suffering the same constraints.(1) The difference? They know much better what to do and how to do it, so operate on a frontier of speed, timeliness, efficiency, effectiveness, safety, security, and so forth others barely perceive. As with all knowledge, the source of ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Realizing there is space for change

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Interesting question (especially the first one) and one that all consultants and internal improvement leaders wrestle with (or should be wrestling with). In my experience, any type of personal behavior change starts with awareness that the current behavior may not be the most effective choice to yield whatever result is desired. Getting clear on the target condition is key. Then identify the gap and root causes for it. Then experiment with potential countermeasures. You know the drill. In my experience, many “traditional managers” don't realize that alternative forms of management exist. So I typically begin in a more fact-based, ...

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