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
Archives by Tag 'excellence'
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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Jeff Liker

Dan Jones: Lean and Operational Excellence

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It is a mistake to think of lean as just one of the many tools in the Operational Excellence portfolio. Operational Excellence is really a catch all label for many different "best practices". Lean on the other hand is a very specific set of interlocking practices, tools and behaviours derived from a very clear reference model. Lean grew out of years of practice and experimentation at Toyota and at companies in other sectors that have followed their example. It did not come from applying theoretical insights to business practice. Correctly understood, lean is a much more fundamental and comprehensive approach to ...

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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Excellence books hit the spot but miss the gemba

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Monday, July 11, 2011
In my view, the "Excellence" authors basically got it right.  (I continue to refer to them.) But the "Excellence" books are (necessarily) academic. The Lean movement has brought these ideas into the messy world of practice -- a great and continuing contribution. Imagine a messy changeover kaizen in an Indiana stamping plant.  The team stands glaring at you with their arms crossed. Can we cut changeover time in half?  Can we teach these jokers how to sustain & make further improvements? Our revered and scary gemba -- where the proverbial rubber hits the road... Best regards, Pascal
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
Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Healthcare is least likely to benefit from lean or any other operational excellence approach because healthcare professionals are not trained to think systematically about systems

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Friday, June 17, 2011
Healthcare is the sector least likely to achieve process excellence with any meaningful breadth or speed because of three key impediments, one internal to healthcare,  one about the environment in which healthcare organizations operate, and one about the way in which ideas about process excellence are presented. Internal Problem: Training in Functions without Systems Thinking The internal problem is that healthcare professionals are trained, promoted, and evaluated in narrowly defined functional specialties--specialties within imagining, within surgery, within medicine, within nursing, etc.  There is good reason for this focus within specialties--mastery of the advanced science and technology requires time, practice, and effort. However, missing ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Why Lean Fails: Operational Excellence Treated as Tool Based Vocation, Not Principle Based Profession

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Sunday, April 3, 2011
Lean efforts are aplenty.  Rare are successful ones—characterized by sufficient improvement in the ability to create great value by delighting customers with best in class products and services, offered reliably and responsively to change, done affordably and profitably.   Nearly unheard of are sustainable successes—characterized by success over years and waves of market change and leadership succession. Why? The few world-class organizations that compete well on ‘operational excellence,’ reflected in quality, variety, time to market, affordability, agility, and many other positive attributes—manage the complex operating systems on which they depend based on few principles, adherence to which allows short term reliability and ‘high ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Excellence is the common goal. Discovery, be it called improvement, innovation, or invention, is the means

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
Arguing the merits of lean versus six sigma versus agile versus any other quality method creates a distraction of debating labels and the artifacts associated with each rather than understanding the fundamentals that allow some organizations to achieve levels of performance unmatchable by others. The truth is there are very few organizations that have achieved exceptional levels of performance based on a capacity to continuously improve and internally generate innovations broadly, consistently, and with tremendous speed and velocity. That handful certainly includes Toyota, which converted itself from a second or even third rate automaker in the late 1950s into an exceptional ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: If the goal is excellence then people will be stretched and it will not always be pleasant.

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I just happened to be working on yet another book in the Toyota Way series when I got this question. The book, called The Toyota Way to Excellence, is about the journey to lean by organizations outside Toyota. Believe it or not I was in the midst of writing a section called "managing change is political." Politics is the use or abuse of power. Whether it is viewed as use or abuse depends on the perspective and interests of who is doing the viewing. To lean change agents who are trying to help the organization ...

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