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 'learn'
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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Tracey Richardson

Tracey Richardson: Learn the thinking, not just the doing, why, how, where, what, when?

By Tracey Richardson, - Last updated: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Looking through the lens I see lean through, I think the word "sensei" can be subjective.    I think each and every one of us can have a different definition of what a sensei is based on our own experiences.    These differences doesn't necessarily make any of us right or wrong, just perception I suppose; and what our current knowledge base is compared to others on the journey.   For example I could have a client who has studied for 5 years and internally to their company they might be considered a sensei based on their 5 years of ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: The key is to learn to level the workload for improvement

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Lean Edge: How do you make time for improvements? 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?" I believe the key to ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Start with the person and learn with them

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Let’s look at this differently: let’s not start by wondering how to most efficiently organize temp labor, but let’s start from the fact that temporary workers are persons, just like any one else that works in the firm. Temporary workers are an essential part of the lean system because they help us be more flexible to volume variations no one knows how to handle internally. Temporary workers add value. Temporary workers are either forced by the circumstances of not having a full time job and then accepting a temporary position in the hope of getting that job, or, and I’ve ...

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Steven Spear

Steven Spear: Start with a ‘model line’ so that leadership can learn to see and solve problems

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Becoming an exceptional organization, one capable of short term reliability and longer term responsiveness and agility requires building skills that accelerate feedback, correction, and learning. The reliable mechanism is starting with a ‘model line’ incubator in which leadership is connected to creating and harnessing a problem seeing problems solving dynamic and then using that incubator as a developmental tool to propagate those skills broadly. PERFORMANCE LEVELS AS FUNCTION OF LEARNING RATE We get entranced by the difference in "performance altitude" between those who are exceptional and those who are typical. In doing so, we overlook the fact that superior altitude was ...

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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?
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Ringi is a tool to learn to define target conditions and practice meaningful hansei

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Saturday, December 29, 2012
There is always a temptation to see TPS tools as operational tools rather than learning tools. Ringi as an operational tool is nothing more than a corporate way to deploy hoshin kanri. So what? On the other hand, ringi as a learning tool is essential to both defining target conditions and practicing hansei – big topics! I had not thought much about ringi for a while. I first came across the term, what – twenty years ago (it’s scary when you start counting in decades!) as we were all discovering Toyota practices and trying to sort out the Japanese from the ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Don’t reorganize! Learn to pull instead

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012
Full disclosure : I wrote a book on re-engineering almost 20 years ago and I wish there was a recall procedure for published books :). As the book was put on the shelves I had reached the conclusion from evidence that a re-engineering project would stop the company working for about two years as every one tried to figure out their role and play musical chairs and the new “re-engineered” organization would work brilliantly for high-running products but very poorly for every thing else, which typically would be disastrous for market share. At the time I was writing it, I was pondering ...

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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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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Learn lean and have fun!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2011
Any change takes thought leaders and when others see great results they will follow.   Unfortunately we often do not know what to look for in terms of results, or we are too far from the action to see results other than in a report out or meeting notes. Another risk is having the initial launching efforts so diffused that there is activity all over, but no real point of focus to demonstrate success. The third risk is when the efforts for change are lead by a charismatic leader who has some success and then is promoted or leaves the company, and the standards for day to day improvement is ...

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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?
leanedge event announcement

Lean Summit 2010 – 2nd & 3rd November

By leanedge event announcement, - Last updated: Monday, September 20, 2010
Dear Lean Edge Reader, Join us at my next Lean Summit to debate how we take lean into the Executive Office, how we can create a management system for end-to-end value streams and how we can unlock big gains in service delivery organisations, including healthcare. A combination of pioneering examples, inspiring stories and ample opportunities for discussion make this a unique opportunity to push forward the frontiers of lean thinking. Be prepared to be stunned by the amazing story of how a former colleague on IMVP, Anthony Sheriff McLaren has built a new car and car company from scratch using lean ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: It’s all in the computer, but can the computer learn?

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010
I recently visited an aeronautics factory (low volumes, high diversity), trying to demonstrate what we mean by a “gemba walk”. I didn’t have much success because as I walked the plant with the CEO, I’d point at piles of parts asking “why is this here?” He’d shrug and ask someone who would answer: “it’s in the computer.” “Why are we working on these parts now? Is this something the customer needs right now or are we filling up a stock?” “It’s in the computer.” “What is today’s on-time-in-full delivery rate?” “I don’t right know, but I’m sure it has to ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: What to learn from Toyota for those who already haven’t … Improvement and Innovation needed now more than ever

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Monday, July 12, 2010
BACKGROUND: WHY LOOK AT TOYOTA?  BECAUSE IT CAME FROM BEHIND TO DOMINATE ITS COMPETITION! Understanding the tremendous commercial success of Toyota, rising from an uncompetitive auto maker in the 1950s and 1960s, to the most dominant in the world by 2000s, and understanding the vast benefit that has come to some that have diligently sought to emulate Toyota--sharp reductions in time and cost, with vast improvements in quality and responsiveness, is reason for others who have not yet to look more closely. Toyota's success, after all, is rooted in its ability to generate and sustain broad based, high speed, relentless improvement and ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: The leadership to learn to recognize the problems you create and lead the organization to solve them

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010
There are reasons leadership gets stuck in a dysfunctional cycle. To get out of a bad-outcome pattern, you first have to admit to yourself that you will need to learn to dig yourself out of the hole. Sadly, I’ve met many leaders of companies in similar situations, and they are convinced that it’s a matter of making the right decisions and then executing ruthlessly. Unfortunately, they are blind to the fact that it is their very decision-making process (and not the big bad world out there) that delivers unsatisfying results. The decision-making framework assumes that 1) we already know all ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley – Still Lots to Learn from Toyota

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Friday, February 5, 2010
Tom Ehrenfeld asks that I not reflect on where Toyota went wrong. However it is difficult to answer his series of five questions without at least touching upon this topic at least tangentially. I will rephrase and order Tom's questions down below so that I can respond to them one by one from my point of view. Q1. What remains to be learned from this situation? I'd say a lot still remains to be learned. With respect to Toyota's quality problems the seeds in my opinion were planted in the mid 1990's when the company at least behind closed doors started talking ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean leadership is knowledge leadership – lean is for people with the ability to learn

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Friday, January 15, 2010
Lean is not always that hard. Sure it's work: difficult to think that any method  to perform better would not be. But more importantly, not all people take to it equally. A few find lean to be just work: challenging, but quite natural. Many will never get it. Peter Senge hits the nail right on the head as to the difficulties encountered with adopting the lean approach: 1) the learning component of lean is often underestimated, no matter how much the sensei insist upon it; 2) lean learning is based on acknowledging one’s mistakes and taking responsibility for the fact ...

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