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 'organization'
Karen Martin

Karen Martin: The rate of improvement dependends on the culture and maturity of the organization, leadership alignment around priorities, and workforce involvement rather than training being any type of constraint.

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013
Like Jeff, my question is whether you mean “work standards” or “standardized (standard) work.” I view them as two different animals. A standard might be, for example, that you always insert a needle with the bevel up. Or that you always apply X amount of torque to a bolt. Or that a legal document always includes a confidentiality clause. Standardized work, on the other hand, is the process by which work gets done. The sequence of activities. Standardized work may or may not include defined standards. “The best known way” could apply ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Toyota’s Functional Organization

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I don’t have a very snappy answer with five insightful key points for the question posited this month. The question posed is a fairly common one and yet I fear that is potentially problematic in one regard. The question of “how do I…” (fill in the blank with most any topic) is actually referring to an action item that has been decided upon as a solution to a problem. For individuals with extensive background inside of Toyota we have a hard time engaging in this manner. Up front we like to know more about the background and current situation and ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Where is the blueprint for a manager who wants to create a learning organization?

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Monday, April 9, 2012
Learning is hard. Particularly in adults, learning requires a determination to learn. This means controlling one’s intuitive “first response.” Learning requires what is called “frame control”, which is a mindfulness about our mental models and knowing how to actively play fit-to-fact with new info or situations. Grown up minds are simply not designed for learning as we know what we know, and believe what we believe. In other words, first “what we see is all there is” – it’s hard to realize that the way we see a situation is only our own perspective on whatever is going on: part of ...

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Jim Huntzinger

Jim Huntzinger: Lean leaders spend the time developing the people with different knowledge, wisdom and experience to change and evolve the system and culture of the organization

By Jim Huntzinger, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
To carry forward the points Jeff makes about differentiating between a lean leader and a traditional leader, we can also look at this from a systems view.  As Dr. Liker aptly describes a traditional leader with all the adjectives that we are familiar with; and often, these types of leaders do make changes with very good results. The longer term issue is these types of leaders rarely make the deep system changes needed to sustain the high level results.  So as soon as they depart the organization so do the high level results.  The have not spent the time developing the ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Training is even MORE important in the lean organization!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Training is even MORE important in the lean organization!  As we move work away from a function and toward a process, the lines currently drawn between employees begin to shift.  For an example, in one company (as in many) the credit check for new employees was done within the accounting department.  However, to reduce the time to meet customer needs who were ordering spare parts, the credit check process had many hand offs and waits leading to extended lead time.  It turned out that most of the spare part orders were of low dollar value.  So the credit checking access ...

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Sebastian Fixson

Sebastian Fixson: How does an organization build the appropriate culture such that problems (failures, mistakes, …) are seen as opportunities for improvement of the organization rather than opportunities for individuals to lose face, their job, etc.?

By Sebastian Fixson, - Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010
The negative press that Toyota recently received in association with the recalls, made me think about an issue that on one hand seems to be central to lean, but on the other is very difficult for many organizations to actually do.  That is: confronting ‘problems.’  As earlier blog entries discussed, there are two ways of looking at something like Toyota’s plant closure announcement: (i) It simply is the extension of Toyota’s commitment to ‘stop the line’ when a problem is detected to find the root cause no matter how expensive, or (ii) the size of the expense for the plant ...

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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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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Overburdening the innovative capacity of the organization

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Friday, February 12, 2010
Dear Colleagues, What went wrong with Toyota is the flip side of what went right over so many decades. In the late 1950s or 1960s, Toyota was a pretty cruddy car company. The variety was meager, quality was poor, and their production efficiency was abysmal. Yet by the time they hit everyone’s radar in the 1980s, they had very high quality and unmatched productivity. The way they got there was by creating within Toyota exceptionally aggressive learning. They taught employees specialties, but more importantly, they taught people to pay very close attention to the “weak signals” the products and processes were sending ...

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