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 'problems'
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?
The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Is highlighting problems stressful and increased pressure on workers?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013
"In a Lean environment we want to be able to see deviations as a starting point for improvement. This requires a transparency that in office environments is often seen as 'increasing pressure on the workers'. What are your thoughts on this? What is a good way to find the causes of this ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: A lean leader celebrates disclosing problems and other people’s abilities to solve them

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012
A lean leader celebrates disclosing problems. A lean leader celebrates other people's abilities to solve problems. A lean leader follows standard work themselves and expect it from everyone in the team.   A lean leader creates time for improvement and starts every meeting with "what have you improved since we last met?" A traditional leader celebrates good news.  A traditional leader promotes fire fighters. A traditional leader believes people have to be managed.  A traditional leader evaluates how closely the plan was followed. A traditional leader sets targets based on internal capability.
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Individual responsibility to solve problems with colleagues from other fucntions

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Friday, May 13, 2011
As I understand it, teamwork has a specific meaning within TPS: it’s about individual development through solving problems with others across functions. So, on the one hand, individual responsibility remains (one problem is owned by one person), but on the other this person cannot solve the problem alone but must collaborate with colleagues, and more specifically, colleagues from other functions. Interestingly, this definition doesn’t refer to “team building” – there is no notion of activities targeted towards developing a stronger team spirit. Also absent is the motherhood that “there is no “I” in the word TEAM” and that strong egos should ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Relentless pursuit of perfection means just that – self-critique and facing one’s problems

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Toyota has long committed itself to the "relentless pursuit of perfection" by cultivating and sustaining relentless, internally generated improvement and innovation.  The results were legendary: movement from terribly unproductive in the late 1950s to on par by the early 1960s, a productivity leader by the late 1960s and a quality leader too by the early 1970s.  Subsequently, it set an unmatchable pace of introducing affordable, reliable new models, brands like Lexus and Scion, and innovative product technology like the hybrid drive, all the while increasing its organizational scale, scope, and complexity with aggressive efforts to localize its production (and later ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: Ya Gotta Wanna See Your Problems!

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Sunday, August 22, 2010
Question:  Why so much about JIT and so little about Jidoka? Here’s something to consider. A possible deep-seated and subtle reason for our limited use of Jidoka is that we don’t actually want to see the problems in our processes. That, in turn, keeps us from developing a problem-solving way of thinking that gets to and eliminates the root causes of issues. A neuroscientist colleague, Professor Gerald Hüther, tells the story of an experiment in which subjects do text messaging while inside an fMRI scanner. When college-age subjects performed this task the researchers could see new neural connections activating as a result ...

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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: Managing work to see problems when and where they occur

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Managing work to see problems when and where they occur is a necessary precondition--one too often overlooked--if an organization is going to achieve bona fide continuous improvement in pursuit of operational excellence. Here's why. Absent an ability to design perfect systems for design, production, and delivery on the first try, operational excellence depends on continuous improvement and relentless innovation.  As important as it is to have rigor in solving problems, the necessary pre condition is managing work so problems—flaws in the current design of systems and the current approaches to doing work--are seen when and where they occur. Deming, for example, was a passionate advocate of the 'Shewhart Cycle' of Plan, Do, Check, ...

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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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Steven Spear

Steve Spear: The objective function in managing any system must be solving problems and learning

By Steven Spear, - Last updated: Friday, March 12, 2010
The objective function in managing any system must be solving problems and learning.  There are four principles of a 'basic science' of system design, operation, and management, which if followed, generate, sustain, and accelerate high velocity learning, improvement, and innovation. If they are not followed, learning, improvement, and innovation are compromised. (This basic science has a sound theoretical underpinning as it is rooted in the science of closed loop control and experiential and experimental learning.) Learning, improvement, and innovation are core objective functions because the complexity of the 'socio-technical' systems (e.g., groups of people, doing interdependent work, to create value for others) upon which we depend for delivering value to customers. The complexity ...

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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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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: a “problems first” attitude is the key to sustaining learning leadership

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The first answer is leadership, the second leadership and the third… leadership. But a very special and specific kind of leadership. Of all the quirks of the lean thinking the one that has always fascinated me is “problems first.” In practice this means we are not so interested in successes (the right results from the right process) because there is nothing to learn there – we are only interested in problems, failures, and things that don’t work as expected, because there is much to learn. “Problems first” also means that any employee can come up to a manager and discuss ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: A heroic “line stop” or has Toyota lost its way? Toyota’s unique contribution to management is collaborative problem solving, so Toyota is at its most interesting when it has problems!

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010
There are two extreme ways of reading current Toyota events. From the lean perspective, Toyota is reacting to an exceedingly rare problem by stopping its sales, production and organizing its largest recall ever – regardless of the impact on its cherished quality reputation. Or in reading the press, the story is that the US government has finally forced Toyota to deal with a problem the company has been trying to fudge consistently and the accelerator issue is a red herring to divert attention and blame to a Canadian supplier from the real issue of sudden acceleration that Toyota has been ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Lean is about facing one’s problems and learning to solve them

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, December 24, 2009
Lean management is teaching the right people to solve the right problems the right way. None of this is easy. Senior management must agree to teach, not tell; middle managers must agree to learn. This is not easy and win/win doesn’t necessarily mean nice/nice. First off, it’s important to note that regardless how tough the managerial debate can become no serious lean practitioner has ever had a cross word for a frontline operator. In fact, many of the harshest discussions with middle-managers are about teaching respect for value-adding operators. The lean premise is that the people who add the value, who ...

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