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 'thinking'
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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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: A3 to instill system thinking in the DNA of the organization

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Here again is an issue that has both a philosophical element to it (we're one company, not a series of departments), but it also speaks to the real, pragmatic needs organizations have for getting results. Applying the scientific method across disparate silos requires that the functions/departments first have consensus (and perhaps a sense of urgency) that the problem is worth solving and that the time is "now" to solve it. A wonderful means for driving the conversations that lead to both consensus around priorities and actual results is value stream mapping. In our book that's coming out in December, co-author Mike Osterling and I address how we use value ...

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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Revenue growth is a key part of lean thinking

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Sunday, December 9, 2012
This is an excellent question. I work with sales teams in at least 80% of the improvement work I lead, so it can and must be done. I agree with several of the Lean Edge team that part of the reason why Lean has been slow to capture the imagination of sales teams lies with Lean’s early, erroneous spin as solely a “manufacturing thing ” versus a broad and deep business management strategy that applies to all facets of an organization and to all industries. But I believe there are at least there two additional root causes. First, the financial focus ...

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Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: Takt time is a thinking device to combine flexibility and productivity

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012
As time goes by fact becomes legend and legend becomes myth. Takt time is one of the core concepts of lean, which origins are now misted in myth – uncertain and unknowable, but thought-provoking anyhow. Legend has it that Ohno hit upon Takt time thinking when trying to improve productivity. Toyota was assembling trucks for the US army, and Ohno realized they’d spent three weeks in the month getting all parts in and then producing like crazy for the last week they started again. He figured out that rather than be an end-of-month company, if they were a end-of-day company ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Resist your machine thinking!

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Saturday, April 2, 2011
One of the most common questions we are asked is how to sustain the gains once we have improved the process. A lot of work went into getting the process right in that carefully planned kaizen workshop, and it is certainly wasteful to see it slip back to where it was before the change. Unfortunately, the most common outcome of process improvements is slipping backward. Why does this occur? The problem is actually a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to sustain the gains. It goes back to our old friend machine thinking. When you make an improvement to a machine, you expect it to operate in the new ...

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The Lean Edge

The Lean Edge: Can the performance achieved by applying lean thinking be sustained over years?

By The Lean Edge, - Last updated: Saturday, April 2, 2011
Can the performance achieved by applying lean thinking be sustained over years? Toyota seems to have been able to maintain a culture of relentless kaizen since the 1960s and over several Presidents' change, but has any other company? How can lean results be sustained over time? Has any company done it?
Mike Rother

Mike Rother: How to Teach Lean Thinking and Acting

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Monday, October 11, 2010
Question: I’m being told to delegate more lean issues to my line managers, but many of them do not rise to the challenge, resist or ignore the improvement work we're trying to do. What would be the lean way of dealing with this? I agree completely that just delegating will not change anything. Human perception, which determines behavior, relies heavily on past experience. Perception is changed through new experiences. In that last sentence lies the opportunity for change, and an answer to your question about how to get your line managers to rise to the challenge of continuous improvement. Skills and mindset can ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Can we positively influence Short-term transactional thinking?

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, July 11, 2010
Let's consider a company that we are working with that has already decided it needs lean to improve quality, productivity, and timeliness of delivery to the customer.  It happens to be a major retailer and they brought in an outside CEO to “professionalize” the business. The outside CEO is a financial guy who grew another similar business by several times.  He claimed to use lean, but it quickly became apparent that it was what we might call "fake lean" focused only on the tools.  What we mean by that is that he had a bunch of black belts certified ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Lean is an Innovation in Thinking Which Will Foster Many Other Innovations

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I agree that many people get confused on the relationship between lean and innovation.  Steve Spear explained very well that underlying this is a confusion about what innovation is.  In reality the greatest innovators are disciplined thinkers who try incremental experiments one by one learning from each.  Thomas Edison was famous for his discipline and for learning from all his failed light bulbs before finally finding something that worked.  The something that worked represented accumulated learning from years of smaller experiments that proved incremental principles and that showed what does not work.  Unfortunately when we see the results of a ...

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Art Smalley

Art Smalley: Laws versus Thinking

By Art Smalley, - Last updated: Monday, March 15, 2010
I think the analogy between thermodynamics and organizational dynamics is an interesting one to consider. It certainly made me stop and think for a couple of days. After mulling on the topic I have personal doubts regarding whether we can come up with laws for organizations as neatly as physicists did for the body of work known as thermodynamics. Even if we do the laws certainly won’t be as quantitative or specific. I'd like to point out that on a personal level laws in science carry a very positive connotation for me when I think about them. However the notion carries ...

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