Make Technology Work for People

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]While traveling this week, I noticed that my alarm clock in my hotel room has a motion detector on it.  In the middle of the night it does not illuminate the time until it detects motion.  A great idea.  The room stays darker and then when you move, presumable to see the what time it is, it activates and illuminates the current time.  Continue reading

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Undercover Boss

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The other night after the Superbowl (congratulations to the Saints) CBS debuted a new reality show that has gotten minor play in the lean blogosphere (here, curious cat, and LeanBlog).

The premise of the show is bosses going undercover to do the actual work that happens in their companies.  Continue reading

Performance Appraisals – A Better Way?

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As Bruce points in a couple recent post (here and here), it is performance appraisal season.  Bruce provided many great points on how they are used for evil instead of good!  But we all aren’t as lucky as Deming and can’t just conscientiously object.  In reality most of our jobs require us to perform some type of annual evaluation.  What can you do to take the “jackassery” out of them and avoid crossing over to the dark side? Continue reading

The Great Jackass Fallacy – Dan Pink and W. Edwards Deming

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Special thanks to reader Dan Mott who left a link to a TED video on a post from last week called Performance Evals Are Bad – The Great Jackass Fallacy criticizing the “carrots and sticks” approach to performance evaluations and merit increases.  According to career analyst Dan Pink (you can read reviews of and or buy his new book – Drive:  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us here), science has been confirming what Deming told us beginning in the first half of the last century — positive intent, an intrinsic desire to achieve  beats the extrinsic motivation model.  Dan summarizes the intrinsic motivators as: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  Take the time to watch the 20 minute video from TED Global 2009: Continue reading

It’s All About the Why, the Other Why

WHY?

Photo by annnna. under Creative Commons Attribution

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The first thing that many lean practitioners think of when they hear the word ‘why’ is probably 5 why’s and getting to root cause of problems.  That is certainly a powerful tool and a good way to use ‘why’.  Those are the why’s that we don’t know.  As importantly we shouldn’t forget to teach the why’s that we do know. Continue reading

Leadership for Lean – Humility

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In  a Q&A in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, Harvard Business Professor William George, author of 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis, talks about seven leadership lessons for weathering crisis.  It’s a good read.  One of the lessons is, “Face reality, starting with yourself.”

Lean thinkers will recognize this as hansei or self-reflection.  Professor George argues that leaders have to be humble enough to admit weaknesses and flaws that they see. Continue reading

Policy Deployment #2 – Command Goes Down, Control Goes Up

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Last week I posted about setting big goals for policy deployment.   Now that we have decided to “go to the moon” we need to get serious about figuring out exactly how.  Many people think that lean is a bottom up approach to business.  Think of it as being both top down and bottom up.  Continue reading