Happy Thanksgiving…..Be thankful for Lean

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]Happy Thanksgiving from the Lean Is Good blog. 

As I reflect back, there is so much to be thankful for it amazes me.  Often times in our blogospheres we rant and rave about all the negative things like lack of leadership, overburdened workloads, lack of commitment, etc.  However, take a minute to think about all the things your teams did well this year!  How many kanban systems did you start or improve upon?  How many of your processes are more stable now than a year ago since you implemented standard work or process control charting?  Most importantly, how many people did you teach that there are simpler and better ways to do business successfully?

I bet you got a lot done!!!!!  Be thankful that we continue to have andon pulls to work on!!!!

Bryan

Let people make mistakes? Tough Love of Leadership!

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]While leading an event this week, I came across a common situation that I have faced over the years.  The group, very new to pull, wanted to implement a particular piece of the pull system in an exact same way that I have failed in a past life.  Despite my best efforts through education and description of the past shortcomings, I couldn’t convince them to set it up any other way.  As an event leader what do you do next?    Impose your will on the group or let them make the mistake and learn the hard way? Continue reading

Roundtable 3 – How do you check that you are engaging people?

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[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The ‘posters’ of the Lean Is Good blog have grown to four in number. Each of us brings a different background and set of experiences around Deming, lean, and learning. How could we leverage this diversity of thought and voice for the benefit of our readers? We ‘planned’ and came up with an idea that we could each briefly answer a question once a week. Today we ‘do’ it, and we will ‘check’ it after a couple weeks looking for a high rate of comments.   This is the third edition of the ’roundtable.’   The first two are here and here.   We will post a poll so that readers can interact when it is reasonable for the question asked. The order that the answers appear in will be randomized each time. Please join us by adding your comments. We would like to hear from you.

The question:

How do you ‘check’ that you are engaging people? Continue reading

Roundtable 2 – How do you measure a year in someone’s life?

Staatsrat by jonas k under Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=”ow.ly” only_single=false]The ‘posters’ of the Lean Is Good blog have grown to four in number. Each of us brings a different background and set of experiences around Deming, lean, and learning. How could we leverage this diversity of thought and voice for the benefit of our readers? We ‘planned’ and came up with an idea that we could each briefly answer a question once a week. Today we ‘do’ it, and we will ‘check’ it after a couple weeks looking for a high rate of comments.   This is the second edition of the ’roundtable.’   It is related to this post from last week. Continue reading

Book Review – Lead Well and Prosper

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service="ow.ly"] Lead Well and Prosper | Nick McCormick | Be Good Publishing

Nick McCormick’s Lead Well and Prosper, subtitled 15 Successful Strategies for Becoming a Good Manager, follows fictional manager Joe “Joker” Kerr as he inflicts his leadership upon poor Wanda B. Goode, who must suffer Joe’s dysfunctional management for our benefit, allowing us to learn by Joe’s poor example.   The book is a quick and simple read.  A few pages to develop a topic in each chapter followed by “DOs, DON’Ts, and ACTIONs” to finish each chapter (these are all summarized in the appendices for easy reference.)  Continue reading

Pinewood Derby Cars, Standard Work and Training

[tweetmeme source="leanisgood" service="ow.ly"]It is Pinewood Derby Car season and working with a 6 year old who wants to use a coping saw, spray paint, and lead weights just sends chills down my spine. One thing that is helping get me through this process without a mental meltdown or trip to the hospital is reflecting on how a new associate, the 6 year old mentioned above, and I, the supposed reasonable adult or Supervisor go through the derby car making process and how Standard Work and training would help the manufacture of the car, calm my nerves, and make a more enjoyable experience for everyone. Continue reading

Competition Among Peers – Deming’s Third Deadly Disease

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Last week I did a posts here and here (and Bryan offered a different paradigm here) about the external motivation (carrot and stick) assumption of many performance evaluation / merit pay systems.  We’re calling this the “jackass series”.

Let’s talk about another assumption that underlies many of these systems – competition between peers increases productivity and effectiveness.  The effort to create competition can take on many forms.  Differential bonuses or annual increases, or forced rankings of peers.  Some go so far as to force somebody in the group to be put in a category like “needs improvement” or “C”.  In some of the most extreme systems people are “let go” 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

Performance Evals Are Bad – The Great Jackass Fallacy

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Several weeks ago we ran a series of posts on policy deployment because it was “that time of year.”  Now it is getting to be a “different” time of year, the time when we have to start thinking about performance evaluations.

Some evaluation systems are based on building skills and coaching processes.  This isn’t a bad foundation for an eval system.  On the other hand, the point of this blog is to address those performance evaluation / merit pay systems that are based on “the carrot and the stick.”  This post takes issue with the “jackass” assumption behind “punishment and reward” types of evals / merit increases. Continue reading

Lean Accounting

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I received multiple emails from my finance manager on the upcoming end of the year time reporting for salary folks. I found it quite humerous thinking how wasteful the requirements were that it detailed. It stated we needed to turn in our time for the end of the year by 12/16 in order to satisfy corporate HQ requirements. I must enter my actual time up to the 16th and then put in what I think Continue reading

Trust

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Respect humanity is a key point of lean and trust is at the heart of the concept. How can you empower without trust? How can you build a team without trust? Will you act on suggestions and input from other areas without trust? But what does trust look like and act like in your business? Trust is a level of understanding 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