Continuous Improvement and Lean

Continuous improvement for cavemenDriving continuous improvement throughout our organizations is fundamental to short and long-term business success.

Continuous improvement requires daily improvement in everything that we (and our teams) do…even when we are too busy!

  • Are we better today than we were yesterday?
  • Will we be better tomorrow than we are today?

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Remind…Don’t Teach

reminder cartoonA fundamental task of a leader is to train and develop his or her team.

This often involves coaching and teaching the team on the strategic, operational and leadership skills that are required for them to reach the next level.

Unfortunately, many leaders spend a lot of time teaching their team only to have it wasted as the team turns off.

“This is nothing new.  I already knew that.”

“Why is he lecturing us again? Does he think that we are stupid and don’t already know this?

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8 Ways To Be As Smart As We Can Be

My Brain Is FullTo do our best in business, we need to be as smart as we can be.

Alas, I do not have any tremendous insight or magic elixir to make myself or anyone else be smarter.  Sorry.

What I do have are several suggestions on how we can take fullest advantage of the intellectual capacities that we do have.

  • Be Healthy and in Good Physical Shape: Being sick, out of shape or dealing with chronic pain makes it more difficult to be smart. We do not have a clear head and are often focused on what is ailing us.

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The Five Whys of Follow-Up

temppicture1When General Dwight D. Eisenhower was first elected President in 1952, then President Harry S. Truman remarked:

He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, Do this! Do that! And nothing will happen.  Poor Ike [nickname for Eisenhower].  It won’t be a bit like the Army.  He’ll find it very frustrating.

As leaders, we have all encountered the same frustration.  We clearly ask someone to do something.  And it does not get done.

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10 Ways to Really (and Truly) Be Organized

blog1With all the meetings, E-Mails, objectives and communications in a typical company, staying organized is a never-ending task.

Yet, there are a few fundamentals to follow to ensure that you stay organized and focused on the most important tasks each and every day.

  1. Delete, delete, delete: delete everything but the essential. If this makes you nervous, then place what you should delete in one simple “Holding” folder that you delete every month.  Deleting is crucial so that you do not have to wade through irrelevancies to find what you are looking for.  As has been said:

The key to finding a needle in a haystack is to have a smaller haystack. Continue reading

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Never Split the Difference – Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

never splitFollowing up on my blog from August 2017, Negotiation – An Overview, I summarize the excellent book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, from former FBI negotiator, Chris Voss.

I highly recommend that you read this book to gain deeper insights into negotiation.

My summary below gives some of the insights found in this book.

  • We engage in selective listening, hearing only what we want to hear, our minds acting on a cognitive bias for consistency rather than truth.
  • Slow. It. Down. Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to make.
  • Put a smile on your face.

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2 Second Lean: How to Make Your People and Your Business Better Every Day

I summarize some of the key concepts from the excellent book: 2 Second Lean: How to Grow People and Build a Fun Lean Culture. Written by Paul Akers, 2 Second Lean is a quick and easy ready that will help all of us simplify and lean out our companies, whether they are manufacturing, technology, distribution or services company.

I recommend that you read it.


What is Lean?

Two foundational principles of Lean Thinking

  • Eliminate waste
  • Continuous improvement

“Waste is like gravity; it pulls at you 24/7 and if don’t have a method to overcome it, you will lose and waste will win.” Jeff Kaas

“Lean is hard work that makes everything else easy.” Paul Akers

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