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Evolving Excellence

  • The Engaging Value of Risk
    By Kevin Meyer Humans tend to abhor chaos, and love to invoke rules to supposedly create order. We like rules because they make us feel protected, aligned, and perhaps operating on a fair playing field. At the same time we dislike rules because the…
    - 9 days ago, 22 Feb 2015, 9:53pm -
  • The Mindful Ohno
    Mindfulness has become all the rage in personal and professional leadership these days, which is good and bad. Understood and done right, it is a very powerful concept. But as with most concepts it is also often misunderstood, therefore sometimes ma…
    - 49 days ago, 13 Jan 2015, 4:50pm -
  • Reflecting on the Intentional Routine
    My post a couple weeks ago on Gratitude, for Gratitude, generated a large number of responses.  Interestingly, most were private, commenting on both the nature of gratitude but especially on my daily routine.  I had detailed my regular set of activ…
    - 80 days ago, 14 Dec 2014, 3:35am -
  • Gratitude, for Gratitude

    - 96 days ago, 27 Nov 2014, 6:02pm -
  • Airbnb and Uber – From Batch to One Piece Flow
    Some of the more interesting internet-driven companies these days are the likes of Airbnb and Uber. They call themselves part of the “sharing economy.” But let’s take a look at the word “share.” From the MacMillan dictionary, share is “t…
    - 8 Nov 2014, 7:42pm -

Lean Blog

  • newThe One Thing Google Should Show When You Search for a Hospital
    Today’s post is hosted over at LinkedIn, as part of my participation in the LinkedIn Influencers series. The post is titled: “The One Thing Google Should Show When You Search for a Hospital.” It’s not about Lean per se, but it’s about topic…
    - 21 hours ago, 3 Mar 2015, 7:00am -
  • Podcast #217 – Alan Robinson, The Idea-Driven Organization
    MP3 File (run time 38:53) Our guest today is Alan G. Robinson, PhD, an award-winning author, educator, researcher and consultant. He has co-authored six books, including Modern Approaches to Manufacturing Improvement: The Shingo System, Ideas Are Fr…
    - 2 days ago, 2 Mar 2015, 11:00am -
  • Weekend Listening: Two Podcasts with Mark Graban
    Normally, I like interviewing other people, through my podcast series (and this recent blog post with a hospital leader telling her story of putting patient safety first). Sometimes, the tables get turned and I’m the one being interviewed. Check ou…
    - 4 days ago, 28 Feb 2015, 9:00am -
  • Practicing What We Preach: Kaizen for the Kaizen Cards
    I do my best to “practice what I preach” in terms of Lean and Kaizen principles and spirit. No, I don’t have tape outlines around the items on my home office desk (which would be, at best, a superficial copying of 5S practices). But, for exampl…
    - 5 days ago, 27 Feb 2015, 7:00am -
  • A Story About a Hospital Putting Safety First Over Patient Satisfaction
    In yesterday’s blog post (“Safety is always our top priority” – From lip service to daily practice?“), I challenged hospital leaders to back up the “happy talk” with real action and stories about putting safety first. It’s easier said…
    - 6 days ago, 26 Feb 2015, 7:00am -

Jamie Flinchbaugh

  • newWhat do you consider the most challenging unsolved problems today for the lean community?
    Over 20 years ago, the biggest challenge was just getting buy-in to even try lean. And as we’ve continued to learn together, we’ve tackled lean culture / behaviors, leadership engagement, business strategy, and much, much more. What’s left? Wha…
    - 3 hours ago, 4 Mar 2015, 1:06am -
  • A new lean podcast, Lean Leadership by Chris Burnham
    I encourage lean learners to have multiple sources of learning. Podcasts are a very useful part of the learning portfolio. I have contributed to several podcasts, particularly one of the originals, Mark Graban’s podcasts, and more recently, Gemba A…
    - 2 days ago, 1 Mar 2015, 9:15pm -
  • A must-read leadership book: Leadership Without Excuses
    There are 1,000s of leadership books out there. And for good reason. Leadership is one of the secret weapons of success whether it be in lean transformation in a Fortune 50 company or running a 3-person startup or running a high school science class.…
    - 16 days ago, 15 Feb 2015, 9:03pm -
  • Valuing the small improvement
    This post originally appeared on the Lean Learning Center blog. Small improvements matter. Yet, organizations often de-value them because they are small. They don’t always do it intentionally. They may simple OVER-value the big improvements, throug…
    - 19 days ago, 12 Feb 2015, 4:45pm -
  • Losing Control of Your Lean Journey [Lessons from the Road]
    Do you feel a little out of control of your lean journey? Good. The lean journey is not one that can be so self-contained that one person or team can keep their arms around it. If they can, it either hasn’t reached that important transitional point…
    - 21 days ago, 11 Feb 2015, 3:59pm -

LSS Academy

  • My Final LSS Academy Post
    I remember it like it was yesterday… it was January 2007 and I was sitting on my couch surfing the web while watching TV. I had just read a lean related blog article by my friend, Jon Miller, and wondered how hard it would be to start my own blog.…
    - 25 Apr 2014, 1:33pm -
  • Is Home Depot’s Expedited Checkout Lean?
    It’s warming up here in North Texas… as such businesses like Home Depot are EXTREMELY BUSY places. Yesterday I joined the crowd to buy some tomatoes and other vegetables to plant in our garden.  And, yes, the checkout line was backed up in a big…
    - 31 Mar 2014, 3:29pm -
  • Gemba Academy is 5 Years Old. Come Celebrate With Us!
    Five years ago I, and two good friends of mine, began what’s turned out to be an incredible journey. Specifically, in March of 2009 Gemba Academy was born. We had no way of knowing whether there would be interest in what we were doing… but we sta…
    - 6 Mar 2014, 4:16pm -
  • My Newest Stand Up Desk!
    Friends, I have a confession to make. In November of 2009 I wrote about my new stand up desk. I was quite proud of how I’d managed to prop an old desk up on some crates… I guess you could say I definitely used my wits over my wallet! Well, as it…
    - 23 Jan 2014, 6:48pm -
  • Lean Thinker Challenge #4
    Welcome to the first Lean Thinker Challenge of 2014! The Situation You’re the owner of a very successful manufacturing company. Your company began its lean journey 10 years ago and has realized tremendous benefits. In fact, lean thinking – along…
    - 7 Jan 2014, 5:30pm -

Got Boondoggle

  • Book Review The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
    What makes a good checklist versus a bad checklist?  What are the limits in the power of a checklist?  Sure, checklists work for the weekly run to the grocery store or packing before we go on vacation but can they work to reduce errors in surgery?T…
    - 16 Jun 2013, 9:43pm -
  • Going from "Oh-oh" to "Ta-da" Faster
    As young children, we learn from our experiences through relentless trial and error. It does not take us long to figure out if we touch something hot, for instance fire or a hot skillet, it burns us and we quickly jerk o…
    - 14 May 2012, 3:01pm -
  • Lean Snake Oil Cures what Ails Ya
    Step right up Ladies and Gentleman! Do you suffer from bulging inventories? Are you feeling tired and wore down chasing problems everyday at work? Are parts of your organization afflicted by dislocation? Perhaps you suffer from irregularity of flow o…
    - 30 Apr 2012, 2:50pm -
  • Suffering from Sick Sigma?
    My good friend, Jonathan Sands, a Director of Operational Excellence for a large firm, recently told me about his experience with a company six sigma effort years ago. At first go around, he and other leaders undertook their black belt training with…
    - 3 Apr 2012, 4:11pm -
  • New Webinar "A Day in the Life of a Lean Supervisor"
    I invite you to please join me in a free webinar next week “A Day in the Life of a Lean Supervisor” hosted by Gemba Academy on April 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm – 2:00pm (USA-Central Time).Click here to register. In this webinar, I will help define stan…
    - 30 Mar 2012, 3:27pm -

Daily Kaizen

  • All About that Base by Kim deMacedo
    I heard an interview on NPR with Senator Jim Webb that got me thinking.  He was talking about Jacksonian doctrine and said that you measure the health of a society not at its apex, but at its base. I don’t know anything about presidential economi…
    - 27 days ago, 4 Feb 2015, 5:06pm -
  • Immediate Detection & Correction: Easier Said Than Done
    Our team recently had the opportunity to learn directly from Sensei Chihiro Nakao, founder of Shingijutsu USA. http://www.shingijutsuusa.com/team.html We will continue to study and deepen our understanding of what he shared, but one area he helped il…
    - 74 days ago, 20 Dec 2014, 1:12am -
  • Walken the Walk by Jane McGillivray
    Walken the Walk   How many of us have seen a movie with Christopher Walken playing some role?  Probably most of us.  I saw an interview a long time ago where he talked about how he perfects the art of acting.  He said, “I Act!”  He takes eve…
    - 90 days ago, 3 Dec 2014, 10:36pm -
  • Why We Are Here
    The poem (below) jumped out at me from a therapist’s office wall.  A local team of our behavioral health providers were in Day 2 action, practicing and refining with real patients toward the ideal visit. I sat as still as possible, hoping to meld…
    - 27 Sep 2014, 12:35am -
  • Waiting for Health Care – no longer ‘just the way it is’?
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-mulls-cleveland-clinic-ceo-head-veterans-affairs-article-1.1816789 The Cleveland Clinic’s capability to provide same day access for any specialty came up during a lunch break at a recent kaizen event.…
    - 25 Jun 2014, 8:14pm -

Gotta Go Lean

  • Control Limits
    Control limits are lines established 3 standard deviations from the mean on a control chart. Keep in mind that the control chart depicts averages, so exhibits a normal distribution. (See Central Limit Theorem) 99.7% of all random variation (common ca…
    - 3 days ago, 28 Feb 2015, 4:33pm -
  • Control, Statistical
    When a process is said to be 'in control', statistically speaking, that means that all the variation can be attributed to common causes. All of the observed variation is just a function of the natural randomness built into a system or process.The po…
    - 5 days ago, 27 Feb 2015, 3:14pm -
  • Control (Scientific)
    A control, or control group is a tool used to confirm whether changes are actually having an effect. The control group is exposed to the same conditions as the test group with the exception of the variable that is being examined.The post Control (Sc…
    - 6 days ago, 26 Feb 2015, 2:53pm -
  • Containment
    Containment is an interim quality management step. When a problem is identified, the organization must take steps to prevent defects from escaping. Containment is a method of systematically identifying and quarantining all materials that are suspect…
    - 8 days ago, 24 Feb 2015, 3:46pm -
  • Competitive Advantage
    A competitive advantage is a condition through which one organization has to spend fewer resources to get the same benefit as a competitor (or, of course, gets more benefit for spending the same amount of resources.)The post Competitive Advantage ap…
    - 8 days ago, 23 Feb 2015, 5:54pm -

Lean Connections

  • Continuous Improvement Manager – TPS Lean – Lean Healthcare Manufacturing
    Continuous Improvement Manager – TPS Lean Global Lean Healthcare:  Infection Prevention, Contamination Control, Surgical & Critical Care Mentor (Cleveland) Ohio, Montgomery, Alabama (multiple positions)   Lean Continuous Improvement Manager – P…
    - 43 days ago, 19 Jan 2015, 9:45pm -
  • Connecting the Dots – Adam Zak Cover Story, AME Target Magazine, Winter, 2014
    Connecting the Dots. Why aren’t more smart, motivated young Americans pursuing careers in manufacturing? Why aren’t more parents, teachers and other career influencers actively encouraging them to explore opportunities in the manufacturing sector…
    - 47 days ago, 15 Jan 2015, 9:24pm -
  • Strategic Lean Quality Leader – Boston, MA metro
    Strategic Lean Quality Leader Industrial Electrical Components Manufacturer Worcester, MA (west of Boston) metro area The Ideal Lean Organization  When most companies transition to Lean they seldom succeed with the single most critical aspect of the…
    - 84 days ago, 9 Dec 2014, 7:41pm -
  • Join Me at the Lean Accounting Summit in Savannah, GA October 20-22
    Join me as I present at this year’s annual Lean Accounting Summit, October 21-22 in Savannah, GA. As always, the Summit will deliver the best principles and practices of lean business management. Register with Promo Code “presenterguest” for 10…
    - 30 Sep 2014, 3:34pm -
  • Your Career Advice for Generation Y
    In a recent nationwide survey, amazingly, just 35 percent of American parents indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. Are you be surprised? Now imagine your closest friend asks you: “My son wants to consi…
    - 22 Aug 2014, 7:57pm -

Curious Cat

  • Hire Me to Manage Your Blog or Web Presence
    I would like to add a client for my blog and web presence management services. The most obvious fit is for management consultants, in my opinion, though others may also be interested. My blogs have been honored often over the … Continue reading →
    - 2 days ago, 2 Mar 2015, 8:55am -
  • Improving Management Globally
    In the most recent ASQ Influential Voices post, Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asks: Why Should Quality Go Global? ASQ’s mission statement talks about increasing the use and impact of quality in response to the diverse needs of the world. Are … Continue rea…
    - 13 days ago, 19 Feb 2015, 9:38am -
  • Some Thoughts on Investing from My Recent Interview
    In the first few years of this blog I posted occasionally, but still much more than the last few years, on investing and economics. Now I mainly post on those topics on the Curious Cat Investing and Economics blog (see … Continue reading →
    - 20 days ago, 12 Feb 2015, 11:04am -
  • Who Inspires Your Management Thinking and Action?
    This month Bill Troy, ASQ CEO, asked ASQ Influential Voices bloggers: “who influenced or inspired your management thinking and in what ways?” He discussed Paul O’Neill’s influence on his thinking; I agree that Paul has done some very impressi…
    - 41 days ago, 22 Jan 2015, 10:44am -
  • 10 Most Popular Posts on the Curious Cat Management Blog in 2014
    Here is a list of the 10 most popular posts on this blog last year (as measured by views counted by my analytics applications). The posts were published in 2010 (4 posts), 2013 (2), 2014 (2), 2005 (1) and 2012 … Continue reading →
    - 57 days ago, 6 Jan 2015, 1:43pm -

Learning About lean

  • A new writing project
    This blog has been rather quiet for the past couple of months, which reflects two concurrent facts. One is an incredibly busy period for my own manufacturing job.  Good stuff, but hugely time-consuming, filling work days and leaving little mental sp…
    - 3 Jan 2013, 2:59am -
  • Creating Interest
    Flow is a lot more interesting than batch. This occured to me in recent conversations with one of our team leaders who schedules work for her area.  A series of well-intended but misdirected steps had created a batch process in her area.  She coul…
    - 26 Oct 2012, 8:30pm -
  • Go Look at the Ears
    "You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."Dwight Eisenhower, Address at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, 9/25/56Ike had it right.  Need we say more about getting out of t…
    - 11 Oct 2012, 11:13pm -
  • The Curse of Sophistication
    As long as I've worked at implementing a Lean strategy, I continue to find it amazing how a description of it seems to fall flat on others' ears.  A common reaction is "Well, it's just common sense." Which is truly a comment which dismisses it as a…
    - 9 Oct 2012, 1:11am -
  • Ten Years of Blogging
    Flying well under any publicity banner, today marks ten years of this blog.  My first-ever post, on September 14, 2002, got this whole thing going.  568 posts later, allow me a few reflections. Ten years ago, there were not many resources about Lea…
    - 14 Sep 2012, 10:00am -

Improve With Me

  • Test Beliefs Against Data
    I like this quote because it touches on a couple of other ideas I have read before. One author I like (Joiner) states that all leaders need to treat decisions as experiments.  Lean challenges HiPPOs (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) to use data in…
    - 4 Sep 2012, 2:00pm -
  • Seek Multiple Views
    This quote has been sitting with me a while and I hope it is relevant for you too.  So often, even a gemba experience may be different for people.  Even though facts are found at gemba, people may only see certain … Continue reading →
    - 28 Aug 2012, 2:00pm -
  • Change Through Repeated Action
    “Beliefs, behaviors, assumptions, and attitudes do not change through study, conferences, seminars, and training classes; they change through repeated action. This is not dissimilar to breaking unhealthy habits such as smoking or overeating. The co…
    - 21 Aug 2012, 3:00pm -
  • PDSA Is The Ultimate Success Formula
    I recently uncovered a box of books I thought was lost years ago (before I knew about 5S!)  This time capsule contained material I read about 15 years ago while still in college and managing my own direct sales business during summer … Continue…
    - 19 Jul 2012, 4:45am -
  • The Waste Of “Managing Up”
    Time spent trying to please your boss is processing waste and provides no value to your customers.  Leaders and staff need to recognize this as a major cultural problem because it will negatively affect the long-term success for your organization.…
    - 11 Jan 2012, 2:00pm -

Lean Insider

  • Combining Statistical Design and Statistical Control -- Can it Work?
    Kieron Dey recently published a book titled Competitive Innovation and Improvement: Statistical Design and Control, which explains how to combine two widely known statistical methods — statistical design and statistical control — in a manner that…
    - 21 days ago, 10 Feb 2015, 4:20pm -
  • Meeting Customer Needs is Not Enough
    Lance B. Coleman recently published a book titled The Customer-Driven Organization: Employing the Kano Model, and I spoke with him about its content. My main question was: “Why is meeting customer needs no longer enough?” Here is his full respons…
    - 51 days ago, 12 Jan 2015, 2:01pm -
  • What Can Lean Do for the Banking Industry?
    The banking industry comprises many accounting, regulatory, process, and management challenges, and because its customer-satisfaction and efficiency rates are ripe for improvement, many feel Lean improvement initiatives can transform these financial…
    - 79 days ago, 15 Dec 2014, 11:43am -
  • Grasping Lean
    A very handy new book was published last month called The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement, authored by Rebecca Goldberg and Elliott N. Weiss, and it provides simple case studies of people observing and integrating the pri…
    - 90 days ago, 3 Dec 2014, 8:36pm -
  • Lean is the Medicine that Healthcare Systems Require
    Last month, an important book titled The Lean Prescription: Powerful Medicine for Our Ailing Healthcare System, authored by Patricia Gabow and Philip Goodman, was published, and it details how Denver Health became the first healthcare organization to…
    - 6 Nov 2014, 7:26pm -

Lean Reflections

  • Leadership style and neural networks - Part 3
    A three-blog collaboration continues as Jeff Hajek hosts part 3 of our series on brain research and leadership style choices on his Gotta Go Lean blog. Co-blogging with Matt and Jeff has been rewarding because of the reviewing process before publicat…
    - 11 Aug 2014, 1:29pm -
  • Leadership style and neural networks - part 2
    Matt Wrye is hosting Part two of our neuro-leadership series on his blog, Beyond Lean. Thanks for sharing it with your readers, Matt. And if you don't know Matt or his blog, you are in for a treat.
    - 15 Jul 2014, 2:53pm -
  • Leadership style and neural networks - Part 1
    You’re probably familiar with the two leadership styles: task/objective-oriented leadership, sometimes called Theory X, or human/emotional-oriented, Theory Y. The American MBO model with its financial and quantitative goals leaves out the human dim…
    - 24 Jun 2014, 1:15pm -
  • Bad employees
    As I discussed in my last post, the article, “Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence” in the McKinsey Quarterly evoked my ire. In it, the authors discussed how to identify “bad employees” and get rid of them -- the old “bad apple…
    - 7 Apr 2014, 4:59pm -
  • McKinsey proves that today's management culture has a long way to go
    The first issue of the McKinsey Quarterly for 2014 was entitled, “Shaping the future of manufacturing.” Proof that management culture, however, is still rooted in the past, is made plain in the article “Bad to great: The path to scaling up exce…
    - 30 Mar 2014, 4:41pm -

Shmula


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