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Evolving Excellence

  • Slow… or Just Observant?
    By Kevin Meyer The recent earthquake in Nepal has led me to reflect a bit on the importance of observation.  Just over a year ago my wife and I were in Nepal, visiting various locations in the Kathmandu valley as well as Pokhara and Begnas Lake.  I…
    - 13 May 2015, 6:38am -
  • Find the Other Stories
    By Kevin Meyer I recently came across the following TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie where she talks about the “danger of a single story.”  From growing up as a kid in Nigeria to studying in the United States and into adulthood, she describ…
    - 30 Apr 2015, 6:36am -
  • 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…
    - 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…
    - 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…
    - 14 Dec 2014, 3:35am -

Lean Blog

  • newFootball, Holistic Systems, and Challenging the Way It’s Always Been Done
    Many of you might not care, but it’s football season. Major college football starts tomorrow night and the NFL kicks off their season next Thursday. On that note, if you’d like to “kick off” a Kaizen approach to continuous improvement in your…
    - 8 hours ago, 2 Sep 2015, 9:00am -
  • Updating a Vision, Again, for Lean Hospitals (or Lean Health Systems)
    Back in 2011, I asked for and received some great input from readers about updating a chapter for the second edition of my book Lean Hospitals on “A Vision for Lean Hospitals.” A lot has changed in the healthcare environment over four years (as…
    - 1 day ago, 1 Sep 2015, 10:02am -
  • Another Conversation About L.A.M.E. and Lean in Manufacturing and Healthcare
    It’s far too common to see somebody with just a little bit of understanding about Lean do things that really shouldn’t be described as Lean at all… in terms of the decisions they are making or the approaches they are taking. I saw an article ab…
    - 2 days ago, 31 Aug 2015, 9:00am -
  • Key Tweets from @MarkGraban – Week of August 24, 2015
    Here’s the latest installment of “Key Tweets,” a post that summarizes some of my tweets (or retweets) from the week. Follow me @MarkGraban and join the fun and the conversation. See the previous installments of Key Tweets here. If you’re re…
    - 4 days ago, 29 Aug 2015, 12:33pm -
  • Are You Really Listening to Your Customer or Just Going Through the Motions?
    Mark’s note: Today’s guest post is by Rodrigo Bernal, with the first post on this site contributed from Mexico. Rodrigo uses a lunch outing to raise important questions about customer focus and the voice of the customer. If there is a quality pr…
    - 5 days ago, 28 Aug 2015, 10:00am -

Jamie Flinchbaugh

  • The Need for Training Within Industry [Lessons from the Road]
    In this installment of my IndustryWeek Lessons from the Road column, I address some of the needs and challenges of Training Within Industry, after reflections from my keynote at Lean Frontier’s TWI / Lean HR Summit. In The Need for Training Within…
    - 85 days ago, 9 Jun 2015, 2:42pm -
  • Skip the “lean intro” training
    I was just attending the TWI / Lean HR Summit run by Lean Frontiers, and heard someone talking about how to train in lean. They said they don’t care in what order you introduce tools, but you can’t skip the introduction. Perhaps its just me playi…
    - 19 May 2015, 1:25pm -
  • Beyond the Lean Initiative [Lessons from the Road]
    Through my IndustryWeek column, Lessons from the Road, I’ve been exploring some of the issues associated with the ongoing maturing of a lean journey. In this installment, Beyond the Lean Initiative, I explore issues with making lean an integral par…
    - 8 Apr 2015, 9:30am -
  • The relationship between trust and lean
    Lean doesn’t happen just because you want it to. There are enablers that make it possible. Trust is one of those enables. In this brief conversation between Andy Carlino and myself, we explore the relationship between lean and trust.  
    - 7 Apr 2015, 9:30am -
  • A leadership book for the new leader
    You are a talented engineer. You’ve lead technical research and product development teams. But running a team is one thing. Now you’re promoted to a role where leading is just about all you need to do. That’s a great time to pick up a book from…
    - 5 Mar 2015, 8:59pm -

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

  • Kaizen and Wu-Tang Forever
    As I sit here swelling in the ninth month of my pregnancy, I cannot help but think about the future.  What world am I bringing this creature into?   What have I done to make that world a better place, for my children, for their children? For your…
    - 76 days ago, 18 Jun 2015, 11:00pm -
  • 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…
    - 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…
    - 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…
    - 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 -

Gotta Go Lean

  • newScalability
    Scalability is the ability to easily ramp up or down to changing requirements. The term is in common use in information technology, specifically in reference to the ability of a system to grow to accommodate increasing traffic.In a continuous improv…
    - 15 hours ago, 2 Sep 2015, 1:42am -
  • ABC Inventory

    - 46 days ago, 18 Jul 2015, 7:32pm -
  • Develop Leaders Internally (Principle)
    The program leader faces a particularly challenging task in promoting this principle. In a nutshell, he or she will be dictating to the senior staff not only who they hire, but how they spend their time. Many senior leaders spend far too few hours of…
    - 47 days ago, 17 Jul 2015, 9:12pm -
  • Lean Training System
    The Lean Training System is an extensive program designed to give you the tools you need to elevate your team’s performance, and your own. Individual vs. Team Team Development: We offer training materials that you can use to teach individual classe…
    - 47 days ago, 17 Jul 2015, 4:56pm -
  • 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…
    - 28 Feb 2015, 4:33pm -

Lean Connections

Curious Cat

  • newThe Road Not Taken
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Wonderful advice and so poignant. But actually, if you read the whole poem, what we take from the … Continue reading →
    - 7 hours ago, 2 Sep 2015, 10:20am -
  • Using Technology to Improve The Sharing of Knowledge
    This month the ASQ is asking Influential Voices to discuss methods to aid in sharing knowledge. Manu Vora kicked the discussion off with his post on The Gift of Knowledge Transfer Through Technology. My career has been largely shaped by … Continue…
    - 29 days ago, 4 Aug 2015, 12:19pm -
  • Look at All the Data and Be Wary of Unjustified Confidence
    Interesting interview with Richard Feynman about the NASA’s space shuttle Challenge disaster. He discusses very well the problem of not thinking of all of the data and how systems produce results with variation. “Results” are not enough to judg…
    - 44 days ago, 20 Jul 2015, 6:45pm -
  • Applying Improvement Concepts and Tools to Your Daily Life
    This month the ASQ Influential Voices is taking a bit different approach. This month we are looking at applying quality tools in our personal life based on the post from other influential voice, Sunil Kaushik: How Lean Helped Me Travel … Continue r…
    - 57 days ago, 7 Jul 2015, 9:46am -
  • Interview of John Hunter by Jimena Calfa On Quality
    Jimena Calfa interviewed me for her blog OnQuality as part of her Quality Interview Chain. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and improve as a professional and/or as a person? John: I don’t do anything consciously … Continue readin…
    - 78 days ago, 16 Jun 2015, 1:59pm -

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

  • Lean Drives Innovation at Goodyear
    I often hear the fear from right-brained functions, staff, and executives that Lean kills creativity. In the watershed book titled Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, author Norbert Majerus pro…
    - 16 days ago, 17 Aug 2015, 2:40pm -
  • Ideas Transformed the Culture at Baylor Scott & White Health
    Last month, an important book titled The Power of Ideas to Transform Healthcare: Engaging Staff by Building Daily Lean Management Systems, authored by Steve Hoeft and Bob Pryor, MD, was published. It details Baylor Scott & White Health’s journey f…
    - 48 days ago, 16 Jul 2015, 8:37pm -
  • Lean, Value Stream Mapping, and Process Industries
    I spoke with Peter L. King this past week about his new book, Value Stream Mapping for the Process Industries: Creating a Roadmap for Lean Transformation. This book is Peter's the third book on how Lean concepts apply to process operations, so I aske…
    - 79 days ago, 15 Jun 2015, 8:15pm -
  • What is the Key to Lean's Long-Term Success?
    I recently had the opportunity to speak with both Bill Baker and Ken Rolfes about their new book, Lean for the Long Term: Sustainment is a Myth, Transformation is Reality. During our conversation, I asked them: "Why did you write this book? What was…
    - 19 May 2015, 6:45pm -
  • The Need for "Safety Culture" in Radiation Oncology
    I recently had the opportunity to speak with both Lawrence Marks and Lukasz Mazur, who are the authors of a very important new book titled Engineering Patient Safety in Radiation Oncology: University of North Carolina’s Pursuit for High Reliability…
    - 14 Apr 2015, 2:17pm -

Lean Reflections

  • Lean Reflections is on vacation...
    It has been a while since I wrote a post for Lean Directions, but I have not been idle. You can keep up with my thoughts every three weeks on the Gray Blog. Be sure to check out the articles from my co-bloggers while you're there...Thanks,Karen
    - 26 days ago, 7 Aug 2015, 6:52pm -
  • 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 -

Shmula


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