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November 2010 Blog Posts (31)

Auditing Standards- A Leader’s Guide

If I hire good folks, shouldn’t I trust them to do the right thing? In the last blog, we discussed the leadership dilemma of standards and trust. Making sure team members have the tools and environment to be successful is one way leaders earn their trust.



On page 118 in his book, Gemba Kaizen, Imai offers the additional example of a company that implemented monthly audits to ensure training and standards were effective. Senior leaders monitored the following… Continue

Added by David Hicks on November 23, 2010 at 2:20pm — No Comments

Which problems should we solve first using Lean Healthcare?

One obstacle to overcome when you start a Lean Healthcare program is what process and which problems do we work on first. I’m sure there are employees in every Department that have identified problems (sometimes years ago) that needed to be resolved. It is very frustrating to have to create “work arounds” to keep the process functioning. I know that you have heard statements…

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Added by John David Hayes on November 22, 2010 at 12:17pm — No Comments

What To Do When You Don't Hear Back From Interested Prospects

Ever wonder what's the best thing to do when you don't hear back from a prospect after a favorable sales visit? Sales trainer Eric Slife recommends doing the following when first visiting the prospect to reduce the chances of this happening to you:



1. Establish Guidelines - At the very outset, establish guidelines for the relationship you are about to enter.

"Mr. or Miss Prospect, thanks for agreeing…

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Added by David Mixson on November 22, 2010 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Learning How To Learn

Riding a bike – Once you learn to ride a bike you never forget - Working in a system is like riding a bike – We pedal faster if needed or slower, turning and braking we just have to manage the system – Now If we had to build a bike how many of us could accomplish this task?? How about building a production system?? Often the questions asked are: Why are there so few examples of great companies? Why do so…

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Added by Hank Czarnecki on November 22, 2010 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Drug and Alcohol Use at Work

I currently teach an introductory Human Resource Management class to college juniors and seniors. One of their assignments is a group project in which they must research current issues related to HR, select a particular issue, and then analyze it from the perspective of an HR professional. All of the topics they choose are real issues that have occurred and been reported on in the public press. Needless to say, you can imagine some of the things we learn about!


One of the…
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Added by Brian Flynn on November 22, 2010 at 4:30am — No Comments

Error proofing is for everybody

One of the common tools used in lean continuous improvement is that of error proofing. The concept actually is simple: Create countermeasures that guard against and prevent errors and mistakes from occurring in a process. If mistakes are avoided, the product quality is high, the customer is happy, and money is saved and perhaps even…

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Added by Mitch Emmons on November 21, 2010 at 8:30am — No Comments

Manufacturing It Here or Over There

Success in the global marketplace for manufacturers looks different depending on the sub-sector and the size of the company. Manufacturers think about globalization, off-shoring and the supply-chain in different ways. For example, some firms are finding that as expertise develops overseas they have even more reason to send design, development and…

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Added by Walker Jackson on November 19, 2010 at 5:03pm — No Comments

INNOVATION IS IN THE QUESTION

All designers and engineers, regardless of specialty, have one thing in common: We are problem-solvers. There are few jobs that don’t require some degree of problem solving however designers and engineers often are challenged to problem solve across industry lines. As an industrial designer I may design a new scalpel for the medical industry one month and improve the experience of getting your car washed for a chain of car washes the next. The Auburn Technical Assistance…

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Added by Mark Smith on November 18, 2010 at 3:01pm — No Comments

A Lean Bedtime Story



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Added by Rick Battye on November 18, 2010 at 1:10pm — 1 Comment

Embedding Standards- A Leadership Guide



Standards, Standards, Standards…..All David seems to write about is standards and auditing standards. What is all the fuss over standards? If I hire good folks, shouldn’t I trust them to do the right thing?


Quite often, leaders throw up this challenge of standards meaning that we don’t trust our folks to do good work. However, the question of trust goes both ways. Shouldn’t our team members be able to trust that we are giving them every opportunity to be successful? By…
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Added by David Hicks on November 17, 2010 at 7:21am — 1 Comment

When Ideas and Tires Run Flat (Fail Fast, Fail Cheap)

Last time we looked briefly at the concept of “failing fast and failing cheaply” in regards to creating new product concepts for growth. The basic premise is that you can afford to fail more often (and try more concepts) if you fail quickly without spending a lot of time and money. The goal with new product development is to simultaneously reduce as much risk as possible… Continue

Added by David Mixson on November 16, 2010 at 10:37am — No Comments

Clicking Helps Build Teamwork

If Lean is all about people, how can we better connect or “CLICK” with our team members and foster deeper relationships? From CLICK – one study looked at a team of MBAs students that clicked and found that they were much more…

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Added by Hank Czarnecki on November 15, 2010 at 10:30am — No Comments

Ratings of Importance in Performance Appraisal

Almost all companies engage in some form of formal performance appraisal of their employees. A popular method of appraisal today is the multi-source feedback performance appraisal (i.e., 360-degree appraisal), where an employee is rated by his or her subordinates, peers, and superior(s). Some of these may also include input from customers and other stakeholders whom the employee might serve within their job.


As part of the review process, employees are often given…
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Added by Brian Flynn on November 15, 2010 at 5:00am — No Comments

Where are the Results?!



Results are what Senior Leadership is looking for when making a huge monetary and time investment decision into a Lean transformation. Unfortunately, some healthcare organizations don’t do a very good job keeping track of these data points.…

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Added by Terri Lawrence on November 14, 2010 at 10:17pm — 1 Comment

Meetings: Make 'em short, sweet, and to the point -- and don't forget accountability

I ran across an article by Frank A. Gray titled “Non-Productive Meetings in a Lean Six Sigma World – The Overlooked Silent Money Killer. With a title like that, I had to read it, and glad that I did, because I have been frustrated as of late questioning the need and value of many meetings I have witnessed among organizations.…

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Added by Mitch Emmons on November 14, 2010 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Hold Each Other Accountable

In the previous blog, we discussed Lack of Commitment as one of the Five Dysfunctions that hold management teams back from working and solving problems as a team. This blog will focus on the last of the 5 Dysfunctions – Avoidance of Accountability:…

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Added by Rick Battye on November 12, 2010 at 12:24pm — 1 Comment

Objective and Criteria

When I was in graduate school my major professor was commonly heard saying that you need to first identify your objective and then decide how you are going to measure it. I can still hear it..."What is the objective and what is your criteria?" This was in the early 80’s, and although he has moved on, it is no different now. In fact, one of the first requirements in the six sigma methodology is to…

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Added by Mark M. Clark on November 12, 2010 at 8:58am — No Comments

Start an Employee Idea Program for your Compnay ASAP

How do you improve your company? Do you expect your employees to be innovative enough to come up with your next product when you need it? What if your employees fail to come up with the next great product on time? Does this mean that its luck and if they do you…

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Added by John David Hayes on November 10, 2010 at 3:12pm — No Comments

Lucy-style Chaos...Who is Responsible?

Lucy-style Chaos...Who is Responsible?



A recent news story, Southcoast Hospitals improves efficiency through…

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Added by Henry Burdg on November 10, 2010 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Task Focus as a path to Leadership Mastery

In the last post, we discussed how process focus helps us advance our mastery of the leadership role. In this post, we need to talk about how to achieve that focus. Let’s look at a few definitions for focus:



• concentrate: direct one's attention on something

• special emphasis attached to something

• cause to converge on or toward a central point



By setting standards for our organization’s activities, we stress the importance of following a process to achieve… Continue

Added by David Hicks on November 8, 2010 at 4:06pm — No Comments

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