The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth)

The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth)

Summary
  The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth) has had a profound cost in America – in lost resources, lost opportunities, and wasted lives. Most small business owners are not venture capital funded tech companies, despite what we hear about on the news. The majority of businesses get started because employees who are strong at their craft technically become frustrated and feel unappreciated by their employers. These carpenters, mechanics, programmers, cooks, barbers, doctors, plumbers, graphic designs, engineers, etc. get the “entrepreneurial itch” to ditch their worthless boss and call their own shots. Most of these new businesses fail within the first few years due to a misconception about entrepreneurship. The fatal assumption is: "if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work."   Why…
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Competing Against Luck

Competing Against Luck

Summary
Competing Against Luck is the 2016 story of innovation and customer choice by Clayton M. Christensen that introduces jobs theory. Do you know why your most recent customer purchased your product or service? Not the obvious reason, but the deeper reason behind the choice? For example, why do people buy milkshakes? Are you buying the milkshake to satisfy hunger? As a dessert treat? To cool you off on a hot day? To appease your kids for a few minutes of peace and quiet?   Competing Against Luck Clayton Christensen introduced the groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation in his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma. The concept (discussed by Lean East in this post) has been called the most influential business idea of the early 21st century and made Christensen one of…
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Continuous Flow

Continuous Flow

Lesson
Every Lean expert will tell you that continuous flow of value is the goal of a Lean process. Batching work is the opposite of continuous flow, yet most people batch jobs because they feel it is more efficient. For example, if we are baking a cake we may as well bake a second cake while the recipe book is open, all the ingredients are out, and the oven is on. The time for baking two cakes in a batch will be only slightly more than baking a single cake. The average time per cake is, therefore, lower when batching - this is more efficient! So if batching is more efficient, are the Lean experts wrong?   Why we batch work All people, even lean practitioners, batch some of their work.…
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Great by Choice

Great by Choice

Summary
Authors Jim Collins (Good to Great and Built to Last) and Morten Hansen compare another set of companies to learn what differentiates the great. This time the research focuses on the question: “Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and some do not?” The nine-year research project forms the basis of their 2011 book, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. This post summarizes four key choices made by leaders of the best companies (defined as companies that beat their industry indexes by at least 10X over 15 years) that challenge conventional wisdom. You may be surprised to learn that the “10X” companies: Were not more risky, visionary, or creative than their counterparts Focused more on scaling innovation than innovation by itself Changed…
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Setting Objectives: Measure What Matters

Setting Objectives: Measure What Matters

Lesson
Learn how to write SMART goals and the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method of setting objectives from the book Measure What Matters. As we approach the end of the year, it is a great time to review best practices for setting new objectives.   This post will cover: how to write SMART goals, the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method of management, tips from the book Measure What Matters, how OKRs and KPIs are related, and setting objectives for personal kaizen. We also have a special BONUS OFFER at the end of the post. Connect with us to learn Google's 5 OKR traps to avoid.   SMART Goals We always recommend individuals and organizations set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for: S = Spe­cif­ic. Be precise in the…
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Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints

Summary
  This is a summary of the story and key lessons from the 1984 classic The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eli Goldratt that introduced the world to the Theory of Constraints. Goldratt has published multiple editions of the original book, and also adapted the TOC concept to project management theory with his book Critical Chain, published in 1997.   The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is an operations management method that views any system as being limited in achieving its goals by a small number of constraints. Every system has at least one constraint – TOC uses a focusing process to identify and eliminate the constraint, therefore raising the output of the entire system. “No Chain is Stronger Than Its Weakest Link”     The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement…
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Personal Kaizen: Habits

Personal Kaizen: Habits

Lesson
The Lean East team uses proven principles and tools of continuous improvement to support organizational change. The Toyota Motor Corporation developed many of these Lean continuous improvement principles, and one of the core principles of their Toyota Production System (TPS) is “Kaizen.”   Kaizen Kaizen is a Japanese word that translates to "change for the good.” Kaizen results from making many tiny improvements to a system or process. The accumulated improvements eventually lead to significant results. Kaizen applies to individuals in the same way it applies to organizations. Many small, repeated gains add up to a significant change; this is the “compound effect” at work. Most of us are too busy to take four weeks off from work to learn a language but we could easily make time for one 5-minute…
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Solve Problems Before They Happen

Solve Problems Before They Happen

Summary
This is a summary of the 2020 Dan Heath book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. Dan and his brother Chip have previously written several bestsellers we have summarized, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Upstream covers a key Lean continuous Improvement topic: problem solving to root cause. Often the most effective (and least expensive) way to fix a problem is by preventing it from ever occurring. “So often we find ourselves reacting to problems, putting out fires, dealing with emergencies. We should shift our attention to preventing them.”   3 Barriers to Overcome Heath begins by sharing some common thinking barriers we need to overcome as we move upstream.   Problem Blindness:…
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Green and Clean: Servant Leadership

Green and Clean: Servant Leadership

Lesson
This past month has been a busy one for Lean East with several new clients. As I reflect on lessons from the past month to blog about, one theme has come up several times in my discussions with top executives. The discussion goes something like this:   Executive: “I don’t think this employee is going to work out.” Me: “What is the issue?” Executive: “I’m hearing complaints from the team about this employee. He/she isn’t keeping up with the work. When I look into their projects they are often falling behind.” Me: “What is the employee's expectation and how is it measured?” Executive: “They know they have to keep up and be responsive. When I sent the employee an email to ask about a recent issue they didn’t even email…
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7 Habits for Highly Effective People

7 Habits for Highly Effective People

Summary
The current (July, 2020) racial tension in the United States has led me to recall one of my favorite productivity lessons: “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This is Habit 5 from Stephen R. Covey’s bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since Covey’s book is now 30 years old, I wonder how many millennials have never read the book or learned its timeless lessons? Here is a brief summary of the key lessons from the 7 Habits. Stephen R. Covey – R.I.P.   Habit 1: Be Proactive Whenever something impacts you, YOU are in control of the response. Effective people choose to take the initiative and act back. The key lesson in Habit 1 is understanding whether you control, influence, or only have concern about an…
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