Small Giants

Small Giants

Summary
  People who learn principles from the leaders and companies profiled in Jim Collin’s book Good to Great sometimes wonder if the lessons from large, publicly owned companies translate to their small businesses. For example, it may be hard to “fire bullets, then cannonballs” when you only have a three-person team! Author Bo Burlingham wrote Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big as a study of smaller companies and their leaders. He interviewed many leaders from private businesses featured in his magazine over the years and shares what makes them different – and better than – their peers. These entrepreneurs aren’t focused on the idea of an IPO or acquisition, they are committed to building an exceptional business using other measures.   Bo Burlingham Author Bo…
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Introducing PersonalKaizen.co

Introducing PersonalKaizen.co

Lesson
  As an organization, Lean East is committed to growth and continuous improvement within our community. In the last five years we have seen an increased interest in our blog posts, and in particular our content focused on continuous personal improvement. From this discovery, we are launching personalkaizen.co for professionals interested in individual continuous improvement. Our new Personal Kaizen community is based upon Lean East's extremely popular Personal Kaizen post about developing continuous improvement habits. We are honored and humbled to begin sharing more frequent tips, hacks, and improvement ideas with our worldwide community while continuing to provide the services that are the heart of Lean East’s mission. We will also continue to post on our popular Lean East blog and send this monthly newsletter. Personal Kaizen (personalkaizen.co) is for…
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10 Rules for Life

10 Rules for Life

Lesson
Lean East Founder Steve Musica shares his 10 Rules for Life in the hope that these rules will help you improve and maximize your life. The Lean East team has been helping develop high-performing organizations for the past 10 years. In this time, we have met with numerous leaders and teams and continually improved how we coach and lead process improvement projects. We have also attended numerous conferences and events and I have personally read hundreds of books on the topics of improvement and change. I have used this accumulated knowledge to develop some general rules for how to live my life. We hope sharing these 10 Rules for Life with our readers will encourage you to become a better person.   10 Rules for Life Maximize your natural strengths.…
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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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