Traction/Entrepreneurial Operating System

Traction/Entrepreneurial Operating System

Summary
Several clients and trusted partners we work with have recently implemented some of the ideas discussed in the 2011 book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. The book introduces an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that small and medium-sized enterprises can use to simplify how they grow their business.   EOS simplifies the many aspects of an organization into six core components as shown below. We will explain these six components and how they work together in a powerful system. EOS contains good tools for a small business if you don't already have a management system. None of the six components in EOS are novel, but the overall system uses the KISS method (Keep it Simple, Stupid) to help a business owner focus.   VISION A business…
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The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist Manifesto

Summary
  This post summarizes a wonderful book that is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. Atul Gawande wrote the best-seller The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right in 2009. It was the third book by the author and has become influential in healthcare and beyond. Gawande is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. In June of 2018 he was named CEO of the recently formed healthcare venture Haven, owned by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase.   I’ll let Gawande summarize the core idea from his book: “Avoidable failures are common and persistent, not to mention demoralizing and frustrating, across many fields –…
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Lean Startup Thinking

Lean Startup Thinking

Summary
This blog post is a continuation of last month's 'The Need for Lean Innovation' where we introduce the concept of Lean innovation and make the case for why businesses and organizations need to prioritize learning through experimentation.  One recent book that captures many principles of Lean Innovation is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Ries applies several concepts of Lean thinking to the realm of startups, where there is huge uncertainty about the success of the innovation and business model. A few of the key ideas are: Working smarter, not harder: the key question is not “can this product be built?” but rather “should this product be built?” and “will this result in a sustainable business?” Developing a Minimal Viable Product (MVP): the MVP should be easy to build and…
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Ideas for Action from The Culture Code

Ideas for Action from The Culture Code

Summary
Daniel Coyle wrote the bestselling book The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups in 2018 as a follow-up to his bestselling book The Talent Code. Both books are well researched and highly recommended reads by Lean East. This post summarizes several of the “ideas for action” from the book into a basic leadership action plan. Culture is not something you are, it is something you do. Coyle focuses on three keys to building a cohesive, motivated culture – build safety, share vulnerability and establish purpose. The book shares his research on each of these areas and each section has ideas any leader can implement to improve their organization’s culture. Below are 20 ideas you can begin implementing today. Please share with others and leave a comment below if…
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Leadership for New Leaders

Leadership for New Leaders

Summary
  I was chatting with friends at a gathering recently when I happened to ask the 30 year-old daughter of the host about her new job. “It is going well,” she said, “but I am having a hard time with one of my new employees.” She proceeded to explain how one employee didn’t seem pleased to have her as his new manager. “He has worked with the company longer than me and doesn’t seem to want to do what I ask.” Her husband joined the conversation and mentioned his similar challenges as a new leader at a different company. His company was larger, and he was benefitting from the leadership training they offered. I later realized the topic of leadership training was worthy of additional research and a helpful post,…
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Developing High-Performing Organizations

Developing High-Performing Organizations

Summary
Lean East was founded in 2010 with a mission to bring out the best in organizations by bringing out the best in people. We focus on introducing proven Lean Six Sigma improvement methods to service organizations in Maine and New England – in industries including healthcare, government, insurance, construction, and finance. Many of the clients we have partnered with have had a common goal – to improve their culture and performance and provide better customer service. Some client organizations want to improve their processes and provide more customer value with less waste. Others focus more on changing work culture, training their leaders and staff, and improving teamwork. One client wanted to improve in multiple dimensions and move the company from good to great. A common theme with all our clients is…
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Selecting a Lean Project

Selecting a Lean Project

Summary
  The Lean East team has had several meetings in the past month with organizations new to Lean thinking. The leaders of these organizations want to improve processes and have learned that Lean principles work. But with all the problems and improvement needs in a typical organization, where do you begin?   When leaders ask us for input and support for selecting a Lean project, we share our simple project selection matrix. Here are the eight items we review and rate – each either passes or fails. We recommend prioritizing the projects that pass all, or nearly all, of the following criteria:   Important to the team and organization: Ensure the project you are considering is related to a critical organizational need. A successful project result needs to matter to…
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Understanding Key Performance Indicators

Understanding Key Performance Indicators

Summary
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the vital few metrics that define success or failure for a process. KPIs vary based upon the process being studied and the definitions of success for the process. Good organizations understand their KPIs. Better organizations measure them. The best organizations seek to improve them every day. Read on to learn about Key Performance Indicators and how a team or department can use a balanced scorecard of KPIs to support improvement.     The initial challenge with KPIs is selecting them properly from the many possible performance indicators available. The second challenge is determining how to measure and share them throughout the organization. Our team has helped numerous organizations establish and measure KPIs. Here are some highlights from the Lean East training module covering the selection…
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The Power of A3 Process Improvement

The Power of A3 Process Improvement

Summary
The Lean East team helps organizations learn how to use Lean thinking and tools to remove waste from their processes. We prefer to employ a “learn by doing” approach where we train and coach these methods while engaged in organizational improvement projects. If organizations already have an established improvement process we will work within that process and seek to improve it. But if the organization does not have a robust process in place (and most do not) then we recommend using the Lean East A3 Process Improvement tool.   Lean thinking Let’s define a few terms first. Lean refers to a philosophy and management strategy focused on customer value and respect for people. Lean is not about layoffs or running the organization on a shoestring. Lean is continually improving the…
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Coaching and The Art of Possibility

Coaching and The Art of Possibility

Summary
  Much of our support at Lean East involves coaching leaders and teams as they improve their processes. But what is coaching? Here are six traits of good coaching and some examples from the book The Art of Possibility.   Six Traits of Good Coaching Coaches focus on people and drive results. Coaching is not the same as teaching or mentoring. Teachers impart their skills and wisdom to others. Mentors share lessons based on their experience. Coaches unlock potential in the participant and help them discover their own solutions. Coaches share alignment and establish trust. The mission and goal must be agreed upon by the participant and coach. The participant and coach also need to have mutual trust for one another. Learn more about trust at this post. Coaches ask…
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