Leadership for New Leaders

Leadership for New Leaders

Lesson
  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

Lesson
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

Lesson
  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

Lesson
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

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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

Lesson
  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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Five Ways to Engage Millennials

Five Ways to Engage Millennials

Lesson
Millennials (also known as Generation Y) represent people born from about 1982 to 2000.1  These 17 to 35-year-olds are expected to represent 75% of the US workforce by 2025 and are technologically savvy and purpose driven. Yet business leaders have expressed frustration from this group of workers. How can they attract, hire and retain talented young millennials?   Leaders find millennials make challenging employees due to their sense of entitlement, impatience, and inattention to authority.2  Many millennials struggled to find good jobs during the 2008 recession and have been called “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents” by Time Magazine. Yet millennials are technologically savvy and purpose-driven. Companies that relate well to this age group can benefit greatly. Here are five ways you can engage the millennials who already…
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Accelerating Change

Accelerating Change

Lesson
  Organizational improvement is becoming more and more important every year as the pace of change in technology, consumers, and competitors is accelerating. Twenty years ago, companies didn’t have websites since people were still sending email on their dial-up modems. Google search engines didn’t exist. It is just ten years ago that Apple introduced the iPhone. Remember when we rented movies from stores instead of streaming them? It is becoming rare for me to visit a store any more now that I can read product reviews online, order with one click from my phone, and have the item at my door in two days for free. I am learning to adapt, but my children are growing up in a world where they expect instant gratification: any item or information they…
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Establishing a Sense of Urgency

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

Lesson
People Don't Hate Change II Establishing a Sense of Urgency This is our second post reviewing why some teams and organizations struggle with change more than others. In our previous post, we share the need to create a burning platform – a clear reason to change. Unfortunately, many leaders struggle with this first important need. Consider these two scenarios: Leader A:         The leader meets with the team and shares recent performance results. The new initiative is not meeting goal, putting the future of the entire team at risk. A 20% cost reduction will need to be made, and each member of the team is asked to help identify and make the changes. Leader B:         The leader meets with the team and offers coaching and facilitation for team members to improve the process…
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People Don’t Hate Change

People Don’t Hate Change

Lesson
People Don't Hate Change Improve your change process and people will enjoy change Change occurs all the time; how can you get better at it?   At Lean East, we coach teams on how to improve their processes. Most of the organizations we help have dedicated employees and smart leaders, yet they struggle to make changes. We often hear the excuse from individuals that they don't like to change, yet some teams and a few organizations don't have these same issues. Why do some teams and organizations struggle with change more than others? We have observed several causes for these struggles and grouped them into several themes. In our next several blog posts we will describe several common issues and give examples of each. We will then conclude by showing how…
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