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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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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TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving

TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving

Lesson
Is your company interested in improving its products, services, and systems but not sure where to start? It is very likely that a solution to your problem has already been discovered by another industry somewhere in the world. Many of the most innovative companies in the world apply TRIZ inventive problem-solving methods to innovate their products and processes. TRIZ (pronounced “(/ˈtriːz/”) is a Russian acronym that translates to "theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks" and is "a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature."   TRIZ history TRIZ was first developed over 50 years ago by Russian inventor Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues. The team studied hundreds of thousands of published patents to discover patterns in the solutions…
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The Business Case for Lean

The Business Case for Lean

Lesson
Five Lean East case studies that show the benefits of Lean Thinking The Lean East team is focused on teaching and applying proven Lean Six Sigma principles and tools to develop high performing organizations. We focus specifically on organizations that provide customers with a service (i.e. healthcare, government, financial, insurance, education, construction, repairs, etc.) rather than a product. Lean Six Sigma has a long track record of success in manufacturing, but only recently became embraced by service-based industries. Some of our clients use Lean thinking as a strategic differentiator – far surpassing their previous results (and their competition). Some of our clients select us because of our expertise in Lean Six Sigma methodology. Other clients have “no idea what this Lean stuff is about.” Our goal in this post is…
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The Difference Between Push and Pull

The Difference Between Push and Pull

Lesson
  This post focuses on the difference between push and pull in Lean. The goal of Lean is for every process to “flow value at the pull of the customer.” The key terms in this statement are defined below: [caption id="attachment_3048" align="alignright" width="150"] This symbol represents "pull" in Lean value stream mapping[/caption] The ultimate Customer is the end-user – who the product or service is providing value for. The other customer is the next step in the process. What does the next step need, and when do they need it? Flow refers to how value is created in a process. In a “perfect process,” value is created during every step, without any waste (or delay) in the process. Value is defined by the customer (end-user or next step). Every step…
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Develop Scientific Thinking with Lean Kata

Develop Scientific Thinking with Lean Kata

Lesson
This month we are happy to share a simple yet powerful tool that will benefit any organization. It is the Lean Kata approach for developing a culture of scientific thinking at all levels of any organization.     What does the word “kata” mean? Kata is the Japanese word for “form” and refers to a detailed, choreographed pattern of movements practiced alone or in groups. Anyone who has ever practiced the martial arts has performed katas in front of a sensei to advance and earn additional belts. The kata allows the trainee to memorize and perfect the movements being executed so they can easily make the movements later using muscle memory. The Lean Kata was developed by Toyota and has been well described in the Mike Rother book, Toyota Kata:…
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Maximize the benefits of a huddle meeting

Maximize the benefits of a huddle meeting

Lesson
Workers often complain that meetings waste too much of their day. Work time spent in meetings has increased over the past 20 years, and a Harvard Business Review survey found over 70% of senior leaders believe meetings keep them from completing their work. We at Lean East believe that one meeting is more important than others for a team – the team huddle. Our team has worked with many organizations over the years and supported implementing and improving huddles. A well-run huddle is likely the single most effective meeting a leader will have with a team. We will answer eight common questions about huddles to help leaders and teams maximize the benefits.   What is the difference between a huddle and a scrum meeting? Let’s begin by clarifying the difference…
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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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Allowing For Trial & Error

Allowing For Trial & Error

Lesson
  We are pleased to offer our monthly lesson as a video post! You can read the lesson below, which is a formatted transcript of the presentation, or watch the 5-minute video embedded at the end.   Allowing For Trial & Error: A Better Way To Grow & Compete Have you ever worked in a place where the goal is to be unnoticed and the boss visits your area only if you are about to hear bad news? I have seen too many organizations where employees just go through the motions, doing what they are told. Raises and advancements at these workplaces are based primarily on not making mistakes. Employees are told what to do and managers make the decisions. There is no incentive to take on a challenge, learn new…
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Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Lesson
  Does your organization have a person on staff who everyone can go to in order to get a problem solved? For example, someone who knows how to obtain guest Wi-Fi access for a visiting contractor? Who is the same person who can always find that hidden file on the network, and knows how to correct the mistake in your EMR or MRP system? Perhaps your organization is a customer-facing business and this person also goes above and beyond to follow up with a customer who has a special request and double-checks every item before your product goes out the door. Picture a person on your team who matches this description. Or, are you that person on your team? People who save the day and rescue a team from disaster…
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