The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Review
  Patrick Lencioni wrote The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable in 2002. The popular book is about imaginary company Decision Tech, and how a new CEO turned the company around. The CEO, Kathryn, molded her senior managers into a true team by addressing five dysfunctions she observed. Much of the fable focuses on a series of senior leadership retreats where Kathryn helps her team learn and address the dysfunctions. The book is a quick read and the easy-to-follow plot will appeal to readers of fiction. This Lean East blog post focuses on the final several chapters of the book (the non-fiction section) where the five team dysfunctions are summarized. Do any of these issues occur on your leadership team?   Dysfunction No. 1: An Absence of Trust…
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Team of Teams

Team of Teams

Review
  Retired US General Stanley McChrystal was frustrated. The US battle against the jihadist militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria) after the US occupation of Iraq was not going well. ISIS always seemed to be a step ahead of his forces. His forces took too long to process and act on intelligence – by the time the location of an ISIS cell was acted upon the location had long been abandoned. McChrystal was learning that the network structure of ISIS allowed them to adapt more quickly than US forces to avoid capture. While the US had overwhelming resources and a disciplined command-and-control structure, ISIS operated much faster – more like a group of separate franchises with a common purpose.   Command Structures The US Military in the…
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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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Radical Candor

Radical Candor

Review
  This is a summary of the 2017 book, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott. Ms. Scott describes leadership lessons she learned while working in Silicon Valley for Google, Apple, and start-up companies. Her former boss at Google (and an accomplished author herself) Sheryl Sandberg writes, “Radical Candor will help you inspire teams to do the best work of their lives.” Great bosses have strong relationships with their employees. Three simple principles for building better employee relationships are: Make it personal Get (sh)it done Understand why it matters Scott shares the concept of Radical Candor on a 2X2 grid with one axis how much you care personally about the person and the other axis how much you challenge directly. Scott names each of the…
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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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Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last

Review
In our previous posts, we have discussed the importance of having a clear reason to change and explained that organizational culture and history matters when establishing a sense of urgency. Now we will look at some of the reasons why this is the case, truly “evolutionary” reasons related to our brain. Thanks to the trial-and-error process of evolution taking place over the past two-and-a-half million years, human brains have adapted to survive. In the 2014 book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, author Simon Sinek explains why a feeling of safety is necessary whether we are a caveman or an assistant in a large corporation. Sinek discusses five chemicals that our body has designed for evolutionary reasons that still impact all of us every day.…
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The Speed of Trust

The Speed of Trust

Review
This is part of an ongoing series of organizational and personal improvement book reviews. If you have read the book already use this as a reminder of key lessons. If you have not read the book and are looking to learn and grow as a leader, this summary will share the basics. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything is a book by Stephen M. R. Covey . . . but not the well-known author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People who died after a biking accident in 2012, rather his oldest son. The Speed of Trust is now ten years old and I have referred to the book numerous times while training and coaching leaders. I wanted to cover the key topics of the…
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Is Donald Trump a Lean Leader?

Is Donald Trump a Lean Leader?

Lesson
The rise in the polls Donald Trump experienced this summer left many people wondering about this business leader. What kind of a leader is Donald Trump? Does his business success translate well to politics, and especially to holding a job like the President of the United States (POTUS)? If Trump is elected the POTUS he will be in charge of an executive branch with its 2.6 Million employees, and Commander-in-Chief of the US Military and its 1.5 Million uniformed personnel. As President of Lean East and a longtime expert in Lean thinking, I teach and coach executives on leadership practices that will bring out the best in their organization. This post will rate Donald Trump on some traits I look for in effective “Lean” leaders.   Trait 1: Focus first…
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Five Thoughts on Lean Transformation Models

Five Thoughts on Lean Transformation Models

Lesson
Various models have been created to share key steps in a successful Lean transformation, whether in healthcare or other industries. In my career, and as President of Lean East, I have been a leader in multiple transformations but am always searching for ways to continually improve my coaching and teaching. In this post I will provide an overview of two transformation models I have researched and provide five thoughts based on the models and my personal experience.   The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) has created a very nice framework or model describing the required steps for a Lean transformation within an organization. Their graphic is below and you can click this link to see further details about their model.   LEI’s model was developed for any Lean transformation, be it…
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Ready…Fire!…Aim

Ready…Fire!…Aim

Lesson
In the 21st century it is necessary for continuous improvement to become a habit ingrained within organizations. Change today occurs so fast that you are either improving or you are quickly falling behind your peers. But how can organizations and teams establish continuous improvement practices and habits? A key step in continuous improvement is usually the first one – taking action. Begin by realizing that no change effort is ever going to achieve perfection. Over-planning a change loses momentum and interest from the team; another problem will soon develop that pushes the current issue aside. Perfection can be the enemy of “good enough.” "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." ~ Zig Ziglar. In many organizations, people and teams are debilitated by a fear…
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