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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7 Lessons from Good to Great

7 Lessons from Good to Great

Lesson
  Influential management professor Jim Collins released the popular Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t in 2001. The book is really a research project led by Collins as a follow-up to his book Built to Last. He researched hundreds of companies to identify sets of “good” companies where one became “great” while a close competitor failed. Collins and his team tried to discover what the “great” companies did differently from the comparison companies and the general market. The book is a bestseller that has become a management strategy classic on how to grow a successful company and our team has given the book as a gift to numerous organizational leaders. Key points can be summarized by the image below – this post will summarize the key…
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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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Start with Why

Start with Why

Lesson
This month we discuss the 2009 book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. In this favorite book of many leaders, Sinek asks why some companies are able to achieve things that defy all the assumptions. For example, why is Apple so innovative? Why did the Wright Brothers achieve flight before their better funded, better qualified competition? Sinek believes that the great and inspiring leaders and organizations all think, act and communicate in the same way – and it is the opposite of everyone else. All leaders and organizations know WHAT they do (the product or service) and some know HOW they do it (the “differentiating value proposition,” “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition.”) Very few companies can clearly articulate WHY they do…
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Simplify the Customer

Simplify the Customer

Summary
To improve health care delivery in the United States, simplify the customer Lean Six Sigma focuses on maximizing value for the customer by removing waste from processes. The customer is usually easy to identify; they purchase a product or service and expect that product or service to have the features they want, at the time they want it, with perfect quality at the lowest possible price. In a free market system, companies that provide customers the most value at the lowest cost are rewarded. US-based health care is not a free market system, making the customers in health care harder to identify and understand. Our Lean Healthcare East team has identified customers for our (United States based) client organizations as: Client organization Customer Hospital and physician practice The admitted patient…
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Five Thoughts on Lean Transformation Models

Five Thoughts on Lean Transformation Models

Summary
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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