Great by Choice

Great by Choice

Summary
Authors Jim Collins (Good to Great and Built to Last) and Morten Hansen compare another set of companies to learn what differentiates the great. This time the research focuses on the question: “Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and some do not?” The nine-year research project forms the basis of their 2011 book, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. This post summarizes four key choices made by leaders of the best companies (defined as companies that beat their industry indexes by at least 10X over 15 years) that challenge conventional wisdom. You may be surprised to learn that the “10X” companies: Were not more risky, visionary, or creative than their counterparts Focused more on scaling innovation than innovation by itself Changed…
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Setting Objectives: Measure What Matters

Setting Objectives: Measure What Matters

Lesson
Learn how to write SMART goals and the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method of setting objectives from the book Measure What Matters. As we approach the end of the year, it is a great time to review best practices for setting new objectives.   This post will cover: how to write SMART goals, the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method of management, tips from the book Measure What Matters, how OKRs and KPIs are related, and setting objectives for personal kaizen. We also have a special BONUS OFFER at the end of the post. Connect with us to learn Google's 5 OKR traps to avoid.   SMART Goals We always recommend individuals and organizations set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for: S = Spe­cif­ic. Be precise in the…
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Green and Clean: Servant Leadership

Green and Clean: Servant Leadership

Lesson
This past month has been a busy one for Lean East with several new clients. As I reflect on lessons from the past month to blog about, one theme has come up several times in my discussions with top executives. The discussion goes something like this:   Executive: “I don’t think this employee is going to work out.” Me: “What is the issue?” Executive: “I’m hearing complaints from the team about this employee. He/she isn’t keeping up with the work. When I look into their projects they are often falling behind.” Me: “What is the employee's expectation and how is it measured?” Executive: “They know they have to keep up and be responsive. When I sent the employee an email to ask about a recent issue they didn’t even email…
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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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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 Infinite Game

The Infinite Game

Summary
This month we summarize the 2019 book The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. This is Sinek’s third book and follows the 2014 bestseller, Leaders Eat Last. There are two kinds of games. Finite games have known players and fixed rules. As I write this sentence, I am watching the finite game of football. The game has two known teams pitted against one another with referees enforcing the rules. One team will win the game by having scored more points as the time expires. Infinite games are played by known and unknown players. There are no agreed-upon rules, and no finish line or clock signaling the end of the contest. There is, therefore, no way to “win” an infinite game; the best you can do is keep playing. Sinek notes that…
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Leadership Lessons from Extreme Ownership

Leadership Lessons from Extreme Ownership

Summary
This post shares the lessons from the 2015 book Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Willink and Babin were Navy SEALs who led the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq war. The book demonstrates how SEAL leadership principles apply to business. Each chapter describes a situation from the war in Iraq in the insurgent occupied Ramadi where Babin led a unit that reported to Willink. Stories from the battlefield demonstrate each principle, then the authors define the principle and share an example from a business situation that further demonstrates the principle. Many of the principles are well covered in other leadership books, but several are lesser-known. This post will describe the leadership principles themselves. If you enjoy reading…
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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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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…
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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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