The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth)

The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth)

Summary
  The Entrepreneurial Myth (E-Myth) has had a profound cost in America – in lost resources, lost opportunities, and wasted lives. Most small business owners are not venture capital funded tech companies, despite what we hear about on the news. The majority of businesses get started because employees who are strong at their craft technically become frustrated and feel unappreciated by their employers. These carpenters, mechanics, programmers, cooks, barbers, doctors, plumbers, graphic designs, engineers, etc. get the “entrepreneurial itch” to ditch their worthless boss and call their own shots. Most of these new businesses fail within the first few years due to a misconception about entrepreneurship. The fatal assumption is: "if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work."   Why…
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Continuous Flow

Continuous Flow

Lesson
Every Lean expert will tell you that continuous flow of value is the goal of a Lean process. Batching work is the opposite of continuous flow, yet most people batch jobs because they feel it is more efficient. For example, if we are baking a cake we may as well bake a second cake while the recipe book is open, all the ingredients are out, and the oven is on. The time for baking two cakes in a batch will be only slightly more than baking a single cake. The average time per cake is, therefore, lower when batching - this is more efficient! So if batching is more efficient, are the Lean experts wrong?   Why we batch work All people, even lean practitioners, batch some of their work.…
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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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Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints

Summary
  This is a summary of the story and key lessons from the 1984 classic The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eli Goldratt that introduced the world to the Theory of Constraints. Goldratt has published multiple editions of the original book, and also adapted the TOC concept to project management theory with his book Critical Chain, published in 1997.   The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is an operations management method that views any system as being limited in achieving its goals by a small number of constraints. Every system has at least one constraint – TOC uses a focusing process to identify and eliminate the constraint, therefore raising the output of the entire system. “No Chain is Stronger Than Its Weakest Link”     The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement…
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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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Ten Lessons from Built to Last

Ten Lessons from Built to Last

Summary
Authors Jim Collins (author of the best-sellers Good to Great and Great by Choice) and Jerry Porras compared 18 sets of long-running and successful companies to learn what differentiated the visionary company from the comparison company. Their research identified key traits and habits prevalent in the more successful companies and formed the basis of their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. This post summarizes ten lessons of visionary companies from the book and, as a bonus, offers six suggestions for leaders to better align an organization.   You don’t need a great idea to start a great company. Few of the visionary companies in the book began with even any specific idea. Visionary companies often get off to a slow start, but set BHAGs (below) and continue…
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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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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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