Selecting a Lean Project

Selecting a Lean Project

Lesson
  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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The Power of A3 Process Improvement

The Power of A3 Process Improvement

Lesson
The Lean East team helps organizations learn how to use Lean thinking and tools to remove waste from their processes. We prefer to employ a “learn by doing” approach where we train and coach these methods while engaged in organizational improvement projects. If organizations already have an established improvement process we will work within that process and seek to improve it. But if the organization does not have a robust process in place (and most do not) then we recommend using the Lean East A3 Process Improvement tool.   Lean thinking Let’s define a few terms first. Lean refers to a philosophy and management strategy focused on customer value and respect for people. Lean is not about layoffs or running the organization on a shoestring. Lean is continually improving the…
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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, (i.e. “be brutally honest”). Scott names…
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Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

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. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work is a book by Chip and Dan Heath published in 2013. Lean East has previously reviewed their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard and also enjoyed Made to Stick. This book presents a fairly simple process for decision making (click here for a one-page PDF of this process prepared by the authors). The content of the book focuses on the 4-step WRAP process and…
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Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive

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. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business is a 2016 book (and already a bestseller) written by Charles Duhigg, author of the 2012 bestselling book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Duhigg is a storyteller with a style similar to Malcolm Gladwell and Atul Gawande. The book is broken into eight topics, each with their own chapter. Those looking for a quick synopsis can always read…
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The Achievement Habit

The Achievement Habit

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 Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life is a 2015 book written by Bernie Roth, one of the founders of the Institute of Design at Stanford, AKA the “d.school.” Design thinking has many similarities to Lean thinking and the A3 improvement process coached by our team at Lean East. The Stanford d.school steps to design thinking are: Empathize: think about the user (customer) and their issues Define the problem: narrow down which user…
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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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