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  • Has something gone badly wrong with storytelling?

    Has something gone badly wrong with storytelling?

    Whether you believe in science or not, science doesn’t care I grew up professionally in a world obsessed with performance improvement – maybe too much so. The talk at conference was always about: what worked what didn’t work did what […]

     
  • What do we really look for at the gemba?

    What do we really look for at the gemba?

    Is Lean about process improvement? Or customer satisfaction improvement? Or is it about creating a learning system? Or cost reduction in the end? What do we really look for at the gemba.  Usual entry points into lean thinking are: Improve […]

     
  • What does organic thinking really mean in Organizational Development

    What does organic thinking really mean in Organizational Development

    When engineers face a quality problem, they tend to start with the last operation. If something’s wrong with a part made of plastic components, the engineer will look at final assembly first, and make his or her ways backwards to find […]

     
  • The benefits of staying perplexed

    The benefits of staying perplexed

    “I’m completely confused,” concluded a participant at a recent workshop on Lean thinking – as if this was a bad thing. Staying perplexed as long as we can is, surprisingly, a good thing. In the workshop, participants were asked to build […]

     
  • Start by asking “why?” and then “why?” again

    Start by asking “why?” and then “why?” again

    “Where do I start with lean?” I am often asked. How do I eradicate waste from my processes? How do I reduce costs? How do I improve flow? Why not start by asking “why?”? Yes, productivity is wealth. Yes, the […]

     
  • How to change a habit: lean or taylorism?

    How to change a habit: lean or taylorism?

    A large part of the quality of what we do is down to work habits. We can see this everyday: some people have good work habits, and work well. Others have poor work habits, and don’t work so well. Some […]

     
  • What is your customer engagement ladder?

    What is your customer engagement ladder?

    The lean approach to sales is seeing customers as friends: we help them get done what they want to get done, with the lowest cost and hassle possible, they help us stay in business by accepting our prices. But how does […]

     
  • The amazing challenging power of TPS

    The amazing challenging power of TPS

    Toyota’s Thinking People System continues to amaze me. To prepare for tomorrow’s gemba visit of one of their sites, the CEO and COO of this service company used the TPS House to draw the list of challenges they needed to […]

     
  • Do you want to learn lean? Or do you want to talk about lean?

    Do you want to learn lean? Or do you want to talk about lean?

    Before you read this post, ask yourself the following three questions: Am I improving customer value today? Am I investigating customer complaints systematically? I am challenging what I understand of my customer’s business model? What topic am I currently engaged […]

     
  • People need hope, they need wins, they need kaizen

    People need hope, they need wins, they need kaizen

    Sometimes, business is tough. Sometimes, products are undersold, markets reverse, competition is unduly aggressive. Sometimes core technologies change. When the company hits troubled waters, people can find themselves working very hard just to stay afloat, stuck in a “Red Queen” […]