- In Lean and Free Will Mark tackles the delicate issue of having to compel people to change their behaviors. As leaders we often have to do this to some degree, but the difficulty lies in turning this into a sustainable culture. "[B]ridging the lean compulsion realm to the lean transformation realm", as Mark puts it, is really the trick; and this article helps in understanding how to make this happen and how to recognize when it has.
- Lean Listening gives some great advice on how to recognize important clues in the words people use when talking about their current situation. In our gemba walks we tend to focus a lot on the wastes we can see, but these verbal clues can give even more information about the hidden wastes in any system.
- In 12 Narrow Lean Gates we see a great distillation of the common tests that lean leaders face, especially early on in our journeys. Mark emphasizes the importance of recognizing when we are being tested in these ways and sticking to our core principles no matter how difficult it may be.
- Tiered Meeting = Team Stand-up A3 is a clever adaptation of the A3 process to stand-up meetings. I like the idea of using this simple and effective structure to drive more effective stand-ups.
Gotta Go Lean, written by Jeff Hajek. Jeff is also a consultant with a broad range of industry experience and author of the book Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit. One of the neat things about Jeff's blog and his web site is that it's a great resource for free lean tools and reference materials, including his Continuous Improvement Companion, an impressive Lean Dictionary of common terms, and a host of very useful forms. Here's a sampling of some of his 2012 content:
- Jeff's Queueing Theory article is part of his Lean Dictionary mentioned above and is a well-written and easy-to-understand treatment of a concept that is typically not easy to understand. As a curious but very superficial student of queueing theory I found his explanation, particularly the practical effects and without all the math, very helpful.
- In 6 Big Data Analysis Mistakes The Hinder Lean Efforts we see the common pitfalls of data analysis that people so often get tripped up by. As a Six Sigma guy from way back I'm big on data collection and analysis, but I've seen many teams fall victim to these mistakes. Being able to recognize them is key.
- The Lean Assessment Litmus Test is a series of articles with some great insights on how to assess an organization's place along the lean journey. Lean assessments in general are highly subjective and often of questionable value, but this one contains some pretty thought-provoking questions to at least give you a good sense of where you are.
- Finally, Kaizen Kit, another entry in the Lean Dictionary, is a simple but highly effective tool that every kaizen leader should familiarize themselves with. I'm a huge believer in this because it saves time and makes kaizen events run much smoother.
Please take the time to check out some of the other Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnivals. They're a great way to discover new authors and new content. And thanks to John Hunter for inviting me to participate this year!