Lean Engagement Team

Starting a Collaborative In Any Field

  If someone was looking at starting a collaborative in any field, Healthcare, Manufacturing, could  you give them a little of advice on where they might go or how they would start. -jd

Dean Bliss:      I wasn’t part of the beginning of the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, so I can talk about the Lean Consortium a little that we did start several years ago, and one of the things that we got together and kind of had a “what should this be” session where we rounded up a bunch of the people we knew and had a consultant come in and help us conduct a session. So really, it’s kind of a 3P in a way because we were looking at “Well, what should we do and how should we structure it, and what kind of things should we offer?” and all those kind of things and we wanted to do that in advance and not just say “Let’s have a consortium. Let’s all get together and do some stuff.” collaboration

Well, let’s figure out what that stuff is. Let’s figure out what the value is. Let’s figure out what it would mean to be a member, what are the things if I was a member I would expect, what are the things that we can provide that are going to give value to those members? How are we going to deliver it? You know, what are the delivery methods? Is it live? Is it online? Is it podcast? Is it webcast? All those kind of things we wanted to work out in advance before we started taking people’s money essentially because we wanted to make sure that we were going to give something with value.

Again, back to our Lean thinking days; it all starts from value. From there, we said, “All right, should we be a single industry thing? Should we be a multi-industry thing? Is this something that beginners can be part of as well as experienced people can be part of?” We were really kind of setting the framework for what we wanted to be.

Around the country I know, there’re manufacturing-only ones, and there’re multi-industry ones and it really kind of depends on what their area is and what is available in their area. Make sure people don’t have to travel too far to get there, those kinds of things. So all those things were factors as we put the Lean Consortium together, really trying to understand how it’s going to be used, how it’s going to be deployed and what are the things that people are going to get out of it?

Related Podcast and Transcription: A Blissful Conversation

Dean Bliss is a Lean Healthcare Coach for the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). He assists Healthcare organizations in learning and applying continuous improvement activities and philosophy.

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Are You Qualified to Drive the Boat?

Randy Nelson, author of The Second Decision, is a speaker, a coach, a Qualified Entrepreneur, and a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He co-founded and later sold two market-leading, Randy Nelsonmultimillion dollar companies–Orion International and NSTAR Global Services. Randy now runs Gold Dolphins LLC, a coaching and mentoring firm to help entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs become Qualified Entrepreneurs and achieve their maximum potential.

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Challenging the Traditional Pillars of Lean?

Today’s businesses are increasingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. He says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit’s warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for “smart simplicity.” (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.). His book, Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated is a great follow up if you like this video.

In the video, I think Yves challenges a few of the tenets of the pillars of Lean; Continuous Improvement and Respect for People.

What do you think? Does he reinforce them or oppose them?

Implementing TWI Skills Into Daily Routines

Mark Warren, of Tesla2 Inc. has decades years of experience working with Tier 1 and 2 suppliers to improve their manufacturing productivity and quality. He travels the world to learn and teach about Lean Mark warren and most specifically TWI.  He likes to concentrate on problem solving methodologies as applied to lean manufacturing, failure analysis, reliability improvements, and in-house, OEM and field warranty failure reduction.  Mark will be discussing Training within Industry at the upcoming 9th Annual TWI Summit n Jacksonville, FL.

Mark’s session at the Summit is Making TWI Useful: Ohno’s Secrets: Results of a case study from multiple industries (high volume to low volume – machining, assembly, foundry, textile and office) Inspired by a 1956 program delivered in Japan that taught problem solving using all three TWI skills and the Management Training Program targeting middle managers. The objective was to create similar results as Ohno did inside Toyota. The experimental program spends limited time on theory and mostly focuses on application and coaching of the skills. This is done by simplifying the implementation of the TWI skills into the daily routines of supervisors and managers.

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Should you Quit Selling and Start Facilitating?

In last Friday’s blog post, Is Your Sales Team Prepared to Sell to a Team, I discussed a few of the barriers that I believe exists for Salespeople and their lack of training in selling to groups of decision makers. I have investigated several ways of approaching sales people and have tried a few myself in a role of a sales person. One of the areas that I feel has a fair amount of merit is for the sales person to take the role of a facilitator during a group session.

Sales Facilitation

In this role and much of this paraphrased the book, The Action Learning Guidebook: A Real-Time Strategy for Problem Solving Training Design and Employee Development, an old time favorite of mine. In the book, the author includes an assessment that I found useful discussing with a salesperson before and after a customer meeting. The assessment goes something like this:

  1.  What type of body language and nonverbal behavior did you notice within the group?
  2.  Did it change when certain people left the room?
  3.  Which members were actively listening and which ones were not?
  4.  Who supplied the skillful and thoughtful questions for the organizations? For their Own department? For themselves?
  5.  Where was the highest focal point of the group? Of any individual?
  6. Were you able to summarize, the thought and feeling from the meeting? And was it agree with?

This is not meant to be a complete list, but I think it does a good job summarizing a few thoughts. As you can see, it has little to do with selling but more to do with bringing the group to a common decision. Most decisions made within a group are far from what we might call people coming to a consensus. Certain parts of the group are going to be more affected by the decision than others. So, in any situation it is important to identify them early as they often will have the strongest voice.

Another key fact is that just about always, you will have a few naysayers and a few proponents of the decision or purchase. Your job should not be trying to change the minds, of either of those parties. It may be just to handle damage control with the naysayers, and influence the middle ground. Just like in politics it is the independents that decide the vote, not the parties.

Can Group Facilitation be an Opportunity for Sales?

Should you Quit Selling and Start Facilitating?

Problem-Solving Leadership

Dr. Jeff Soper is a seasoned executive, consultant, author, and coach who is a recognized expert in the fields of leadership development, performance improvement, and creativity and innovation. He expresses Problem-Solving leadership in different terms than most of us do.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Getting to the Leadership Table

Joe: Even in a Lean way when we look at the scientific method or PDCA is it different when you’re attaching the word leadership to it?

Jeff: Yeah, I believe so. I’ll tell you here is the difference. This is an evolutionary step. This is not a revolutionary step. Nothing I’m suggesting in problem-solving leadership refutes anything that went before. Before, the majority of the work and the majority of the focus were first on the individual, the “leader”, him or herself. What are the skills that you need? Then they came up with problems such as charisma. How do you teach charisma and those types of things?

Then the next evolution in leadership thinking went to the followers. What do the followers need? What are they ready for? There are lots of workouts on that. I’m sure you know many of them. Situational leadership was one of them. There are several others. What was missing in thousands of articles and books that were written, giving examples of what works in one instance but they weren’t generalizable with context.

What problem-solving leadership does, it adds the context of the work from the perspective of the nature of the complexity of the work along with the followers and the leadership.

Joe: Problem solving leadership evolved out of the CLICK Process or are those two completely different processes?

Jeff: It’s a chicken and egg question. When I was at Penn State, when Jack [Matts] and I created the Engineering Leadership Developing Minor there, the first of its kind in the world, Jack is a radical who is very, very focused on creativity and innovation. I am as he used to call me; a blue suit suck up that’s focused on change and leadership. Well, somehow we got our peanut butter, and chocolate mixed up together and we put those components together, and we discovered that there is a process for creativity and innovation. That is what the CLICK Model is all about.

Essentially, creativity leads to innovation. Innovation leads to change. Change leads to knowledge. And knowledge is the basis for creativity. The problem is that is not a natural cycle. It doesn’t flourish in and of itself. You need to have the environment for that cycle to operate, and that’s where the leadership component came in, and that’s where we were able to make things click. That’s how it got its name.

So, the CLICK Model is all about creativity, and I believe creativity is the foundation for all progress, all innovation in organizations. I know, as an academically qualified person when I say all it makes it suspect but believe all is dependent on creativity and innovation. But, leadership has to exist in order to create that, and that’s again, leadership at all levels, not just the C-Suite.

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Struggling with the Difference between a Feature and Story

One of my most listened to podcast is with a relative unknown Agile guy named Eric Landes. In the Agile world, I expect he is well-known and has spoken at a few of the conferences I have attended. I was re-reading the transcript today after seeing how highly rated the original podcast was on my iTunes list and took a few treasures from the review.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Agile Discussion with Landes

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:  Well a lot of my listeners are from the Lean manufacturing background so Agile may be a little foreign to them. We think of agile more what I have heard from different people that it is really from concept to consumption is a buzz word I have heard a little bit. Can you explain a feature in a story to me?

Eric:  Sure. So, I am going to a couple of differences in Kanban. You can use feature and story within Scrum, as well. Most peoples do tend to use stories in Scrum. Usually, a term used… A minimal marketable feature. It’s the smallest feature we can deliver on software that is going to be used by the customer. That makes a difference for the customers.

If you are in a software development shop and you have software or website that you are selling something digital like software. That feature is going to be something, say like a marketing person is coming up, whereas if it’s an internal software application you might actually talk directly to the customer and get that feature. The feature verses story, normally what I would say is those features normally break out into stories from the feature. You can almost think of stories that’re a smaller set of a feature if you will that probably have to be grouped together if you are actually going to sell your software.

What happens when you are moving from, say Scrum into Kanban… A lot of the Kanban teams are using their ideas of features. And then, the idea is, they want to take the feature from… As you said, from concept to cash or whatever, and bring that through their system of software development.  When I look at the differences between what we call like a Scrum or XP, and the Kanban process. The Kanban processes really are the lean process that the software development uses. We are looking at mapping your process as it stands. Seeing where the bottlenecks are, using a board to map your flow, see where the bottlenecks are, and then try and fix those bottlenecks as you’d go.

You’re going to use a lot of the Agile methods for software engineering. Some people even use iterations during their Kanban. But, for the most part, you’re looking in the flow of things. You aren’t really doing fixed link iteration, time?box iterations. You’re doing more of… I don’t want to say one piece flow because that’s wrong.

I mean, we would love to get to one piece flow. But I don’t know anybody who would claim that they’re doing one piece flow in a software Kanban. At least, I’ve not heard of anybody doing that.

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