Can’t solve A Problem Without A Well Rounded Idea Of The Problem 0

Jim Benson is best known for his seminal work, Personal Kanban.  Our conversation tomorrow centers on his new work, Why Limit WIP: We are Drowning in Work (MemeMachine Series) (Volume 2). This is an excerpt from one of my favorite podcast (Related Podcast and Transcription:  Quality & Collaboration = Quallaboration

An excerpt from the past podcast:

Joe:  I like the way you said that: you supplied the visual aspect that maybe they didn’t have before, is that a fair assumption?

Jim:  Well, not only the visual aspect but the permission to do a few key things. One is the permission to effectively complain. Previously, they felt like, “OK, I have this complaint and I’m going to go talk to somebody about it but when I do they’re just going to say that’s nice, and send me back to my desk.” Now the reason that that was happening was the person they were complaining to was sending back to their desks with, “Go back to your desk and bring me back proof.” To the complainer, that felt like they were being written off. But to the person that they were complaining to, they’re like, “I can’t, I can’t solve your problem if I don’t have a well-rounded idea of what that problem is.

The visualization helped them do that, helped them make that argument. It also allowed them to make that argument in the first place. The other thing was permission and respect to make immediate changes on the floor.

So whether it’s visualized or not, if they get together with their team and they think that something is going to make things better, their solution doesn’t greatly disrupt the operations of the company. So, for example, they could not say, “We think a hot tub in the middle of this room would make things better.” They can say, “We think that if we rearrange how we are answering phones slightly, that might make things better.”

They can do the latter then the third better permission there is to help your friends. So before, when it was every man for himself, if somebody else ran into problems or if somebody else pulled a task or a client that somebody knew something about, they’re just like, “Oh, I hope they do a good job with that.” But now, we’re actively encouraging them to stand up, walk over, sit down and actually pair with them or even just offer a small advice to move that ticket along more quickly and make sure that that trouble ticket, when it’s resolved, doesn’t come back again.

Joe:  If someone was spending too long on the phone or was just struggling a little bit, they could kind of put a yellow light on, and someone would come over and help them?

Jim:  There is that but then also setting policies. So if you get a call and it’s something that you don’t know anything about, you have a couple of choices. One is you can find somebody who does and then bring them onto the call with you. The second is you can transfer it to somebody else. The third is you can say, “One of us will call you back.” End the call, go on to a call you can do something about and then add that call with notation back into the call queue so that somebody can pick it up next time who does have experience.

What tends to happen otherwise is, the person will sit on the phone for a very long time trying to slog through the problem while they’re sitting on the phone for two or three hours trying to slog through this problem while there’s a large number of five or ten minute calls that have all bounced off and become tickets that somebody needs to pull in the future that they could have solved during that.

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Crowdsourcing The Next 7 Tools 0

Leave a 3-Minute Video on Your Favorite Tool. Why do you like it?

(This is A Google Community: Next 7 Tools)

Community purpose: to explore, create, and perfect the next generation of continuous improvement tools that will lift the quality and effectiveness of organizations beyond 2020.

The first seven tools were published by JUSE over 40 years ago, and the new management tools are already 20 years old. Therefore, we think it is high time for us to take another look to see what new tools there are that can propel our organizations effectiveness and our careers. With your help we can do just that! Next7Tools

We want each person here to have the rare opportunity to share your ideas in a safe environment where respect for people is paramount, and where unique pragmatic ideas drawn from deep wells of tacit knowledge and experience are valued most. Our goal is to share best practices and things that really work with each other in this select community.

Therefore, to ensure our community health your moderators will promptly prune any weeds before they can drown out sunshine or steal nutrients from the root system. Since we can all make a mistake, we aim for a balance with fairness and many times will try to coach and salvage a member rather than block and finally prune at last resort. Your best behavior is most appreciated.

We appreciate all those members who choose to contribute to rich and meaningful conversations, and especially those who refer great prospective contributors to us as we co-create the Next Seven Tools. Please join us in evolving the Next Seven Tools. Now let’s open a discussion. Please start by introducing yourself and why you like this topic.

Leave a 3-Minute Video on Your Favorite Tool. Why do you like it?

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A Strength Based Lesson thru Visuality 0

Bob Petruska, author of Gemba Walks for Service Excellence: The Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying Service Delighters discussed what he learned (part 2 of 2) about  Sur-Seal Corporation after listening to the podcast (part 1of 1) with Mick Wilz, Director of Enterprise Excellence and Co-Owner of Sur-Seal.

Related Podcasts and Transcription: Lessons in Visuality

I asked Bob Petruska during the podcast, I know you do a lot of strength-based work, how is that applied in Sur-Seal? Where are the strength-based points that you saw in what Mick said?

Bob Replied: I look at pretty much everything that Mick does is strength-based. He’s not focusing on the deficit. He’s focusing on a future, a positive future that people can change. By allowing people to make decisions on the floor, on the battlefield so to speak, he’s allowing people to learn. Too often in organizations we don’t let people make decisions. We say you know what, we’re the boss. We’re going to make all the decisions. But then guess what; you own the outcomes whereas I think what Mick is doing are something slightly different. He’s saying, “I don’t know all the answers. Why don’t you tell us what it is that we need to do?”

As I’ve talked to him and as I’ve learned from him, and you can watch the video on his website sur-seal.com. You can watch the people that work at Mick’s factory, and they’ll tell it to you in their own words. It’s just amazing to watch because there’s such a pride. There’s one gal there that says, “I was part of that.” They’re just so proud of the fact that they got to work on the future. And the model, the Legos model, is a brilliant way to allow people to have the time to absorb it and for them to buy into the whole idea of the change and use it in a way that speaks to their strengths.

Related Podcasts and Transcription: Lessons in Visuality

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Lean Implementation: Use the Language of Industry 1

“Until these guys actually did it hands-on, it just didn’t register with them.” – Scott Sedam

Scott Sedam is President of TrueNorth Development and Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. are my guest this week on the Business901 podcast. These guys are at the forefront of Lean in the Homebuilding sector. Even more amazing is these guys talk the language of industry. They understand Lean but apply Lean by teaching it through doing. Great lesson for all of us to reflect on.

I will take exception with one thing Scott said below. His overall message is spot on. I stop short about agreeing about the belts and the specialist and believe it refers more to Six Sigma than it does Lean. This is an excerpt from the podcast, so it was said in a slightly different context. During the interview, I did not want to stop the flow of the conversation, so I let it pass without challenging.

However, the reason I use this excerpt is to serve another purpose. With the rapid initiation of certification and the adoption of coach’s (which will probably lead to certification), I see a similar path that may be developing for Lean soon. Thoughts about certification:

  1. It makes it an easier job for HR by specifying “credentials.”
  2. People that pay for training (Bronze, Silver, Gold) receive a ROI.
  3. Lean coaches can also receive recognition and differentiation.
  4. Organizations can promote and offer certification (I wonder who certified them).

I can argue probably both ways about certification. My point is more directed at the thinking that we will achieve better outcomes as a result of certification. For example, with all the efforts to create belts, has Six Sigma create the results we wanted?

Our business models are changing to a more iterative process and our organizational structure needs to adapt accordingly. Providing additional hierarchy is not the answer. Can we certify and still drive continuous improvement to the lowest level? Or through certification do we create the quality departments of the past? I don’t have an answer, or making judgment. I am just voicing a concern.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: I think it’s very interesting your approach at applying Lean, because it’s not about, “Here are these Lean tools. We need to apply 5S. We need to have a Kaizen.” You seem to take it into the specific homebuilding sector and apply Lean and apply it in their language.

Scott: This has been a pet peeve of mine. You get the Lean Sensei, and there are a lot of great ones out there, but they’re incredibly expensive. They’ll come in. It’s kind of a badge of honor for these guys to tell one of their clients, “Well, if…”

I actually heard one of them say once to a president of a company, “If you expect results any sooner than a year, then you aren’t serious.” I’m going like, “Go try to sell that to a home builder, especially in the housing recession.” The idea that we’ve got to put everybody through the training, three days of training, then we’re going to have 20 green belts that take 15, 20 days of training, then we’ve got to have five black belts to take all the certification.Homebuilding

That’s great that you can have a lot of it. But there’s an interesting thing, a negative that can happen in a lot of these companies. Then the Lean work – it was very similar to the quality movement in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s — becomes the responsibility and the ownership is in all these specialists.

Where I saw a long time ago, and I go back before I got to Pulte Homes, I was at U.S. Steel way back in production, and then Motorola and where we did precursors to what it is we call Lean now. Then did the consulting work with a lot of great companies like Caterpillar and John Deere and Cummins Engine are examples.

At Pulte, applying this in home building, what I saw was that there was actually as many negatives in terms of having a specialist focus on this within your company as there were positives. When you make it the responsibility of everyone as part of what they do, then its part of their job. It could be harder for them to focus and concentrate on all the parameters and negatives of that, but on the whole, we think you come out ahead.

You’ve got to be a pretty big organization in my mind to justify having a full time staff on this. As you look at most of the builders in America, after you get past the top 25 or so, it’s rare that any of them has more than a couple hundred employees, and probably still the 80/20 rule, 80 percent of the homes are being built by 20 percent of the companies that will probably have…well, it’ll actually be a little higher percentage than that.

The point is companies with 100, 115 people or less are probably building the percentage of homes in America still. It’s different than being a Ford or Chrysler or somewhere like that.

Our idea is to get these people to understand how to do this themselves as part of their job and see it as, “This is a way to make my job easier and get what I want to get done,” not as, “I’ve got to use this special tool here or there, and I’ve got to make sure I call it the right thing in order to get this done.”

We’re not averse at all to using things like 5S or a Gemba Walk or something like that, but we don’t stress it at all. Even in our orientation sessions when we do our Leans, I used to try to teach the seven wastes, and I quit doing that, because I realized it was pretty well going in one ear and out the other.

Until these guys actually did it hands-on, it just didn’t register with them. But after they do a hands-on then they get really interested in learning. We think the building industry is just getting to where there might be some appetite for the more formal official training in Lean, and we’re ready to do that. But that’s just coming along as it’s coming out of the recession here.

Read Scott Sedam and  Todd Hallett Weekly Lean Blogs on LEAN TUESDAY at HousingZone.com or follow the following links directly:

Scott Sedam’s Lean Tuesday blog

Todd Hallett’s Lean Tuesday blog

Quality through Individual Actions Presentation 0

Below is a presentation that I will be giving this week to the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky. It will be during the winter training school and focus on Building a Quality Program through your Actions. This an hour long presentation and I noticed a few parts that the subject matter may seem to jump off course but it actually flows pretty well for me.  What are your thoughts? Any improvement ideas?

Improving Quality
View more presentations from Business901

Related Information:
Quallaboration Podcast with Personal Kanban Founder
Jim Benson talks about quallaboration – YouTube
Successful Lean teams are iTeams
Teamwork Is an Individual Skill.

Blended Learning Programs in Lean Six Sigma 0

Many people shy away from quality or continuous improvement programs since they are unable to see the direct benefits of it. Steven C. Wilson a leading Lean Six Sigma Trainer in the State of Iowa outlined a unique training program at the Southwest Iowa Manufacturers Alliance for Quality program. He introduced his latest adult learning training methods and how the training is adapted to a particular organization. In particular, he addressed how organizations can make a stronger connection between training and implementation.

Steve commented on the training, “Too often, training programs are not utilized when employees get back to work. Based on my twenty years of assisting organizations and individuals improve quality through training, I have identified several components that will encourage employees and their organizations to change and use these new skills. Under the title of iQuality Academy, I have moved our training programs from tactical learning and acquiring new skills to providing the path from training to improved business performance.”

I think this is a unique approach and a great way to use the advantages of virtual learning. If you can’t tell by listening, Steve does voice over work and works with authors, trainers and studio producers, to make their presentations more effective and entertaining. He is also the host of Quality Conversation, Quality Conversations, an internet based radio program dedicated to the discussion of “all things quality”.  Currently the program is heard in over 35 countries.

I was fortunate to have Steve participate in a podcast if you would like to take a deeper dive on the subject. The podcast centers around being a successful trainer and consultant. Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Iowa Quality Training or go to the Business901 iTunes Store

If you are from Iowa, Steve hosted a program about Funding Quality Training. Bernie Duis, Director of Economic Development at Iowa Western Community College (www.iwcc.edu), joined Steve for a discussion about Iowa’s quality training funding programs, administered by the state’s 15 community colleges.

Disclaimer: I work with Steve but felt this was an excellent presentation to share. I thought he did a masterful job of presenting and it was a good example of  how voice over work might improve your presentations.

Related Information:
Lean Six Sigma for Government
Balancing Internal and External Lean Six Sigma Consulting Roles
Steve’s website: Wilson Consulting and Training Services,