Be Willing to Question Our Processes

I was sitting with some guys talking about ways to help “lean” catch on. One of the things said was that those who are in authority have to learn to be less “certain.” He explained: “When you are in charge, people ask you for solutions and you get used to giving them. I’m learning that the solution that I give may work but it may not be the best solution. So, I’m taking the time […]

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Opportunities in Our Corners

I just completed a tour in Butner. They were showing me lean projects, which are extensive. Very impressive. Take a look on the lean intranet site to get a view. One of the things that I noticed on the tour is that you can find lean projects in the corners of your plant. Danny Brooks, general manager in Butner, was giving me the tour. I don’t think he realized it but, frequently during the tour […]

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Leaders Are Readers

I’ve heard it said that “leaders are readers.” If that is the case, these recent statistics provided by the Jenkins Group about reading would explain any leadership shortage that we have in this country. Check this out: 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. 42% of college graduates never read another book after college. 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. […]

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Address Setbacks As Quickly As Possible

While making progress every day is a key to a positive work life, it would be naive to think there won’t be setbacks. When setbacks come, the trick is to act to change the momentum as quickly as possible. One of the athletic coaches I admire most, most of you haven’t heard of. His name is Glen Rutenbar. He coaches the girl’s softball team at our local high school in Bartow. I became a fan […]

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The Progress Principle

I am reading a book called The Progress Principle. The essence of the book is simple: people want to feel positive about the work they do. The single largest factor that contributes to positive feelings is having a sense that you are making progress. You are probably thinking, “That’s obvious.” Me too. But the authors of the book studied several thousand workers and found that more often than not people didn’t feel positive about work […]

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Fear and Dread Keep Us from Action

Perhaps this is real obvious, but what we think and what we believe frequently govern how we perform. I have a young friend who is looking for a job. She has been dreading the experience. The dread was based upon the last time she was looking. The economy was bad. The avenues for jobs were few. Many times she knocked on doors seeking opportunities. Most times she was rejected. It was a discouraging process. This […]

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When You Feel Stuck, Take Action

Sometimes we get stuck and don’t know what to do. There could be a lot of choices and we are paralyzed because there are pros and cons each way. There could be no apparent choices and we are paralyzed because we think any action will be fruitless. When we get stuck, the best way out is to do something. Make a deliberate choice. Implement it. See what happens. You learn by taking action. You become […]

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Becoming a “Lean” Company

As I reported recently, it is obvious that your efforts on “lean” – working to eliminate wasted time, wasted motion and wasted material – are working. We are identifying areas to attack. We focus our attention on improving them. You coordinate your efforts. And, you get results. But, the first part is the easy part. Sort of like a honeymoon. Then, the newness can wear off. If we don’t watch it, we drift back to […]

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Thanks for Your Efforts to Improve

It’s hard to believe that March is here already. I’ve visited a number of plants so far this year and I notice one consistent trend: our people are fighting incredibly hard to help us to succeed. Every place I go, folks are trying out a variety of strategies to correct hassles that have plagued us for awhile as well as new problems that crop up daily. They are putting aside old methods to try new […]

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Learn from Shortfalls Instead of Making Excuses

“I never knew a man who was good at making excuses who was good at anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin When things turn out in a way we don’t desire, it’s important to study what happened, determine what we have learned and make a plan to get better. People who make excuses tend to get stuck. Making excuses usually involves pointing a finger at someone or something as the reason for the shortfall. I interpret […]

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