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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Making a Good Process Better

A “lean” parable: I go to airports a lot. Some folks like to get to the airport early. I don’t. My goal is to get there as early as necessary. No sooner. I think it’s “lean” not to spend extra time in airports. I’ve gotten my routine down. It works well for me. I got a good place to park. I dress the right way not to trigger alarms. I can break down my luggage […]

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The Benefits of a Checklist

Do you use checklists? I must admit that I don’t. I have written to you about the power of the checklist. But, I don’t have them incorporated in my life. I read a book that reminded me of their power and it has me reconsidering how I approach it. The book is called Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia. Sounds sort of exotic but it isn’t really. A friend gave me […]

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You Haven’t Failed Until You Quit Trying

Here’s a brief thought for the day:  “You haven’t failed until you quit trying.” Some folks are more easily frustrated than others.  When something doesn’t come easily, they quit trying.   When something involves a long time to learn or to master, they quit trying. When something is done “good enough,” they quit trying. As we take on “lean” projects in our plants, we are trying to take the bad and make them good.  We are […]

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Scrutinize the Reports You Receive

Here’s a lean exercise for you. Many of us get reports via email or by paper on our desk. Do you look at them? Why or why not? I was in a meeting recently where I made reference to a report I was looking at regularly. Immediately, someone told me, “That report doesn’t tell the whole story.” Quickly, we discussed how the report could be improved to tell the whole story. It reminded me. Every […]

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Speak Up with an Idea or Solution

I was visiting with a colleague today who was telling me about some consulting work that he had been doing. He had come across a firm who studies how ideas are developed and used within an organization. One thing he shared I have found to be true. The best ideas have nothing to do with the role or position in the group. When we encounter a problem or an opportunity in the organization, we have […]

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Reminders on Effective Leadership

I read recently that one trait effective leaders have is the ability to readily admit shortcomings. It occurs to me that I am pretty good at telling folks what they ought to do. I don’t often write about how I screw up. Even though, when I screw up, it is in plain sight.So, here are a few: I talk when I should be listening. In meetings, I find I like the sound of my own […]

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