Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Haiku Mission Statement

Simplicity has been one of the important characteristics in my life in the last few years, both professionally and personally. It is actually liberating seeking the path of simplicity. It is also a huge undertaking to shift towards simplicity so I take daily steps.

When I read Kevin Meyer’s post Twitter, Haiku and the Simplicity of Mission last month, it hit home. I love the simplicity of Haiku poems. Haiku uses only 17 syllables arranged in lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables to describe simple ideas or events, usually connected to nature. It is also a great format to focus your thoughts concisely. Using this format, I tried to develop a Haiku to reflect my personal business mission statement. Here goes:

My Business Mission Statement
Develop leaders.
Live the lean philosophy.
Teach it to others.
Simple words but extremely challenging, especially "live the lean philosophy". Just as I try to embrace simplicity, I will take on this personal business mission in daily steps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Management Improvement Carnival #64

Moore’s Law and Lean by Brian Buck-“I think it is easy for people in Lean organizations to get stuck in the mode of always going after PERFECT instead of focusing on 50% BETTER.”

Japanese CEOs and Leadership by Mark Graban-“When do you ever hear a Western CEO say “sorry” or “we were lacking”?”

8 Ways to Get Total Involvement by Jon Miller-“In a true high performance work culture we should aim for total involvement in daily improvement activities.”

Total Company Involvement by Pete Abilla-“When the hearts and minds of everybody in the organization is moving toward the same end then you know the companies’ mission has became a living and breathing inspirational catalyst for good.”

Leadership & Standard Work by Jeff Hajek-“The more you can standardize the routine processes of leadership, the more you can use your rime for the high impact things leaders want to do.”

How Interruptions Drain Productivity by George Ambler-“Time is a leaders most valuable resource. The way a leader uses their time demonstrates to the people around them what’s really important.”

Daily Scrum against the Board by Xavier Quesada Allue-“A good way to know if your team is using their taskboard to really manage their work is to look at their daily standup meeting.”

Mapping a Path to the W.O.W. Side by Gianna Clark-“Consistently delighting customers and providing exceptional handling of issues and errors using the R.A.P.I.D. methodology are two ways to create customer with W.O.W. (What’s needed-On time-With value).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leading by Example

“Preach the gospel at all times; only if necessary use words.”
Saint Francis of Assisi

It is not what we say, it is what we do. Leading by example is a powerful method for success on our lean journey and in life, probably our most powerful. It removes doubt, builds trust and strengthens our message. It helps others to better understand and inspires action. It even helps us gain a deeper understanding. It shows what is important.

Can you guess who is shown in the pictures above? This is the President of a company in Japan participating in their daily 5S. Each morning the entire salaried management team works side by side to clean and organize their plant. From washing floors, trimming hedges to cleaning bathrooms, no task is left undone.

What kind of message do you think this sends to his employees?

The simple truth is that you don’t have to be a CEO or President to lead by example. Every day, each of us has the opportunity to lead by example and it is our choice to take advantage of this opportunity or let it pass us by.

Do we preach 5S and yet our own desks are disorganized and piled high in clutter?

Do we preach daily continuous improvement and yet we don’t want to change how we do our own tasks?

Do we preach standard work and yet we avoid creating or following any standard work in our daily tasks?

Do we preach elimination of all waste and yet we can’t imagine giving up our one-sided, color paper copies of our monthly policy deployment even though we have access to the digital copy?

Do we preach establishing a no-blame environment and yet when there is an error made, the first question out of our mouths is “Did you write the employee up?”

Do we preach about the benefit of using outside eyes and yet we don’t want any outsiders (especially corporate) messing around in our area to look for improvement opportunities?

Do we preach make all problems visible and yet we kill the messenger of any bad news or hide problems from others?

Do we just talk about the lean philosophy or are we trying to live the lean philosophy?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Positioned to Seize Opportunities

For another insider view of a lean initiative, check out the Industry Week article on “Lean Initiatives Help Sealy Prepare for Market Rebound” using a Q&A format with my friend and former boss, Mike Hofmann, Executive VP of Operations at Sealy. Despite the significant impact the current economic crisis has on their business, Sealy is looking to the future guided by their lean philosophy.

Are we thinking to the future during this current downturn?

Are we positioning ourselves to seize the opportunities ahead when the market rebounds?