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November 12, 2014

Creating a Safe Environment for Process Improvement

The discussion in my recent blogs on persuading organisations to support process improvement has focussed on creating a “safe environment” for the change to be tested to help reduce the fear and uncertainty that managers feel about such radical mindset change. (Thanks to Jay Bitsack for his thoughts on this). This might work – though
October 28, 2014

Politics and Process Improvement

In their book “Understanding Practical Process Improvement” (2011), Ed Zunich and Mike Bell make a very bold statement:   “There was a time when we believed that the path to higher service and product quality involved greater operational expense. We know better now. Service and product quality (as perceived by the customer) results from streamlined
October 7, 2014

Evolving Organisations

In my previous blog (No More Heroes?), I suggested that the human need for recognition and self-actualisation (to use Maslow’s term) meant that lean improvement was incompatible with human evolution – we like being “heroes” too much. The blog received a good number of comments from people arguing that it was, in fact, organisations that
July 30, 2014

No More Heroes?

“We like being heroes. But it is a problem to have 6,000 well-meaning heroes tackling problems in 6,000 different ways, often without regard to the needs of upstream, downstream or parallel processes”. This quote is taken from the excellent book “Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare” (a bargain at £4.50 in Kindle edition).
May 20, 2014

What are the Best Lean Performance Measures?

I believe there is a serious problem with most of the measures that organisations use to measure their “lean” improvements. The key measures in most large-scale “lean” approaches are cost-reduction (i.e. headcount) and productivity. Neither of these are lean measures and can, in fact, lead to totally anti-lean behaviours. For instance, I have witnessed discussions
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