Management attention as a constraint – Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I introduced management attention as a constraint. This second post goes on with more reasons why management fail to pay the necessary attention to the factor limiting the whole system’s performance. Unaware or wrong about the constraint Management attention might be on the wrong things because manager are unaware … Continue reading Management attention as a constraint – Part 2

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The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 2: top-down is no better

In the first part of this series I shared my doubts and experience about bottom-up lean initiative to be successful and sustainable. In this post I switch position and explain why top-down Lean doesn’t always work either.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

This quote, often falsely attributed to Theodore Roosevelt (see Sue Brewton's blog), is an excellent mantra for both personal and management use. Too often when facing a problem or a challenge, individuals tend to push it to others, to complain about their insufficient resources and have great ideas for others instead. Think about the latest … Continue reading Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

The man-machine system performance

When looking for performance improvement of a man-machine system, too often management puts emphasis onto machine or technology at large, ignoring the fact that humans associated with equipment, machines or technology form an interrelated system and consequently humans are the discriminating factor. The fallacy of trusting the latest technology There is a strong belief, backed … Continue reading The man-machine system performance

Leader Standard Work

The very first time I heard about “leader standard work” and “scripted day” I was puzzled. Production manager myself at that time, in my view management must be ready for fixing things and react to all the random events that rain down onto a factory shopfloor. How could a day made of fixing unexpected problems be … Continue reading Leader Standard Work

How corporate Lean programs spoil golden opportunities

This is the sad and true story of a manufacturing unit of a major manufacturer in his industry. This company has a corporate program to roll out Lean, with permanently appointed staff to support it. The Lean organisation is structured from a corporate level to sites representatives and staff appointed to support departments within the … Continue reading How corporate Lean programs spoil golden opportunities

What coaching means to me – part two

A coach is a person able to teach, train and advise someone, to improve skills and/or practice and to make his/her coachee reflect about achievements and how to improve from the lessons learned. It takes some experience and skill to coach others, that’s why I am not comfortable hearing the words coach or coaching that … Continue reading What coaching means to me – part two

What coaching means to me – part one

In business we hear “coaching” a lot, maybe too often. While passing over knowledge and experience or helping people to improve a practice is a good thing, the way I see coaching done is far from delivering this kind of value. The latest case is with a large corporation having launched a Lean program - … Continue reading What coaching means to me – part one

(At least) three reasons why you should not run your business with superheroes

Since I came across the quote of Fujio Cho* (Toyota chairman) about broken processes requiring extraordinary people, I keep wondering how many of the businesses I see are relying on superheroes. Superheroes are wonderwomen and supermen, those skilled and highly dedicated people who run processes or whole businesses ordinary people would not be able or … Continue reading (At least) three reasons why you should not run your business with superheroes