Too Many Papa Bear Companies

“JUST ORDER MORE WIDGETS! I’D RATHER HAVE TOO MUCH AND KEEP THINGS RUNNING THEN NOT HAVE ENOUGH AND STOP THE LINE.” How many have heard something like that? I’d be very surprised if you haven’t. I was dealing with a materials guy who was held accountable on uptime, I know a shocking statement right? I can tell you it was fun getting him from the “papa bear mentality” to the “baby bear mentality.”

Lean is about right sizing; I like to call it the Goldilocks zone: Not too much (papa bear’s items), not too little (mama bear’s items), and just right (baby bears or Goldilocks’s items).

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People need lean

Like many of you I first learned lean on the job in a manufacturing setting. Some of us have applied to areas outside manufacturing with pretty good success but there are things where it just seems like it’s not sticking with the people. So how do you convey the message to your audience? What I’ve seen work pretty well is using the DISC system to communicate to people why it’s so important to make changes. Just a quick review below is the DISC personality system. Typically people fall into 1 maybe 2 categories as their dominant traits.

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Sweat The Small Stuff…It May Save Your Life

Flying is the safest form of travel in the world and a safe takeoff and landing is arguably a true 6sigma process but accidents still happen. Did you ever wonder what were the causes? Believe it or not it is rarely 1 huge catastrophic failure like an engine dying or a wing breaking off. In fact it’s usually the small mistake that we’re told not to sweat that causes the problems. Not just 1 failure but a series of on average 7 failures for airplane crashes and catastrophic failures.

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Would You Box With 1 Arm Behind Your Back?

I recently an article on how LG is going to outsource all their computer manufacturing. This is an interesting trend in the industry because all computer companies (Dell, HP, Apple) are moving from design and manufacturing to just designing the computers and just outsourcing the rest.

What does that mean? Well imagine your in a boxing match and instead of 2 arms you’re fighting with only 1. Before computer companies like LG could design the the computer, and leverage their supply chain and manufacturing to deliver to the customer exactly what they wanted and when they wanted. Now because they have introduced a middle man their lead time grows tremendously and are not able to respond to customer demands very quickly. Now they have to have the best designers to be on top and they are only fighting with 1 of their arms.

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Getting All Personality Types To Mesh With Lean Part IV

The last two posts I covered a couple of different ways to deal with different personality types. But there is another factor. People act differently in different situations. The personality tests usually indicate tendencies and not skill levels. If you and a surgeon are talking about how to improve the operating room you will get a different personality then you would if you were talking to the same surgeon about improving the cockpit of a 747. Situational Leadership is just as important or more important than knowing personality tendencies.

Here is what the Center for Leadership Studies says about different situations:
You have two variables:
We have for situations that come from the 2 variables:
1) Low Competence/Ability & Low Commitment/Confidence
2) Low Competence/Ability & High Commitment/Confidence
3) High Competence/Ability & Low Commitment/Confidence
4) High Competence/Ability & High Commitment/Confidence
Based on the particular situation it can change how you react to individuals and groups. The basic premise is use use personality profiles to learn HOW to talk to people and situational leadership to learn WHAT to say. In the next blog I’ll cover how to use the situational leadership model.
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Getting All Personality Types To Mesh With Lean Part III

I want to talk about another personality profile test called the DISC test that is also helpful when influencing people during a lean transformation.

So how do we use this information?
D – Be very to the point and tell them the meat of the discussion. They will be more interested in results then method. Be careful to manage these personality types because they may be too results focused and lean is just as much about the culture as the results.
I – They are more interested in people. Immerse them in team exercises like kaizens and they are at home. These people are also key when going through a transformation. They can be great champions of lean that help to convince others.
S – These folks don’t really like change so like any change lean can be tough to get through. Keep them engaged and activated and ask them questions to get their participation.
C – Details and time line are what these folks like. Focus on the the mechanics and next steps of lean. These folks may have some trouble when it comes to the sometimes unknown aspects of lean such as outcome after events or shifts in timeline for the transformation.
This is just another way to “skin the cat.” How would you communicate with different personality types?
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Getting All Personality Types To Mesh With Lean Part II

The last post I talked about some different personality types. What does this mean to lean implementations? Well basically they all have different communication styles! The easiest person to adapt to lean will probably be your Integrator profile. They see systems and how to improve systems so they will probably be the easiest to convince.

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Getting All Personality Types To Mesh With Lean Part I

You might have heard lean is just as much (if not more) about cultural changes than tools. I 100% agree from everything I’ve seen but how many tools do we have to tackle cultural changes? From a tools stand point we have standard work, layered audit processes, A3s, etc. but what about using personality profiles and situational leadership to get the lean implemented?
There are lots of personality tests out there but I like the personality test from Surviving Business which has a few categories:
The INVENTOR profile: “Creating a better product” Inventors can’t resist creating. They keep creating long after they have run out of resources, money, and other people’s patience.

The HANDSHAKER profile “Creating a unique brand” The Inventors set the stage, and the Handshakers steal the show. Handshakers get their most valuable feedback in the limelight, and find their flow while on their feet.

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Lean In the USA Today

I came across this great article in the USA Today on how Lean is helping manufacturing companies survive the recession.

It’s pretty simple. Get rid of waste, empower your people, and keep changing to get better and you have a winning formula. Now thats a bit easier said then done but if you are really committed in making your business succeed it is something that needs to be a focus.
How committed are you and your company to success?
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Are The Sum Of The Parts Equal To The Whole?

I was reading on how mayonnaise is judged and can you believe there are over 40 categories to measure how “good” a mayonnaise is! There are characteristic like color, shine, several dimensions of taste, etc. If you were trying to make the best mayonnaise possible would you try to get every single variable the best it could be or would you take a holistic approach and focus on the preparation, the ingredients and the cooking techniques?

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