Why 5s Isn’t Always the Best Place to Start (Hospital Case Study)

no 5 sMost Lean resources will tell you that 5s is the best place to start a Lena initiative.  Some will go one step further and say start where there is a need and go from there.  While both are good advice we still see a high rate of failure for Lean (70%-98% depending on the research study).  So why is the failure rate so high?  The answer is that we ignore the behavioral reasons to why we do things a certain way.  To understand this let’s first look at a little bit of history.

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Lean for Small Business


*photo from DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

Small Business is the life blood of most economies yet fantastic tools like Lean haven’t really taken root there yet.  Sure there is Lean Start-up which is fantastic for low to no capital start-ups that want to test what products will sell in the market place but what about the business that is out of start-up but isn’t big enough to have mature systems and processes?  We talked about the different phases of growth and what tools are applicable in each phase of growth.  Lean is all about how to generate a higher percentage of value creation vs. waste in a business and while Lean was founded by businesses in Phase III and Phase IV growth, the concepts are still applicable to businesses that aren’t that big yet.

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Phases of Business Growth and What Lean and Six Sigma Tools to Use

growth gearsOrganizations have seven phases they cycle through and the first four phases are growth phases.

Phase I New Venture
Phase II Expansion
Phase III Professionalization
Phase IV Consolidation
Phase V Diversification
Phase VI Integration
Phase VII Decline and Revitalization
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Different Flavors of Lean for Different Industries


Lean is a bit like ice cream and children.  Everyone thinks that theirs is the best.  Unlike ice cream or children there is no one “best” way to do Lean.  In-fact it will look like the complete opposite in some industries.  Because of this you end up with what it seems like as an endless list of Lean manifestation.

Manifestations of Lean

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How to Develop Mindfulness For Management

Here is a great Ted Talk on how to develop Mindfulness

Related Posts:

Mindfulness as a Management Skill Part I

5 Ways to Help You Decide Your Priorities

Want to learn more about mindfulness and how it can help you in your growth as an employee, leader, and/or manager?  Please schedule a free call with The Lean Way.  Please fill out the information below.

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Mindfulness as a Management Skill Part I

Having a Lean culture will get you incredible results with your company that can last for a long time.  It can also win you a Shingo Prize which is the top Lean award you can achieve.  Some results include reducing costs structures by over 50%, improving quality to near zero defects, reducing turnover from as high as 25% down to as low as 2%.  However only 2% of companies get what they want from a Lean effort.   The primary issues that we find is that most organizations focus just on the technical changes and very little or not enough on the behavioral changes.  There are very specific cultures that make Lean possible and most organizations don’t have this culture to begin with.  You can learn more by watching this 30 minute webinar “Why Lean Fails” on the cultural elements.  To change a culture take leadership and leaders need certain skills.

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Ten Time Saving Tips for Technology

Nice 5 minute Ted Talk by David Pogue with 10 tips on how to save time when using technology.

Other Helpful Links

5 Ways to Help Decide Your Top Priorities
How to Influence Using Conversation
How Quickly Should You Roll Out a Lean Transformation
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Why is Lean So Difficult Part III – Behaviors
Why is Lean So Difficult Part I
Why is Lean so Difficult Part II – Strategy
Why is Lean So Difficult Part III – Momentum
Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Daily Meetings
Why Lean Fails Webinar

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5 Ways to Help Decide Your Top Priorities


Time is the one resource we can’t get more of. So if you’re a business owner you know that time is precious and it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day.  From our surveys of over 1500 businesses the #1 complaint from business owners is “how can I prioritize all my work so you maximize my time.”  Here are 5 ways you can prioritize your work

1) Find What is Valuable to You

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How to Influence Using Conversation

I was on the radio with Heather Stagl talking about “The Power of Conversation”  Link to the show

Register for a free 45 minute coaching session with one of our expert consultants! We will advise you on the cultural elements at play in your organization and how to address them properly. You’ll get tips on specific tools that will give you a higher ROI and be on the right path in no time…

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