Fun with Tennis Balls

Snip20150703_5If you’re American and are reading this on July 4…  Happy Independence Day!

I recently delivered a live workshop to a group of printing professionals.  The talk was a combination of Practical Problem Solving and Quick Changeover (SMED).  And rather than having me ramble on for an hour I decided to work in a fun, and very easy to duplicate, lean simulation that involves 8 tennis balls!

You can see part 1 of this video below… to see the other 8 videos you’ll need to have a paid subscription to Gemba Academy.  But, since we prefer a totally stress free sales process, we do offer a no strings attached 7-day trial.

You’ll find the full presentation in our Gemba Live section of videos.  The full name is “Printers & Imaging Association.”

If you’re reading this via email or RSS feed you may need to click through to the article in order to see the video.

 

GA 064 | Leading in a Lean Environment with Kent Bradley

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Today’s guest, Kent Bradley, has more than 20 years of lean experience and an impressive career path. Kent and I have known each other for years, but we sat down to talk specifically about what it means to play a coaching and/or leadership role in a lean setting.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Kent’s background and what he’s up to these days (2:09)
  • The two quotes that inspire Kent (4:38)
  • What leadership coaching to engage teams is all about (6:47)
  • The first prerequisite to becoming a good lean leader (12:21)
  • The second prerequisite (13:37)
  • The third prerequisite (19:20)
  • One of Kent’s success stories with this method (23:35)
  • The role senior leadership plays in the transition (26:28)
  • What Kent would say to his younger self (27:52)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Kent (29:51)
  • The best leadership example Kent has witnessed (30:51)
  • Kent’s personal productivity habit (33:31)
  • What has surprised Kent in the last year (34:40)
  • What Kent does to recharge and refocus (36:01)
  • The skill Kent feels he needs to improve (36:58)
  • Kent’s final words of wisdom (39:19)

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What Do You Think?

What characteristics and/or behaviors make for a great lean leader?

GA 063 | Practical Problem Solving: Part Two with Jon Miller

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In the second part of our Practical Problem Solving course, GA Co-Founder Jon Miller and I dive deep into Step 4, which centers around root cause analysis. Together we discuss the do’s and don’ts of implementing this crucial step.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The quote that relates to root cause analysis (5:11)
  • Jon’s definition of root cause analysis (7:56)
  • Why there are likely dozens of root causes (15:15)
  • How just a handful of tools can solve your problems (16:25)
  • How to approach root cause analysis (18:40)
  • What the 5 Whys are and how to use them (23:28)
  • Why problem-solving isn’t always linear (30:06)
  • A few other ways to practice root cause analysis (34:12)
  • How to keep yourself from jumping steps (40:05)
  • A sneak peek of the next Practical Problem Solving installment (44:08)

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Describe your experience(s) with root cause analysis. How does it bring clarity to the situation?

GA 062 |Lean for the Long Term with Ken Rolfes

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Today’s episode features Ken Rolfes, a longtime lean thinker, author, and AME affiliate. Ken and I discussed a variety of continuous improvement topics, but we mostly focused on Ken’s exciting new book, Lean for the Long Term.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Ken is up to these days (2:36)
  • The quote that inspires Ken (6:04)
  • All about Ken’s new book, Lean for the Long Term (8:25)
  • The meaning behind the title (11:56)
  • The role of lean versus cost accounting (24:24)
  • Why leaders need to be multilingual (27:26)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Ken (41:09)
  • The best advice Ken has ever received (42:30)
  • Ken’s personal productivity habit (43:58)
  • What has surprised Ken in the last year (46:07)
  • The skill Ken feels he needs to improve (47:41)
  • Ken’s final words of wisdom (50:17)

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Can you identify with Ken’s take on continuous improvement? What do you agree with? What do you feel differently about?

The Power of Essentialism

EssentialismGreg’s wife was scheduled to give birth to a baby girl on Friday.

Upon hearing this wonderful news Greg’s boss explained, in a rather direct way, “Friday would be a very bad day to have the baby.”

You see, as it turns out, Greg was needed at an extremely important client meeting this same Friday and missing it, no matter the reason, wasn’t acceptable to Greg’s boss.

Well, Friday came along and, as planned, Greg’s wife delivered a beautiful, and healthy, baby girl. Greg was there. That’s the good news.

The bad news happened shortly after Greg’s daughter was born. I’ll let Greg explain it.

“As it turns out, my manager picked me up from he hospital, took me to the appointment, and I was completely dazed the whole time. Afterwards they said to me, which I thought was interesting, they said, the client will respect you for the choice you’ve made. That isn’t the impression I got from the clients, to be honest. But even if it was, and even if some extraordinary thing had come from it, which it did not, surely I had made a fool’s bargain.

And this was where, at least looking back, I said, I’ve learned this lesson. If you don’t prioritize your life, then someone else will. And what I found is that I’m not alone.”

The “Greg” in this this true story is Greg McKeown, author of the bestseller Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less which, I can safely say, is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.

What is Essentialism?

Put simply, Essentialism is all about fighting the false idea that we can have it all if we do it all.

Let me be clear, Essentialism isn’t a new type of to-do list system or sophisticated time management program. Instead, the Essentialist simply strives to become more selective in what they choose to do.

Put another way, the Essentialist seeks out time to create space while developing routines and habits that allow them to focus on the vital few important aspects of their lives.

How Do We Do This?

The first step to becoming an Essentialist is to realize that we live in a busyness bubble… as such, we have to decide we’re going to become an Essentialist.

In the book McKeown shares a 4-part plan for making the transition and I’d definitely recommend you study it deeply… but there were a few things that really impacted me.

Is it a Hell Yes?

First, the Essentialist needs to become comfortable saying no. This is very hard for many of us since we don’t want to upset, or disappoint, others.

But, here’s the thing, when we say yes to everyone, and everything, we’ll most likely upset and disappoint many of people anyhow since we won’t be able to do a good job at anything since we’re simply stretched too thin.

So, if it helps, simply start by not saying “YES!” immediately. Instead, politely ask if it would be OK for you to think about the request.

Then, once you have time to reflect and think you’ll want to ask yourself a simple question. Is my answer to this request, or question, hell yes? If it’s not, chances are very good you should respectfully say no.

At Gemba Academy we’re constantly coming up with new ideas while also being approached by others with many exciting thoughts and proposals. In the past, we used to get bogged down and, at times, overwhelmed, with these new ideas and requests.

Now, we simply challenge one another with the simple question, “Is it a hell yes?” In just about every case it’s not which allows us to free our minds and truly focus on delivering maximum value to our customers.

And when we do respond with “Hell Yes!” (which, as an aside, we recently did with some new technology we’re now exploring) our team is totally energized and focused since we have clarity of purpose.

Creates Space

Next, the Essentialist creates space to think and prioritize.

My colleagues Kevin and Steve are my role models when it comes to this. They both start, and end, their day by journaling what they did and plan to do.

Put another way, they make it a point to plan their day around what they need to do instead of what others want them to do.

Sleep

Finally, we’ve covered the importance of sleep in our Culture of Kaizen course and McKeown also stresses how important sleep is for the Essentialist to thrive.

So, if you take nothing else from this article, or this book, this may be the most important advice of all.  We must protect the most important asset in our control – our mind and body – by getting enough rest.

Much More

Again, McKeown shares many more ideas and concepts in the book… but, at least for me, the ideas of saying no when it’s not “hell yes,” creating space to think and reflect, and getting adequate sleep resonated deeply with me.

Here’s a short video of Greg McKeown explaining more about the book. And here’s a longer video of a talk Greg gave at Google.

GA 061 | Adventurous Thinking with Sally Dominguez

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Today’s episode is a little different, in a fantastic way. As an architect, inventor, and overall innovator, Sally Dominguez, brings a fresh angle to the world of continuous improvement. I think you’ll really enjoy and benefit from her concept of Adventurous Thinking and her fascinating career anecdotes.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Sally’s background and what she’s up to these days (3:16)
  • All about Sally’s upcoming speech at the AME conference (4:53)
  • The quotes that inspire Sally (6:40)
  • What Adventurous Thinking is all about (9:03)
  • Sally’s Five Ways (10:48)
  • More about Negative Space (15:08)
  • A deeper explanation of Backward Thinking (19:53)
  • Why failure is important (25:06)
  • Where to learn more about Sally and her teachings (27:38)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Sally (29:32)
  • The best advice Sally has ever received (30:15)
  • Sally’s personal productivity habit (30:34)
  • What has surprised Sally in the last year (32:17)
  • The area Sally feels she needs to improve (36:09)
  • Sally’s final words of wisdom (37:01)

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible,Podcast app.

You can download ithere. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

What intrigues you about Adventurous Thinking? How would applying the Five Ways benefit you?

GA 060 | Practical Problem Solving: Part One

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Today’s episode is part one of a three-part series featuring Jon Miller, one of Gemba Academy’s co-founders. Jon is such a profound lean thinker and we are thrilled to have him working with us full-time. There are eight steps to practical problem solving, but in this particular episode Jon and I review the first three.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Jon is up to these days (3:18)
  • Jon’s inspirational quote, specifically related to problem solving (4:39)
  • Jon’s definition of practical problem solving (6:41)
  • What step one of the process is (11:16)
  • What step two of the process is (19:31)
  • What step three of the process is (27:26)
  • Jon’s definition of “Respect for People” (36:44)
  • The best advice Jon has ever received (42:50)
  • What has surprised Jon in the past year of practicing lean (46:44)
  • The routine Jon follows to recharge and refocus (49:20)
  • The skill Jon thinks he needs to improve (52:02)

Podcast Resources

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Do you use the practical problem solving process? Which aspects do you struggle with? Which come easily?

GA 059 | Lean Beginnings with Steve Stansbury

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Today’s guest is Steve Stansbury, an experienced lean practitioner with a diverse career background. Steve and I discussed how companies first get started on their respective lean journeys, specifically what they should focus on and what they should avoid.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Steve’s background and what he’s up to these days (3:05)
  • The quote that inspires Steve (5:26)
  • Why quality is a part of lean (7:03)
  • Where Steve believes most lean start-up initiatives fail (8:03)
  • The most critical component of a lean start-up (9:47)
  • What to do when your leadership isn’t onboard (12:15)
  • The most important tools for the beginning of your lean journey (13:44)
  • Steve’s opinion on lean roadmaps (15:57)
  • The role of the lean leader in the conversion process (17:44)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Steve (20:10)
  • The best advice Steve has ever received (22:39)
  • Steve’s personal productivity habit (23:42)
  • What Steve does to recharge and refocus (25:43)
  • The skill Steve feels he needs to develop (27:09)
  • What Steve would tell his younger self (28:32)
  • Steve’s final words of wisdom (30:08)

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If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

What was the beginning of your organization’s lean journey like?

GA 058 | Fueling Your Lean Journey with Rick Egelin

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Today’s guest is Rick Egelin, CEO of Fireblast, a fascinating company that builds fire training facilities. Rick and I discussed the company’s recent lean implementation, what’s going well, and what challenges they have faced.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Fireblast is all about (2:15)
  • Rick’s background and how he first discovered lean (4:13)
  • A quote that inspires Rick (11:01)
  • How Rick introduced lean at Fireblast (12:55)
  • The hardest part of Fireblast’s lean journey so far (16:21)
  • Two of Fireblast’s continuous improvement success stories (22:00)
  • Fireblast’s goals for the future (25:11)
  • The advice Rick would give his past self (27:09)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Rick (28:35)
  • The best advice Rick has ever received (29:59)
  • Rick’s personal productivity habit (31:56)
  • What has surprised Rick in his last year of practicing lean (32:29)
  • What Rick does to recharge and refocus (33:24)
  • The skill Rick feels he needs to improve (34:38)
  • Rick’s final words of wisdom (35:47)

Podcast Resources

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

How did your organization first introduce lean? What was challenging about it?

GA 057 | The Lean Race with Dan Markovitz

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Today’s guest is Dan Markovitz, esteemed lean author and consultant. We discuss his upcoming book, and Dan shares some truly powerful stories that listeners at all stages of the lean journey can relate to.

An MP3 version of this episode is available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Dan is up to these days (2:08)
  • The quote that inspires Dan (3:10)
  • What running taught a young Dan about continuous improvement (4:54)
  • Why you should learn from Toyota, but not necessarily copy them (12:40)
  • An introduction to Dan’s upcoming book (14:53)
  • Why you need commitment and a new vocabulary to succeed (16:28)
  • The importance of focusing on value over cost (19:27)
  • Why the attention should be on the end goal (22:18)
  • NFI’s role in the book (30:39)
  • What “Respect for People” means to Dan (35:50)
  • The best advice Dan has ever received (39:30)
  • Dan’s personal productivity habit (42:02)
  • Something that has surprised Dan in his last year of practicing lean (43:48)
  • What Dan does to recharge and refocus (47:22)
  • The skill Dan feels he needs to improve (49:25)

Podcast Resources

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Click to Subscribe in iTunes

If you enjoyed this podcast please be sure to subscribe on iTunes. Once you’re a subscriber all new episodes will be downloaded to your iTunes account and smartphone.

The easiest way for iPhone users to listen to the show is via the free, and incredible, Podcast app.

You can download it here. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Gemba Academy podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe via Stitcher which is definitely Android friendly.

What Do You Think?

Was there a moment in your childhood that you experienced the power of lean without realizing it?