GA 014 | Lean Leadership with Adam Zak

By Ron Pereira Updated on June 17th, 2021

This week’s podcast guest is Adam Zak, a Lean Executive Recruiter.

With a diverse background in lean thinking, accounting, finance, and management Adam uses his unique perspective to share some truly powerful advice.

If you’re looking to hire someone to jumpstart your company’s lean journey, this episode’s for you!

To hear the podcast just press the “Play” button at the top of this post. An MP3 version is also available for download here.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Adam got into lean recruiting (2:20)
  • Adam’s two inspirational quotes (4:25)
  • What being a “Lean Leader” really means (6:11)
  • What companies need to do to be strong lean thinkers (12:07)
  • The two mistakes companies make when hiring lean specialists (18:20)
  • Adam’s one-word solution for middle level associates struggling to prove the power of lean to their bosses (20:53)
  • Adam’s interpretation of “Respect for People” (23:58)
  • The best advice Adam has ever received (25:18)
  • Adam’s personal productivity habit (26:23)
  • Adam’s three final phrases of wisdom (33:10)

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Full Written Transcript

Announcer: You’re listening to episode 14, with Adam Zak.


Announcer: Welcome to the Gemba Academy Podcast, the show that’s focused on helping individuals and companies achieve breakthrough results using the same continuous improvement principles leveraged by companies such as Toyota, Del Monte, and the US Department of Defense.

Now, here’s your host, Ron Pereira.

Ron Pereira: Hey there, welcome to another episode of the Gemba Academy Podcast. As always, thank you so much for taking time to listen to the show.

Now, one quick Gemba Academy tidbit I wanted to share is that we’re now offering a free, full access, three day trial to our School of Lean and School of Six Sigma. To be honest, we found our best sales tool is to simply let people have a sneak peek at what we have to offer and then let them make a decision on whether they want to buy or not.

If you’re not a Gemba Academy customer and are interested in learning more about what we have to offer, please head over to gembaacademy.com and request a three day trial. You’ll see a link right there on the home page. If you’re already a Gemba Academy customer, thank you so much. We truly do appreciate your business.

Today, I’m joined by a gentleman named Adam Zak. Adam is actually an executive recruiter who specializes in the Lean thinking space. But as you’ll quickly notice, Adam isn’t your normal executive recruiter since he has an incredibly deep understanding of what authentic Lean Leadership is all about.

During the show, Adam and I focus on the topic of Lean Leadership, including what makes strong companies successful. The show notes, including links to everything Adam and I talk about, can be found over at gembapodcast.com/14. That’s 1-4.

Enough for me, let’s get to the show.

All right, Adam, thank you so much for taking time to visit with us today.

Adam Zak: Ron, it’s really a pleasure to be here with you today. Thank you for having me.

Ron: Yeah. Where are you calling in from today, Adam? What part of the country?

Adam: I’m in the Midwest, just outside of Chicago in the Northwest suburbs. The little town I live in and have an office in is called Barrington, Illinois. My family still thinks that I actually live out of O’Hare Airport.

Ron: Yeah, OK. [laughs]

Adam: What can I say?

Ron: All right. Let’s get things started. Just tell us a little bit about yourself, Adam. What do you do and maybe a little bit about your continuous improvement background and how you got into all this Lean thinking stuff.

Adam: Sure. I’ll keep it to a thumbnail sketch, sort of. A lot of people don’t know this, but I actually began my career as a CPA and a consultant with KPMG. That led to a number of financial and then general management roles in a few companies on the West Coast. One of those included a startup.

Eventually I wound up in a small venture capital firm for a few years. That’s where I helped build leadership teams for startups. That’s really what led to my entry, eventually, into executive recruiting. My executive search focus has been primarily operations. I conducted my first, what I’ll call, Lean recruiting project way back in 1996 for Robert Bosch Corporation.

Then more Lean executive searches followed soon after that. Today my work is all focused on Lean and split about 50/50 between line and staff rolls in both manufacturing and service companies. It’s fun. I get to create an impact on every company I work with, and I really love what I do.

Ron: The whole Lean tie-in thing, how did you get first exposed to that? Was that just at your previous companies?

Adam: I actually started doing continuous improvement pretty early in life. It seems I was always looking for better ways of doing things, even in the part time jobs I had in high school and college. In my junior year I heard about a company called Nightingale-Conant.

They used to record and sell these personal improvement tapes from speakers like Zig Ziglar, Dennis Whaley, Tom Hopkins. I was really conditioned to that message, and, of course, I’ve been trying to improve my golf game for many, many years. That hasn’t worked out real well. When I read “The Machine that Changed the World,” that just made perfect sense, so here I am.

Ron: Very cool. Adam, something that we like to do with all our guests to start the show is have them share a leadership or continuous improvement quotation that inspires them. What quotation inspires you, Adam?

Adam: I’ve actually got two that I’d like to share with you, but they’re very closely related and sort of the foundation of my thinking on executive leadership. The first one is by John Quincy Adams. He said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a leader.”

Peter Drucker expanded on that theme when he wrote, “Leadership is not magnetic personality. That can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people. That is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

I just want to add onto that, what I find interesting about those quotes is, first of all, they do not presume that leadership is only available to certain select individuals. I hear a clear message that anyone can be a leader at any level of the organization.

I also notice this external emphasis, it’s that focus on inspiring others to achieve, to improve, exceed expectations. I see a real direct correlation with Lean culture there.

Ron: Yeah, no I do, I love that. Adam, you’ve obviously been in this business for many years, like over 20 years. You’ve been recruiting Lean executives and whatnot. At a high level, what do you think, if you were to define a Lean leader, what is it? What do you look for when you’re recruiting these folks?

Adam: I’m going to tell you what it’s not. It’s not “Kaizen Kowboy.” That’s a term I actually coined back in 2004, you can Google that. It shows, actually, shows up in a book that productivity press published called “Lean Culture.” But it’s not about kaizen and it’s not about tools. It’s really about mindset and behavior.

Let me just give you some highlights, maybe four or five, six things. First of all, we look for system and process thinking, the ability to see processes as they underlie business activity. Then combining that with the belief that most systems, in fact, can be systemized and then improved. That’s probably the first thing. Again, that’s at the macro level.

Connecting directly to that is, I think you have to understand that the systems support the culture and then the culture, in turn, drives the system and the improvement to that system. That’s where the catalyst or the engine for growth and innovation turns into positive outcomes. People who can do those kinds of things really are at the top of their game.

I like this word, humility. A lot of people misinterpret what that means. I think humility is just knowing that you don’t know everything. Because if you assume you do, that really closes the door on any possibility that you’re going to learn anything new.

Executives who come to their roles with this attitude of humility really understand that they know very little about the whole enterprise and that their success will come only when they’re willing to tap into that great body of experience and expertise that’s flowing throughout their organizations. I think that’s a pretty important concept.

I got a couple, maybe three more I’ll touch on.

Self awareness, this is interesting, because it takes most people a long time to actually develop a keen sense of self awareness. It starts way back when your parents first ask questions like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Goes back to how and why you selected the college, major, first job, place to live. It’s about who you are, what do you like, what are you good at, what do you want. Those are all very tough questions.

But we used to think that that was one of those soft skills. What’s interesting is that there are a number of studies that have been done, and they clearly demonstrate that this one particular soft skill turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of an individual’s overall success. They mean that in terms of their life as well as their professional success.

The Oracle of Delphi, I don’t know the Greek for it, but the Oracle of Delphi said, “Know thyself.”

Vision, vision is, again, very important. That’s pretty simple, I think, to explain, difficult to actually address. But it’s pulling forth a structure from chaos. Then we talk a lot about future state and so helping define that. Then you’ve got to connect all those things to a business strategy, to design a process and to implement it.

You know what? None of those things are going to work without these last two, and those are heart and grit. Heart just means an open and sympathetic person who really relates to the needs of the team and understands their difficulties. It’s not just about business. People come to work every day with issues. They’ve got stuff going on in their lives.

The leader who understands that, and then works with them, and makes them comfortable with that, is much more able to really build the kind of teamwork and move the organization forward. Of course, grit, that’s discipline. Set the metrics, measure performance. Just go, “They’re willing to work hard, get stuff done, and drive towards the goal.”

Ron: I really like the one, heart. That really resonates with me. I interviewed Matt May a few weeks ago. He talked a lot about the importance of empathy, from a leadership perspective. I think there’s a lot of parallels with empathy and heart, and just really listening to people. That’s something that many folks don’t do very well.

Adam: I tell you, I’ve enjoyed every one of Matt’s books, and I think he’s one of the guys out there in our world who really gets that. I want to mention one other thing. None of these characteristics, by the way, show up on a resume. There’s no way to see that on a resume. Again, when I look for someone, on behalf of a client, I’ve really got to dig in.

I invest a huge amount of time in conversations with people, to get an understanding at a very deep level about the things they’ve accomplished and the how and the why. At the end of the day, that is how and why they’re going to either relate or not relate to the needs of that organization. Just important to consider.

Ron: Let’s turn tables a little bit. That’s a lot about on the individual, but what about on a company level? I guess we could look at it of, “How does a company attract and retain the best Lean leadership?” But on the flip side, what does a company need to do to be a strong, Lean-thinking, learning organization? What does that look like?

Adam: As I think about your question, what I don’t want to answer, from the standpoint of “What are the characteristics of a Lean organization?” What I would prefer to answer is, “What do companies need to put on the table? What do they need to be like or look like to make themselves attractive for a top-notch Lean executive?” Would that be OK?

Ron: Absolutely.

Adam: [laughs] Let’s talk about this one and get it out of the way, right up front. Money. Money is very important. Interestingly, however, it’s never the number-one reason why people join a company or why they leave a company. People, obviously, they’re working for a living. They expect a reasonable package.

They also want those rewards for the performance that they’re delivering, and maybe just a little bit more, if they get exceptional results. We’re done with money.

The other four key points are probably more in line with what’s…I guess we’re talking about meaning in work. The first of those would be good people want to do inspiring work. Maybe that’s too ambitious.

Daniel Pink, a very well-known author, writes about designing jobs which give people autonomy, mastery, and purpose. To me, that sounds a lot like incorporating that concept of respect for people, and then empowering them through how the position is designed. That’s really the target companies need to aim for when they’re creating these positions within the organization.

An organization has a right to ask people to succeed, but it also has an obligation to give them the tools and the development opportunities to do that. Again, that’s at every level, from executive level to middle managers to the people who actually do the real work. [laughs] The second major point, I think, is I call it enlightened leadership.

Again, from the CEO on down to that shift supervisor, most people don’t quit jobs because…Actually, there’s a lot of reasons why they quit them, but most people do quit jobs because they have a lousy boss. I think it boils down to that, more than any other reason. People need real-time feedback. They need sincere coaching, and they need opportunities to develop and grow within the organization.

If they don’t see those things, at some point, they are just not being satisfied. They’re not being fulfilled. Since that’s what companies look for when they want to hire a new person, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a company should already have people like that, who think that way and act that way, in the existing organization?

Next would be, just like we’re trying to improve our golf game, I think we’re always looking for other ways to improve our lives, professionally and personally. A company needs to offer a vision of a better future.

There’s just that certain excitement that inspires people to do their best work, when they know that they’re valued and that their excellent work can open doors and paths to a wide variety of interesting and challenging projects, assignment, positions in the future. Not just talking about promotions, by the way. It could be rotational opportunities into another function.

It could be a new geography, a new country. It could be another business unit. The challenge of that exposure and of adapting to new situations, solving new problems, is what keeps people going. It’s one of the strongest drivers of employee engagement at all levels. I have seen CEOs who have been so disengaged with their companies that they’re basically retired on the job.

They’re just not functioning because they don’t see a better future. It’s like a dead-end job, and boy, is that a disaster.

Ron: Are you familiar with Richard Sheridan and Menlo Innovations?

Adam: I am. I actually met Richard’s partner when I spoke at the last Shingo conference. They attended. I think they had won a prize of some kind. I’m not exactly sure, but yeah, I know a little bit about the company.

Ron: We’re actually visiting them next week. We’re going to visit Menlo there in Ann Arbor, Michigan to do, again, the live shoot. He wrote a book called “Joy, Inc.” I’m reading it right now, in fact. [laughs] It’s how he built a workplace people love. Part of what they really stress there at Menlo is they work in pairs. It’s software, so it’s a little bit different than your traditional, say, manufacturing company.

At the end of the day, their whole point of being is to build a workplace that is all about joy. It’s like, “Wow,” when you think about that. If you have that, the profits and everything else, they’re just going to follow naturally.

Adam: It’s interesting. I’ve read a lot about satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose in life, just because it relates to why people do the things they do. So many things you cannot pursue directly. They come only as a result of something else. That’s why we often say that the company that focuses its attention on profit will never become successful, because the profit is not, in and of itself, attainable. It is only the result of doing so many other things well that leads to that profit. I get it.

Ron: In your opinion, Adam, what are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they try to recruit people for these, let’s say, Lean management roles?

Adam: There are really two that come to mind. They’re inter-related. The first one would be a lack of clear direction and agenda for a Lean initiative. Then, connecting to that would be the lack of a clear vision and metrics for the position in which someone needs to perform to make that happen. Let me back up and explain a little bit.

I think organizations can also suffer from a version of what I would call poor corporate self-awareness, or at least an inability to clearly articulate strategy and purpose around Lean. If the company’s unclear about how and why it wants to drive its Lean transformation, and what the expected outcome should be, it’s not really going to be able to zero in on exactly who would be the right individuals, the right leaders to bring into that situation.

One of my biggest recruiting challenges with these organizations is to help them understand what’s possible and what it’s going to take, from a leadership perspective, to get them where they want to go. Some companies also, then, have difficulties in laying out specific and clear requirements for the executive position, for the person they want to hire.

A lot of them will use a traditional fallback approach, where they’ll write a position description. They’ll talk about, “What college should this person have gone to? What degree should they have? What should be the companies that they’ve listed on their resume? What are the position titles?” and so on. Instead, the position profile really should be much more of an action-oriented document. It’s built on, “What is the person in this position going to need to accomplish? Against what tricks? Within which time frames?” It’s like building a house, in a sense. If a blueprint is inaccurate, or it’s incomplete, who knows what the house is going to look like? Assuming you can even begin construction once that thing is finished.

Again, I want to invest a lot of time up front, a lot of energy, in helping clients get that blueprint right. Get it as accurate and precise as possible before we ever launch a search.

Ron: Adam, my next question is — I really want to take a slightly different angle for this question — let’s say that we’ve got a middle manager or maybe even a practitioner-level associate who’s practicing Lean and practicing continuous improvement, and they’re really fighting the good fight.

Let’s say they’re on an airplane right now, and maybe they’re a little bit discouraged that their leadership, while they maybe have some support, it’s not real, deep authentic support. But this person is trying. They’re trying to fight that good fight. What advice do you have for that middle manager or that practitioner? What can they do to maybe manage up a bit? What advice do you have for that person?

Adam: I believe there’s really only one answer that actually makes practical sense. It’s one word. It’s data. Just data. In my experience, most of the Lean initiatives that actually succeed and last for more than a few years are led top-down, where the senior leadership team gets it.

In your case, in this particular situation, I would say to that person, “Look, if your senior leadership team understands data and they can be persuaded by your business case for Lean. Now you’ve got to have a lot of ammunition there. You’ve really got to do your homework. But if you can demonstrate a business case for Lean, then you have a shot at getting their attention and support. It needs to be a very clear, unambiguous business result. It’s got to be backed up by solid numbers, which I’ll add is very difficult in a traditional cost-accounting environment. You’ve got to be creative about how you help them interpret and understand those numbers. To have any chance of swaying opinion in your favor, that’s what you’ve got to do.”

My sense is that every company would like to achieve the benefits that a Lean transformation can offer. The problem here is that most just don’t want to do the hard work that will make that happen. They’ll use a shortcut to cut their way through activities. They won’t change the underlying system.

Ron: They want the five steps to being Lean that they can do in the next 30 days. [laughs]

Adam: Sometimes, they’ll want the 12-step program, but then they’ll say, “Let’s be Lean and cut it to six.” How’s that going to work out? Quite honestly, the other piece of advice I would have, if they’re running into that brick wall, maybe they should just send me their resume. [laughs]

Ron: You joke about that, but I also interviewed Bill Waddell recently, and that’s basically what he said. At the end of the day, if you come to a point in your career where you’ve done everything that you can and you’ve done it the right way, sometimes, certain companies, sadly, they don’t get it.

Realistically, if they don’t, the chances of them being around in 20 years are probably pretty slim, anyhow. [laughs] In today’s environment.

Adam: Makes sense.

Ron: Adam, let’s go ahead and transition now to, actually, my favorite part of the show, which we call the quick-fire section. This is where you get to share your personal thoughts and wisdom, which obviously, you’ve been doing. But now we’re actually going to focus in a little bit on Adam. [laughs]

The first question that I have for you is we spend a lot of time in Lean talking about respect for people. It’s one of the pillars of continuous improvement, but it’s hard to put your finger on. What is that? What does respect for people mean to you?

Adam: I have a very personal definition, which I will typically share with clients, because they have that same question. Everybody reads about this, but what does this really mean? It has to be internalized. For me, it means recognizing individuals as they are and not as we would wish them to be. And then helping them attain as much of their potential, professionally as well as personally.

It’s not one of those soft things that business-people refer to at all. Of course, in the broader context, broader definition, we could start talking about all the pieces that go into that, that make that up. The transparency, the trust, responsibility, accountability. Really, it’s those values that connect back to that golden rule. Lots of things, but the core really is quite simple.

Ron: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Adam: There is a — I guess I’ll use the word “maxim” — a maxim in real estate development known as “highest and best use.” What basically that means is if you have a hot piece of property, piece of land in San Francisco, the highest and best use for that land is more likely to be a Trump Tower and not a Sonic burger joint, as much as I love Sonic burgers.

Here’s what I would say to every individual listening. Your time and energy, right now at this moment, are infinitely more valuable than that piece of real estate. Periodically, during the day, stop yourself and ask, “Are you using that time and energy in the best possible way? And what could you be doing instead that would be more powerful?”

What could you be doing with the greatest possible impacts that you are capable of delivering? You do that, and you’ll find that throughout the day, things will just go that much better for you.

Ron: Very good, Adam. Can you share maybe one of your personal productivity habits that others might benefit from?

Adam: Yes, here’s one I’ve been using now. I’m not sure if it’s almost three years, possibly. I call it “reflect and record.” Immediately after every phone call, interview, meeting, any significant interaction. I’m not talking about just taking notes during the interview, for instance.

I’m talking about immediately after that significant interaction, I take just about a minute to reflect on and think about, “What were those key issues?” Then, I write those down. It forces me to decide what was important about that event or communication, and why. I want to make sure I write that down, too.

Over the years, I find that, as I do this, I’m getting better at evaluating and interpreting key points, setting priorities, and then deciding on next steps or plans of action. I look at it almost like a micro, personal PDA thing for my productivity throughout the day. It’s been very helpful.

Ron: Do you write it down, like pen and paper or electronically?

Adam: Yes, I write it down. Actually, I keep a notebook for just those reflections.

Ron: Nice. Do you ever go back and review those from years past? How does that work?

Adam: I’m glad you asked that question. I do. [laughs] I think you have to have a system. Probably for the last few years, since I’ve been involved in Lean, I’ve applied those principles to how I work. Sometimes, my personal life, as well. I do have a systemic approach as part of my standard work to go back and through those.

What’s interesting is that over time, you begin to see correlations. You begin to see patterns. That’s the base, the foundation, for learning and changing behavior. That’s why I think it’s a great system, because it’s beyond just the moment. It really begins to connect things over time. Again, those patterns are very important to recognize.

Ron: Last question, Adam. Here’s the scene. You’ve decided to go back into industry a little bit, and you’re not going to recruit anymore. You’ve sold your recruiting business for a billion dollars. Now, you’ve recently been hired, Adam, as a general manager of a company. This company is struggling. They’re struggling with quality, productivity, poor morale. Really, they’re a mess.

You were hired because the CEO believes in you and your background and really feels that you’re going to be able to right this ship. They’ve given you complete operational and P&L control. This is your baby. With this said, Adam, what would you do in your first week, and why?

Adam: First of all, I’ve got to tell you that this absolutely has to be a trick question, because there’s no way anybody’s going to buy my business for a billion dollars.

But having said that, many of us would recognize, right off the top, that a new executive coming into an unfamiliar organization, I don’t think you can really expect to roll out some sort of a 90-day turnaround plan, after just meeting and greeting the team in the first week. What I’d like to do is share a brief story about a client situation to what I think demonstrates something that’s just infinitely better. I was retained to do a search for a company’s new vice president of Lean supply chain. The CEO had actually been with the company for just over a year. He’d come to the realization that the supply-chain part of the business just wasn’t working.

Coaching, mentoring didn’t help. The VP was just not up to the job. I got the call, but here’s the thing. I didn’t get the call right away. That CEO personally moved the VP aside and then took the job himself. He took on the supply-chain role for the next six weeks. During that six-week period of time, he did everything. He was digging into supplier delivery issues, incoming quality problems.

He was reviewing supply contracts, looking at pricing variances. He went out to qualify a new vendor, outsource a deal. You name it, he did it. He had some help. He’s got a small staff there, but he dug into and touched every nook and cranny of that organization’s supply chain.

Ron: How big was his company, approximately?

Adam: About $250 million in revenue.

Ron: Wow. OK.

Adam: At the end of six weeks, he knew exactly what problems needed solving and what it would take to make that happen. Connecting back up to how we talked about how companies sometimes have a hard time pulling together a position profile, after that experience, boy, could he write a clear, concise profile for what he needed, specific metrics, time frames, why. That’s when I got the call.

I guess the lesson there, you’ve got to walk deep into the gemba to listen and understand and only then can you begin to act.

Ron: You know what’s fantastic about that, and also sad at the same time is that it’s great that that person did it. But gosh, it would have been even better if it didn’t take a crisis to get leaders to do what that person did. I often wonder why more leaders don’t just go to gemba more just to experience what their folks are dealing with. Because when they do, things like what you just described can happen before, like I said, a crisis occurs.

Adam: Let me address that in this particular case, because this CEO, again, was relatively new. He had come in, taken a look at the areas of the organization where he needed to prioritize issues. Initially, his time had been spent on operations, on manufacturing and other things. Guess what? It’s that case where you start lowering the level of the water running through the creek and something else shows up, the other rock.

What he had done initially is lowered the level on the operations side, the production, the manufacturing and the quality issues, and found that they needed fixing, and they did that. The minute they fixed that, all these supply chain problems became apparent. That’s when he jumped into this.

Ron: I got it, OK.

Adam: Logically, that worked. But you’re absolutely right, sometimes over time, we get lulled into a sense of security that things are going well. We need to not do that. We need to go back and revisit and revisit and revisit, because that’s the only way we can tell.

Ron: Excellent. Well, Adam, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to visit with us.

Why don’t we wrap up the show here, Adam, with you giving us some final words of wisdom? Then why don’t you tell people how they can connect with you through your website, in any social media outlets that you’re active on.

Adam: OK. I have three, actually, they’re very short phrases. I’ll tell you what those are and then I’ll just spend a moment on each explaining what that means.

Number one, no shortcuts. Number two, no assumptions. Number three, no excuses.

Shortcuts, you can interpret that in two ways. Anything important that you want to achieve and sustain means hard work and takes time. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book in which he popularized the notion that 10,000 hours of practice is what’s necessary to achieve mastery of something. There’s a lot more to it that that, but that’s a topic for another podcast.

I’d say during the course of my search career, for instance, I’ve invested probably several years worth of time just in interviewing clients and candidates. I’m finally starting to get pretty good at it.

The other interpretation is that you can’t cut corners and also expect great results. That’s a really good argument for standard work and checklists, for instance. I know that the one time, somewhere down the road, if I forget to check a reference for the top candidate, we’re going to find out that that person never really did earn that rocket science degree from Stanford.

No assumptions. I think this is very difficult to do. This goes back to what we were talking about, how you’ve got to revisit and revisit and revisit areas. You cannot assume that things are working well. But that’s very difficult to do, because we’ve conditioned ourselves to rely heavily on past experiences and learnings. That’s now the framework, the lens through which we view and assess new situations, new people or issues.

Often enough to make it hurt, we assume something is like something else we know about and it’s not. That’s when you get into trouble, so that’s a bad habit. Don’t do it.

Finally, no excuses. Excuses are just a way of transferring accountability for something that you did that didn’t work out and you transfer it to another person, a place or a thing. You don’t learn a thing from shifting that blame and because you don’t learn anything, you’re just more likely to repeat that poor result again in the future. Don’t do that.

What’ll change when you don’t make excuses is you’ll like yourself more and your friends will like you more, too.

Ron: Maybe your significant other, too. Right?

Adam: Maybe that’s true, too.

All right. Social media. Easy enough. On LinkedIn, I’m Adam Zak, A-D-A-M-Z-A-K, all run together. On Twitter, I’m LeanThinker, and my newly updated website is leanrecruiter.com.

Ron: LeanThinker. How did you get that one? Man, you must have jumped on that quick.

Adam: I did. I did.

Ron: That’s awesome.

Adam: Or you could just Google Adam, A-D-A-M, Zak, Z-A-K, and you get like five pages.

Ron: You are like the Lean recruiting guru, man. If anybody out there is in the need of Lean related work, and I always send people to your website when people ask me. Because I’m obviously not in that part of the world. But I have a lot of people, made a lot of contacts over the years who, unfortunately, sometimes fortunately, they’re looking for other opportunities.

Adam: I thank you very kindly for that. I appreciate that.

Ron: Yeah. All right, Adam, thanks again and perhaps we can hook up again and do another interview down the road someday.

Adam: Awesome. We’ll find a new topic and do it again. It’s been my pleasure.

Ron: All right. Thank you.

Adam: Thanks.

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