Jon Miller

Total 1369 Posts

The Lean Leader as Player-Coach

Player-coaches are far less common today than they were in professional sports a few decades ago. A few notable superstar players informally perform a similar role today, but under a dedicated head coach who guide the team. In modern business the player-coach is often an individual contributor who also serves

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The Guessing Game of Lean Leadership

“Eliminate slogans and exhortations asking the workforce for zero defects” or other such improvement targets, Dr. Deming set down as one of his fourteen principles. Yet this piece of advice ignored by even the most dedicated continuous improvement-practicing organizations around the world. There is something about the f a slogan

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Six-month Reflection Questions

A colleague recently suggested reflecting back seven years on what we learned and what we would do differently today based on that. Seven years is so long ago. It almost makes me dizzy to consider. The big issues and questions from back then seem minor or to have obvious answers

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Standard Work for Solving Crossword Puzzles

Lately I have been having fun solving daily crossword puzzles with my family. By reflecting on both mistakes and successful approaches, I have arrived at a strategy, even something like standard work, for solving crossword puzzles. Step 1: Plan Pinpoint the problem. As with any type of problem-solving, clearly understanding

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A Surprisingly Simple Gemba Story

During a recent workshop, a customer asked me to share some inspiring Lean conversion stories. It was an impromptu request. I did my best but didn’t quite nail it. In hindsight, I think there is a difference between stories about Lean that inspire people who are just getting started or not

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First, Make a Human Connection

A recent conversation with a friend of mine who is a continuous improvement director at a sizable North American corporation yielded some personal insights for him and general ones about being a technical change leader. This story is shared with his permission, in hopes that it will help someone else

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An Introduction to Kaizen

Kaizen (改善) is a Japanese word meaning “improvement”. The symbol kai means to change, to renew, to correct something that is wrong, and zen means “good” – there is no relation to Zen Buddhism. The word kaizen itself does not imply “continuous” or “continual” or never-ending. However, in modern business, kaizen refers to

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