Leading Blog



04.22.15

How a Lean CEO Thinks and Why You Should Too

Leadership
The Lean CEO by Jacon Stoller gets to the thinking behind why Lean management works. I think "Lean" is a poor moniker to give the approach. It tends to make people think of cost-cutting or how to get the most work out of the fewest number of people. It sounds like a manufacturing thing. But that is misleading.

It is a holistic approach to management. It produces excellence because it is good leadership. It is “a fundamental overhaul in the way companies manage people.” To be sure it is about creating the most value from the resources you have whether it be time, money, people, or equipment. It strips away any event that does not add value by creating leaders at all levels.

Stoller points out, Lean organizations outperform non-Lean organizations for two basic reasons:

Brings Out the Best in People
Lean is respectful of people, develops and makes use of people’s gifts. “Lean provides the antidote for the common complaint ‘I love my work, but I can’t stand all the other stuff that goes on.’ Lean sees that ‘other stuff’ as waste, and any employee who feels that frustration can lead the charge to get rid of that waste.” It builds teamwork. How can we produce the best work together?

Get Leaders in Touch with Reality
Management does not lack data. What is typically lacks is context. Lean provides that context. It connects every member of the team to what is really going on. A Lean organization is essentially a learning organization which makes it especially suited for uncertain times.
“Lean provides a disciplined structure that allows an organization to focus resources on measureable customer-oriented goals, essentially codifying what has made the company successful. Because Lean creates a continuous improvement environment where all employees are asked for input on decisions, the Lean journey allows the CEO to naturally evolve from reactive day-to-day decision maker to proactive teacher, coach, and strategist.”
Stoller begins The Lean CEO with an exceptional survey of how we got to be so wasteful. Wasteful of people’s time, energy and talent in particular. Abundance often leads to waste and hides issues that should be dealt with. Many Lean CEOs would not have adopted Lean practices without a crisis.

Stoller profiles 28 Lean CEOs in this book that have implemented Lean in a variety of industries with great success. There is a lot to glean from these pages. Here are some ideas to reflect on:
Lean creates the ideal environment for motivating workers. Recognition, variety, autonomy, and the opportunity to learn are all intrinsic to the employee’s role in a culture of continuous improvement.

Productivity was not about more effort and being more tired at the end of the day. It was about working together to create the conditions to be more productive.

Leaving a person to sink or swim violates what may be the most important pillar of Lean: respect for people.

Accountability is about making sure that everybody understands where we’re trying to go. If they don’t get to the goal, that doesn’t mean they necessarily did something wrong. It might mean that they weren’t set up for success by something I did or whatever. So it’s about supporting them so that they can be successful. And accountability means coming back with an action, or something they did next, and a plan for what they’re going to do next. “I did this, this, and this, and this is what I learned, this is where I am, and this is what I’m going to do next. What do you guys think?

We celebrate the individual, not the numbers. The numbers are a by-product.

It’s about high levels of engagement that accelerates the art of observation and the sharing of ideas in the interest of commonly held goals.

It bothers me when I hear Lean people say you have to get rid of barriers as fast s you can. Are they a barrier, or are they providing another kind of input?

A self-serving leader would never survive in a Lean environment.
Lean is not just a manufacturing system. It is a way of thinking about people that applies to any organization. Lean is a culture. It’s not a directive. It’s a way of thinking. It is about being open and humble. It’s about diversity of thought and understanding that good ideas come from anywhere.

The Lean CEO gets to the heart of what it means to lead from anywhere.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:54 PM
| TrackBacks (0) | Management

04.15.15

Cleaning the Toilet Can Make You a Better Leader

Clean Toilet
Leadership doesn’t make you better than anyone else, it make you more responsible.

As a leader you are more than an individual contributor. Leaders think about the context—the big picture—not just their function. Focused on the outcome, they do whatever needs to be done to move the organization forward. They do whatever they can to facilitate the work of others.

Leaders are connected to what others are doing. And we can accomplish this be asking, “How can I help you?” And then doing what needs to be done.

Michael Janda Founder of the creative agency RiSER, put it this way in Burn Your Portfolio:
I believe you are a better person if you’ve ever had a job that required you to clean a public restroom. This humbling task teaches so many lessons, among which is the willingness to do whatever the job requires. I have seen over and over again in my career that the people who are willing to go the extra mile and do whatever task is required of them by their boss or client are among the most valued in the company.

Ultimately, cleaning public toilets early in life is not the only way to learn gratitude and humble service to others. Many people are fortunate to learn these lessons in their homes. Others are born with service built deep inside of them. Regardless of how you learn to serve, learn it and learn it well.
Doing what needs to be done—including cleaning toilets—is taking ownership for the outcome. Going the extra mile—doing what needs to be done—helps to create a true culture of leadership in your organization—by example.

We don’t serve because we are leaders, we have the privilege to lead because we serve.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:34 PM
| TrackBacks (0) | Leadership

04.01.15

First Look: Leadership Books for April 2015

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in April.

  Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win by Fred Kiel
  Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock
  Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal
  Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by John Calipari and Michael Sokolove
  A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General by Ann Dunwoody with Tomago Collins

Return on Character Work Rules Getting There Players First A Higher Standard

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Build your leadership library with these specials on over 100 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:10 AM
| TrackBacks (0) | Books

03.31.15

LeadershipNow 140: March 2015 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from March 2015 that you might have missed:
See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:38 AM
| TrackBacks (0) | LeadershipNow 140



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