Use The Zwicky Idea Box To Generate More Ideas and Solutions

Posted by on Jun 6, 2021 in Creativity | 0 comments

In the Six Sigma DMAIC process, we are often told to use the brainstorming process to generate as many potential solutions as possible.  Brainstorming is a common method for a team to generate a lot of ideas to solve a problem.  It’s supposed to encourage open thinking when a team is stuck in the “same old way” thinking.  It should get all team members involved so that a few people don’t dominate the whole group and allow team members to build on each other’s creativity while staying focused on their joint...

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Solve Problems Faster Using The Phoenix Checklist

Posted by on May 30, 2021 in Phoenix Checklist, Problem Solving | 0 comments

Asking questions give conscious direction to your thinking.  When you ask a question, you have to think about it.  And when you ask the right questions, it allows you to see the whole thing to comprehend it.  In order to do this, we use a question checklist. A checklist of questions helps you make sure no aspect of a challenge is overlooked.  Unless the challenge is extremely easy to solve, you need to know what to ask.  The Phoenix checklist is a series of questions developed by the CIA to allow agents to look at a challenge from many...

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Do We Trust Our Employees? If So, Why Performance Appraisals?

Posted by on May 23, 2021 in Performance Appraisal, Trust | 0 comments

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of performance appraisals.  The premises for conducting performance appraisals vary but generally include the following: Problems result from individual dereliction. Successful work requires holding people accountable for the achievement of measurable goals. There is a reservoir of withheld effort that must be coaxed or coerced out of people. Managers can and must motivate and control the workforce. In his famous 14 Points, Dr. Deming stated in his eighth point,...

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The Value of Flow and Improving Cash Flow

Posted by on May 16, 2021 in Cash Flow, Flow, Henry Ford, Lean | 0 comments

The beginning of lean can be traced back to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company from about 1910 to about 1915.  It was not so much Ford himself, but his leadership and sponsoring of projects that led to their mass production accomplishments.  Ford created the environment that drove many on his team to dream up and implement those projects. Just about every change in the flow came from the bottom of the organization.  A common saying among the workers in the shop at the time was, “Everyone takes the hardest way first.”  They...

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Trust The Process, Not Your Gut Instincts!

Posted by on May 2, 2021 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A process is defined as a series of steps taken in order to accomplish a particular end.  We all have processes we follow every day — getting up and getting ready for work, making a pot of coffee, taking the dog for a walk, cleaning up, and doing dishes after a meal — these are processes we typically execute with very little thought.  But it is surprising how few people can actually articulate what a good process looks like. People are generally quite poor at explaining how they go about making a high-quality decision, solving a...

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Understanding When and How to Make Change Is Critical to Your Success

Posted by on Apr 25, 2021 in Change | 0 comments

A leader’s job is to know the difference between change and improvement.  They must know when a small change is needed and when breakthrough improvement is the only alternative.  Understanding these subtle differences is not always easy, but making the correct decision is vital to your success. Understanding the issues related to change is the first step in making the correct decision.  Some of the things you will want to consider are: Is this change a fact of life?  Is this change part of the unyielding sweep of nature, economics,...

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Management Beginnings: Train Wreck and Radios

Posted by on Apr 18, 2021 in Management, W. Edwards Deming | 0 comments

On Oct. 5, 1841, two Western Railroad passenger trains collided head-on between Worcester, MA, and Albany, NY, killing the conductor and a passenger and injuring seventeen passengers.  The Massachusetts legislature launched an investigation into the cause of the wreak and find a remedy.  Western Railroad appointed a committee to look into the causes and the committee recommended the company restructure the organization.  This structure was adapted from the Prussian Army and introduced as a way to prevent future train wrecks. This new...

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Six Leadership Competencies Needed Now & In The Future

Posted by on Apr 4, 2021 in Leadership Competency, Learning Organization, Profound Knowledge | 0 comments

Over the years, I’ve worked with several family-owned companies founded twenty or thirty years ago by an earlier generation.  Through a lot of hard work and perseverance, these companies could find a niche in the marketplace. They were able to grow and expand their operation from the original few employees to over one hundred.  I often see that although they’ve grown in size and revenue, many of the systems they use are remnants of the founders and have not developed into those needed now and into the future.  This failure to...

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20 Gemba Rules & Guidelines That Will Make Your Workplace More Productive & Efficient

Posted by on Mar 28, 2021 in Improving Gemba | 0 comments

There is poetry, music, spirit, and rhythm to a well-organized and efficient workplace.  There are a flow and beauty to it that is indescribable.  Work is done efficiently, on-time, and in an orderly fashion.  It’s the kind of thing that you automatically know when you see it.  The question often asked is “How did it get this way?” In Peter Scholtes’ 1998 book, The Leader’s Handbook, Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done, he discusses twenty rules and guidelines for you to follow and implement at Gemba to...

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The Control Plan: Your Last Line of Defense

Posted by on Mar 21, 2021 in Control Phase, Control Plan, Kaizen, Poke-yoke, Process Capability, Standard Work, VOC, VOP | 0 comments

A control plan is a written document created to ensure processes are producing products or services that meet or exceed customer requirements at all times.  It is a living document that gets updated as the organization gets process experience or receives customer feedback. A control plan is a systematic approach to finding and resolving out-of-control conditions.  It provides employees a guide to follow when troubleshooting a process through its documented reaction plan.  It should provide a strategy to reduce process tampering, provide a...

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