Finding Improvement in the Margins [Lessons from the Road]
There are connections in every organization. Some are easily seen while others are not. But, look closely and you will find them. In the recent column I wrote for IndustryWeek I examined the waste that often occurs in these connections. It is in these connections, in the margins, that thereRead More
Management is a role. Leadership is an act.
My friend John Hunter who’s mix of insight and intellectual integrity has been a strong role model in the blogging world of continuous improvement. His Curious Cat Management Improvement blog is a great tribute to its own name, and John’s comments often embarrass me by going deeper than my ownRead More
Are you working on the right problems?
Lean is not all about waste, despite what we see in most definitions and applications. If it were about one thing (which oversimplifies things) it would be about problem solving, at all levels of the organization. We take problem solving for granted. Why? Because we’ve been doing it since weRead More
10 Management Traps – and How to Avoid Them
Recently Steve Minter of Industry Week interviewed a range of people for an article he titled 10 Management Traps – and How to Avoid Them. The ten traps he lists are: 1. Not ‘Nipping it in the Bud’ 2. Squelching the Flow of Bad News 3. Doing Drop-Down Work 4.Read More
The Fine Line Between Micro-Management and Surfacing Problems
Not many people want to be the victim of micro-management. And most managers don’t espouse operating that way. But not all micro-management is created equal. As organizations pursue lean effort,s I see a tension between making problems visible and micro-management. Many organizations are very sensitive to anything that feels likeRead More
First Steps Video: Standard Questions for Your One-on-One Meetings
Do you meet with the members of your team one-on-one? Does your boss do it with you? The one-on-one meeting is a staple practice in effective management. How can you make it more effective? By developing a list of most-effective questions that you can use. This is the next topicRead More
Valid or reliable – take your pick
Last week we had an interesting conversation. It started as a discussion about projects, particularly how you make sure you projects are going in the right direction. Ideally, you should choose how you’re going to be measuring yourself before, during, and after the project. If you wait to the endRead More
Forget SMART Goals – Do you have DUMB goals?
A lot is written and taught about developing SMART goals. I wrote about the topic earlier this year when everyone was developing their annual goals in the post Forget the New Year’s Resolutions. There are mistakes in developing goals that I find far too common. Let’s call them DUMB goals.Read More
The right supervisor ratio
“How many direct reports do you have?” That used to be a question asked to measure someone’s importance. People wanted control. Building an empire was a status symbol. But that has little to do with effectiveness. I have been writing a lot lately about topics related to organizational design, suchRead More