I have a major milestone in my life this month. I turn 40. Of course, things don’t change immediately when you hit a particular age, but they do change over time. As I grow older, I grow wiser and can see deeper into issues. I gain more experience every day, and have an increasing wealth of knowledge to draw from. I am also far less likely to get worked up about a problem than I was at age 20. Now I just focus on solving it.
Physically, though, age slowly takes its toll. I have mentioned in my Gotta Go Lean Blog a few times that I play basketball to stay in shape. My style of play has always been one of hustle more than skill. I’ve still got a lot of energy, but after a few games, the 20-somethings I play against start to gain the advantage. They never seem to slow down.
So, I had to do something different. I started spending time practicing my shot, and asking for advice from the best players. I’ve been doing this for a few months, and have gotten noticeably better. In fact, I hit eight three point shots in a row the other day, and thirteen out of fourteen free throws. My focused effort has paid off.
That’s the message for this month’s newsletter. I challenge you to identify one of your skills that needs work, and spend the month doing something about it. I’m not talking about just ‘working on it’. I’m talking about sitting down and making a coherent, written plan, and then spending the time to put the plan into action.
Along the same line, I’m rolling out some ‘Boot Camps‘ this month. These are short (generally one day) training sessions intended to teach a single core continuous improvement skill, and help trainees put it to immediate use. Learn more in the ‘What’s new?’ section.
And as always, best wishes on your Lean journey.
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We’ve gotten back to the core of Velaction’s website this month, and added several more entries to the Lean dictionary. It is quickly closing in on 300 terms! We try to give a continuous improvement spin on each one, so they are more than just simple definitions. They also tell you what the term means to your Lean efforts. If you haven’t looked over this great tool, please check it out and let us know what you think in the comments section below each entry.
If you’ve been a frequent visitor of the site, you might also notice some of the subtle changes to layouts, buttons, spacing, and other formatting. We keep refining the site to make it easier to use as well as make it more visually appealing. Again, we’d love to hear your feedback about the site.
Finally, Velaction is launching a few Boot Camps. These are intensive training and coaching sessions for small groups of frontline leaders, mostly supervisors and managers. We are currently finalizing sessions on:
Learning the technical aspects of Lean takes time and effort. But, what few people recognize is that it is much harder to develop the soft skills of continuous improvement. The following list contains some of the greatest challenges-and opportunities-for many Lean leaders.
The single biggest mistake that leaders make in a Lean company is failing to grant authority to their team members. That doesn’t mean giving team members blank checks to do anything they want. It just means that employees should have the freedom to solve problems and make improvements. When team members or junior leaders feel safe trying things out on their own, they get more job satisfaction, and bosses’ jobs get easier-a win-win situation. Of course, leaders must trust their teams to give them more freedom. One way for leaders to gain faith in subordinates is to provide them with proper training. (See our Lean Boot Camps for one training option.) More…
Jeff Hajek is the Founder of Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC, a company dedicated to making your job easier and more rewarding in a Lean environment.
If you liked this issue, you'll love Jeff's practical, easy to read, to the point training materials that help you find win-win solutions so you can quickly overcome Lean obstacles.
You can find out more about Jeff and the wealth of other free resources that he offers at www.Velaction.com.
Jeff is also the author of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean? Building the bridge from job satisfaction to corporate profit. This unique book provides a blueprint for not only surviving, but also thriving in a Lean company. Plus it's like two books in one. The first half provides an overview about how to find job satisfaction in a continuous improvement culture. The second half addresses over a hundred problems that people face when they are asked to do more with less. Whaddaya Mean? is available at www.Amazon.com or at Velaction’s Lean Store.
Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC • PO Box 14700|Mill Creek, WA|98082 • 1.800.670.5805