Monthly Archives: October 2014

6 Lean Lessons in Leadership: Learnings from Washington State Lean Transformation

1.Start with Respect. To improve our work (and world) we first need to start with respecting others and building a culture of respect.

Harness Leadership

Integris Performance Advisors Team Meeting aboard My Girl in Tacoma, WA. Integris Performance Advisors Team Meeting aboard My Girl in Tacoma, WA. (I’m back row, 3rd from left.)

Last week I attended the Washington State Lean Transformation Conference with Integris Performance Advisors. As a leadership consultant I often work with Integris in a corporate setting, and it’s intriguing to learn about the company’s roots in Lean/Six Sigma and leadership in a government context where @ResultsWA goal is to improve the lives of Washingtonians.

What is Lean?According to goleansixsigma.com, Lean is simply a method of streamlining a process, resulting in increased revenue, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction. I’m interested in the interplay between innovation and leadership and in my second visit to the conference in two years, was impressed that so many of the presenters stressed the critical importance that leadership and coaching play in creating Lean government.

So here is my take on what I heard from the…

View original post 484 more words

6 Lean Lessons in Leadership: Learnings from Washington State Lean Transformation

Integris Performance Advisors Team Meeting aboard My Girl in Tacoma, WA.
Integris Performance Advisors Team Meeting aboard My Girl in Tacoma, WA. (I’m back row, 3rd from left.)

Last week I attended the Washington State Lean Transformation Conference with Integris Performance Advisors. As a leadership consultant I often work with Integris in a corporate setting, and it’s intriguing to learn about the company’s roots in Lean/Six Sigma and leadership in a government context where @ResultsWA goal is to improve the lives of Washingtonians.

What is Lean? According to goleansixsigma.com, Lean is simply a method of streamlining a process, resulting in increased revenue, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction. I’m interested in the interplay between innovation and leadership and in my second visit to the conference in two years, was impressed that so many of the presenters stressed the critical importance that leadership and coaching play in creating Lean government.

So here is my take on what I heard from the folks and partners @resultsWA and leadership.

  1. Start with Respect. I love that to improve our work we first need to start with respecting others and building a culture of respect. Of course, it makes sense. No one wants to share their ideas or suggest solutions to problems if there is a lack of respect. The message was clear: if you don’t have an organization where people feel respected, start there – not on process improvement.
  2. Build a language of leadership to build culture. The language we use creates our environment and our culture. If your organization doesn’t talk about and reinforce dignity and respect, you likely will have a hard time engaging others to innovate. See lesson #1.
  3. Break it down. We can’t innovate until we are very familiar with what exists. Each of us might have our own personal understanding of “what is,” however, until you shine a light on the process, it exists in our minds only. That light is shown in many ways, but we have to break down the process before we can determine what needs to go and what needs to stay.
  4. Use humble coaching. This is a nuance that I had not heard articulated until now. It’s in line with my idea that our “belief in people” can help increase their engagement and development. It goes one step further, however, and reminds you to take your self-interest out of the equation. Leave your “great advice” at the door – in most cases – and truly coach by asking opinions and helping people grow their problem-solving capabilities.
  5. Reflection is key for improving your work and your world. This is a theme that I return to frequently. If you don’t take time to reflect, you may be implementing ideas that are “half-baked.” In her sessions entitled “Burn the Popcorn,” Carol Knight -Wallace shared a brainstorming technique called the 7 Ways. To use this technique, think of 7 ways to solve the problem at hand. This is a great technique to help you reflect on your challenge and prevent the mistakes that come with rushed decisions.
  6. It’s about relationships. If you don’t have the relationship, it’s very hard to inspire people to want to work WITH you to improve what you do and how you do it. To create and implement “what’s next and new” you need to have the attention of others. That comes from building a strong relationship, including getting to know those around you. Good at your work relationships? Work to make them deeper and you will reap the rewards as people deepen their trust in you.

And speaking of relationships, thanks to the Managing Partners of @IntegrisPA: Tracy O’Rourke, Evans Kerrigan and Brett Cooper for inviting me along. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this fabulous team of consultants (pictured above in our team meeting on the Puget Sound), helping create healthy workplaces…and just having fun!

 

 

What Do You Dedicate Yourself To?

2ee370430b3f34da98acb47b872aa4d7[1]
Indy Cog is dedicated to promoting safe cycling in Indiana http://www.indycog.org.
I met a woman this week named Carol who works in the Toxics Cleanup Program in Washington State Department of Ecology who has biked an incredible 33,500 miles to work since April of 2001. No, that is not a misplaced comma – thirty three thousand, five-hundred miles! This is a woman who is dedicated to the environment. In the last 13 years, the only times she has NOT taken her bike to work, she commuted with a neighbor or took public transportation (like on days with ice or more than 8 inches of snow).

Did I say “dedication.” Yes, this is an excellent example of what true dedication is. And it made me wonder, “who else do I know that is dedicated to something meaningful?”

My friend/brother Jeremy @ www.theartfulfundraiser.com, has dedicated himself to the arts. He engages the leaders of arts organizations to understand how they can keep their doors open by appealing to the hearts and minds of their constituents. He works with leaders to find ways together to engage folks in creating sustainable arts programs.

Best friend to many, Susan is dedicated to all of her friends. What do you need? She’ll help you. While she is especially good at helping design your kitchen, she’s open to helping you with your mulch, your wardrobe, your latest work or love-life drama, or even helping you pick out the perfect diamond for the girl of your dreams. She’s all-in to do all of those “true-friend” things you can think of.

Belinda in D.C. wants to transform the way that women give birth in the U.S. and will be a first-class midwife once she transitions out of her government job in H.R.

Mike, Deb, Troy and Vicki are dedicated to helping others see the impact they can have on how we treat and envision the aging among us.

Tom, Dan, Amy, Tracy, Evans, KJ and Brett are each dedicated to helping leaders understand the power they hold, and the potential they have in making our workplaces healthier.

Celina is inspired by the possibilities of restoring Washington waterways.

This all takes me back to a phrase my husband, Dennis, says to me each time I work with a new group of leaders: “Use your powers for good.” I always smile when he says or texts it to me. But it has a deeper meaning to me as well. There are lots of ways every day that we are not so kind; not so giving; not so hopeful; not uplifting or uplifted. And some people, I would swear, dedicate themselves to that dark side of things.

So, this is my heartfelt appreciation for those who are making the world a better place. Who are dedicating themselves to work that matters and who are making a real difference in the lives of others. Thank you for being you! “Use your powers for good.”