Author Archives

just plain joe.

My name is Joe. I have two blogs that I maintain., a business/career improvement space and, a general blog that contains a variety of thoughts on different topics. I live in Lawrence, KS, work as a Continuous Improvement Manager. I am working on two books and continuing education. I enjoy life with my Q, my kids, Kazho and Sox

lean champions and a pyramid effect

There is so much work that needs to be done.

As professionals we have both normal tasks which must be completed and strategic projects to take the business further. When we see a problem – we (usually) get a group of SME’s together and start pounding out solutions. You may use the A3 or another method but the point is that we recognize we need a team to do this. So why does it have to stop there? What if you could have people usings a pyramid concept to multiple the efforts? I believe you could apply a champion model to nearly any subject matter expert led work group(s).

  • First, set a group of tools that you want to use in your

boots on the ground: the power of the gemba (genba)

I cannot count the number of times when I thought I knew… or was sure… how something transpired. “The employees are taking shortcuts…” Or you may have many other preconceived notions. I am sure if you have ever been in a problem solving event – many people have the real root cause even before the process has been investigated. The power of any investigation is to actually go to the scene of the crime, or where the action takes place (or took place). The Japanese term, modernized, is Gemba.

Genba (<span class="t_nihongo_kanji" lang="ja" xml:lang

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So author Mark Driscoll has a saying… Those which we idoloze, we will also demonize. His context refers more towards Christianity, and although I find that true too, I was thinking in terms of our professional lives. You see, I have read quite a few angry blogs, Facebook rants, or Tweets… Many times people work their entire lives for the company to be let go or not selected for something they were “deserving of.”  Many times, the reasons were nothing person but the hard truth of business. In order for there to be a promotion or a vacancy something had to happen. The business model is not the same today as it was yesterday, thus needs change which may also change other things in structure. There is an ever present dynamic that is churning for the greater good and that does not always align with our feelings. That word… Feelings… Terrible word, and I am just as guilty to some extent. I imagine we all have been at one point.

I am not talking

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Got Needs? Servant Leaders

“See a need, fill a need..”

~Robots, the movie.

Simple yet effective quote. All too often I think we over analyze or read to much into something. Being effective does not have to be over achieving, or some great philosophical compound. Is it write possible that it is more of the opposite? Simple. Nothing today seems that simple. The basic problems are full of special and common causes…

Yet what if we’re wrong? If there is something needing done – the task sometimes may just need done… No I am not saying perform brain surgery just that being idle when able is not the same as being active and disabled. Take each scenario into consideration… When you need a reality check, ask yourself, what have I done to break boundaries, remove silos, and press forward?

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The Suck – Of Success

A random song was playing on my way to work this morning. I am not normally on this station but the lyrics have been echoing in my head all day today.

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try

~Pink – Try

Not the most profound – I know. This station plays mainstream hits – no other real prerequisite is required, I do not believe.  Regardless, I think the song hit me today – since I was going through a cycle of my own. It is good to be humbled and to also re-evaluate your own trajectory or impact. To not, would be significantly worse, I feel. By no means am I stating doom and

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What is success? 13 Lucky Examples to think of Continuous Improvement

I have heard the items below before but have recently contemplated ‘what does it really mean?’

First off, continuous improvement is a journey… not a destination. Utopian views with no scrap, and no errors are more improbable than probable. Yet what if…

If 99.9% Is Good Enough, Then . . .

  • 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.
  • 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped/year.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled/hour.
  • 2,000,000 documents will be lost by the IRS this year.</e

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Flavor of the month

I cringe every time that I hear a new idea mentioned, and side comments write the idea off as a “flavor of the month.”

Recently, I was listening to some educational material, I will call it that for purposes of this article, and realized that the ideas being shared were forcefully trying to create this concept. It did not flow, other than the words naturally forming from the text that was being read. The model was well presented. The text was spot on structurally. It was missing something, something very important, buy-in. The cascading ideas from this article were being shared to the audience – and you could tell that the material was never built “directionally” correct. What do I mean by that? Well – I mean that the plan was top down, instead of bottom up. The trunk of the tree was placed and the roots should follow. Or better yet, I thought Kevin Costner was going to appear and some mystic voice from Shoeless Jackson would say “if

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