First Steps Training & Development, Inc.
Learning 4 Performance

Issue Focus:
Team Performance
in a Lean Environment
Summer 2008
In This Issue
Lean - Not Rocket Science
Team Problem Solving
Tips for the Lean Manager
Go-Lean Activity
Quick Links
Upcoming Event
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Experiential Expertise
May 29 - June 2, 2008
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Consider the oxymoron "lean is big" - if you've been in or around manufacturing, for any time, you know how true this is.  For those unfamiliar with the term, "lean" refers to systematically removing non-value-added activities (waste) from your organization's systems and processes.  Built on concepts that go as far back as Henry Ford, and made famous by Toyota, Lean is now used by organizations across the spectrum, from manufacturing to health care.

We've dedicated this issue of "Learning 4 Performance" to the people side of lean, with tips, tools and resources to help you as a manager or workplace learning professional effectively lead and support lean efforts in your workplace.

All the Best,
First Steps CEO and Syndicated Talk Show Host Rob Benson
FOR LEADERS: Lean isn't rocket science ... so why is it so tough?  By George Loyer
Can we be honest?  Lean manufacturing (or Lean Office, or other "lean" work systems) is NOT rocket science.  The essence of lean is to produce the highest quality products or services safely, to eliminate waste in the system, to empower self-directed work teams to run the day-to-day operations of the business, and to agressively implement maintenance systems.

So why are many organizations who rolled out "lean" not seeing the bottom line benefits that they had hoped for?

Rigorous Tools, Common Approach:
Team Problem Solving in a Lean Environment
Historically the job of managers, today's Lean organizations expect floor-level work teams to effectively solve problems, make sound decisions and successfully implement plans on a daily basis.  To handle these tasks, team members need analytical tools to identify, gather, organize and evaluate information; to maximize team synergy, all team members need to understand and use a common approach.

Learn more about the Trouble Shooting Logic processes, the Reality-Based Technology* for finding root cause, making choices that maximize benefit and manage risk, and developing plans that work.  Trouble Shooting Logic gives teams the skills that they need for addressing the high priority issues they face every day, and the common approach they need to reduce variation, improve up-time and create product/process innovation.

*Reality-Based Techology (noun): not a fad; the demonstrated skills and processes that successful troubleshooters actually use.
Tips for the Lean Manager
Performance Systems AnalysisWe define leadership as "creating the environment in which people want to do what you need them to do."

In a Lean environment, you need your people to be accountable for their own behavior.  So how do you get their attention focused so that they do the work when you're not looking?

You get them involved.  You develop supportive performance systems that make it easy for them to do the right things.  You exploit the facts that, all other things being equal, most people would rather do a good job than a bad job and that most people would rather do something than nothing.

Go-Lean: An Old Favorite to Reinforce Lean Training
Group JuggleWarp Speed is a favorite activity for many trainers: it is easy to learn, doesn't require much space, works with inexpensive props (I've used plastic shopping bags before) and bring out lots of energy.  With just minor variations in how you present the exercise, you have "Go-Lean," a great intro, ice-breaker or culminating activity for a "Lean Basics" training.

DiSC Profiles at
DiSC Depot - Your Online Source for DiSC!Lean requires that your people work effectively together.  Over the years, we have found Inscape's line of learning assessments to be superior tools for helping individuals understand and appreciate the unique strengths that we each bring to the workplace. A pioneer in the field of instrument-based learning, Inscape's products are integral to the learning and performance strategies of market-leading organizations such as Avon, the U.S. Air Force, Guarantee Bank, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oki Data, and Cargil.

We have yet to officially go "live," but we will be launching "DiscDepot" as a sister website devoted solely to providing Inscape's line of learning assessments at exceptional prices.  If you make any purchase between now and our official launch date (February 15), we'll provide an additional 10% off of the price of your order.  Just type in "Learning 4 Performance" in the comments section of your order.
We hope that this news letter has energized you relative to making Lean work.  If you are reading these words you are probably wondering, "Can First Steps really make Lean work?"  Give us a call, and we'll convince you that we can ... and, more importantly, that you can!

All the Best,
Rob Benson

First Steps Training & Development, Inc.
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