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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Congrats Canada!

In celebration of Canada's successful completion of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, I created a Canadian version of the "Go Lean" poster.  Congratulations Canada - we are proud to be a Canadian and particularly to be a Vancouverite!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sneak Peek - Blackbelt

In just a several weeks, we are launching our most advanced lean course: the Blackbelt Certification.

What's different about this upcoming program?  For one, we will be using the theme from "dragon's den" TV series. They will be asked to design and develop an intriguing lean project, and present them to the panel of experts (the "sensei's").  The only difference is that our version of the show will be called "Sensei's Den." 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic Spirit carries on....

Finally, we got a bit of break and were able to attend the women's speed skating yesterday.  What a thrill!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One more Go Lean Poster

And here's another one... By the way, all of these photos were taken by me using my favourite camera, Nikon D90.

Go Lean

In the spirit of Vancouver 2010 Olympic, I created a couple of "go lean" wallpapers.  They both very much support our corporate belief and slogan, "together, we can transform the world through lean."  Please click on the wallpapers (to enlarge them) and save them to your PC!  Go Canada, Go Lean!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Spirit

Thanks to LSI's executive coach Andrew McFadyen who brought the "real" torch to our office today, LSI staff had fun posing as a torch runner.  Andrew carried the torch last week and was able to show the amazing piece of history to us today.  Thanks Andrew!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good Bye Australia!

Great people, great food (though expensive) and great project! 20 degrees-plus weather was nice too.

We worked hard and produced incredible results in just a few days...thanks to all who were part of this event!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Australia Problem Solving

So what did I actually do here in sunny Australia?  Take a look at our summary video!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out-of-this-world Ice Breakers

As many of you know, LSI is well known for creating some of the craziest, outrageous ice breakers around.  For our events here in sunny Australia, I decided to break away from the traditional ice breakers and create something new, something exciting, and something "outdoors."  Afterall, it's a comfortable 23 degrees outside, so why not enjoy the sun and build teams at the same time?

On day one, giant ping pong ball game was created in the parking lot, and teams played "hand table tennis" using regular ping pong balls and your own hands as paddles.  What a blast.

On day two, we created a volleyball out of photocopy paper and designed a mini volleyball court in the same parking lot.  Competition followed among five teams ....  it was both fun and motivational at the same time.

What's next?  You'll have to wait and see!

Video action:

Lean Problem Solving in Sydney

A rare opportunity came up to facilitate a Lean Problem Solving (LPS) session with two major companies at the same time here in Sydney, Australia.  Essentially a "customer-supplier" relationship, this colloborative approach produced strong results through structured problem solving and brain storming sessions.  Although the entire kaizen was conducted in just two days, an effective roadmap was produced thanks to great teamwork and energetic personalities.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sydney at night

Today was a busy day, delivering a full-throttle workshop on lean problem solving here in "down under" to almost 40 people.  In the evening, I was able to take a short walk to the famous Opera House - a true masterpiece!

On the way back, I was so shocked to see gigantic bats hanging off the trees in the middle of downtown.  These were wild bats, about the size of a large bird.  I don't know what to say .... it's just so strange!

That's all I can report for now, since I have to get up at 5:30am to start the kaizen tomorrow.  Good night to all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics

While I am very excited about Vancouver hosting the 2010 Olympics, I am a bit sad that I am not in Vancouver to "experience" it.  As some of you know, I am in Australia so I have been watching the opening ceremony from Sydney.

I will be back in town to attend the speed skating event, so I will definitely catch the Olympic spirit soon.  In the mean time, LSI is proud to announce that Andrew McFadyen - our executive coach - successfully completed his torch run on Friday. 

Andew said that it was "awesome."  I look forward to seeing the actual torch once I am back in town (Andrew, can we display it in our office???).  

Also, our own Jennifer Young (creative support) is involved in the game as a volunteer, and our client, Mark Schnarr (Alpha Technologies) did the torch run on Friday as well.  It's so exciting!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Off to Australia!

Today is the beginning of a long journey to Sydney, Australia. I am off to do two Executive Programs back-to-back in warm and sunny Australia.

While I am excited and looking forward to delivering lean programs there, I am not looking forward to the 15-hour flight.  Can't someone come up with a "leaner" way to fly there?  (ie, faster!).

Because of the busy, busy schedule anticipated for Australia, I will not be able to "blog" as often during the next two weeks. I hope you guys will continue to visit this site, however, to see some progress I will upload about the program in Sydney.

Wish me a safe and rewarding trip!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Congratulations to Kerry from Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.  Previously, we drew a name for a free spot to our Executive Program with David Meier and Mike Hoseus.  Unfortunately, Dan (whose name was drawn for the free spot) cannot make it to the event.  As a result, we drew a runner's up name, and Kerry’s name was drawn.

In addition, the free Lean Reflections book has been awarded to Jeff from EH Price in Winnipeg (again, the previous winner did not respond to the winning entry).

Congrats to both!  Please keep your eyes on this blog for more "give-aways" coming up.

Please take a look at our Lean Reflections book by clicking on the link below:

Toyota Situation

I can offer a number of comments on the current Toyota situation, but I am holding back because I think consumers, curious about the truth, should do their own "homework" and "investigation" to find out what’s really going on.

The current anti-Toyota media blitz is out of control. Instead of searching for the truth, the various stakeholders are looking for excuses to take down a company that has blessed North America with thousands of job opportunities.

As a lean champion, I urge all "lean believers" to go out and do their own research. Find out what happened during the 1980s with Audi's unintended acceleration (hint: after years of investigation, the fault was determined to be drivers’ errors), and find out how many non-Toyota unintended acceleration cases are reported each year.

Back in 1982, it took Audi almost 6 years to deliver a solution to its acceleration issue. Toyota did it in just a few months. Audi never apologized. Toyota's president apologized in front of the world (don't forget, he is the grandson of the founder).

Check out how many safety issues are reported to NHTSA each year which do not involve Toyota. Find out who really owns General Motors, Toyota's biggest competitor (truth: the US government owns 60% of GM). And find out who gains the most from the current controversy.

Do a root cause analysis. Brainstorm.
Find out the real truth behind the current push to bring Toyota to its knees.

Behind all of your research, I think you will ultimately find the same Toyota you always knew: humble, respectful, a problem-solver, with a customer focus and a vision to serve the world.
Need more proof? Take a look at Toyota's just published Youtube video, in which they openly show their reflective attitude and publicly accept responsibility. Compare Toyota's video to the video GM released when it went into bankruptcy – spot the difference in corporate attitude?

I'm not taking sides - but I will always support the "truth" and nothing else.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Transform the World

As some of you already know, LSI's vision is to "Transform the world through lean."  While it may be an outrageous vision, I strongly feel that it is important in life to "reach out and reach far."  After all, if we can't dream about something signficant, life will be quite boring!

I often think about what we can do to influence the world and society in positive ways.  And I truly believe that - if all lean champions really put their mind on it - we can come up with unique and innovative ways to change the world in a positive way using lean methods.

I also found out last week that my MBTI type, "ENFJ," often thinks about this kind of "big picture view."  It turns out that Obama, Tony Blair, Oprah, and Martin Luther King all have the same personality, ENFJ.  Maybe we were born to dream big, dream strong, and dream far.  I guess it's both a blessing and a burden at the same time ....

Can lean thinking change the world?  With everything happening in the world these days, I think we can at least try!

"Together, we can transform the world through lean"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lean Problem Solving

Our most popular Executive Program is LPS - which stands for Lean Problem Solving. Using a sophisticated 8-step process for solving anything from a simple 5S problem to a complex, multi-faceted supply chain project, LPS is virtually guaranteed to produce effective results. Instead of "jumping" into conclusions quickly, the LPS methodology encourages people to examine root causes deeply, assess its impact across the value stream, and create sustainable results not often possible with simpler PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) methods.

As the most important Executive Certification topic, LPS workshop and kaizen is taught throughout the world. So far, we have brought LPS session to Japan, Singapore, Belgium, and to various cities in both the US and Canada. So far, we have trained more than 300 people on how to use LPS to solve problems.

Next week, I am off to Australia to conduct two more LPS sessions, involving a multi-national organization faced with complex international issues. I am so excited, because I love challenges!

Want to know what LPS is all about? Take a look at our last LPS session which was held in Belgium in December. Notice how much of the video involves discussion about chocolates and coffee!

MBTI Assessment is powerful

 I believe that MBTI is one of the most powerful and thought-provoking assessment available to help individuals and organizations achieve their potential.

Greenbelt class of 2011 Winter is going through this right now!  Live shot below:

MBTI Types

What is MBTI

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is a short, self-report questionnaire used to measure and describe people’s preferences for how they like to get information, make decisions and orient their lives. Created by a mother-daughter team, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers, the MBTI® instrument was designed to make Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. The MBTI® instrument provides a versatile measure of personality that looks at eight personality preferences people use at different times. These eight preferences are organized into four, dichotomous scales, which are illustrated below. After more than 50 years of research and development, the current MBTI® tool is the most widely used instrument for understanding individual personality differences. Last year alone, over two million people gained valuable insight about themselves and the people they interact with by taking the MBTI® instrument.

(David’s comment: In my recent certification course, I found out that US Navy, US Army, Google, Microsoft, Sony, and many other major organizations are now using MBTI as a way to enhance teamwork and as a development tool for leaders).
Using MBTI to solve problems

The MBTI ® assessment can help teams solve problems more effectively because it gives each team member a clearer understanding of two key things. First, looking at the Sensing and Intuition preferences will show team members how they take in and present information. Second, focusing on the Thinking and Feeling preferences will clarify how they make decisions with that information.

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that research indicates that teams composed of people with similar preferences usually make quicker decisions. This is because everyone gathers information and evaluates it in similar ways – a recipe for agreement. The downside of this speed is that the absence of opposing preferences can result in poor decision making. The challenge for homogeneous teams is to make sure that the opposing preferences are taken into account.

Teams composed of members with a variety of type preferences have a different challenge – getting people with different ways of taking in information and making decisions to solve problems together without conflict and misunderstanding. This often requires developing an appreciation for what people with opposing preferences do when solving problems.

To help teams with both of these challenges you can use a problem solving model developed by Isabel Briggs Myers. This model for good problem solving involves four steps which incorporate both ways for gathering information (S-N) and for making decisions (T-F).

Step One: Gather the Facts

With the use of the Sensing preference gather the relevant details of the problem you are facing.

Step Two: Brainstorm Possibilities

With the use of the Intuition preference identify possible causes of the problem and develop potential solutions.

Step Three: Analyze Objectively

Use the Thinking preference to consider the cause and effect of each potential solution.

Step Four: Weigh the Impact

Use the Feeling preference to consider how the people involved will be affected by the proposed solutions.

For each team member this problem solving approach will utilize two of their preferences and require them to utilize two of their least preferred functions. For some team members, using their least preferred functions will be a manageable challenge. For others, it will be important to work with colleagues who have opposing preferences when making important decisions in order to take advantage of their expertise.

If you are working with a team that is overloaded with certain types ask them how they can make use of the preferences that are missing. For example, if most team members prefer Sensing, what can they do to make sure that they use Intuition to make interpretations and develop possibilities? They might need to set aside a time to brainstorm possibilities or give the minority Intuitive members the floor.

No matter what the teams make up, a helpful way to have a team focus on each of the four steps is to set up four stations. At each station have a piece of paper with the following headings:

What are the facts?

What are the possibilities?

What are the pros and cons of each solution?

What is the impact on our people/organization for each solution?

Get the team to identify a problem or issue that they have been struggling with lately. Then have the team list the relevant details at each station for a set amount of time (15 minutes for example). When they are finished you can debrief the group by asking about any scarcity of information that relates to missing preferences; having the team focus on their common blind spots; and generating ideas on how to incorporate different points of view.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We wanted to announce the winners of our first lean blog give-aways:

Dan from Sulzer Pumps has won the "Free Spot" for our Executive Program with David Meier and Mike Hoseus (March 24/25).

Anabella from Johnson & Johnson has won the free copy of our Lean Reflections coffee-table book.

In the event that these two people do not wish to accept the prizes, we will be drawing another round of names.

Congrats to both "followers" of LSI!  Please stay in touch as we plan to give away other items in the future.

Thank you