Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall Japan 2010 - Best Photos

Japan is famous for beautiful fall colors.... here are some of the best shots I took while visiting Kyoto.  Our next Japan Lean Tour is March of 2011, hope you can join us!


















Complete set below (click):

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Story Telling

Using stories to inspire


Think about this for a minute, because it may happen more often than you think. How many times have you stayed up late reading a novel that you "couldn't" put down, or watching a movie that you couldn't turn off? How many times have you pushed yourself harder after hearing the story of someone else's success, or changed your opinion after reading a convincing article in a magazine or newspaper?

There's no doubt that stories can change the way we think, act, and feel. Leaders, especially, can use the power of a good story to influence and motivate their teams to new heights. Stories can inspire everything from understanding to action. They can create legends that an entire workplace culture can build upon, and they have the power to break down barriers and turn a bad situation into a good one. Stories can capture our imaginations and make things real in a way that cold, hard facts can't.

Make no mistake - stories can be very, very powerful leadership tools. Great leaders know this, and many top CEOs today use stories to illustrate points and sell their ideas.

So, do you want to be a persuasive motivator? If so, learn how to tell a good story. But how? When should you tell a story, and how do you know what kind of story to tell to get the results you want? This article summarizes an Interview with Annette Simmons, author of "Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins."

Types of Stories

Learn what kind of story to tell for different situations. There are six main types of story that you can use in the workplace:

1. "Who I Am" Stories - When you start leading a team, members of your new team sometimes make automatic judgments about who you are. They may see you as controlling, mean, or "out to get them" without really knowing you. If you tell a "Who I Am" story when you first become a team leader, you can give a powerful insight into what really motivates you. This can break down walls and help your team realize that you're a person just like them.

Your goal with a "Who I Am" story should be to reveal some type of flaw about yourself or mistake that you've made. Why? Because by revealing a flaw, you show your team that you trust them with this information. Revealing flaws can also make you more approachable, because it demonstrates that you're only human. (Just make sure it's a small flaw!)

For example, the author often finds that when clients first meet her, they assume that her primary goal is to sell them copies of her book or more consulting time. She gets past this by explaining that her dad was a social worker who wanted her to help others (while also being her own boss) and so felt she should go to law school. She was so determined not to do this, that she moved to Australia. This story has the double benefit of emphasizing that she didn't grow up in privileged circumstances, and so actually has a background similar to that of many of her clients, and also that she might sometimes make slightly foolish decisions. After all, emigrating to another continent is a rather extreme way of getting out of going to law school!

2. "Why I'm Here" Stories - These are very similar to "Who I Am" stories. The goal is to replace suspicion with trust, and help your team realize that you don't have any hidden agendas. Show that you're a good person, and that you want to work together with them to achieve a common goal.

For example, a new member of the school board was appointed to the sub-committee responsible for the head teacher's performance management. In their first meeting, which looked at whether the head had met her stated objectives in the past year, the new member challenged the Head on several aspects of the proof presented. After the meeting, the new board member approached the Head, and explained "I'm sure you realize that my challenges are not personal. And I think you're doing great work. However, my duty as a board member is to ensure that the city's education budget is being spent wisely, and so it's my job to ensure that bonuses are only paid when there's a real justification for doing so." The Head reassured her that she understood this perfectly, and was, in fact, grateful for the rigor she had brought to the process.

3. Teaching Stories - It can be very hard to teach without demonstrating, and that's the whole purpose of Teaching Stories.

There's no better example of this than Aesop's fables. Remember "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"? This story alone has taught millions of children not to yell for help unless there's a real need for it. Although it's simple, like most fables, it's done an effective job for centuries.

Use Teaching Stories to make a lesson clear and to help people remember why they're doing something in the first place.

The author tells a more recent example to emphasize the value of teaching stories. She was working with a nation wide chain of care homes for the elderly. Many of the staff in these homes are young and, with the best intentions, often use tones of voice that are more suitable for addressing young children than elderly people. The challenge was to get these young staff to remember to use respectful tones of voice. She achieved this by telling the story of her own grandmother, who suffered a stroke and was unable to speak. After some months, she gave up eating because she had decided she would rather die than live without dignity, because of the patronizing way in which her carers spoke to her.

4. Vision Stories - Tell these to inspire hope, especially when your team needs occasional reminders of why they're doing what they should be doing.

Vision Stories are meant to stimulate action and raise morale. Find a story that reminds everyone what the ultimate goal is, and why it's important that everyone reaches that goal. This type of story should be told from your heart, with emotion.
The author shares her own vision story, which is one of human beings saving the planet from ecological disaster by working together. She drew on the importance of embedding this collaborative approach in society when she was at the airport recently, and her plane was delayed for the third time. While it would have been tempting to take out her frustration on the airline staff, remembering the importance of helping others to work collaboratively helped her calm her emotions.

5. "Values in Action" Stories - When you see the word "integrity," what do you think of? Honesty? Doing the right thing for the right reason?

Every value can mean something different from person to person. If you want to pass on values to your team, start by defining what those values mean to you. So, if you want your team to demonstrate a high level of customer service, then tell a story that reveals exactly what customer service means to you.

For example, a chain of opticians ran an advertising campaign that offered to replace glasses with a new style if customers didn't like the frames when they got them home. Now this led to the transaction costing the optician money in most cases. However, the manager at one store regularly told his staff about a customer who had taken advantage - most apologetically - of the offer, but then not only remained loyal to that optical chain for years, but also recommended the chain to her family and friends. As a result, the small loss on one transaction bought the chain many profitable purchases in the future.

6. "I Know What You're Thinking" Stories - The world of business involves frequent bargaining. The advantage of telling this type of story is that you can recognize another person's objections, and then show why those objections aren't applicable in this situation. You can show respect for the other point of view while convincing the person that you're right.
For example, a saleswoman in children's shoe store convinces a mom to buy a pair of premium-priced shoes by explaining that if her child doesn't find his new shoes comfortable after a week, she can bring them back for an exchange or refund. This is the case even though the shoes would be worn and couldn't be resold. The saleswoman backs this up by telling of one customer who did that just last week, although she was the only customer whose child hadn't loved the shoes.

Tips

Keep these suggestions in mind when telling your stories:

• Be authentic - The best storytellers talk from their hearts, so don't try to fake an emotion that you don't feel. Your listeners will probably see through this, and your story will crash and burn.

• Pay attention to your audience - Stories that are too long are generally boring. Tell the story well, but don't go on forever.

• Practice - Try to practice before you tell the story. Even if you tell it to yourself just once in front of a mirror or video camera, this can help you when you're in front of your real audience.

• Create an experience - Remember that when you tell a story, you're creating an experience for your listeners. Don't just use sound (words), but the other senses as well. Show your listeners the picture you're painting, don't just tell them.

For example, it's easy to tell people that it's snowing outside. But if you want your listeners to really experience the snow, then describe how cold it is and the way the wind blows snow into your eyes. Tell them how you dream of a hot cup of cocoa after you're done shoveling snow in your driveway, and how your toes freeze because your boots aren't warm enough. Try to engage the five senses in every story: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell. They'll make your story come alive.

Key Points

Stories can be powerful leadership tools - if they're told well.

Know which kind of story to tell, and spend time brainstorming some good ideas for each type of situation. Remember, you're creating an experience for your listeners, so focus on using at least two or three senses when you tell your story. Create interest, and draw your listeners in. Show them what you're saying, don't just tell them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beautiful night in Kyoto

It's sometimes nice to just take a break and enjoy beautiful scenary.  The fall color in Kyoto around this time is absolutely fantastic, and I was lucky enough to be here to take some photos at night.

Take a few minutes and enjoy these quiet and reflective Kyoto photos....






Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Greenbelt Graduation Photos

If you are curious as to who graduated from this class, here is the link to all of the photos from our graduation ceremony.

Greenbelt Fall 2010 Graduation Photos

Class of Fall 2010 Greenbelt

Greenbelt Fall 2010 class has just completed their final module and - yes - everyone has graduated!  It is always so exciting and refreshing to see our Greenbelts go through the challenges and successfully complete "the mission."


It is our honor to graduate some of our best students to date!  Congratulations!

Three students who received the highest score in the Greenbelt Exam
Left to right: (David Chao LSI founder), Sarah Russell Vancity, Harvir Sangha Fraser Health, Nik Bergeron Moulding & Millwork

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LSI to conduct Lean Problem Solving in Singapore and Malaysia

Our most popular Executive Program is LPS - which stands for Lean Problem Solving. Using a sophisticated 9-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 are taught throughout the world.

Next week, LSI is headed to Singapore and Malaysia to conduct two Lean Problem Solving session back to back.  So far, we have trained more than 300 people on how to use LPS to solve problems.

Want to know what LPS is all about? Take a look at our youtube video about LPS session which was held in China just this September.

Quote of the day


I read this quote today and thought that it's worth sharing.....

"Recipe for happiness: Live with enthusiasm, smile for no reason, love without conditions, act with purpose, listen with your heart, and laugh often......"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blackbelt Certification


Our current Blackbelt program is ending soon in December, but in January, we kick-off another one again.  Designed to develop world-class lean leaders, the Blackbelt offers four modules of intense, insightful projects. More importantly, the Blackbelt programs include a complete benchmarking trip to Japan (all travel expenses except flights are included).  For more information on registering for the January Blackbelt Program, please contact our office or visit our website.

Please take a look at our overview video:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LSI at AME Lean Conference in Baltimore!


LSI is proud to be one of the speakers again, at this year AME Lean Conference - the world's most respected conference in the field of lean thinking.

I will be talking about Lean Strategy on the first day. We are excited to be part of the conference and look forward to networking with many of our lean associates and friends.

If you are at AME this year, please look us up and connect with other lean enthusiasts!  We hope to bring you some insights right here on our blog, from Baltimore Maryland.

Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?



Source: Harvard Business
Executive Summary:


Business leadership is at the core of Asian economic development, says HBS professor D. Quinn Mills. As he explained recently in Kuala Lumpur, the American and Asian leadership styles, while very different, also share important similarities.

Editor's Note: Political connections and family control are more common in Asian businesses than in the United States. In addition, says HBS professor D. Quinn Mills, American CEOs tend to use one of five leadership styles: directive, participative, empowering, charismatic, or celebrity. Which styles have Asian business leaders adopted already, and which styles are likely to be most successful in the future?


In a talk in Kuala Lumpur on June 15 at the invitation of The Star/BizWeek publication and the Harvard Club of Malaysia, Mills explained the differences and similarities between American and Asian leadership. Below is the transcript of his talk, "Leadership Styles in the United States: How Different are They from Asia?"

=====================

The rapid economic development of Asia in recent decades is one of the most important events in history. This development continues today and there is every reason to anticipate that it will continue indefinitely unless derailed by possible but unlikely international conflicts. At the core of Asian economic development is its business leadership—managers and entrepreneurs who sustain and create Asian companies. Do they exhibit the same leadership styles as top executives in the West?
There are important differences. Are differences attributable to different cultures or to different stages of corporate development?
But first, what are we talking about?

Roles in organizations involve more than just leadership. It is useful, but not yet common in our literature and discussion of business, to distinguish among leadership, management, and administration. They are in fact very different; each is valuable and has its place. Briefly, leadership is about a vision of the future and the ability to energize others to pursue it. Management is about getting results and doing so efficiently so that a financial profit or surplus is created. Administration is about rules and procedures and whether or not they are being followed. These distinctions are very important to clear communications among us about how organizations are run—when they are not made, we become very confused, as is much of the discussion around our topic.

Briefly, running an organization effectively involves:

Leadership:

Vision

Energizing

Management:

Efficiency

Results

Administration:

Rules

Procedures

Our focus today is on leadership: how an executive sets direction and energizes his organization to pursue the direction. This is appropriate because managerial techniques are being spread fast by imitation, adoption, and MBA education. Administrative techniques were generalized around the world decades ago. So what is much different now is leadership.

Family and political connections

Cultural differences are important, but primarily as a matter of emphasis. For example, family leadership of business enterprises, including large companies, occurs in very similar ways in both [regions], but is more common in Asia.

Li Ka-shing [of the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong holding group], for example, runs his companies closely and is planning to pass the leadership of his firms to his two sons. Similarly, the heads of some of America's largest firms, both publicly held and private, are the scions of the families that founded the firms.

There is less freedom of action for executives and boards in America than in Asia.

But more common in America are firms that are run by professional managers who are replaced by other professional managers, either as a consequence of retirement or of replacement by the board of directors of the firm. The better companies have sophisticated programs for developing executives within the firm, and ordinarily choose a next chief executive officer from among them. American CEOs average about thirty years with their firms and own less than 4 percent of its shares. There is a small number of firms, which get a great deal of publicity and so seem more numerous than they are, that hire CEOs directly from the outside, with no previous experience with the firm. These CEOs are driven by a need to excel in a competitive environment (they want to win), and they insist that money is less important to them than professional achievement; but it's hard to credit that given the enormous inflation of top executive compensation packages in America in the last decade.

Many American firms, especially most of the large ones, are more dependent on capital markets for their capital (equity and debt) and so pay much more attention to Wall Street than is yet common in Asia. Wall Street has strong expectations about the behavior and performance of executives and about succession. There is less freedom of action for executives and boards in America than in Asia.

In Asia, succession usually is passed on to the siblings. In Li's case, he is handing it to his two sons, while Jack Welch developed a talent machine to groom CEOs for General Electric.

To a significant degree, large American firms are at a later stage of development than many Asian firms—they have passed from founders' family leadership to professional management and to capital obtained from the capital markets (rather than obtained from government—directly or indirectly—or from family fortunes). In this transition they have adopted particular styles of leadership responsive to boards (often led by outside directors) and to Wall Street.

It is possible, but not certain, that Asian firms will follow this evolutionary path. The political connections so important for top business leaders in Asia, whether in democracies or one-party states, are not unknown but are much less important in America. It is a characteristic of Asian top executives that they have such connections that are important to their businesses. In America, the chief executive officers of very large firms often have virtually no direct connections to top politicians—the government is treated at arm's length and business is done by business people. There are, of course, exceptions, and deep political involvement is still a route to business success in America, but it is much less common than in Asia.

Leadership styles in America

Leadership styles are more varied in America today than in Asia. In America there are five:

Directive

Participative

Empowering

Charismatic

Celebrity (superstar)

The first four reflect how an executive deals with subordinates in the company; the final one is directed at people outside the firm.

Directive leadership is well known in America, but is declining in frequency. It stresses the direction given by executives to others in the firms. The leader is very much in charge. This style is very common in Asia.

Participative leadership, which involves close teamwork with others, is more common in Europe, where it is sometimes required by law (as in northern Europe, especially Germany) than in America. It is also common in a variant colored by national cultural norms, [as] in Japan.

Empowering leadership is relatively new, and stresses delegation of responsibility to subordinates. American companies that operate with largely autonomous divisions employ this style of leadership. A few younger Asian business leaders now espouse this style (for example, the CEO of Banyan Tree Resorts).

At the core of empowering leadership is the ability to energize the people in a company. Jack Welch commented, "You may be a great manager, but unless you can energize other people, you are of no value to General Electric as a leader." Energizing others is the core of the new leadership in America.

Adaptability is ... less common and less valued in Asia and Europe. It will be needed everywhere soon enough.

Charismatic leadership is the leader who looks like a leader. People follow such a leader because of who he is, not because of good management or even business success; nor because [the people] are offered participation, partnership, or empowerment. Human magnetism is the thing, and it is very different in different national cultures. What looks like a charismatic leader to Americans may appear to be something very different to people from other societies.

Celebrity leadership is very different. It looks outside the company to the impact on others—customers and investors. The CEO becomes a star and is sought after by the media like a screen star. Ordinarily it requires good looks, a dramatic style, and an ability to deal effectively with the media. It is in a bit of a slump in the United States right now due to the corporate financial reporting scandals, which have focused attention on CEOs with the ability to get things done right in the company; but celebrity leadership will make a recovery. Boards looking for top executives to revitalize a firm look for superstars; they seek outgoing personalities.

Corporate governance in the West means oversight from regulators, boards of directors, even institutional shareholders. While Asia now has most of these institutions, they are ordinarily not as well established and not as significant in the minds of top executives. Asia is bedeviled by official corruption that reaches far into business. America has less of this, but has in its place considerable financial reporting fraud. Both are very dangerous to the economic success of the nations involved. Graft tends to destroy an economy first by undermining the trust that is required for transactions to occur, and by distorting the economic calculus that underlies sensible business decisions. As it continues, graft destroys the national political entity. Long-established graft is a way of life that is very hard to root out. Politicians promise to eliminate it, but are unable or unwilling to do so.

The role models available for business leadership in the different regions of the world are significant. In America, with its longstanding experience with professional business leadership, the most readily available role model for the head of a company is the corporate CEO. In China and Chinese-related businesses it is the head of the family. In France it remains the military general. In Japan it is the consensus builder. In Germany today it is the coalition builder.

There are nine key qualities that research shows people seek in a successful leader:

Passion

Decisiveness

Conviction

Integrity

Adaptability

Emotional Toughness

Emotional Resonance

Self-Knowledge

Humility

The emotionalism that goes with passion is more common in America than elsewhere. Europeans see it as a sort of business evangelicalism and are very suspicious of it. Decisiveness is common to effective executives in all countries: In this regard European and Japanese chief executives are the most consensus-oriented, and Chinese and American top executives are more likely to make decisions personally and with their own accountability.

Conviction is common to all.

Integrity is a complex characteristic very much determined by national cultures. What is honest in one society is not in another, and vice versa.

Adaptability is a pronounced characteristic of American leadership generally. It is less common and less valued in Asia and Europe. It will be needed everywhere soon enough.

Emotional toughness is common to all top executives; Americans spend more time trying not to show it.

Deep political involvement is still a route to business success in America, but it is much less common than in Asia.

Emotional resonance, the ability to grasp what motivates others and appeal effectively to it, is most important in the United States and Europe at this point in time. It will become more important in Asia as living standards improve, knowledge workers become more important, professional management gets greater demand, and CEOs have to compete for managerial talent.

Self-knowledge is important in avoiding the sort of over-reach so common in America; it is less common a virtue in America than in Asia, and is a strength of the Asian executive.

Humility is a very uncommon trait in the American CEO. It is sometimes found in Asia. It is often a trait of the most effective leaders, as it was in the best-respected of all American political leaders, Abraham Lincoln. Once, when the Civil War was not going well for the Union side, a high-ranking general suggested that the nation needed to get rid of Lincoln and have a dictatorship instead. The comment came to Lincoln's ears. Lincoln promoted the general to the top command in the army anyway and told him, "I am appointing you to command despite, not because, of what you said. Bring us victories, and I'll risk the dictatorship."

What's next for Asia

The "New Asian Leader"? There are three prototypes:

1) Li Ka-shing of Hutchison Whampoa-Cheung Kong: old Chinese leadership in transition like Li Ka-shing. Rags-to-riches in one generation; handing over his business empire to his two sons who are Western-trained. There are many such examples in Asia. Li Ka-shing is in different areas of business—telecommunications, security, and high-end IT—and is very interested in becoming a contractor in the emerging homeland security construct in America. With Li Ka-shing, the threat to success is his reliance on an international concern to be a significant contractor in the establishment of the U.S. homeland security hierarchy. Li's personal story is an amazing tale of success. After the death of his father, Li—at age twelve—went to work in a plastics factory. Within a decade he started his own plastics company, which he later leveraged into a real estate and investment concern. It then was an early entrant into China's telecom and IT wave of the early 1990s, and became a market leader.

Li is a man who seeks to establish a positive legacy. He created a foundation in 1980 to help young Chinese students have the educational and other opportunities he had to make for himself at age twelve. He also started his own university, Shantou University, in 1981, with a similar purpose.

2) William and Victor Fung of Li & Fung: old traditional Chinese family-owned companies now run by the third generation of the family, Western- and highly-educated, who use Western technology extensively to face globalization and succeed. Very much Western-centric in approach yet Asian in practice, the Fungs of Li & Fung have mastered techniques of getting maximum efficiency out of the supply chain, taking raw materials and making low-cost, high-demand consumer goods, particularly clothing, much more cheaply than in the United States.

What the Fungs have accomplished is similar to what Japanese automakers accomplished a generation ago. By strictly adhering to principles of quality control—principles that were espoused by American business consultant Edward Deming—Nissan and Toyota made cheaper, better cars than the Americans did, eventually causing the big three U.S. automakers to follow suit. William and Victor Fung are interested in being business consultants, teaching others how to do what they've done. Both men are Harvard-educated and have a desire to be open and forthcoming about their business model.

As Asian companies seek access to world capital markets, they will move toward professional managers who will employ leadership styles more akin to those now used in the United States.

The main threats with Li & Fung are these: driving down labor costs, and concerns about relying on suppliers who potentially abuse the human rights of workers or pay less than a standard living wage. Victor and William Fung are the new type of Asian leaders—will they soon be the only type?

3) New Economy business leaders. Information technology and the Internet are bringing out a high-tech type of leadership that is common in America's high-tech sector. Entrepreneurial, innovative, hard-driving, very flexible, ambitious, optimistic, visionary in the technology and business aspects, they will play a good, but not dominant role. N. R. Narayana Murthy of India's Infosys and Stan Shih of Acer are good examples. They have adopted an almost entirely Western style of leadership and are succeeding in Asia.

What is the conclusion? Styles of leadership are currently different between Asia and America. Culture colors the way things are done, but less so what is done. The differences in styles most markedly reflect the stage of development of the economies and companies of Asia. As Asian companies seek access to world capital markets, they will move toward professional managers who will employ leadership styles more akin to those now used in the United States.

As Asian companies rely more on professional employees of all sorts, and as professional services become more important in Asian economies, the less autocratic and more participative and even empowered style of leadership will emerge. Asian leadership will come to more resemble that of the West. But significant cultural differences will remain—economic and geopolitical rivalries within Asia and between Asian countries and the West will continue and perhaps grow. Economies will retain characteristic national features. Convergence in a leadership style does not guarantee likeness of results nor even peace. We will continue to have to work for economic progress and peace; it will not come automatically.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lamborghini Factory Tour


While we are on the subject of the European Lean Tour, here's some interesting information about the Lamborghini Factory Tour, available in the internet.



For example, you can find a video clip from the Speed channel about the Lamboghini factory on youtube, which is quite interesting.

European Lean Tour coming!


Many of you have heard of, or participated in, our Japan Lean Tour. But did you know that LSI takes participants to visit and see lean in action in many other cities around the world.

In addition to our usual trips to Calgary and other Canadian cities, over the next few weeks, LSI will be visiting Baltimore Maryland, Singapore and Malaysia.

But more interestingly, for 2011, we are organizing the European Lean Tour as an alternative to our popular Japan Lean Tour. The Japan Lean Tour will continue to be offered in spring and fall of next year.

Students in our Master Blackbelt program have visited Europe in previous years. Now for the first time, we have made tentative plans to offer this lean tour as an Executive Certification Program from May 9 to 13th.

Included in the tour will be visits to the Porsche and BMW factories in Germany, as well as a factory tour to Lamborghini in Italy (assuming that we can get into all of these locations). 




The tour highlights include:

- Porsche Museum and Porsche Factory Tour, Stuttgart
- Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart
- BMW Museum and BMW Factory Tour, Munich
- Lamborghini Museum and Lamborghini Factory Tour, Italy
- Optional city tour Florence, Italy

For those who love to learn by actually seeing and experiencing a "lean" plant, you will be amazed at how lean these places are. In particular, we were surprised by the number of lean practices in place at the low-volume Lamborghini factory. On our last trip to Lamborghini, we had the privilege of meeting the nephew of the Lamgorghini founder. We'll do our best to arrange this meeting again.





For many of us, this was one of those special moments in life - particularly if you love cars!

Last year, I wrote a short article about my experience at the BMW museum and factory. Here's some information on that article.

BMW Germany Visit Article

Mike Hoseus Toyota Culture Event


Just a heads up that on May 24, 2011, we are having world-renowned Toyota Culture author Mike Hoseus in Vancouver for a special event.

This will be an Executive Certification event here in Vancouver.  We plan to then take Mike to Calgary and Winnipeg in the same week as well.

This is one of those rare events that only happens every few years, so please mark your calendar!  Our last two events with Mike sold out months in advance.

Mike is a co-author of the Toyota Way books with Dr. Liker and has written one of the most important books of all time: Toyota Culture (available at chapters, amazon, etc).

Further details to come a bit later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kanban for Beer

Beer Kanban!

Did you know that simple concept of kanban can be applied to anything?  Here's a funny example of how LSI's past Blackbelt participants have developed a kanban for ordering beer in a bus in Japan.  It was the last day of LSI's Japan Lean Tour program a couple of years back, and they were allowed to have some beer in the bus on the way back from the last plant tour.  Instead of shouting "more beer", they came up with a system of tearing off the beer can's tab and then sending it back to "trigger" the re-ordering process.  Ingenious.



And in case you're wondering if that's LSI staff singing karaoke, not quite.  It was our tour guide who is singing in the background.

For the record, we no longer offer beer or karaoke these days on the bus because it just got too complicated to organize these activities and of course, sometimes people got carried away.  But it was fun while it lasted

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LSI Lean Greenbelt Offers Two Tracks in 2011

We are very excited to offer two different versions of our most popular program - Lean Greenbelt - starting in 2011.  Designed to meet the ever changing needs of our clients, LSI will offer two types of Greenbelt programs to provide lean knowledge in either the traditional operational/manufacturing environment or in the service/retail/transactional environment. While most of the core lean philosophies and methodologies will remain similar, the two programs will differ in that the kaizen projects will have a different focus in each program. 

Both programs will offer:
  • Introduction to Lean Thinking and Methods
  • 5S Tools and Methodology
  • Value Stream Mapping and Customer value
  • Various Kaizen Blitz and Projects
  • MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator)workshops
  • Design your own Presentation
  • Process Time or Defect Reduction
  • Final Presentations
  • Final Exam
  • Graduation
But the difference will be in how the kaizen projects are performed. Specifically....
  • Greenbelt for Operations will conduct most of its kaizen projects in manufacturing or production oriented companies
  • For Example, Greenbelt for Operations will conduct a cycle time reduction of a production process
  • Greenbelt for Service will conduct most of its kaizen projects in service or transactional processes
  • For example, Greenbelt for Service will conduct a customer satisfaction increase kaizen
As in previous Greenbelt classes, both programs will offer our winning combination of a 20% class, 80% hands-on approach.  LSI's world-class instructors will tailor the presentation materials for these two different programs.

For further information, please see this short Youtube explanation or contact our office. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Best artistic photos Japan Lean Tour 2010

Now that we have been back from Japan for some weeks, we were finally able to "clean up" the variety of photos we took at during our program.  Here are some of the best artistic photos from the event.  If you are interested in joining our March 2011 Japan Lean Tour, please contact us early as the program fills up many weeks in advance.