Month: December 2011

Training: The SpeakStrong Method for Continuous Improvement with Lean

Phrases, formulas and kata for continuous improvement

continuous improvement

Are your effective communication skills as strong as your challenges are difficult? 

Do they continuously improve along with your processes? 

Communication is culture. As your improvement journey evolves, are your best practice communication skills keeping up?

Leadership and management communication are challenging enough in the simplest circumstances. The challenge increases multi-fold in the dynamic environment of a continuous improvement culture where leaders, managers, operators, educators, deep researchers and others strive to make improvements happen every day.

You can’t coerce continuous improvement. Your words need to inspire pull and prime the pump of collaborative excellence. It takes new language to communicate new ideas. Precise wording can inspire people to accept challenges and create new ideas and guide them through their challenges without triggering defensiveness and resistance. The SpeakStrong Method can support your lean journey.

The SpeakStrong Method is lean-aligned and kata-based

The SpeakStrong Method is founded on kaizen principles very similiar to the principles that underlie Lean, or Toyota Production System. The lean and quality industry were among my best clients before I recognized the alignment of my methods and their communication challenges. Fortunately, they figured it out before I did, and eventually I became a student of lean thinking, Toyota and employee empowerment, and a researcher of Lean communication. 

The Lean community is going through a process of evolution to the incorporation of kata – or practices. Researcher Mike Rother was the first to detail the mechanics of the kata behind Toyota and employee empowerment.

The SpeakStrong Method also recommends kata to promote continuous communication improvement.

It systematically develops communication skill at every level by providing phrases, formulas and practical kata to develop your ability to practice lean. Communication standards provide concrete, shared targets to guide each step of communication PDCA cycles. A series of formulas, phrases and practices helps you eliminate communication waste, overload and inconsistency as your communication develops flow, effectiveness and efficiency.

The SpeakStrong Method provides a communication foundation for your lean and continuous improvement efforts

This program begins by describing and applying The SpeakStrong Method. We’ll practice a shared vision exercise to inspire a shared vision of what communication perfection is in a lean/continuous improvement culture. We’ll contrast that to our current communication reality, and create action steps toward target communication states. 

Then we’ll look at the specific communication challenges of continuous improvement cultures, as well as how to talk effectively about lean and continuous improvement.

Some specific take-aways will be: 

  • The vital role of humility, what it looks like and how to turn “teacher syndrome” and other forms of rankism into reciprocal learning relationships
  • The fine distinctions in word choice that make the difference between tired old ideas and expressions of a dynamic new reality
  • How to apply a PDCA cycle to your communication development
  • How to identify power-based language that blocks the open sharing of ideas – in yourself and others – and to replace it with collaborative, peer-based language that creates flow
  • Why getting simple is difficult and what to do about it
  • Phrases to talk about and practice lean and continuous improvement at every stage of the lean journey including how to…
    • share the depth and significance of your own lean journey
    • get people to stay open long enough to identify the root cause before prematurely jumping to solutions
    • defuse defensiveness
    • inspire creativity that is grounded in reality and aligned with mission
    • create standards of communication and affirm commitment to them
    • elevate “either/or,” false choice objections into new options

Discover ways to add impact, clarity and effectiveness to your message to bring lean principles to life. 

The SpeakStrong Method for Continuous Improvement with Lean will give you all the tools to stay on the high side of every conversation and to keep your communication developing as dynamically as your processes are.

Contact Meryl  to bring your lean practices to life with continuous improvement communication.

NY Times article highlights the unrecognized trend toward collaborative business models

Sometimes we can miss change that happens right before our eyes. That might be what’s going on in our country now, as cooperatively owned businesses are finding footholds in the US and creating a new model of how businesses can run effectively. Gar Alpervotiz wrote an inspiring article about Gar-Alpervotizthe growth of cooperative workplaces that may be paving the way toward dynamic democratization of business in America. You can read his article, Worker-Owners of America, Unite, in the New York Times online. 

He emphasizes that it might be easy to over-estimate the possibilities of a new system. However, when you see the trend toward collaborative alliances popping up in many different forms and many different places, it does seem to signal that something new and good is happening. Just as the importance of lean manufacturing is far greater than the improved bottom line from the companies that practice lean, the importance of cooperative workplaces is greater than the incidences. They show that the alternative to the kind of capitalism that has developed isn’t just a socialistic model. We’re seeing living examples of how business systems that collaborate without compromise are truly viable alternatives.

Change happens when: the pain gets bad enough, the vision of possibilities is inspiring enough, and the steps are clear. We’re feeling the pain in the US, and both lean companies, and worker-owned companies, are showing us visions of new models. Their experience can help us see the steps to the change, with added benefit from forward thinkers like Rod Collins, author of Leadership in a Wiki World, Mike Rother, author of Toyota Kata, and Tom Wujik, champion of The Marshmallow Challlenge, who teach the iterative approach to change, learning with each step. As Alpervotiz notes, the pain of our broken system just might be bad enough that we’re ready for the options. 

Perfectly crafted phrases for Admins and Office Pros

“How on earth do I respond to that???”

How Admins Get Respect, Recognition and Results in a Beyond-Busy World

Meryl Runion talks about The SpeakStrong Method and Adminstrative professionals


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How does the pace of today’s beyond-busy workplace affect you?

Do you ever find yourself asking – “How on earth do I respond to that???”

overworked_thumb

Do you ever get left out of decisions—decisions that affect you or that you are the office expert on?
Do you ever find yourself trapped in the middle of many different managers and their competing priorities for your time?
Do you ever get urgent last minute requests that could have been handled smoothly and efficiently had you been consulted sooner?

Don’t wait until you are home in bed losing sleep over what you should have said. Learn to use Power Phrases that will get you recognition, respect, and results – every time!

The workplace is changing, and you need to change with it. The days when admins and office pros were order-takers are long gone. In our beyond-busy world, your words and phrases need to be crafted with care.

But who has the time to craft the perfect words? Well, I do. My free downloads, phrase books and seminars are packed with the perfect words to communicate effectively in today’s beyond-busy world – saving you some steps and putting you on the fast-track to the respect and recognition you and your ideas deserve..

Here’s what perfectly crafted phrases can do for you

Perfectly crafted phrases:

Happy Administrative Assistant

  • Eliminate language that paints you as less than the professional you are
  • Get others to respect, recognize and respond to your professionalism
  • Encourage managers to collaborate instead of competing with each other about whose needs take priority
  •  Get people to respect your authority when you speak on an executive’s behalf
  • Position you to take on responsibilities that will make you indispensible
  • Get managers and associates to willingly use the systems you create to maintain a smooth workflow
  • And much more. 

Once you start using and mastering these perfectly crafted power phrases, there’s no telling how many uses you’ll find for them in every day situations.


I want you to have my best phrases – for free!  

admin_coverDownload my Top Ten PowerPhrases for Admins report. It contains the ten favorite phrases that I’ve collected in over fifteen years of working with administrative professionals. Learn what to say in today’s beyond-busy world to get respect, recognition and results. Click on the image on the left. 

If you want ongoing communication support, see that form to your right? Just enter your email, click on it, and you will receive an email from me with a link to confirm your subscription to my newsletter.

It’s up to you if you choose to confirm or not – either way, you’ll get the phrases to start you off in The SpeakStrong Method. 

Communicate to get control of your job before it gets control of you

Let your words reflect your professionalism. The right phrase at the right time can make all the difference for you. 

SpeakStrong Newsletter December 2011

CarbonGraffiti.com Email Marketing Templates – Newsletter 2 column


Can’t view this email properly? Click here for the online version

  #405, December, 2011 www.speakstrong.com  

Contents:

Humble Leadership: Tim Tebow is a game changer – and i’m not talking football

NIA and SpeakStrong make great gifts

Lean PowerPhrase: What is preventing the operator from running this way?

LuAnn and Creating Your Own Job Opportunities

What are you courting?

Books by the box

 

Check out my other blog articles!

 

Books to help you find the perfect words to collaborate without compromise:

  • Composite

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Please do not hit reply.Email me: MerylRunion(at)SpeakStrong.com

Humble Leadership: Tim Tebow is a game changer – and I’m not talking about football

Broncos football got interesting again, thanks to quarterback Tim Tebow. He’s starting a lot of conversations, and the conversation that interests me most is about how he models humble leadership. In a world of narcissistic celebrities it’s a breath of fresh air to Tebowhear the voice of one who doesn’t let success go to his head. It’s quotes like this one that are the real game changers. 

  • I know I had a lot of help. Offensive line did a great job and receivers stepped up and made me look a lot better than I really am.

The more Tebow talks, the more inspiring he is. He continually says the “right” things in ways that only sincere people can.

Is this guy for real? It sure seems like it. And that pleases and encourages me. We get to see what humility looks like in someone whose star is rising.

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NIA and SpeakStrong make great gifts: Free upgrade to priority shipping in the US

Have you ever danced your way to clarity? I offer NIA dance DVDs because I love them. Plus, there’s nothing like freeform dance and exercise to help you find your voice to SpeakStrong. If I’m stuck on how to say something, a good dance session will shake me loose.Boys reading Power Phrases

So check out my dance DVDs.

And also, many people tell me my books are very welcome gifts among people of all ages. Like in this pic. Thanks Paul, for sending it!

For the rest of this week, I offer a free upgrade to priority shipping for all US orders. Just note in the special instructions that you’d like the upgrade.

Visit my store

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Lean PowerPhrase: What is preventing the operator from running this way?

In my last newsletter I featured the PowerPhrase:

  • How do you want the process to operate?

This week I have the follow-up to that phrase.

  • What is preventing the operator from running this way?

In our offices, we might adapt the question to things like,

  • What is preventing the sales force from recording their sales the way we instruct them?

The point is, we know how we want the process to work and if it’s not working that way, instead of going into blame, we go into problem-solving. This phrase assumes – as lean managers do – that people want to do good work and need support in overcoming obstacles, not criticism when their work falls short.

So here’s an example most everyone will relate to. Your overloaded inbox. I totally overbooked myself this summer and am still playing catch up. My inbox topped 2000 emails. So I have a process – a system to catch up. I have a target ideal for number of emails in my inbox on an ongoing basis. To get there, I have a target to reduce my inbox by each week and a target for each day. My initial target numbers were much higher than the targets I set now, because initially I had a lot of low-hanging fruit – emails that I didn’t need to take action on.

I also have systems to manage the emails that come in. My process is to handle most email as it arrives, and every one by the end of the day. I’m not quite there yet.

So to get there, Manager Meryl asks Operator Meryl,

  • What prevents you from acting on that email now?

Sometimes the answer is that I don’t have a place to file it. That gets me improving my filing system. The key is to observe my thinking when I process each email. That’s where I get the data I need to work ON my email management system as I work IN it.

So what prevents you from operating at the highest level? There could be quite an opportunity in your answer.

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LuAnn and Creating Your Own Job Opportunities

I was in Phoenix last week, leading The Ultimate Admin, where we talked about how important it is to create your own job opportunities by seeing the needs in the workplace and filling them. The comic Luann illustrated this well. When TJ’s new boss hands him a list of tasks, he responds by defining his job for himself. His list says he won’t do toilets, empty trash or run errands but he will double sales.

Luann

(Click here for the blog post for a larger version of the strip.) Okay, if you take this example too literally, it could get you fired. You might not want to start out with what you won’t do. But TJ does illustrate the concept of upshifting your job by adding value. And once you’re doing work that uses your very best skills, you have a strong case for moving away from the work that doesn’t. 

What an awesome group of professionals we had in Phoenix! Several had done just that – seen a need and filled it, making their jobs more interesting, productive and fun. Are you working by your own design, not default?

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What are you courting?

CourtRhonda posted an interesting article about her speed-dating experience. In ten "dates," not one man asked her about herself. She has since married a wonderful man, but he triggered her ire when she called home each day while travelling to have him tell her about his day, but never inquire about hers. On day five, Rhonda asked, "Don’t you even want to hear about my day?" He noticed his omission, apologized, inquired about her day, and has been more attentive ever since. A success story?

Yes… and… In my way of thinking, if ten men and her wonderful hubby all talk about themselves and don’t think to inquire about her, it might be a trait, not a flaw.

continued…

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Books by the box

With the holidays coming up, consider giving people the gift of the perfect words. You can get books for you whole team at a great price when you order books by the box. Or, just get yourself a book or two to prepare yourself to communicate effectively throughout the holiday rush.

That’s it for now. It’s so nice to be back.

SpeakStrong and collaborate without compromise

Got a communication question? Ask me!

Want to use any of the articles on your site? You are welcome to with this bio:
Meryl Runion is the creator of the SpeakStrong Method. You can find her at www.speakstrong.com

Lean PowerPhrase; What is preventing the operator from running this way?

Last newsletter featured the PowerPhrase:

  • powerphrase_icon2How do you want the process to operate?

This week I have the follow-up to that phrase.

  • What is preventing the operator from running this way?

In our offices, we might adapt the question to things like,

  • What is preventing the sales force from recording their sales the way we instruct them?
  • What is preventing my assistant from getting my project to me on time?
  • What is preventing my manager from updating his calendar when his schedule changes?

The point is, we know how we want the process to work and if it’s not working that way, instead of going into blame, we go into problem-solving. This phrase assumes – as leam managers do- that people want to do good work and need support in overcoming obstacles, not criticism, when their work falls short.

Tim Tebow is a real game changer – and I’m not talking about football

The Broncos got interesting again, thanks to quarterback Tim Tebow. He’s starting a lot of conversations, and the conversation that interests me most is about how he models humble leadership. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world of narcissistic celebrities to Tebowhear the voice of one who doesn’t let success go to his head. It’s quotes like these that are the real game changers. 

  • I know I had a lot of help. Offensive line did a great job and receivers stepped up and made me look a lot better than I really am.

The more Tebow talks, the more inspiring he is. He seems to continually say the “right” things in ways that can only happen when they’re sincere.

Is this guy for real? It sure seems like it. And that pleases and encourages me. We get to see what humility looks like in someone whose star is rising. 

Luann comic models creating your own job opportunities

I was in Phoenix last week, leading The Ultimate Admin, where we talked about how important it is to create your own job opportunities by seeing the needs in the workplace and filling them. The comic Luann illustrated this well. When TJ’s new boss hands him a list of tasks, he responds by defining his job for himself.

Luann

Okay, if you take this too literally, it could get you fired. You might not want to start out with what you won’t do. But TJ does illustrate the concept of upshifting your job by adding value. And once you’re doing work that uses your very best skills, you have a strong case for moving away from the work that doesn’t. 

What an awesome group of professionals we had in Phoenix! Several had done just that – seen a need and filled it, making their jobs more interesting, productive and fun.