continuous improvement

PowerPhrase: What Improvement Did You Make in How You Work Today?

powerphrase icon2One of the success tools that Lean Manufacturer Paul Akers uses is requiring every employee to make a “2-second improvement” each day. That’s an improvement that saves 2 seconds in something they do. It’s not about improving the end result, it’s about improving how they get to the end result. 

That requirement isn’t just some nice idea that everyone ignores. Each employee is expected to—and does—develop a small process improvement each day. Some are shared in the morning meeting and others are reported in the “morning improvement walk” where the manager asks a version of this question.

  • What improvement did you make in how you work today?

Why not ask that question of yourself, and of people you work with each day? Not only will it get everyone thinking in terms of improvements, but you’ll learn some best practices that way.

My simple improvement today was to download the app for my screen sharing protocol. It saves at least two seconds when I want to share my screen with someone. Actually, I have more, but I’ll keep it simple and share just one.

SpeakStrong Method Training and Workshops

Training that transforms the way you, your department, team or organization relates, influences and succeeds

communication trainingSpeakStrong Method training and workshops provide you, your entire department, team or organization with a deep experience of authentic, collaborative communication.

All training events start with an introduction to The SpeakStrong Method. They include a shared vision exercise to inspire a shared vision of communication excellence.That shared vision power guides the team as they create agreements, explore techniques and devlelop communication kata (practices) in alignment with the team’s main focus – from administrative excellence to leadership to generational accord.

The training is fun, practical and individualized to particular group challenges and interests. 

Training topics include:

training for administrative assistantsThe SpeakStrong Method for Getting Results When You’re Not in Charge

Get it done – whether you have authority or not
≈ Recommended for Administrative Assistants, Executive Assistants, support staff.

The Speakstrong Method For Continuous Improvement With Lean

Phrases, formulas and kata for continuous improvement
≈ Recommended for leaders, managers, operators, supervisors and employees with an interest in lean and continuous improvement

The Speakstrong Method For Intergenerational Communication

Walk in my generation’s shoes
≈ Recommended for intergenerational groups across every level of the organization. 

The Speakstrong Method For Dynamic Leadership Development

How to draw out the leadership potential in others
≈ Recommended for HR, mentors, leaders, emerging leaders and anyone who wants to develop the leadership potential of others

 

Use the menu or click next for topics

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.

Kata Talk: Navigate the Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement

Kata Talk: Navigate the Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement 

 This is a learning session that Mike Rother and I premiered at a GBMP conference in Springfield. It’s designed to get leaders and managers into the mindset of what they need to do to develop and guide continuous improvement. This session is interactive and was a big hit.

Circling the Line of Continuous Improvement

Linear goes straight. Intuitive circles. Continuous Improvement circles the line of improvement options. 

spiralContinuous Improvement is one of the guiding principles of lean thinking. How do you keep leaning forward? Lean strives towards perfection, while knowing that perfection is not a static state. That means everything is subject to curious inquiry. 

So this week, as I’ve been creating the perfect title for my presentation on lean communication, It’s a creative process, which means I need to allow lots of room for circling intuition. I invited input from many others. Paul gave input that hit home deeply. I created a title. Lee loved it with minor tweaks. Kelli had a very different idea altogether. Karyn took a new direction with it. And me? I am patiently circling the line of continuous improvement as I move toward the ecstatically – as opposed to statically – perfect title. 

Johnny Cash walked the line. At the moment, I’m circling it. And while part of me wished my temporary title team would just tell me I’m perfect already, I am willing to circle the line until the deadline arrives or I get so inspired by what I/we come up with, the only think I can say is WOW!

Circling the Line of Continuous Improvement

Linear goes straight. Intuitive circles. Continuous Improvement circles the line of improvement options. 

spiralContinuous Improvement is one of the guiding principles of lean thinking. How do you keep leaning forward? Lean strives towards perfection, while knowing that perfection is not a static state. That means everything is subject to curious inquiry. 

So this week, as I’ve been creating the perfect title for my presentation on lean communication, It’s a creative process, which means I need to allow lots of room for circling intuition. I invited input from many others. Paul gave input that hit home deeply. I created a title. Lee loved it with minor tweaks. Kelli had a very different idea altogether. Karyn took a new direction with it. And me? I am patiently circling the line of continuous improvement as I move toward the ecstatically – as opposed to statically – perfect title. 

Johnny Cash walked the line. At the moment, I’m circling it. And while part of me wished my temporary title team would just tell me I’m perfect already, I am willing to circle the line until the deadline arrives or I get so inspired by what I/we come up with, the only think I can say is WOW!