Tag Archive | Lean management

Best of LeanVoodoo 2016


This is a compilation of the most popular posts in 2016. Enjoy!

  • Myths about PDCA: Learn why people don’t use correctly this powerful tool: link
  • Effective vs. Efficient: Is there really a difference? Why does it matter?: link
  • Book summary, “Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise”: How can you use Hoshin Kanri to do an effective policy deployment? Learn from the experts! link
  • Hoshin Kanri and policy deployment: Learn the basics of Hoshin Kanri: link
  • 3 signs that people are not on board: Engagement is key for the success of Lean. Do you know how to read people reaction to change? link
  • Lean, common sense and apparent contradictions: Why are Lean principles difficult to understand? link

All you need to know about leadership


This is an old story (2009) I read many years ago but it is still valid and I keep using it very frequently to explain leadership and how cultural change works. It is a video by Derek Sivers, there it goes:

My main conclusions are:

  • Leadership means being ready to stand alone and look ridiculous to many.
  • You must be easy to follow: easy message, clear ideas, be public.
  • You are not a leader until you get your first followers: treat them as equals because new followers will follow previous followers, not you.

Keep that is mind because one day:

  • You will get momentum.
  • Following you will not be risky anymore.
  • Change will happen (learn more here).

The video finishes with the most important idea of all: if you find a crazy person doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in! Following others who deserve it is another way of leading, maybe the most important.

Many blogs shared this video before, here you have some:

Engagement: Metrics

I wrote some weeks ago a summary of a conference about engagement (find the post here). This graph summarizes the most important reasons that keep your people engaged. Remember, managers cannot make people happy, but they have a big influence in creating the right environment. Enjoy!


The 3 management principles

I’ve participated this week in a management forum and one of the hot topics was to discuss about what makes a person a good manager. Every person has ideas shaped by past experience and natural comfort zones that guide his behavior. However, almost everybody agrees that managers must take care of these 3 things:

  • Fairness
  • Respect
  • Trust

This might look easy, but it is not.

Fairness means taking the right decisions. Give credit to your people for their work. Do what you say and say what you do. Apply rules to yourself, not only to your team. Assign work accordingly to experience and preferences.

“For what the king fundamentally insisted upon was that his authority should be respected. He tolerated no disobedience. He was an absolute monarch. But, because he was a very good man, he made his orders reasonable.” (The Little Prince, 10.15)

Respect means treating people right. It is the opposite of fear. Don’t use your position in the company to pretend being always right. Don’t use people, develop them. Being respected is key; being feared shows the result of management short-term strategies.


Trust means creating communication channels. Listen to your people. Don’t give lessons, give advise. Say thank you when people tell you the truth.


Can you learn management? Yes. Most of us can benefit from experts and learn what to do and what not to do. There are many techniques out there (for coaching, people development, communication, etc..) that will improve our chances of success. Getting a coach or a mentor might be a great idea for new managers. Is management for everybody? No. Managers must love being managers, and not everybody likes doing this. Of course, some people like taking the lead in specific circumstances and they do a great job (situational leadership) but they don’t like being the boss all the time, and this is ok.

Remember that the final goal of a manager is to develop people to their best possible level, even better than yourself. If you are not ready to do this, do everybody a favor and work in something else.


Principles of visual management

Visual 1

This week I’ve heard a person describing visual management like “putting our Excel spreadsheet on the wall”. Sadly visual management tools are many times just an illusion and consist in a simple copy of previous management systems (spreadsheets, agendas, calendars…) made with paper or magnets hanging somewhere.

Yes, visual management must be “visual” (in graphic form) and “public” (everyone can see it) but that’s not really the point of it. Visual management must follow these principles to have the right to use that name:

  • Defines the standard condition
  • Highlights problems
  • Creates alignment
  • Drives action & learning

Visual management sin titulo

Defining the standard condition means that visual management is a prediction of how things will go on. We base the prediction on our standards. Visual management helps everybody understand what is expected to happen. Then we check how things go and a) celebrate that our prediction was right or b) discover that our prediction was wrong. In the second case, we have found a problem (assuming that our standards are correct. If they are not, the problem is that our standards are inaccurate). Visual tools make sure that information is shared and aligns team members. Then the team decides what to do to understand the problem and learn, find out the root cause of the problem and put solutions in place.

Visual management can be summarized as: “We see together, we know together, we act together” (see Al Norval’s post at Lean Pathways blog: link )

Don’t forget that Visual Management can’t work alone. It needs Leader Standard Work and Standard Accountability Processes to run properly.

Pictures from: