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Lean Leadership for Ops Managers

Author: Jamie V. Parker

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Lean Leadership for Ops Managers is a podcast for leaders in Ops Management who’ve had some targeted success with Lean, but haven’t yet built the everybody-everywhere-everyday improvement culture they crave. In each episode, former Fortune 100 Ops Executive and Lean Enthusiast Jamie V. Parker will teach you how to engage your team, develop a Lean culture, and still get your day job done.
54 Episodes
It’s one thing to “keep” team members. It’s another to keep them while they’re also fully engaged and contributing their best. Creating a workplace culture that helps people thrive is the answer to the current challenge: how do we compete in the employment market. Back in Episode 049 we talked about a model that makes organizations “best places to work” - what team members want in their workplaces. In this episode, we talk about the same model but from a leadership point of view - what executives want for their respective organizations. Notice how we can achieve both in this episode.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow to build an organization where people will want to work - and even tell everyone how great the organization is!Key elements that inspire an engaged, aligned teamThe two necessary components for a culture of systematic improvement and sustained agilityWhy putting people at the center to achieve success is importantMoving Past Tradeoffs: Serve People PLUS Deliver ResultsGet full show notes and more information here:
“How do we build an organization where people want to work & tell others how great it is?” Organizations are struggling to fill open positions, and with more virtual job options available, people are no longer just looking to work at companies in their local areas. So executives are asking this question as they try to tackle the “labor shortage.”What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeCurrent Challenge: Attracting and Retaining PeopleThe 4 Elements of the Best Places to WorkCombining The 4 Ps to Create Workplaces People LoveHow Team Members’ Desires Match Up with Organizational GoalsGet full show notes and more information here: 
What needs to happen to transition from event-based lean to an improvement culture? One required step is engaging the frontline, but that brings challenges as fear or resistance may show up. Aaron Davidson, Corporate Director of Employee and Guest Experience at Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, shares how he engages the frontline and the role lean plays in volatile industries.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeKey phrases that can help you position and think about lean in a different wayThe role of lean in volatile industries like hospitality and gaming - and how the “when” of lean is different than what some organizations doSteps to better engage your frontline in improvement, especially when there is fear or resistanceGet full show notes and more information here:
“If you had a magic wand, what is the first thing that you would fix in an organization you’re coaching?”Chris Burnham asked me this question when I recorded a guest spot on his Lean Leadership podcast.My answer was simple. “If I could wave a magic wand, I would instantly develop the capabilities and the habits of all the leaders in the plant to Leverage the Positive by giving effective reinforcing feedback - or effective recognition feedback.Join me as we dig deeper in this episode.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeThe two types of feedback: reinforcing feedback and correcting feedbackWhy “thank you’s” are not enoughA big recognition feedback mistake found in operations managementThe strategy behind training leaders on feedback in a way that has a bigger impactGet full show notes and more information here:
Have you ever left a conversation and thought “Whoa - that was blown out of proportion”? Or “Whoa - that escalated quickly”? Knowing the levels of conflict is essential since misstepping will only make things worse. But what are the levels of conflict? How can you use The Conflict Ladder to more effectively lead through conflict?In this episode, I’ll walk you through every step of The Conflict Ladder and how you can properly address unhelpful behaviors at the right level. What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeWhat the different levels of conflict are and why it’s helpful to understand themMistakes individual leaders and organizations make on the conflict ladderHow to address unhelpful behaviors at the right levelGet full show notes and more information here:
You can’t have a lean culture without conflict, but so many organizations and leaders are NOT comfortable with conflict. Here’s the question: “What would be the impact to your organization if you could have less destructive conflict and more productive conflict?”What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeTwo types of workplace conflict, and how they differHow the research behind DiSC for Productive Conflict does - and doesn’t - align with the other conflict models we’ve explored on past episodesWhy you can’t have a lean culture without conflictThe role leadership action plays in stimulating productive conflictWhat Productive Conversations and Conflict is and how it can help your leadership team achieve more effective change adoption, gain better adherence to standard processes, and foster creativity and collaborative problem solvingWant to take the DiSC for Productive Conflict Assessment? Want to develop your operations leaders on Productive Conversations and Conflict? Email me at: Get full show notes and more information here:
How would you define innovation? What enables a culture of innovation? How do lean and innovation fit together (or not)? Erlin Kakkanad and Bella Englebach share their insights about innovation and frugality, the intersection of Lean and innovation, and examples of real case studies.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodePerspectives on the intersection of Lean and InnovationExamples from Toyota of Lean problem solving versus innovative product developmentHow frugality can generate creativity or help inspire creativityFraming challenges and divergent thinking in creativity and innovation, and case studies to demonstrateGet full show notes and more information here:
It’s one thing to become aware of thoughts that aren’t serving you. But how do you actually change them? How do you choose thoughts that will yield better results? And what’s the relevance in Lean Leadership?While this is relevant for everyone… it’s particularly on point for the CI practitioners, Lean Coaches, Problem Solving Mentors, and Kata Coaches, this one’s for you.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeWhy positive affirmations are not enough to change your thoughtHow to create that different feeling that prompts us to take a more productive actionLearn the effective way of practicing those better thoughtsHow to create your Thought ModelGet full show notes and more information here:
So often leaders want to learn how to “fix other people.” To get them to do the work, to get on board, to be better. But true leadership starts with our own self awareness and self management. You are probably keenly aware of your results. But what about your feelings? Or your underlying, automatic thoughts? Join me as I dig into coaching techniques for self leadership. Because whether you like it or not, it’s hard to manage yourself when you don’t really know your inner workings.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow life coaching applies to leadership self awareness and self managementLessons I learned from the CTFAR Self Coaching Thought ModelHow to facilitate the transformation from both thoughts and behaviorsHow to figure out what your underlying thoughts areGet full show notes and more information here:
As I sat at the restaurant alone, fuming, I worked up an elaborate story in my mind of why he was late. The truth is that we all create stories in our heads. These stories then fuel our words and actions, including in the workplace. And when we’re talking about changing the way people think and work, that could lead to workplace drama.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeWhy I was sitting at the restaurant fuming and what really happenedHow the Crucial Confrontations stories to action model was a complete game changer in my self managementHow the “second cycle” Arnout Orelio talked about can help you understand and potentially avoid workplace dramaWhy sometimes people act in ways that seem completely illogicalGet full show notes and more information here:
Have you ever been in a meeting and thought that everyone was on the same page for action steps, but you go into the next week’s meeting and the tasks still aren’t done.Susan Reinhardt joins us today to discuss how the concepts of Reliable Promising or Conversation for Action that she uses in Lean Construction may help you. In fact, you might hear some "Weasel Words" in today’s conversation that are haunting your collaborative efforts.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow to shift your language to get commitments that are more likely to be followed through onWhat Weasel Words are and how they can derail executionThe idea behind the reliable promising loopWhy it’s important, as a leader, to create an environment where someone can say no if you want to get real commitmentsGet full show notes and more information here:
Coaching is such a critical skill and behavior for leaders, so I'm thrilled to join the lineup for Lean Frontier’s Virtual 2021 Lean Coaching Summit. But coaching isn't one dimensional. In fact, Jim Huntzinger, Founder and President of Lean Frontiers, shares different perspectives, angles and applications of Lean coaching and how conversations with John Shook about these different dimensions led to the birth of the Lean Coaching Summit. What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow years of casual conversations led to the Lean Coaching SummitWhy you should attend a Summit dedicated just to CoachingWho are some of the great speakers for the 2021 Summit and how you can hear them speak nowGet full show notes and more information here:
How does fact finding and problem solving work when folks on your team are stressed or frustrated or angry? When you and a team member see the same situation from different perspectives? When you're having performance problems that are turning into conflicts between people?Today, Arnout Orelio joins us from the Netherlands to share how he helps emerging leaders pursue fact-based leadership.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow Arnout connects the dots between process problem solving and what some people call “people problems” The second cycle running in our minds (in addition to the PDCA cycle)Ways you can reframe opinions or emotions to agreements in order to progress problem definition and problem solving forwardHow you think about and use facts for problem solving when people disagree on what the facts areGet full show notes and more information here: 
Back in the day, I was making good money, but I still didn’t have any.Honestly, I couldn’t explain where the money went. And it didn’t make sense. After a virtual hunt for a digital system that will help me in managing my finances, I finally found the right one that perfectly works for me. Join me as I discuss the best budget system, why I've been using it for over six years now, and why I'll never stop.But . . . What does budgeting have to do with Lean? You'll hear how the lessons learned can help you think about how your Lean systems, tools, and routines are (or aren’t) changing your organization.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeThe tested and proven budgeting tool that I have used for more than six yearsWhat a Digital Envelope System is and how you can benefit from using itHow the YNAB budget system mirrors Lean thinkingLessons learned from budgeting and how it can prompt assessment, reflection, and action along your Lean and leadership journey.Get full show notes and more information here:
How do you choose a leader standard work template or tool based on your specific needs? Robert Olinger and Steve Kane share the challenges they were facing and how they selected the leader standard work tool to meet and address those challenges.We’ve already had a few episodes that tackle this topic. Back in Episode 29, we had the opportunity to talk with Mike Wroblewski where he provided a framing that you need to think about this interesting topic we are going to discuss today.The first part of this series started in episode 36 where I explained about the card systems or Kamishibai while our guest Kara Cuzzetto shared the tool she made.In today’s episode, we will continue the 2nd part of this topic with two more examples from the real world. What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeHow to use leader standard work tools and templates to build a habit of activities that you need to overcome challengesHow Robert’s approach to gemba walks changed through his implementation of leader standard workWhy Steve uses a leader standard work system that isn’t his preferred system, and what that means when you’re selecting a template or tool for your workHow leader standard work drives discipline, creating more effectivenessGet full show notes and more information here:
What leader standard work tool is the best? There’s not one! The leader standard work tool you should use is the method that works for your circumstances. Kara Cuzzetto shares what made her template the best for her to build transparency and accountability. Jamie Parker shares the pros and potential pitfalls of a Kamishibai card leader standard work tool.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeThe pros and potential pitfalls of using a Kamishibai card system for leader standard workWhy Kara’s team was the critical input point to develop her leader standard workHow accountability and transparency were important factors that drove Kara’s leader standard work tool and template decisionsHow leader standard work can help companies achieve their improvement targets while providing a stable, reasonable working environment for employeesGet full show notes and more information here: 
Let’s be real. Leadership and management can be hard. And if you’re not careful, it can become lonely, too. That’s why building your squad is an activity worth investing time and energy.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeThe power of a peer group or squad to help you improveWhy sometimes you need to be open to things you don’t think you needWho the Lean Communicators are and how they’ve made it easier for you to tune inLean and Leadership related shows you might want to tune intoGet full show notes and more information here:
As operations executives and managers, we cannot sit on the sidelines when it comes to systemic racism. We need to lead boldly. Deondra Wardelle talks us through diversity, equity, and inclusion, the intersection between DEI and Lean continuous improvement, and specific steps ops leaders can take to foster a more inclusive environment.What You’ll from this EpisodeHow #RootCauseRacism was born from the foundations of Lean continuous improvementThe meaning of DEI and why it’s critical for organizational successHow equity and equality differ, and why one is more relevant for Respect for PeopleSteps managers - at any place in the organization - can take to foster a more inclusive environmentGet full show notes and information here:
How do you develop a people-centric culture, while also sustaining your improvement efforts and growing the business? Matthew Nix shares how he successfully developed a close-knit culture among his team members while also driving significant revenue growth. You’ll discover how he sees culture not just as a nice-to-have, but as a lifeline for the inevitable challenges that arise. What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeWhy culture is critical and not to be taken for grantedHow Matthew defined the core values for his organization, including the steps he took and the one critical question he askedMatthew’s weekly process that moves core values from another thing hanging on the wall collecting dust - to something that team members demonstrate every dayWhy Nix Companies actively works on growth, sustainability, and culture - all at the same timeSpecific example of how people-focused culture has been a lifeline during tough timesThe role leadership development plays in building cultureGet full show notes and information here:
Are you a fan of one-on-ones? Most managers aren’t. But that’s because most managers haven’t had great one-on-ones modeled for them. If you want to lead through relationships, then valuable one-on-ones are a key activity to master.What You’ll Learn from this EpisodeWhy doing one-on-ones is one of the most critical leadership routines for managersWhat managers get wrong with one-on-onesAnswers to the most common questions about one-on-onesImportant elements that make up an effective one-on-oneThe foundation of an effective one-on-one agendaGet full show notes and more information here: 
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