Jody Ann Johnson here. Hello everybody, this is the 64th episode of Coffee with Jody.  

Today, what we’re going to do is talk about the eight LEAN Principles that we’ve been discussing all month, how they work together, and then how you can begin to implement those in your business.  

Let’s start off with, what the eight LEAN Principles are:  

We say them every day so that we get them drilled into our head. So I’m going to reiterate them again for you. The first one is 

  1. Continuous Improvement.  
  2. Optimizing the Whole  
  3. Eliminating Waste  
  4. Building Quality In  
  5. Fast Delivery  
  6. Creating Knowledge,  
  7. Deferring Irreversible Decisions and  
  8. Respecting People.  

If you think about it for a second Continuous Improvement and Eliminating Waste go together really, really nicely. Building Quality In and Optimizing the Whole is looking at how you take from the very onset of the product or service that you’re selling and  building quality in from the beginning. Optimizing the Whole and giving Fast Delivery allows you to Respect People, respecting your customers, and also to get the feedback for Continuous Improvement. 

Differing Irreversible Decisions looks like, let’s not take an action on this too quickly. Let’s do slow, incremental improvements over time, rather than sweeping one that may cost us time, money or resources in terms of people or knowledge. And then when we’re Creating Knowledge, whether it’s internal knowledge or external that benefits the client, so that they have additional knowledge or even for your industry, you’re Respecting People. And you’re actually also Creating Knowledge 

So you can see how the principals kind of all dance together. They really are a dance and it’s not like you do this one, and then you do this one and then you do this one, and then you do this one. Looking at each of them as integrated ways of being able to apply these principles in your business to create a much more productive, profitable, happy business with engaged employees. I love it and I love the way that it all works together. And because we’re going to be exploring implementing these in your business we’ll see how that gets done.  

I know that implementing these principles into your business takes something. First of all, it takes a commitment with not just the leader, but obviously from the leader of the organization, their faith and their belief in these ideas. But it also takes everyone in the organization however they might not have that buy-in at the onset. The buy in can get created by actually practicing the principles. One of the things we did was to have a daily huddle. Our huddle is half an hour, and it includes discussions on how we’re implementing these principles into our business on a daily basis. 

It also includes learning. We’ve been studying and reading and looking at videos and going to websites to deepen our understanding of this and have asked our team members to invest somewhere around 15 or 20 minutes into their learning. Now some of that can be when they’re here, sometimes if they can’t get it done when they’re here, they do it at home because we have a results only work environment. 

The deepening of our understanding largely started with Paul Akers and his website where he has a flurry, a plethora of resources and they’re all free. We started with his book “Banishing Sloppiness”, and then we moved on to “Two Second LEAN”. Within those two books there’s a number of different videos and resources that we would also look into.  He also makes some recommendations of people to look up and to follow.  

One of the other books we read was “The Goal”, even though The Goal is specifically written about a manufacturing production facility, we were looking at how to map that onto what it is that we do here in our professional services business. We’ve looked at Plan View. We’ve looked at other Six Sigma and LEAN resources online. There’s so many resources.  

Right now we’re reading one of Dr. Goldratt’s later books are called “The Choice”, which is about an approach, a way of thinking. And I think that the idea of LEAN as an approach, as a way of thinking about the business is a really good way to implement these principles into your business.  

Now, why do it? I think the biggest reason is that it creates an environment of Continuous Improvement and engagement from the team. 

Our team is probably more engaged now than they’ve ever been because we’re working on this together and then coming up with this improvement or that improvement. It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s engaging, making the business better, making the service to the clients better. So the long and short is the principles are unique and distinct yet they dance together and complement one another. 

When you make the decision that you’re going to implement this into your professional services, feel free to reach out to us. We’re creating videos, we’re talking about it, we’re studying it. And we have some good ideas about how to begin implementing it in your business. You can also look at some of those resources that I’ve shared with you.  

Start with having a conversation about why these principles are important. Paul Akers has a number of different videos on his website that you can watch to get the world of it. And then start talking about it. One pitfall that I’ve seen in our implementation and I’ve heard about it in other organizations is tendency to want to go in and make sweeping changes rather than the small incremental changes that allow us to build on something and create momentum. 

We’re having to go, no, no, no, just invest 15 minutes. And those small incremental changes over time really do add up as we’ve seen here in our business since April of last year. Now with that, I wish you all the success in the world exploring LEAN 

Oh yeah. 

One last thing, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” is a paper that Dr. Goldratt wrote. In it he talked about the importance of understanding the environment you’re in. You can’t translate what Toyota did to another business environment because the environments and the constraints in the environment and the people in that environment are different.  

Toyota made all of their knowledge available to anyone. Competitors could go in and walk through their plant observing, all of their content was in the public domain, but when Hitachiwho makes tools went to implement it, they had a really hard time implementing it because the environment that they’re working in, with the number of SKU’s they had and so on were quite different than Toyota’s. So you have to take into consideration wh

at’s unique about your organization. And what that means to you and your team is that you’re going to have to do the critical thinking of how can this apply to our business, to our environment, with our team, with our core competencies and embrace that it’s a continuous and never-ending improvement rather than a sweeping change.  

I hope and trust that you got value from this short series on LEAN Principles.  

If you got value from this particular video, then please like it, share it and subscribe and feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] , or leave a comment and we’ll respond.  

You can also go to our website   

We’re happy to give a complimentary session that you can then think through strategically how you can begin implementing these principals in your business.  

Bye for now! 

About the author,

With 14 years of experience in working with small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, Doug is committed to seeing business owners thrive. Business coaching is what drives Doug.

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