Transforming Lean thru Middle Management


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Paul Yandell of Value Stream Focus was interviewed in the Business901 podcast, Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers. This is a transcription of the podcast.

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Transforming Lean thru Middle Management

  1. 1. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsTransforming Lean thru Middle Management Guest was Paul Yandell Related Podcast: Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  2. 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsAbout Paul Yandell, President, Value Stream FocusProfessional Experience: Successful and varied manufacturing and operations experience in companies ranging from startups to multinationals. Proven record of leadership developing and implementing world-class lean manufacturing operations and supply chain across multiple industries that reduce cost, improve service, and enhance new product implementation. Winner, 2007 Pacific Northwest Silver Medallion Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing, Paul’s particular strengths are building infrastructure to support turnaround and growth situations, building and leading teams in total quality environments.Principal Areas of Practice: Manufacturing and Supply Chainspecialist with strong skills in identifying and eliminating wasteand improving operational performance. Paul is an excellenttrainer and team builder.Education/Qualifications  MBA IESE, Barcelona, Spain. Bilingual (Spanish).  BS University of California at Berkeley  ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt  Lean Manufacturing Certified, APICS CPIM  Lead Instructor, UC San Diego Lean Enterprise Certification Program  Nationally recognized speaker on Lean Leadership (AME, CSCMP, ASQ)  Vistage (the Worlds Largest CEO Organization) Member Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  3. 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPaul Yandell: ...managing from below. I speak to middlemanagers, I was a resident with them. I think most of us havebeen middle managers and understand those frustrations. I hit ona theme that guerilla manager years and years ago, and Iveactually given a similar talk to a number of national and localforums. It really resonates with people, because people stuck inthe middle are trying to figure, "What do I do? How do I beeffective?" And many of them are waiting for leadership. Ive alsodone a lot of teaching, and I find my students are the same way.Theyre kind of like, "Im learning Lean tools, but how do I putthem to use?" Im trying to say, "Just go right ahead. Dont waitfor your CEO to say, Were going to go down this path. Just startleading the company from the middle and you can be quiteeffective." We did that at Dimension One Spas, and wecompletely turned around the culture and transformed thecompany to a Lean company. We ended up winning a regionalShingo prize. It was a validation of our efforts.But it was really like a middle management revolt, if you will. Theowner, like many small business owners, didnt take a stronginterest in manufacturing. They want to make sure there are noproblems in manufacturing, but theyre not really sure how tobuild things. Theyre more sales people or finance people,generally. When they see someone getting traction, theygenerally kind of say, "OK." As long as youre getting topmanagement support, you dont need top managementleadership. I think many people think they need leadership.Theres a big difference. I think you can lead from the middle ifyou have support from the top.Joe Dager: Youre singing my message, Paul. Ive alreadystarted the podcast because I thought what you just said therewas golden. So with me today is Paul Yandell. This is Joe Dagerwith the Business901 podcast, and Id like to welcome Paul. Paul,can you give me that elevator speech about your company ValueStream Focus? Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  4. 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPaul: Well, Value Stream Focus is a small consulting company.We just started several years ago working with companies tolower their cost. Thats really what companies are looking for. Iuse a number of tools starting with Lean, thats my background isLean. Weve added Six Sigma and of course, common sense goesa long way. Weve combined those in the pot, and bang! Costs godown. Thats basically how it works.Joe: Well, youre one of the few people that Ive ever heard talkabout middle management. And to me, Ill flat out say it. In everysuccessful company that Ive been associated with, middlemanagers were the keys, and the unsuccessful ones, middlemanagers were the keys.Paul: Thats it. I mean, if you understand middle management,then you can make it work. Middle management you have torealize started out as being basically lower management. Most ofthem learned on the job in some capacity. Theyre not highlytrained, generally speaking, or theyve had technical training.Some of them are very, very well-trained. But you have a mixingof these people, and you have to speak to them. They were reallygood at doing the status quo. Thats how they got to be middlemanagers, and theyre going to cling to that. Your best operator,you say, "OK, now youre in charge of the operators," and thenyou grow, and then you grow, and then you grow, and 15, 20years later that guys your production manager and hes good atall the old little things, the tricks, the piles under the desk,knowing where everything is, all the tribal knowledge.Theyre not inclined to change, and until they see benefits, theycould really kill you. So theres a lot of nodding, and they all knowthat managers and owners change, and theyre agreeable. But inthe end, their comfort zone is doing what they were successful atand, until they can be successful at something else, why wouldthey do anything differently, really? You know, why would theychange? Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  5. 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: Yes, and I think thats the key. Because everybody alwayscomes down saying, "Oh, were going to do this and were goingto do this," and the poor middle managers stuck in the middle,because he still has to get it out the door. He still has to assistthe people to perform and hes always the one stuck in themiddle. We always talk about leadership, and were alwaystalking about respect for people or the worker, but who respectsthat middle manager?Paul: Well said. The other side of it is this. I mean, theres acertain level of fear on that shop floor. They know mostbusinesses have some kind of seasonality or growth spurts, andthey know when business turns down a little bit, they can lookaround and they know some of their peers are not going to be inthe room in the next month or so. They also know that by andlarge the office never changes. So, they basically dont...Andwere talking in the manufacturing setting. Theyre survivors.They know how to do work quicker when they need to workquicker. They know how to kind of stretch it out when they needto stretch it out. I mean, this is their life, this is their world. Ifyoure trying to change that equation, you really need to speak tothose people. Not only the people who are in managementpositions, but the informal leaders as well. It might be the janitoris a really important person in your business, because hesrelated to 20 other people in your company, and hes kind of thepatriarch or the matriarch, whichever.You just have to realize all of these equations and cross currentsthat are out there. Of course, the CEO is the most powerfulperson, but making a speech and wanting to make changedoesnt make change. We all know that structure has to go withculture; the two have to go together. You see it in literature a lot,that culture eats strategy for lunch. Its so true. So you need tohave a structure and a culture together that will facilitate thestrategy that the CEO wants to implement. They cant implementit without some effective way of handling change on the lower Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  6. 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsand middle ranks. The best and most effective way of managingchange is really through kaizen and through groupthink andthrough an atmosphere that people can make mistakes andtheyre not penalized for it.Going back to the whole middle management conundrum istheyre afraid to make mistakes, because theyve seen peoplewho make mistakes. If you have any black mark on your record,when it comes to layoffs those are the first guys that go.Everybody knows, I mean, theyre not stupid. They may have hadless opportunity or they may be an immigrant.I mean, some of the people on the shop floor guys, they weredoctors and lawyers and teachers in a former life. This is theopportunity they have in the States, and we have to be aware ofthat. I think that we have to give them more credit and speak tothem if we want to make lasting change. Ive been successful atit. I feel comfortable with that statement.Joe: Well, leadership still has to call you in, though, to get intouch with the middle managers, because those are difficultpeople to reach, theyre not the easy ones to be on an email listor to be accessible that much through the phone at any time,because theyre on the floor.Paul: Well, heres what happens. If you look at the four driversof Lean, if you simplify your model, and you look at firstworkplace organization. Then from there you look at flow,uninterrupted flow. Then from there you look at quality at thesource. Then from there you look at single-minute exchange ofdie. If you look at that progression...And were going to start withorganizing workplace, the 5S or 6S, lots of different versions ofthat, when you start and localize there, and you start cleaning upand sorting and finding tools that maintenance thought werestolen from them and were just left in work areas and so forth,and you start cleaning and organizing, it makes a big impact. 5S Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  7. 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsis the biggest, its visual change, and everyone can see it. Thoseare all things that could be done in middle management rankswithout a budget and without a lot of fanfare. Lets giveownership and top management credit, too. Theyre sensitive,they just dont know quite how to get the message across, butwhen they see that happening, theyre going to like it. Theyregoing to applaud it.The middle managers who are trying to effect change, people likeplant managers or production managers who are starting theseefforts, they ought to be shown off. Now, what I learned is that, ifyou start cleaning and organizing and helping people improvetheir workstations, pretty soon other departments’ line up andthey want the same thing. "Hey, when are you going to come andfix my area? When are we going to do a kaizen in my area?" Andwhatll happen is, itll start getting a life of its own.The other thing, though, you have to be sensitive to is, lets talkabout budgets for a minute. Lets suppose youre trying to changean organization, but youre doing it on your own, you dont havea budget. Youre certainly not going to shut down the plant for aweek while you do a Kaizen in one department. Or, you donthave a lot of money like that you can throw at it.If you look at the basic setup of kaizen, you can do that in acouple of afternoons and on a Saturday. What we did is, wedeveloped a formula of what we call a mini-kaizen. On Tuesdayafternoon, we would get together at maybe the last hour or twoof work and a few hours of overtime. We bring in pizza for theguys. We would do a brief introduction to Lean concepts, an ideaof what were trying to do, talk about those four drivers of Leanthat I mentioned.Then we would meet again on Friday, after they had thoughtabout it, maybe do an exercise like a paper airplane exercise orsomething where the guys could understand what were trying to Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  8. 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsdo with single-piece flow or maybe a cellular manufacturingchange.On Friday, we talk about what were actually going to do. What isthe task at hand that we want to do on Saturday? Bring the guysin and do the transformation on Saturday. We had support fromthe departments on either side of a given department. We hadmaintenance and engineering involved, and so forth. Then fromthat, we were able to make huge transformations in the plantwithout a big budget and without having to go to topmanagement approval, for the most part. Pretty soon you canstart turning an organization on its end. I mean, it doesnt takevery long. It catches on like wildfire. Because people areinterested, people want to be involved.Joe: I think thats a great strategy to do, because successbreeds success.Paul: Oh, yes.Joe: And the people looking from the outside in, they want toget in the cool group!Paul: Oh, yes. Now, heres even better if you want to be in thecool group. If you can give away T-shirts, if you can startbranding your effort. Wed get a little insignia that said, itbasically...It was funny, because we did this insignia that wewrote out. One of the guys mothers was Japanese, and so shewrote what Kaizen was in Japanese. We made this emblem tobrand our efforts, and it said kaizen in Japanese, and DimensionOne Kaizen. We made t-shirts to that effect. We were branding itall over the place in our company. Then we had a Japanesecustomer came in. Of course, most of our workforce in this casewas Hispanic. A customer from Japan came and he saw thisinsignia, and he was looking, and hes looking, and he couldntfigure it out. He goes, "Zen Kai, Zen Kai. Oh, Kaizen!" We had itreversed! Instead of good change, we had change good. But of Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  9. 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscourse, in Spanish thats how you say it. Actually it worked out,worked well. We had the wrong translation, but we got it right.So those kind of things become part of the culture of thecompany. Everyone wants a kaizen T-shirt or a zenkai T-shirt.Thats an easy way...I mean; a T-shirt’s a pretty easy way tobuild change in your company.Joe: You won a Shingo Prize by working with middlemanagement, right?Paul: Yes. In fact, to be honest, we won a Silver Shingo and notthe Gold Shingo. I asked the examiner, I said, "So why did wenot win Gold?" And he says, "Because ownership has no ideawhat youre doing." He said, "Its unreal, Paul, what youve done.Its unreal. But Ive got to tell you, the owners -- it was ahusband and wife team -- they dont really have a clue." Ithought, wow. And its so true [laughs] , I couldnt argue withthat. So I mean, all of the elements were in place. All of thenumbers were in place, all the benefits in place. After we haddone a conversion in the warehouse and basically cut ourinventory by over, by half, basically, cut it in half intwo-and-a-half months. Were walking through the plant, theowner and I. And Bob says, "Well, Paul, I dont know where yougot this Lean stuff, but it really works." There you go, thatssupport but not leadership, I would say.Joe: You talked about the change group structure. Can you tellme and explain that more to me?Paul: Well, understand that this was happening in the late1990s, and no one really knew exactly what Lean was. We all ofcourse had heard of JIT and trying to know what that means. Westarted having brown bag lunches where we actually bought acouple books. This is people from engineering. We didnt havemanufacturing/engineering at the time, but we had someengineers, and my production planner and myself, and a couple Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  10. 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsproduction managers. We would read these cases in early booksand kind of talk about them at lunch, and that kind of developedawareness. Then I got permission to teach a class. I called itAdvanced Manufacturing Techniques, and I taught that in-house.It was basically elements of Lean, and again, I taught this to thesame group. So, we did it at lunch. What we did is, we hadbrought in pizza or something, and we had it on Tuesday andThursday, and I had half the crew on a Tuesday and half the crewon Thursday. We made it a hour-and-a half. This way, by bringingthe lunch they give you their time, as it works. So if you bringthem a pizza, then you can ask a guy to sit through lunch and aclass and its not uncool.I gave the same class twice a week, and I treated it as a seriousclass. I gave tests, exams, and so forth. We included somestatistics and some Shingo writings and so forth. That kind ofdeveloped awareness in middle management. So then we weresurprised by a few of the guys that I didnt expect much out ofreally stepped up in the class.They became leaders when we started doing Kaizen; it was kindof like very scary to do a Kaizen, their first Kaizen. We had noidea what we are doing. We had no consultants and no budget forit. We didnt even talk with the owners about it. We just decided,OK lets try this. Kind of scary and the first Kaizen we did wasreally just a 5S Kaizen at the department where there wasnt anymeasurable results other than it looked cleaner and better, if youwill.We found, I joked about maintenance stools, we actually found alot of maintenance tools. Our maintenance will say, "They stoleour tools," and all this, but what happened is the bell rang, themaintenance walk out of the job and left some tools around. Idont think thats too uncommon. We did a 5S and it wasnt muchto be excited about. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  11. 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsThe next department that we went to, we transformed in from abasically a huge batch operation into a cell. In that case, it wasdramatic. We changed three days inventory into about an hoursinventory or less. Everybody, the whole place stood on end whenwe did that. We freed up a relatively huge amount of spacewithout that entire inventory, as you can imagine.The really change group boiled down to, I developed a three manteam, and this is very important. We developed a team where Ihad, this is the first time I was able to get a manufacturingengineer, he came out of engineering, basically to step sidewaysinto manufacturing engineering. Then I had one guy who diddocumentation, and we attached a maintenance person to thisteam as well.So we had a guy who understood about as much about Lean as Idid. We had a documentation guy who used to really came out ofthe quality department, didnt know anything about Lean but hewas fully bilingual, as myself and most of our workforce wasHispanic and not all of them were bilingual. Working in differentlanguages was part of what we need to do.Then we also had this maintenance guy who was attached, who Itook out of maintenance. So at this time I was the plantmanager, essentially, and vice president of manufacturing. Wehad the cellular change and we were able to relocate electricaldrops and so forth with the help of this maintenance guy. Andthat became our core structure. And that Lean team if you will iswhat rolled the changes. Three guys could drive the changethroughout and then we could leave with our documented workconstructions, photo documented and really left our mark.In that case we did a paper airplane exercise. No one had everheard one-piece flow, it was very scary. One thing about doing apaper airplane exercise, you can always put the troublemakersand the disbelievers in a few of the chairs. I am sure most of the Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  12. 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemslisteners are familiar with that. There is a few tasks in thatexercise that are little bit more frenetic than other tasks, and soyou put the influential disbelievers in those chairs and you havefun with them and pretty soon they are on your team and theyllsay, "OK, lets try it."Literally we left work on a Friday with this huge batch,operational in three days of inventory, and then we came back onMonday with a little cell and all this inventory we basically movedout of the space and then weaned it down.Within a week, basically, since we didnt have to make a lot ofinventory, we had a few days that we could continue moving in toour new digs, if you will, and painting and making it look right onMonday and Tuesday while we worked off the extra inventory.Wow. That became a model for the rest of the plant.Once you get a few successes it takes off and start with a feweasy 5S type kaizen and then youre on your way, I wouldsuggest.Joe: What was your largest hurdle to overcome?Paul: Materials group was living in MRP land and we kept havingtroubles with materials, so what we did is we did a Kanbansystem throughout the plant for all of the re-supply of the floor. Iworked and I worked and I worked. I was actually good friendswith the VP of Operations his title was, basically, materialsmanager and a lot of other hats. The plant was humming but wekept having problems with materials and finally that gentlemandecided to go and develop his own business in insurance. Theowner came to me with him and they said, "We want you to takeover materials. Weve seen what youve done in the plant." Noproblem. We put in the Kanban system with our vendors and wechopped that inventory in no time. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  13. 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsWe had vendors bringing in their other customers saying, "Hey,customer, cant you be like dimension one and do it this way?Look how great it is." We ran out of stock-up problems and wegreatly reduced our inventory. We freed up all kinds of space.You can only do so much as middle manager, because youre notthe boss. You can show people what could be done, you canteach them, you can offer to help them, but at some point itreally does help to be the boss.Once Im the boss of the warehouse, of purchasing, it was likeOK, good. They had seen enough. We went to another company;I visited another company with them to see what a vendorKanban situation would look like. They bought in. In no time theywere singing the song. Leslie Mae, who became my purchasingmanager, Ive seen her do presentations at CSEMPs nationalconference on how to do a vendor Kanban.This is something we just did ourselves. People are willing tolearn if you give them an opportunity and theyll own it if you letthem.Joe: I think thats whats so important because I always hearthis top-down driven type culture and these mandates that weregoing to be a Lean company and its got to be the vision fromleadership and its got to be this saying were going to becomeLean and everything and I flat out dont think that works. Incertain circumstances it might work, but...Paul: Of course, it does work but lets agree that the middlemanagement makes it work. So if the top management says,"This is how were going," and hes able to get alignment withinhis company top to bottom, then hes got it. The real problem isalignment. If you say youre going to change but you dontchange your structure...I mean, Lean is all about turning thetriangle upside down. If you look at a triangle, a normal trianglewith the apex at the top, this is in a people-centered Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  14. 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsorganization, the classic organization where the boss tellseverybody else what to do. If you are continuously, thats how allyour information flows, and then what happens is its hard todrive change through that organization. Youre going to tellpeople what to do, but they may or may not buy into it. Theyrekind of waiting for you to go away or for the wind to change.Now, if you can through continuous improvement, through Leantechniques, if you can switch that, flop that triangle around so theapex is at the bottom, now what have a flat part ofthe triangle at the top, if you will. Now you have a situationwhere the supervisor in saying, "OK, I need you to make greenones, 200 of them, and then I need you to make a bunch of redones, 200 of them." Instead, now the conversation is, thesupervisor is at the bottom of the triangle, and the center of workis now the operator. Now the conversation is, "OK, operator, howcan I help you do your work better? How can I help you improveyour operations? How can I help you do a better job?"Suddenly, the conversation has changed and it will never goback, because the operator goes, "Oh, well you know, my backhurts every day. If you could raise this desk another two inches,this table, or if you could improve my chair, theyd give me aback to my chair, Id be a lot better."Now the operator makes 15 percent more work and then theirback doesnt hurt and now, all their friends, they want you to payattention to them too. Because, you know, "You helped Mary,why dont you come over and look at me? I need a better lightover here. And you think I could get a new knife? This one has abad blade, and it takes me forever to cut this item."Youd find out all this stuff that you never knew. If you just walkthrough the area and look at it, everyone looks busy, everyonelooks like they know what theyre doing, and no one tells youwhat they need, because no one ever listened before, why should Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  15. 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsthey listen now? You dont want to be a complainer. Thats middlemanagement right there.Joe: Yes, and I think you hit the nail on the head, because Iguess I would summarize that you become an enabler of work.Paul: Well said, youre an enabler instead of a taskmaster.Its totally different. I mean, heres how Taiichi Ohno set upToyota. He basically says, "Look, the Kanban is the productioncontrol system. Its a pull system. Its all based on demand. Itsnot based on what the boss says to do today. Your boss is thecustomer. If the customer orders black wire, you strip more blackwire. If the order flow switches over to short red wires, youregoing to strip more short red wires. You dont need a list to tellyou what to do. Youre going to refill Kanban, youre going to useyour pull systems to tell you exactly what to build, all the waydown to the vendor." This is a cascading effect. If youre runningaround with pieces of paper with hot lists, and all this stuff thathas become American manufacturing, thats all about being aboss and being a bully. "I need this right away! No, stop whatyoure doing, do this instead!" The worker thinks youre an idiot,because you keep stopping him and starting him. Instead ofworking for the customer, now hes working for what he thinks isyour whim. Theres a lot of distrust and a lot of rolling their eyeswhenever the boss comes around with his last piece of hot sheet,his latest piece of paper. Theyre not stupid. These people havefamilies, they have lives, and they make the same decisions on adaily basis as you and I. You shouldnt belittle them; you shouldput them on a pedestal.Joe: What youre saying is common sense, which Lean isbasically, common sense..Paul: Its not that common, its not that common, buddy.Joe: Yes, right, but its not that common. Why not? Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  16. 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPaul: Well, it goes back to, OK, to where we started theconversation. Middle management got there by being the bestoperators or the best at doing it the way it was, and they cling tothat out of fear. Theyre good at it, they always came up with asolution where they were able to meet that deadline or save thatorder, and so thats your man. Your relationships, and you haveyour go-to guys, and your go-to methods, and thats generallyhow it works. Labor has worked it out, and theyre good withthat. Until people see the vision of what can be, until they seeanything different, why should they change? Just saying its goingto change from top management doesnt change it. You need toshow them that its different. Whos going to do that but middlemanagers? Its not done in the classroom; its done on the shopfloor or in an office.You know, I had a situation...I didnt realize what was going onbut this is, again, common sense. When I first joined the samecompany, Dimension One, the receptionist kept coming back...Ihad the first aid cabinet right by my desk, and the receptionistkept coming back and getting aspirin all the time. I mean, it waslike a ritual.I walked up to see her once at the front, and what happened is,she was handling the door and also on the phone, and on thecomputer. We had her multitasking, and this lady had aheadache. OK, why? Well, she was cradling the phone on herneck, and she was looking at a computer that was down low andshe was all scrunching.Her desk was totally not set up for work. All I did was, I got acouple of books, I put them underneath her monitor and it liftedthem up. And I ordered her a headset, at the time it was $50 or$70. All of a sudden her headaches went away, and she wasfeeling a lot better. She came back a couple days later, a weeklater or so and said, "Man, thanks a lot. That really makes a bigdifference." Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  17. 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsI thought, "Wow. It wasnt any big deal." I didnt think anythingof it at the time, but thats an example of looking at youroperators who are not set up to be successful. Here she was inpain all the time and really didnt feel empowered or didnt knowhow to improve her situation. She didnt work for me, by the way.She was just the receptionist; I was just helping her out.Joe: What I find common, though, is when someone else looksat something and from a distance, they see the obvious.Paul: Oh, yes. Her boss walked by her every day. "How are youdoing today?" "Oh, Im great." "All right, well good. Good to seeyou." Shes not going to complain unless you ask questions. OK,now if the same boss could ask the question, "What can I do toimprove your situation? How are you doing? Are you comfortable?Does that chair work out? I see that youre kind of on the phone alot, but would it help if I got you a headset?" I mean, her bosscouldve done the same thing, but her boss wasnt asking thosequestions.Joe: When does Lean not work? When would you saymanagement or the structure of an organization would preventyou from starting?Paul: I can tell you, because I tried it another company, andthats how I became a consultant was I resigned from anothercompany where I couldnt get it to do one. Heres the difference.If you have a culture of fear, it will not work. The culture of fear,what Im speaking to is, you have to be allowed to experiment,and you have to be allowed to make mistakes. Like my old bossat Dimension One where I was very successful, if I made amistake...And I made plenty of mistakes, believe me, I makeenough decisions in a day, probably several of them are wrongevery day. Some of them were big wrongs. Some of them wereexpensive wrongs. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  18. 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsBut anyway, Bob, what he said to me is, "What did you learn?" Imean, if youre going to make a mistake, the reason to make it isto learn from it. Theres no other reason to make it. Otherwise, itis just bad. Lets at least salvage something out of it, lets learn.Lets not make the same mistake over and over again.Sometimes you could make it twice, even. But lets not make itover and over again. You have to be allowed to make themistakes.One of the best things I did was, when I first joined DimensionOne, I had this idea, "I know, lets make these carts." We hadplumbing hoses on the ground, and I thought it was making theproduct dirty, and I thought it was important that we not do that.We didnt have very many maintenance resources, and I reallyput it on a high priority to make these little carts for me and soforth.We put the hose on the carts, and I went out on the floor, afterwe had these carts, I was all proud and stuff. They were usingthe carts, and everyone was trying to be happy about it andsmiling and stuff. A week later, I went out there, and I could seethat they were kind of struggling with the carts. They just werentworking very well.I went to the supervisor and I said, "Well, these carts are notworking out very well, are they?" And he kind of looked at meand he goes, "No, not really." I said, "Well, lets get rid of themthen." He goes, "Oh really?" I said, "Yes, that was a stupid idea."They dumped the carts right then and there, and everyone wasrelieved. It was because I was able to say, "Hey, I made amistake. Its OK."Your boss has to allow you to make mistakes. Thats the supportyou need. You dont need a lot of money, but they have to bepatient and, in order to do that, in order to get that, you need to Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  19. 19. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscommunicate with your boss; you need to share yourmanufacturing vision with them.They need to know that you have a plan. If you have a plan andyou are moving forward, even if you misstep somewhat, youreOK. You need to manage your boss is what I speak to you. Thefirst thing you do when you are managing your boss is you makesure that if they look good, then you know that you look good. Soyou take care of their agenda first. You find out what they needand you give it to them.Then you are allowed to shape the agenda. After you take care oftheir needs, you can start taking care of yours. If you report on aweekly basis, for instance to your boss, you say, "OK, here is thefour projects you asked about. Here is the status, and I am alsodoing project number five and six." You have now got tacitapproval to work on projects five and six, and those might beyour lean transformations and you put them in easy tounderstand language.What will happen is, every week they hear now project five andsix has moved up a little bit. Why, because you are taking care oftheir agenda. Theyll let you know if they dont want you workingon something. As long as you have that communication and youkeep on working on it, "We finished project five, we did this fivebest in the plumbing department or in the order entry area and Iwould love for you to come out and see it sometime," its likelyhell show up, or she will show up.You have an opportunity to shape the agenda by your owncommunication as a middle manager, to develop a reportingsystem and do it weekly and start managing up. If you manageup, you can get the support. If you have the support, you canmake the transformation. Thats really what it boils down to.Joe: I think thats great advice because people sometimes forgetthat you got to make your boss look good, thats part of it, OK. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  20. 20. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsPaul: Oh yeah, and never say anything bad about him. You needto build it up. You need to clearly be part of the team. You cantsay bad things about other people too. OK, in order to beeffective in an organization, as a middle manager yourself or asenior manager is you have to be a positive force. You have toadd something to the mix. You need to work on your own skillsfirst. You need to work, and make sure that you know somethingabout Lean, if you are going to use lean as your vehicle. You needto have business literacy, you need to understand how yourcompany makes money and speak to that. You need to help otherpeople. Workers like to especially if you are looking at workingacross the organization. If you want engineering to help you, yougot to help them. So I look at it as team effort. If you are in arelay race and you are handing off the baton, if it falls on theground, you both lose.I always go above and beyond what I need to help my fellowmanagers. I make sure all my people do it as well. Often timesthey complain, "Oh they are always this, and they are neverthat." It doesnt matter. You always help the other people,because it does come around. By always helping the otherpeople, be the engineering or quality or administration, saleswhatever it is, what will happen is when you do need support,those guys are there for you.You will eventually need their support, because remember youare not the boss. You are not the CEO. You are not the owner. Sowhy would these people cooperate with you if you dont helpthem. They dont see whats in it for them. To be an effectivemiddle manager is way more than just doing your own agenda.Its helping others fulfill their agenda, and its making sure aboveand beyond that your own boss has their agenda filled, and thatyou communicate with them on a regular basis.What will happen is, eventually youll get the nod like, in the casewhere the operations VP left, the CEO comes down and says, Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  21. 21. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems"Hey I want you to take this over," and bam! We were ready togo. We turned that thing around in no time. There wasnt like,"Well, what do I do now?" I know what to do. I just couldnt getthe other guy to do it.Joe: Hey its great. I can go on and on Paul, OK. This is a greatconversation. But is there something you would like to leaveeveryone with, to kind of sum up things a little bit here?Paul: What I would say is, treat people with respect at all levelsand understand that the middle managers, they are trying to dotheir job. If you can show them the way, you will change lives.Every time you walk on the floor, people will smile at you. Theyknow the difference. You dont have to win the Shingo prize tofeel the success. I have never been more proud in thatorganization, that I really was instrumental in lifting those peopleup where they were empowered to improve their own workplace.They love it. They were more comfortable and more productivethan ever. You could argue that that company would have nevermade it had they not gone Lean. This recession has been toughon everybody.What we are really talking about is improving the workforce andthe workplace. When you improve the workplace, you willimprove the bottom line. There is no question about it. You justhave to make sure that you handle your bosss agenda, that youhelp your other managers at your own level and that you have aplan moving forward to develop your organization, develop yourpeople and theyll do you right. I dont have any doubt aboutthat.Joe: Whats the best way for someone to get a hold of you?Paul: They could check out my website, love to share ideas with people, talk with people, and work forpeople. Let me know how I can help them out, you bet. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  22. 22. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe: OK.Paul: Thank you so much.Joe: OK. Well, I appreciate it very much, Paul. Its a very greatconversation. This podcast will be available on the Business901blog site and the Business901 iTunes store. So thanks again,Paul.Paul: Well thanks very much for your service. I have checkedout a couple of your podcasts. Your podcasts, theyre really great,a great resource on the Web. Thank you very much. Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901
  23. 23. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Marketing Systems Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: Web/Blog: Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joes ability to combine his expertise with "out of the box" thinking is unsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and withingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers Copyright Business901