• Understanding CI Tactically

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Process , Process Improvement

    We spend a lot of time talking about Continuous Improvement and there are patterns that show up time and again. So much so, that I wanted to take some time to share with you and to help further the understanding to a higher level.

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  • Realigning Your Goals

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Leadership , Motivation , Self-help

    I read someone say the other day that it feels like we are all grounded. I would have much rather just taken the spanking and moved on! Anyway, I hope everyone is hanging in there.

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  • Work on You

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Motivation , Self-help

    This blog may feel a little different than the past few, I’m about to share some real coaching so I hope you will stay with me for the next few minutes and read it. I hope that all of you are holding up okay. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but I hope that all our efforts of social distancing and physical space will help a few less people get this thing and help a lot less people die from it.

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  • Recovery Thinking

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Leadership , Productivity

    We are now (hopefully) about in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s still a day-to-day situation. The first case in the US was confirmed on January 20. It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a quarter of 1 singular topic and news story.

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  • Leading Your Team Through Uncertainty

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Leadership

    I sincerely hope everyone is doing well during this very crazy time of the quarantine amid the COVID-19 situation. We are trying to share information and thoughts for how to navigate this time-period and give you and your teams the best chance of coming through unscathed or at least minimally scathed.

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  • Coronovirus: 3 Things You Can Do Today

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Leadership

    This week, the topic on everyone’s mind is COVID-19, or Coronavirus. Rightfully so, we are in the grips of something that is pretty-scary and is causing things that many of us have never encountered.

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  • Human OEE

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Leadership , Process

    One of the things I love most about working in Manufacturing is seeing all of the creative ways people and companies find to measure processes and performance. I believe in the old saying that “Everything that can be measured doesn’t count, and everything that counts can’t be measured” which points to the human side of the company.

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  • Data for Hiring

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Leadership , Teamwork

    One of the hardest parts of leading any organization is hiring great talent. As organizations are hiring to keep up with growth, and are dealing with this challenge, we wanted to share a little insight into some ways that we approach this process along with a quick case study.

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  • The Value of Training

    Author: The Effective Syndicate |

    My father held the local high school record for the 800m run for nearly 20 years. I actually remember going to the high school to take a picture in front of the record board the weekend his record was finally broken. It became a “dream” of mine to have the Sanchez name back on that record board. I was years away from high school, however, and as life tends to happen, that “dream” took a back seat to a variety of other activities. It wasn’t until my Sophomore year of high school that I finally joined the track team.

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  • Respect is Earned, Not Given?

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Leadership , Motivation

    “Respect is earned, not given.”

    I heard a man at the airport say to his colleague as we waited to board our flight. I did not take the time to listen to anymore of the conversation, I knew all I needed to know about their work environment. I had seen it too many times before.

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  • Perseverance: A Will to Continually Improve

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Motivation , Self-help

    About 8 years ago my wife and I decided to take our then 5 and 3-year old on a hike up the trail near Rattlesnake Lake in Washington State. The hike is a little over 5 miles with an elevation gain of nearly 1,500 feet.

    Under normal circumstances, it would have been a challenge, but we did not fully anticipate the conditions of the trail. We arrived at the trail and found snow and ice on the ground. Not only that, the temperature was just barely above freezing. We didn’t have the appropriate footwear, outer clothing, snacks, water, etc. We had been hiking as a family nearly every week for almost a year, but most of our hikes were in the Seattle area with little to no elevation difference. To put it bluntly, we were not prepared for this hike.

    Despite these conditions, the kids were troopers. There was little complaint out of them until we got a few hundred yards from the top. By conversing with other hikers, we knew we were close, but had no idea what exactly laid ahead of us. As we let the kids rest, my wife and I debated our options. We could turn around, but we knew that the “prize” was the view from the top. Either way, up or down, we knew we would have to carry the kids at least part of the way. We made the decision to persevere. We each took a child in our arms and climbed to the top of the mountain.

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  • Back to the Basics: Plan – Do – Check – Act

    Author: The Effective Syndicate |

    I was facilitating a Kaizen event with a client when a member of the team entered the room visibly upset about something. We all immediately asked what was wrong. They hesitated for a second before exclaiming that the process wasn’t working. To provide some context, we had started piloting a new process to help with material flow the night before. While we had communicated our intentions to everyone on 1st and 2nd shift, we weren’t anywhere close to having a finalized, documented process in place. We were very much still at the beginning phases of implementation.

    We talked through the perceived break down in the process and helped the team member understand that it wasn’t going to be “perfect” right away. Not only that, the process was still several steps away from being completed and fully ready to implement plant wide. We were trialing in one small area so that we could learn from the experience and adjust accordingly. The team member’s demeanor began to change as they started to realize that just because everything wasn’t perfect right away, that didn’t mean that the process was a failure. We were still going through the Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle.

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  • Lean Six Sigma

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Continuous Improvement , Process

    I was recently reading through the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) forum and came across a thread titled “What is Lean Six Sigma?” The person who started the thread posted the question with what they have come to understand to be the meaning of Lean Six Sigma. They started with a few definitions of lean straight from both the Urban dictionary (which is way out of context to this discussion, but still funny to read), and the free dictionary version of Lean. This person took the traditional version of lean, which is basically “less fatty” and tied it to Lean Six Sigma. They defined Lean Six Sigma as “Six Sigma without the fat”. To be honest, I love this definition, but I want to take it a bit further and give my spin on what Lean Six Sigma means.

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  • Value Add vs. Non-Value Add: The Power of One Question

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Continuous Improvement , Process

    A few weeks ago, I was faced with the daunting task of moving across the United States with my family of four, two cats, a litter box, and everything we own in our Toyota Sienna minivan.

    One of the founding principles of Lean is the question between what "adds value" to a process and what doesn't. As explained in our Lean Primer series video (https://youtu.be/xAeDzukRMPg), for a process/step to be “value add”, it must meet the following three requirements:

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  • How's Your Vision?

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Leadership , Motivation

    I remember when I first realized I needed to get my vision checked. I was about 28 years old and I was driving home on the interstate at night. I began to realize that I couldn’t read any of the words on the signs until I was right on them, sometimes too late to actually read them. I also noticed that every light that I saw actually appeared to be three lights in the shape of a triangle. I thought to myself, “this isn’t normal”. I did what any other rational person would do, and I put it off. It wasn’t until I started getting headaches that I finally pulled the trigger and saw an optometrist. It appears that even though I had 20/20 vision for my entire life up to that point, my eyes had decided to change, specifically the shape of my cornea had changed causing astigmatism in both eyes. The good news is that the condition is easily fixed with corrective lenses.

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  • A Culture of “Mistakes”

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Leadership

    While working 2nd shift at Toyota I took the opportunity to eat lunch with my son at his school. As the kids were lining up to go back to class, another father had the following conversation with his son:

    Father: Do you have any tests today?

    Son: *nodded his head*

    Father: You are going to get a 100%, right?

    Son: *nodded his head again*

    Father: That’s my boy, O’Doyle’s* only get 100%!

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  • Hitting the Reset Button

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Motivation , Self-help

    Where are you at in your journey? In your Life, your Business, with your Family and Friends? Are you Happy, truly Happy? Are you achieving everything you have set out to do? These may seem like redundant questions and the intro for a motivational speech, but they are serious questions to consider. I have spent a lot of time in my life asking myself these very questions.

    I have found a knack for listening in the last several years. I enjoy it, and I feel that it allows me to make a positive impact in peoples lives. It is amazing to see someone’s attitude change through a conversation. I always try to help people see the positive side of things, because I know deep down that if we change our focus to the positive, we will unconsciously seek out and reinforce these positive thoughts. I know this, but I am also guilty of slipping into the same negative space that I try to help others stay out of. Why is this? What am I doing to put myself in these mindsets? I have found that the root cause of this problem is me. I am the problem, because I am trying to do it all myself. I found that the outlet that lets others gain their direction was missing in my own life. I needed someone to talk to and to let me rationalize my thoughts. This is not something that comes easily for me, but most things that are worth while do not come easy. So, I ask this question again, where are you in your journey?

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  • Overcoming Obstacles

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Motivation , Self-help

    I have a strong respect for heights…in other words, I’m afraid of heights. It isn’t so much the height itself as it is the potential to fall. So, when my wife asked me to go “rock-climbing” with her, I got a little apprehensive. Wanting to spend time with her and understanding the need to take care of my physical well-being, I reluctantly agreed.

    We are often confronted with obstacles and barriers in our lives. Some of them are psychological such as fear, others are physical. Overcoming these obstacles may appear daunting, but they are certainly achievable!

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  • 5 Steps to Creating an Awesome Culture

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Culture , Leadership

    I was recently asked to give a talk to a group of manufacturing professionals on the topic of culture. Having been in industry for a couple of decades, I’ve seen a large variety of organizational cultures and the effects that an organizational culture has on its members, their general happiness, and their productivity.

    We all know that culture matters. Drucker is famously quoted with the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast” indicating that the best strategy and plan can easily be overcome by a poor organizational culture. Consider these statistics:

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  • Why Team Selection is a Critical Part of Problem Solving

    Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Continuous Improvement , Leadership , Teamwork

    Have you ever been stuck in a rut with problem solving activities? What causes stagnation in companies when it comes to solving problems? At its core, I like to break down problem solving into 2 key components. The first of these is tools and techniques, and the second is the team selection itself. We will focus on the tools and techniques in a future piece, but for now I want to spend a little time explaining why I believe that the “who” is more critical than the “how” when it comes to problem solving.

    I work with many companies who have extremely smart and capable people running the organization. A common problem that I tend to see is that a single person is charged with doing root cause analysis for issues within the company. Usually, this individual is either a QE or other individual with a technical background. The result of this approach also tends to have a common outcome. More often than not, the individual will come up with a solution that is driven by the data. Great! Problem solved, right? The next day, after the solution has been implemented, a new problem arises that was created by the solution to the first problem. The same individual is assigned to “fix” the new problem, and a solution is implemented. Then another problem arises from that fix, the cycle continues.

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