I recently had an opportunity to advise an IT department on their overall lean initiative. While no two organizations have the same lean journey, there are common challenges. Visual management and huddle boards are components of a lean management system. Here are some of the common challenges you can expect to encounter and tips for success:
“Perfect is the enemy of good” – You must be willing to experiment and get messy. Visual boards take many shapes and forms. Do they help you focus on the right work and metrics as a team? It’s less important that they look pretty to the outside observer.
Standard framework with room for variation – Even if there is a standard for what all huddle boards in your organization should look like and include, there must still be room for variation by unit or team. What’s important to one team may not be important to another. If you’re ready to get started and wonder if there will be an organization standard at some point, don’t wait for it. Just get going and adapt later if a standard appears. Continue reading
I’ve written many posts on leadership. As we witness the peaceful transfer of power in the Office of the President, it seems fitting to reflect again on leadership and what we should expect of leaders.
When I think of critical leadership qualities at the executive level, I think of vision, integrity, presence, communication, and authenticity. If you look at position descriptions for executive level leaders in business, you will see all of these and more.
I’ve talked in the past about the core principles and values I share with my staff when starting a new leadership position. In that early period, I want my team to get to know me and to understand what’s important to me. I want them to hold me accountable for living these values every day in every situation. And I also expect everyone on my team to live them as we work together.
Here they are again but with a more generic description that can fit any leadership position: Continue reading
Think about the little girls you know. Did they get even more dolls for holiday gifts? Or did they get toys and games that teach creative thinking and how to build things? Or did they maybe even get toys officially labeled in the STEM category?
Social norms start young. I recently played a match game with my two-year-old granddaughter. When we matched the truck picture, she took it over to her 6-month-old baby brother as though it was his domain! This granddaughter and her two-year-old girl cousin have a variety of developmental toys. But when it’s free play, they are often clutching one of their dolls, whether it’s Princess Sofia the First or the newest Disney Princess Elena of Avalor. At least these characters are both confident, strong and compassionate princesses!
My four-year-old granddaughter isn’t as attached to dolls these days. After a break, she is back in dance class, my birthday gift to her. I know she loves it. At Christmas, with her mother’s advice, I gave her 3 months of Koala Crate – a creative, educational activity box for 3-5 year olds. She loved the first box – making stuffed reptiles and learning about them.
You may be saying it’s all about exposing kids to a lot of different things. I agree. But it’s important to not fall into the gender norms when they are young.
Let’s fast forward from my 3 little granddaughters to some of the female leaders in our health IT industry. Continue reading
It was a year ago that I did just that. I decided it was time to make a major life change professionally and personally. Since then, many people have wanted to learn how I did it. In fact, I spoke just this week with a former mentee about her next professional move.
My advice was basic. Look at your last few professional moves. Why did you want to stay somewhere and why were you willing to leave? What were you looking for in the next opportunity? And what isn’t there today that you’d look for in the next opportunity.
I told her if she looks carefully at this, she’ll see a theme as to what makes her happy and what frustrates her. Then there will be more questions:
- What kind of work do you want to do?
- What kind of team do you want to be part of?
- What mission will keep you committed and passionate?
But I told her not to get caught in the “grass is greener” trap. Because it’s not. Every organization has its crazy. You just need to figure out what that is and how to work effectively within it. Continue reading