Organizational Change and Transformation

 

One of the things leaders and organizations often overlook when implementing organizational change and transformation is that the change occurs at the speed of the slowest person to traverse the change curve. 
 
Change is external to the team member and is situational. However, the transition is internal, unique and psychological for each team member, which causes them to traverse the emotional states on the change curve differently.
 
Leaders are in the business of making changes within their teams and organizations. To do so effectively, they must lead the transition intentionally.  Leadership can't force their team members through the change curve, but they can lead them through the transition by creating a well-thought-out change plan to communicate and engage them throughout the entire process.

 

Learn more about our Advanced Leadership Transformation leadership development program.
 

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An essential skill for leaders is to learn to "see."  Seeing beyond what most people see or at least seeing a different perspective of the same image.  Teaching your eyes to see is a learned skill that, once mastered, opens your eyes to many new things.

 

Teaching your eyes to see - Learning to see

 

An example of teaching your eyes to see that I experienced while on an in-depth TPS training program in Japan several years ago involved learning to see 1/10th of a second kaizens.  1/10th of a second is very difficult to see and equates to the slightest of hand motions, movements, or on equipment, tiny adjustments.  We had the task of reducing the cycle time within a production line by 30 seconds but doing so through 1/10th of a second kaizens.  Being experienced operations guys and after observing the line for several cycles, it was apparent to us what was needed.  With some changes to the layout, moving equipment closer together, adjusting the material flow, and other equipment modifications, the 30 seconds was a done deal.  As part of the training, we had to prepare a scaled drawing detailing our kaizen ideas.  Our Sensei would review the drawings, and if approved, the improvements would get implemented.  We spent several hours drafting our kaizen ideas on day one and provided the completed drawings for review and approval.  The Sensei looked at the proposals and very clearly expressed his disapproval!  We received a similar response several times over the following couple of days.  We were ready to throw in the towel, but then suddenly, like a light switch, we could see these subtle movements of waste and 1/10th of a second kaizens.

 

Although I don't necessarily advocate this teaching method, it emphasizes that leadership development needs to include learning to see what is or what is not happening.  It is important to see those subtle forms of waste, abnormalities, opportunities, and, I suggest, clues that then beg questions.  Good questions!

 

For example, one time, while on a Gemba, we came across a box of rubber gloves attached to a column of the building.  Above the box was a handwritten sign that said

 

"Gloves are for hazardous material spills only."

 

This situation was crazy on so many levels!  We didn't just see a poorly made sign and a duct-taped glove box.  We 'saw' many questions and concerns, such as:

 

  • How often are hazardous material spills happening?
  • Are spills so frequent that we think we need gloves conveniently placed?
  • Are these spills actually "hazardous materials"?!?!?!
  • With the gloves free for the taking, are hazardous material spills happening and not being reported?
  • Does the leadership even know when the spills are happening and investigating?
  • How are the gloves and wastes from the spills being disposed of?
  • Assuming for a minute that it was a good practice to have the gloves available, how do they get replenished?
  • Are the people cleaning up these spills properly, and are they adequately trained to do so?
  • Why are spills happening in the first place?

STOP!!!  TIME OUT!

 

 

This example is pretty astounding and scary and may seem hard to believe, but yet it is true.  It is even more disturbing that many leaders walked right past this sign during the Gemba and didn't even notice it.  Even more frightful, the building leadership had walked past it many times and didn't really "see" it!

 

So how do you learn to see?  Practice.

 

Go to the floor with a specific purpose to learn to see.  For example, go with a focus on seeing one specific thing.   Such as arm overreaching, bending, twisting, outdated signs or posters, trip hazards, pinch points, sign effectiveness and meaning, opportunities to cause product damage, unnecessary motion, a specific type of waste stream, sources of floor debris, etc., etc.  The point is to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to see a particular focus.  Look for that focus and only that focus.  Ask yourself as many questions as possible on that specific item when you see it.  See beyond the obvious.  Look for deeper meaning, symptoms, evidence, and abnormalities.  Repeat often with a new or different focus.  With practice, you will soon see these things naturally and without effort.  Once you learn to see, you won't be able to turn it off.

 

Nope, it's not rocket science.  Seems too easy, right?  Try it.  You'll like it!

 

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It's Time For You!

 

Now that you've had a great summer with the family and the kids are excited to return to school, it's finally “me time”! Time for you!
 
The coming of fall and the kid's return to school creates an excellent opportunity for leaders to reorganize themselves for the long winter ahead! I know, depressing, right? No! It doesn’t have to be! If you’re thinking of taking steps to get yourself better organized and in more control of your day, here are a few tips for you:
 
* “Prioritized Leader Actions” or PLA. A very effective old tool, with hopefully a more enticing name. PLA is a great tool to get and stay on top of your biggest priorities. Try it! Check it out here.
 
* My favourite life-saving trick is to set your scheduling app to 20 and 50-minute meetings instead of the typical 30 and 60-minutes. Doing so gives you time to deal with the small things, stay on top of emails, or grab coffee throughout your busy day. Full article here.
 
* Block multiple 1-hour time slots in your calendar across the future horizon. Due to a packed calendar in the near term, you may need to start in a month or more from the current date. These blocks are to reserve “me time” so you can focus on your top priorities. Schedule at the most likely times of the week and hours of the day, reducing the chances of being overridden by mandatory meetings. As you get closer to the dates and know exactly what you’ll use the block for, you can invite other people as necessary. Sure, some blocks may get cancelled, but not all when done with thought and consideration. As a result, you’ll have more time for your priorities than you do today. Promise!
 
I hope you find these helpful.

What do you do to make time for yourself or the things that matter to you? Leave a comment.

 

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Change Enough That You Can't Go Back!

 

 

Humans are susceptible to status quo bias. We are more comfortable with what we know, even if the outcome is not ideal, because we understand the results. When we implement change, given a chance, humans will revert to the old way of doing things.
 
To help our humans, we should always run trials & experiments to allow our teams to engage in the change, offer input and get comfortable with the results. Then, once the trial is over and we have decided to move forward, we eliminate the old way.
 
Frequently, companies run the 'old system' in parallel as a backup when moving to a new computer system. Often, the old system is never retired, and people continue to use it. Once the new system is stable, shut the old system down so people cannot revert.
 
If we change methods on a production line and introduce new tools for a process, once the process is stable, get rid of the old tools so people cannot revert.
 
When implementing change, change it enough that you can’t go back.

 

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This post is a revision from a previously popular post.

 

I’ve never understood why so few leaders use Leader Standardized Work (LSW). Talking with many leaders over the years, the explanation I hear most is that they don't have standard repeatable work or tasks. Baloney! All leaders have regular actions that they must or want to take on an ongoing basis. Examples include budget reviews, team member 1:1s, Gemba (go to the workplace), submitting your monthly business expenses, and many others. So if the "standardized work" wording is a barrier to using LSW, in HPL's new fall 'Lunch and Lead' program called "4-steps to Time Shifting - making time for the things that really matter", I've rephrased it to "Prioritized Leader Actions" or PLA. Ultimately, I think it more accurately reflects the intent relating to leadership responsibilities. Leaders are too often 'fighting fires,' and I believe a significant cause of this is that they are not proactive enough! Yes, it's only a name change, but unfortunately, I think the name LSW casts a negative perception on many to the point that they don't even consider it. So, let's talk about Prioritized Leader Actions (PLA)!

 

I’ve found PLA to be a great tool to help me be a more consistent and effective leader. I’ve used PLA for years. For me, it’s my little voice reminding me of the most important things I need to do or that I want to do to be successful when leading. These are my priorities. Regardless of your responsibility, there is an inevitable component of it that is repeatable; therefore, Prioritized Leader Actions are for, well, everyone! It's not just a manufacturing thing!!!

 

Here are some key points I found helpful when it comes to PLA:

 

1. Set up PLA with a designated section for daily, weekly, monthly and Mid-long term (quarterly, semi-annual) based on the frequency of completion of the task or action.

 

2. Place tasks in the PLA that are important to YOU that you must get done and those that you want to complete, check, or confirm because they are essential to you or your business.

 

3. Set your PLA up on a monthly basis, refreshing it at the beginning of each month.

 

4. Have a method within the PLA to indicate which days you are on vacation and identify when you are out of the office on business. Doing so will help you plan more effectively when you complete tasks, or it will provide you with the opportunity to delegate if necessary.

 

5. PLA should be dynamic, not static. It’s OK to add and remove items from your PLA. However, as priorities change, new systems develop, metrics improve or degrade, you may find that you need to adjust what you’re doing or what you’re checking and confirming.

 

6. PLA is for you, not anyone else. It’s OK to show people your PLA, but I don’t advocate posting it. It’s more effective if you carry it with you at all times to help you execute it versus showing others. As a leader, you should also check your team's PLA periodically.

 

7. If you’re not getting to something on your PLA, don’t beat yourself up; instead, find the root cause for not getting it done and determine what you need to do differently to achieve it. After all, the items on your PLA were put there by you because you either need to get them done as a core responsibility of your job or they are most important to you. Then, use it to improve your self-discipline, motivate you, or remind you to just do it!

 

8. PLA must be integral to your planning system and routine. It must integrate with your schedule, follow-up system, and to-do lists.

 

9. Print out your PLA for the month, update it daily as you complete tasks daily, and “pencil” in additional PLA tasks as you’re thinking of them throughout the month.

 

10. When you get busy, that’s when you need your PLA the most. Please don’t abandon it, then. Instead, use it to help you get the most important things done. Then, when you can’t do everything, use it to make an informed decision as to what will and will not get done.

 

I use an Excel spreadsheet for my PLA. To make things easier, I've added some conditional formatting for the visibility of weekends, business travel, or when out on vacation. I prepare the PLA for the month, print it out, and then use it daily by marking tasks using a pen. PLA is integral to my daily, weekly, and monthly planning system.

 

Check out our 'Tools' page to download a template of my PLA to use for yourself. Then, modify it as necessary to make it work for you.

 

I hope you found this helpful. Are there any key points I've missed or, in your experience, you feel are most important?

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We (HPL) have been working with a few different clients recently where there has been a need for proof-of-concept line trials.  To me, line trials are a lot of fun!  Well, they can and should be.  Think of them as a sandbox that we can build out our creative and innovative ideas and concepts to see if they will work in the real world.  However, to be effective and result in meaningful outcomes, line trials need to follow a robust Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust (PDCA) process.  A common mistake when undertaking line trials is an inadequate plan!  A good rule of thumb is to spend approximately 70% of your PDCA time and effort (not including the actual trial build duration) in planning for the trial.

 

Given the importance of proof-of-concept line trials, HPL has created two documents to help plan and execute effective line trials, as follows:

 

  • Proof-of-concept line trial guideline – a step-by-step guideline detailing each phase of the PDCA process.

 

  • Proof-of-concept line trial worksheet – a template that can be used to assist with each of the 4 phases of PDCA when planning and executing line trials.

 

Both documents are available for free download from our HPL tools page using this link.

 

While recently reading “Leadership Moments from NASA, Achieving the impossible“, by Dr. Dave Williams, one of the  statements in the end of a chapters ‘Leadership Insights’ stated:

 

“Simulation creates an environment where failure is a safe opportunity for learning.”

 

Although the quote was referring to space flight training and simulation, the same is very applicable to proof-of-concept line trials.  Really, the only failure of a line trial is not to follow a proper PDCA process because something may negatively or falsely impact the trial.  Even when the trial doesn’t produce the desired result, it should not be deemed a failure when line trials are made to be a safe time and place for those involved to experiment and learn.  So even if a line trial results in a less than expected or disappointing outcome, as long as we’ve learned from it, it’s a great successful failure!

 

Let us know what you think of these tools or if we've missed anything!

 

Glenn

 

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Conflicts of planning line trials

One of the things I’ve always loved is the simple kaizens (continuous improvement). I was reminded of this recently working with RAB Design Lighting when the team there was conducting some line trials. Having coached the team on the importance of detailed trial planning and real-as-possible process set-up, but also the need to be balanced with simplicity, low cost, and high flexibility, I was thrilled to see their creativity and ingenuity that met these two potentially conflicting criteria. See examples in the pictures below.

 



The two criteria mentioned above is important because you want a trial to simulate the real line conditions as much as possible, however, things will definitely change as you learn more. So you don’t want to invest time and money building/buying a lot of things that may not actually be used in the permanent line or that may require several iterations of changes to get just right.

When conducting line trails careful planning is necessary. Planning such as: Clearly defining the purpose of the trial is critical. Determining what are you trying to prove, disprove or discover. Setting up the line to simulate as close as possible what the actual real line will look and feel like. Protecting the trial from “noise” or other things that can negatively impact or distract from the purpose of the trial. Although some of these things maybe real, you should try and isolate them from initial trials if they are not directly related to the purpose. There is a time and place to allow real time disruptions and abnormalities but not in early trials. Identifying and defining the number of trial observers, their roles, responsibilities and tracking needs. Deciding on what metrics to track and measure throughout the trial and who is going to do that. Scheduling, taking into account breaks, lunches and shift end, is also important.

Trials are to experiment and learn. They can also be a great deal of fun along the way! 

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Time Saving Tip!

One of the best time saving, and perhaps even life saving things I did was implement 50 minute and 20 minute meetings. The emphasis was on 20 minute meetings as the rule and 50 minutes an exception.

 

The old saying "the fish grows to the size of the fish bowl" applies to meetings. Most people schedule 60 minute meetings. Why? It's the default setting in most scheduling apps. What happens? Meetings extend to the length of time that the meeting is scheduled! Funny how that is, eh!

The obvious benefit of 50/20 minute meetings is more effective meetings and staying on topic, however, the real reward is that you get 10 minutes between each meeting, for, well, whatever you need. That maybe a coffee, a washroom break, checking and responding to emails, making quick calls, conversations, preparing for your next meeting.

Try it! It's simple but GREAT!

Leave a comment with your best time saving or personal planning tip.

Watch for High Performance Leaders Inc. time management and personal planning workshop coming this fall.

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As a follow-up to our 2nd article in the "Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series" that described the acronym "TIM WOODS" as it applies to non-manufacturing environments, this 3rd article in the series will explain how you can teach your eyes to see these waste form in non-manufacturing areas and then how to engage your team in problem solving.

 

An important skill for leaders is to learn to “see”.  This means seeing beyond what most people see, or at least a different perspective of the same image.  Teaching your eyes to see is a learned skill, that once mastered, opens your eyes to many new things.

 

So how do you learn to see?  Practice.

 

The first step is to Go to the area in which work is performed and go with a specific purpose to learn to see.  For example, go with a focus to see one specific type of waste from the TIM WOODS definitions as summarized below.  For more examples of each type of waste in non-manufacturing areas, you may want to review the previous article here.

So what do you do if the work is done on a computer?  Go to computer and observe what is done, how it is done, the steps involved, information required, etc.  You can learn a great deal from observing any type of work.  Observing someone doing data entry or programming, can be enlightening to see, what they experience.  It could be glare from overhead lighting or sunshine, large numerical entries prone to errors, system delays while background analysis takes place, excessive clicks to complete a desired task, etc. 

 

The next point is to dedicate an appropriate amount of time to see a very specific focus.  I'd recommend no less than 30 minutes, and more appropriately 60 minutes depending on the area you are reviewing and the people being engaged.  However, it's less about the size of the office area, and more about giving enough time to really see and observe the various forms of waste.  Sometimes, depending on the type of waste, you need to observe for a longer period of time before the waste actually takes place.  For example, to see wasteful "transportation" or employees walking around looking for information they need to do their job, likely only occurs periodically.  Unless you are just lucky enough to be there at the right time, you will miss this type of waste unless you observe long enough.

 

Look for that specific focus that you determined and only that focus.  Resist the temptation to "wander" or make a "laundry" list of everything you see.  When you see the specific focus items, ask yourself as many questions as you can about that particular item.  See beyond the obvious.  Look for deeper meaning, symptoms, evidence, or abnormalities.  Ask "why" many times to understand what is really happening.

 

Although efficiencies and personal productivity can be improved by engaging in TIM WOODS in non-manufacturing areas, I'd suggest it's less about that, and more about reducing employee frustrations and distractions.  Employees will become more engaged, energized, and happier!  Of course, if your employees are engaged, energized and happier, they will be more able to focus on their work tasks resulting in improved efficiencies and personal productivity.

 

This type of activity is something you can practice on your own, together with your team, or engage your team to increase engagement, awareness, and sustainment long term. 

 

Often leaders in non-manufacturing areas struggle with what to put on their Leader Standard Work (LSW).  This is a great one to add - "Conduct TIM WOODS audit"!  Whether it be weekly, monthly or otherwise, adding to your LSW and integrating it with your calendar by reserving time in your calendar makes for very effective leadership.

 

Team engagement can be done by establishing an audit type system (similar to a layered process audit) where the TIM WOODS focus areas and office locations are pre-determined and an audit frequency and responsibility schedule/matrix is made up.  In doing so, each team member will be have the responsibility to conduct a TIM WOODS audit on a specific focus area, in a specific location, at a scheduled interval.

 

When repeated often and with a new or different focus you will soon see these forms of waste naturally and without effort.  Once you learn to see, you won’t be able to turn it off.

 

The next step is to engage your team in problem solving to resolve the cause of these wastes by implementing a "Problem Solving Auction" which includes the following key points:

 

  • Prioritize and select a limited number of top items, recommend 6 or less open at any given time.
  • "Auction" off ownership of action and agree upon completion dates.
  • Document and distribute the action plans as detailed above, make visual physically or virtually.
  • Problem solve after the auction, not during.
  • Follow-up, close out actions, recognize successes, repeat.

 

To get you started, you can download our TIM WOODS audit sheet from our Tools page.

 

In the next article in this series we will discuss "Looking for evidence through gemba" in non-manufacturing areas.

 

If you missed the previous articles in the series, 'Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series", you can find them here:

 

 

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In this second article in the Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Series, we'll discuss the application of TIM WOODS in non-manufacturing areas.

 

No matter what our team does or is responsible for, we all have an ultimate customer.  They may not be the traditional customer but rather other internal departments or company stakeholders.  So whether in manufacturing or non-manufacturing, it's important to first consider how our customer defines value.  At HPL, we believe all customers, internal or external, value the following when it comes to the product or service they are expecting of us:

 

  • they want it NOW
  • they want it Perfect
  • they want it Waste Free
  • and they want an Exceptional Experience

 

Therefore anything that detracts from these 4 values or attributes can be looked upon as a waste and is certainly undesirable.  As leaders then, our role is to engage our teams in identifying and waging war against anything that negatively impacts our abilities to meet and exceed our customer expectations.  This then is a starting point for a form of problem solving for all leaders and their teams.  In order to identify these wastes or problems, we need to "teach our eyes to see" the various forms of waste.  That's where the acronym TIM WOODS comes into play, whether in manufacturing or non-manufacturing.

 

 

Let's address a myth that TIM WOODS is not applicable to non-manufacturing by taking a look at just a few examples of the 8 forms of waste in non-manufacturing environments.

 

Transportation - excessive movement of people, information, or materials.

In non-manufacturing areas there are typically huge opportunities to reduce "transportation" wastes.  Examples could be associated with numerous or multi-level approvals requiring multiple emails to different people, multiple in-person reviews/presentations obtaining multi-level or departmental approvals,  and transferring files, data, reports between people or departments.  Walking to conference rooms or from building to building to attend meetings.

 

Inventory - excessive storage and delay of information or products.

It's important here to consider inventory as more than just raw materials or finished goods, and think about excessive storage of information of physical or electronic in nature.  Examples of inventory of this nature could be excessive filing cabinets with years of no longer necessary documents, inbox with hundreds or thousands of unread/unresponded emails (yes you!), having to maintain multiple copies or versions of electronic documents in multiple locations, or issuing the same data in various formats.

 

Motion - any motion that does not add value to the product or process. 

Many of the examples of waste described above, also result in creating unnecessary or unproductive motion, such as walking around the office to find necessary information, obtaining clarification for tasks, locating shared tools or equipment are some common examples.  It could also be motion from poorly laid out office spaces or even having to make too many 'clicks' on a webpage to get the necessary information for the task at hand or multi-level file directories to open a file.

 

Waiting - long periods of inactivity for people, information, machinery, or materials.

This form of waste is definitely applicable to non-manufacturing and is commonly experienced in "waiting" for approvals, responses, or information from others.  What should be a quick approval can often take days if not weeks to receive.  This waiting could be a result of a poor process, lower priority to the requesting person, missing necessary information, poor organizational skills, people on vacation or out of the office etc.  Waiting slows things down, decreases efficiency, and increases the opportunity for errors and omissions.

 

Over Production - producing more/sooner than the internal or external customer needs.

Over production in non-manufacturing includes things such as creating reports that are not used, the tracking and collection of data that is no longer analyzed or used for any purpose, printing more documents than are distributed at a meeting, or lengthy emails or presentations that provide unnecessary information and don't really add value.

 

Over Processing - using the wrong set of tools, procedures or systems.

Similar to 'waiting', over processing is all too common in non-manufacturing.  Over processing shows up in the form of large distribution lists which include many unnecessary people, unnecessarily being added to the 'cc' line of an email, abuse of the 'reply all' feature, or unnecessary or lengthy meetings.  Also having team members with high or advanced skills doing routine work or tasks is also over processing.

 

Defects - frequent errors in paperwork or product quality problems.

Often passed off as  normal "human error" in non-manufacturing, there are many defects created.  These can include data entry errors within systems when manually entered, software coding errors, missing information, none functional links, missing attachments, incorrect tolerences or dimensional errors within designes.

 

Skill - lack of training, application, development, engagement.

Beyond the necessary skills required to perform any type of task, areas can also include on-boarding of new hires as they learn their way around and adapt to the new culture, new skills required with the introduction of new IT systems or tools, new automation, routine software updates with a change to features, or as simple but frustrating as a new photocopier or printer.

 

These examples indicate that TIM WOODS clearly applies to non-manufacturing environments just as much as it does in manufacturing.  These wastes not only decrease efficiencies but many of these are what frustrate our teams. 

 

Unfortunately, too often in non-manufacturing areas, the perception when beginning to track the above type of issues, people may take it negatively and look at it as personal criticism of their work or competence.  This should and can be overcome easily and quickly.  First start by explaining the why and "WIFM" (the 'what's in it for me?') to the team and that tracking of this information will be used to prioritize ares the team can focus on for improvement and will not be used for performance management.  The why and WIFM can include the following:

 

Why:

  • Improve efficiencies and effectiveness of the team
  • Increase team engagement
  • Make tasks easier to complete
  • Reduce rework and downstream problems
  • Meet / exceed 'customer' expectations and experience

 

WIFM:

  • Reduced frustrations and distractions
  • Less pressure and stress
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Improved team work with peers

Next is to get some quick wins, ideally on things that cause them the biggest frustrations or create undesirable work or tasks.  Lead the team to identify the top 1-3 priorities and then implement problem solving methodologies to breakdown the problems, identify root cause, and implement countermeasures.  Select priorities that the team can directly control so that a quick win can be realized.  Doesn't have to be easy necessarily, but it should be an area within your or the teams' direct responsibility to make change.  This is to avoid delays or problems obtaining approvals or agreement from other leaders/department if it is not a priority to them. 

 

As the leader, you need to let the team come up with the countermeasures and to implement them.  Your job is to coach them along the way on problem solving, remove barriers experienced along the way, and provide necessary resources.  You also should provide a framework in which they can problem solve.  For example time frame for implementation, budget, tools, resources, etc, to help avoid the team coming back with a proposed solution that you will not be able to support.  Of course, you also have to provide encouragement along the way,  and recognition and celebration for achievements, including when counter measures don't work as expected. 

 

It may take some time, but following these steps is proven to build engagement, improve problem solving skills and capabilities, and increase job satisfaction.  The momentum builds and once moving, there will be no stopping it!

 

In the next article in this series, we'll discuss how you can put TIM WOODS to practice in a non-manufacturing area by 'teaching your eyes to see'.

 

If you missed the first article in the series, 'Leading Problem Solving in Non-Manufacturing Space - 1 Second Understanding", you can read it here.

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