Your Ability to Succeed Comes Down to How Good of a Team You Put Together


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I think a Kaizen Event  offers leadership a unique opportunity to “walk the talk.” They can participate in open and frank conversation, promote empowerment and break down many organizational barriers. This may be the first step in developing an ongoing continuous improvement culture. Their expressed enthusiasm for recommendations and recognition of other participants will go a long way in implementing the course of actions. Even if they raise the negatives they have the opportunity to state the reasons in a non-leadership role that can be very much more effective. However, they must be willing to accept being challenged and must not start exercising a sole person power of approval. Leadership should enjoy a Kaizen event. It gives them the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and participate, solve problems and communicate with the people that actually carry out the implementation. In fact, I think it would benefit any manager if it would be required that they participate in a Kaizen Event at least once a year.

The Hidden asset of a Kaizen vent is its ability to develop Leadership. The story Copy This!: Lessons from a Hyperactive Dyslexic who Turned a Bright Idea Into One of America’s Best Companies, discusses Paul Orfalea difficulties, which gave him “learning opportunities.” He explained that it propelled him to think differently, and to develop an unorthodox, people-centered, big-picture business model that relied heavily on the intelligence and skill of his franchise managers. Orfalea’s exuberant and irreverent attitude — he freely admits to cheating in school and relying on others to get him through college and his positive acceptance of his dyslexia should inspire many others. He mentioned in his book that when he walked into a room, he knew he was not the smartest person in it! Wonder if most leaders do that when they walk into a Kaizen Event?

The book; Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground. was written by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. The pair that wrote The Disney Way, Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company. It wasn’t long into the book that they discussed stories and development that my mind drifted to agile and scrum comparisons. What they really brought home was the importance of collaboration and building a team. They even discussed the great lengths they go to hire people who are interested in working in a “network” type environment in solving problems, building and supporting each other. Here is a short excerpt from the book; the definitions of a set of proficiencies by Bill Nelson of Pixar:

  1. Depth – demonstrating mastery in a subject or a principal skill; having the discipline to chase dreams all the way to the finish line.
  2. Breadth – possessing a vast array of experiences and interests having empathy for others; having the ability to explore insights from many different perspectives; and being able to effectively generate new ideas by collaborating with the entire team.
  3. Communications – focusing on the receiver; receiving feedback to ascertain whether the message sent was truly understood. Realizing only the receiver can say, “I understand!”
  4. Collaboration – bringing together the skills(depth, breadth, and communications), ideas, and personality styles of an entire team to achieve a shared vision. Fostering an attitude to say, “Yes, and…”, rather than “No, this is better.”

Collaboration is critical to the process of generating ideas and problems in any organization. When you review the principles of Kaizen and Agile, your ability to succeed really comes down to how good of a team you put together. Very few times in an initial read of a book, I started reading this for pleasure, have I ever stopped so soon in a book and reread an entire chapter.

The rest of the book proved to be just as valuable and I think the authors did a very nice job of displaying the brilliance and the imagination that is taking place at Pixlar. I encourage you to read the book before you put together your next team.

Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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