Author Archives: Sara Thompson

What Does it Mean to be Lean?

A friend of mine recently took a new job at an organization that emphasized its practice and company culture of lean during the interview process. My friend was very excited about this opportunity because I have shared with them about the work I do and how different it is working for an organization that strives […]

Tips for Creating and Maintaining Processes

Standard processes are fundamental in a continuous improvement environment.  They help us to remove waste and address issues more effectively. Focus on process is one of the foundational principles for Organizational Excellence as defined by the Shingo Institute. Creating and maintaining processes takes deliberate focus and commitment. Here are some tips to guide you as […]

Dos and Don’ts for Using a Stat Sheet

In a recent blog post, Where to Start When Implementing a Management System, Catalysis faculty member, Pam Helander, suggested that the stat sheet is a great place to start because it can help you create time to focus on improvement work, understand where improvement work should be focused, and begin to teach problem-solving skills. A […]

How to be a Good Problem Solver

Recently, as I was driving across town (most likely shuttling my children to one activity or another) my son suddenly proclaimed, “Mom, you are a really good problem solver!” I immediately thought that this was an interesting comment for a first grader to make out of the blue. So, I did what most parents would […]

How to Create Value for the Customer

At the peak of the Shingo Model pyramid is the principle “create value for the customer.” If an organization fails to deliver value to the customer, they will ultimately wind up out of business. Value is defined by the customer by what they are willing to pay for. Here are some behaviors that can help […]

The Top Four Ways to Assure Quality at the Source

Each time I prepare to send out an electronic newsletter I follow a standard process that has been designed to ensure that a defect-free email goes out. The process includes proofreading copy before it goes into the newsletter format, testing links, and even testing the email format. Over the years we have refined this process […]

Seven of Our Favorite Helpful Questions

A leader’s role is to develop their people to solve problems. Asking open-ended, helpful questions will help draw out deeper thinking and strengthen the problem-solving muscles. Many times, the best helpful questions begin with ‘what’ and ‘how,’ rather than ‘who’ and ‘why.’ For a question to truly be helpful it must be delivered in a […]