#8 — 6 Quick Leadership Lessons

We are continuing our review of the top Lean Leadership blogs of 2011. Today we are looking at 6 Quick Leadership lessons provided by Terry Starbucker.  I’ve provided a brief perspective on how these lessons apply to Lean Leaders.  Here’s #8:

Road To Hana - Maui, Hawaii

Image by IronRodArt - Royce Bair via Flickr

Today’s manufacturing plants are busy places.  While the factory has always been home to long hours and hard work, it certainly seems like the pressure has been turned up a notch or two over the years.  The Lean Manufacturing journey can and will improve your operation yet time is still a factor.  Training and development often suffer when it’s crunch time.

Terry Starbucker notes that time is a hindrance for training in many businesses when he states, “Sometimes it’s hard to get their full attention for 10 minutes, much less the time it would take to do a full-scale training session.”  Terry compiled a list of 6 time-tested, quick hitting one line lessons that he has used to develop his team even in the busiest of times.

Here are the one-liners with a brief commentary on how these apply to Lean Leadership:

  1. Teach – don’t tell:  teaching and coaching are absolutely critical to any Lean initiative.  You are driving a culture change which cannot be dictated.  You must be developing your teams and you must convince your front-line leaders to teach as well.
  2. Be an enabler, not a disabler:  It’s hard to imagine any leader being successful without an enabled team.  It’s safe to say that you won’t be a successful Lean Leader without an empowered team.  Provide your team with the tools they need and help them win.  Your front line leaders must also be enablers.
  3. Don’t do second things first:  Your parents taught you to do first things first.  It’s one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.  So why do we delay or even derail progress by doing anything else?
  4. If you are not going forward, you are going backwards:  Lean Leaders embrace this mantra.  Teach your team to live it too.
  5. Bad news is good news:  The Lean world thinks of losses in terms of 7 forms of waste.  Any losses falling into one of these 7 wastes look like bad news.  The Lean Leader sees an opportunity to make the process better.
  6. The road to greatness is paved with mistakes well handled:  Lean Leaders should be constantly reflecting on how they and their teams can do it better next time.  This is the spirit of the Deming Cycle and at the heart of any continuous improvement process.

Lean Leaders are pressed for time at least as much as other leadership.  You can use these one liners to informally teach and re-teach your team.  Is your training taking a back seat because everyone is too busy?  Could your team benefit from any of these lessons?  Who can you reach out to today?


You are encouraged to read 6 Quick-Hitting One Line Lessons.

Please leave a comment below if you liked this article. You can also connect on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, subscribe via e-mail (right side bar), retweet, digg, or stumble this article. You can check out my Facebook page and continue the discussion there as well. Your feedback is appreciated.


About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
This entry was posted in Top 10 2011 Blogs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #8 — 6 Quick Leadership Lessons

  1. Pam Campbell says:

    Loved the one-line lessons. The first one I believe is the most important. Not only is it important in business but in life. Probably the reason it’s in the #1 spot~LOL. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s