Top 5 Plus 1

Today brings the first installment of our review of the top Lean Leadership blogs.  We’ll start with the top new posts of 2012.  It’s the top 5 plus 1 because we will look at the my top 5 plus the top guest post.  Without any further ado, here is #6,

C’mon Man, Dig Deeper

Push Hard

I was walking by this small town hardware store the other day and noticed that the window on their door was covered with several signs including the store hours, credit cards they accept and the like.  One message jumped out at me though.


What do you think when you see this sign?  I couldn’t help but to think about visual management in our factories.  PUSH HARD is an obvious and even humorous example of communicating the wrong message.  These guys have identified a problem and a surface level solution.  While they are able to use visual management to communicate their message, it’s the wrong message.  They have not addressed the root cause and they have put an unnecessary band-aid on the problem.

How often though do we do the same thing when problem solving issues in our manufacturing plants?  Anytime you see a countermeasure that says in essence, try harder, it’s time to dig deeper.  Do you really have the root causes?  Is try harder really an effective and sustainable countermeasure?

Try harder probably is not a long term solution to many issues yet all too often it is the response to Safety, Quality and other failures.  Be careful.  Watch out for defects.  These solutions are often quicker and easier than the best solutions.

As a Lean Leader, you need to make sure your team does good 5-Why Analysis and implements effective countermeasures.  Dig deeper even though it’s hard work.

How valuable is visual management if you convey the wrong message?


The Lean Leadership Blog has several posts on 5-Whys which you can see here.

Please leave a comment below if you liked this article.


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)
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3 Responses to Top 5 Plus 1

  1. gwkessler says:

    Sounds like one of the daily problems which a lot of customers have. EVERYBODY can see the problem-BUT NOBODY reacts and changes anything. This is a lack of disciplin as well missing TPM-system and the folks have not been trained in CIP. Summary-it is not acceptable !

  2. Matt Wrye says:

    I can’t stop laughing. That is a great sign and a great example. We have a door at my office with a sign that says “Please using revolving door. It lets out less AC/Heat and is more efficient.” The kicker is the standard door has a half inch gap in it, letting AC/Heat out all the time.

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