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Experiencing Change…. Personally

January 18th, 2010 admin 1 comment

Now we can all theorize about how best to manage change – although I wonder just how many change theories are applicable in Haiti just now – but there is nothing like going through a real change experience yourself to pull out the lessons for the future.

Now, I hold my head in shame in regards to what is going on elsewhere in the world. However, there was a fairly momentous occasion in my insignificant and relatively meaningless life which took place on January 1st.

In one sentence, I changed my heart rate monitor. Early readers may have caught onto the fact that I run marathons (not every week like, but enough to make it my most time-consuming pastime) and, having a psychological dependance on owning the best material (it can only make you run faster, can’t it) I chose the beginning of the year to change from.. and just read this – the Forerunner 305 to the Forerunner 405. One character difference, and my whole world has changed.

Initially, for the worse.

You see, when you become a techno freak such as myself, having the latest stuff is one priority, but ensuring that it works is another. And, at least in my own naive and initiated opinion, it didn’t. It took me until the 3rd to go out for the first time to try and melt down some of the 4kg of chocolate (at least, that’s what it felt like) ingurged over the festive period.

The marathon runners fanatics of the 305 amongst you (!!) obviously appreciate it for its large screen, touch button controls and flexible screen parameters. In no way would you change it for a child’s watch with a friction-based menu system which has no chance of working when you’ve sweaty fingers. And that’s just what the 405 seemed like at the beginning. Impossible to smoothly glide my fingers around the silver dial to bring up the various menu options. And it only started recording intermediate time every kilometer when for the past seven years I’d been pressing a red button to do so.

And worse was to come. In land not renowned for its dependable Internet connections, with the 405 you need one to transfer data from the monitor to a Pc-based analysis tool. With the 305 it was direct, monitor to PC.  And you can no longer charge the monitor through the USB port of the PC – can you imagine, you actually have to plug it in to the mains.

By the evening of the 3rd, I was therefore panicking. And putting the day’s very slow pace down to the faulty equipment!

Two weeks later, I’m a changed man. My 405 is my new best friend (we’re not sleeping together just yet however), I look forward to every outing, after which I get a mass of information I wouldn’t have any idea on how to use properly. And I’m even starting to run a little quicker. Thanks to my 405, of course.

What happened? Three things :

1) Training : As a first step, I read the instructions. Then I practiced, wrote things down. And revised.

2) Secondly, I got help. There are hundreds of forums out there with people who seem to have nothing else to do with their lives than help you out.

3) Finally I took on a positive attitude. There was no going back, this had to work, and I was going to make it do so.

Training, Teamwork and Trying. The 3 Ts of change management, at least as far as Forerunners are concerned.

So now that I have the most recent technology and am sure to be running faster, the marathon dates for 2010 have been added in red highlighter to the diary : 9th May in Mont St Michel, and 10th October (10/10/10!!) in Chicago!!

I’ll be keeping you informed of how things go!!

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How does ‘Lean’ translate into French?

October 20th, 2009 admin 1 comment

My latest read is ‘The Puritan Gift’ from the Hoppers, plugged by Bill Waddell both here and here (some performance, getting four links into the opening sentence, but the only reason I’m reading it is through Bill’s recommendation.

And I agree with you, Bill. It’s a good read (I wouldn’t go as far as ‘great’) and certainly makes up for me having studied Romans and Vikings in school history lessons rather than something a little more meaningful.

I couldn’t wait to get to Chapter 4 – “The profound influence of French technology”. Without wanting to spoil the fun for those of you still on

The French Minitel, a precursor to the PC

The French Minitel, a precursor to the PC

chapter 3, this reviews the French contribution to military and industrial successes back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Having been in France now for coming up to 25 years (next May), it was interesting to understand the roots of why the French are mad (and very good) at all things technical. How

many of you remember the Minitel, which (if my distant memory isn’t failing me) appeared at around the same time as the PC, if not before, and was certainly a lot more popular…. over here, it never caught on anywhere else.

And it is still the same today. The French are simply great (not finished the sentence yet)… technically. EADS and Dassault in the aerospace industry, TGV trains which rush you home at over 200 mph, Cap Gemini, Logica and Atos Origin all selling you SAP (!!*?).

But what is the French for ‘Lean’. For apart from Freddy and Michael Ballé, we don’t seem to have any great number of experts over here. Certainly, 80 years after Henry Ford and fifty after Taiichi Ohno, there is still a great deal of ignorance on the potential power of Lean.. or even what it all entails.

Which makes the challenge of developing an understanding of Lean even more exciting. Our French blog will hopefully be making an important contribution to that. Watch this (and that) space.

And if anyone has a suggestion for translating Lean…..?

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Lean and Mean

October 15th, 2009 admin No comments

Well, I did say that this wasn’t going to all too serious, didn’t I?

Me towards the end of the Chicago Marathon
Me towards the end of the Chicago Marathon

This is me towards the end of last Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. Well, towards the middle is closer to the reality, as I’ve got a smile on my face…. and towards the end, I was certainly not smiling.

Marathon running is, in many ways, very similar to the implementation of Lean Management. It is a journey, a full training cycle rather than a short-term sprint. If you are you measuring progress every hour of every day, you are reducing the impact you may have. Get rid of waste – who needs the second whisky? And, most importantly, teamwork, running together, is far more effective than a solo effort.
3h23, two minutes longer than my best time, but put it down to the jet lag, as the conditions and organisation were excellent – regular pacemakers, refreshments where and when they were needed, visual measurements along all of the 26,2 miles. I’m geting carried away here.
But seriously, to both novice and experienced long-distance runners, I can thouroughly recommend the Chicago Marathon. It took a total of six days out of my schedule, but was worth every second. Thanks very much to Anita and the organisation team.
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Lean Business France

October 14th, 2009 admin No comments

Hello, and welcome to the Lean Business blog. My name is Peter Klym, and I head up Lean Business France. Based in the south-west of France, but mobile pretty much everywhere (as yet, we’ve had no propositions to work in totally hostile and unwelcoming environments), we provide support to French and international companies in the implementation of the ‘Lean Management System’ (i.e. this is much more that manufacturing) and Supply Chain optimisation programmes and projects, with a little structured Change Management thrown in to give your transformation initiatives the best chances of succeeding.

We offer training from boardroom level to the shop- or office-floor, organise and coordinate management seminars, and accompany company management and their teams on the Lean Supply Chain ‘journey’. Obviously, the precise nature of our interventions depending on a particular customer’s requirements… and we just love adding value. We also propose a structured change management approach, whether it be accompanying future ‘Lean Leaders’ or hand-holding the operational teams on the shop-floor or in the office areas.

That’s the intro. The aim of the blog? I think fundamentally to show that we are a little more human that maybe the cold indifference of a commercial website – www.leanbusiness.fr (French language) and international.leanbusiness.fr (English language) – might reveal. We have always considered that training, seminar and improvement activities can also be fun, and this is a key factor in our approach. As secondary objectives, sharing our observations on Lean Supply Chain progress in general is obviously a key one, and giving you the urge to get in touch with us is maybe another (and if you are gluttons for punishment, there’s also the French-language blog (blog.leanbusiness.fr)). And no, they are not exact translations of each other.

We won’tbe posting every day, our customer commitments hopefully making it a little difficult, but there will regularly be new material. And if you are interested, please contact us at contact@leanbusiness.fr and maybe we will manage to set up a call or even a face-to-face.

Thanks for reading, will be back in touch soon.

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