Want behavioral change? Ask the right questions

Yesterday I was in the office of Ted Harris, Transit Operations Manager.  On his white board was a sign that read: How can we…? During our conversation, I found myself referring to that sign over and over again.  This morning I read a blog by Tammy Lenski Can one good question change behavior? and found myself inspired.…

Lean and the eighth waste

Recently at King County there has been buzz about an article by Larisa Benson titled Reclaiming the People Side of Lean (Or How We Lost Respect)   In it, Benson argues that the fundamental principle of lean – respect for people – has been lost in translation. As lean spreads from manufacturing to other industries, more…

What’s your parenting, er, supervising style?

A book about parenting style has me wondering about supervision within the workplace. I don’t mean to suggest that parenting and managing are equivalent roles. But parenting and managing share two important characteristics: there is a power-dynamic inherent in the relationship; human beings are involved on both sides of that power-dynamic. And occasionally I’ve heard frustrated supervisors…

Invest in learning, not training

When we see a problem in the workplace, it’s common to land on training as a solution. We hope to eliminate waste, become effective managers, or learn to resolve conflicts with difficult coworkers. We look at our budget, hire a trainer, and have a great class. As a trainer, I love that solution. It funds work…

Lean leadership

You hear a lot about “eliminating the waste” as Lean practices take hold in departments across King County. It’s exciting to hear employees talk about their work, how their roles interact to create value for their customers, and how they can change processes to increase efficiency. You hear their passion mount as they think through…

How do you say “I’m sorry”?

When was the last time you had to apologize for something you said or did? We human beings create lots of opportunities to practice apologies—not because we’re evil and intend to hurt people (though sometimes that may be true); but more often  because we are fallible, and despite our best intentions, we react to failing…