Interview Steven Drewes | Process

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Hi it’s Penny Zenker your host of take charge of your productivity.  Here we explore your greatest potential by tapping into the ten core elements of time and energy management.  To all of my listeners who are coming back to this show.  I am so glad you are taking charge and committing to time and energy management. For those of you here for the first time, I am so excited to have you here.  I am honored to be a part of your journey for a happier and fulfilled balance life.  That is a real result of productivity at the end of the day.  This week we are going to address the concept of process.  And the role that it plays in the overall time and energy management.  Now process is probably one of those topics that people may not have considered to be part of time and energy management.  Yet, process is a key element of strategy.  One of the blades that are on my productivity windmill.  I came up with the windmill as a metaphor for productivity.  The windmill has a gear mechanism that works from within.  The smoother more consistent and faster that the blades turn, the more productive that you tend to be.  In taking charge of your productivity, there are three segments, or blades that are really critical.  These are psychology, strategy and sustainability.  Without all three of these elements, your productivity windmill is underpowered.  Yes, it turns but not optimally.  All and all there are ten core elements that make up these three blades.  Process is the way you do what you do.  When it’s strong, it’s that mechanism that takes plans and turns them into results.  It’s the oil to the gears that helps the windmill turn smoothly.  If it’s weak, it’s like tossing a wrench into the gears.  All the planning in the world isn’t going to bring you any closer to your goals if there isn’t a process for implementing them.  Planning sets the standards and process implements the standard through structure.  So the standard can be met every time.  Process is that part of strategy that bridges the gap to sustainability.  This week, I am thrilled to be joined with my good friend Steven Drewes.

He is president of Lean Worldwide LLC.  There focus is to rapidly transform organizations and cultures committed to enhancing all business prophecies and continuously adding value to customers.  He is known for his accelerated learning techniques transforming businesses around the world in months instead of years.  He has transformed Fortune 50 sized companies to mid-sized.  Today you will learn how to eliminate waste from your prophecies using the lean methodology and how to create meaningful prophecies that create efficiency and remove resistance.

Steven it is so great to have you hear today.  I am excited.  I know how passionate you are around lean and process and helping cultures to transform.

S:  Thank you for having me on your show. 

P:  They have no idea how exciting.  Can you share a little bit about you?  Your business is around lean, can you tell us a little about Lean.   Is that like getting thin?

ProcessS:  Yes, in a sense.  It is about more right sizing an organization or a process.  That is the key.  To sum up lean in one sentence, it’s this simple:  Lean is the maniacal pursuit of elimination of waste of every business process with the ultimate goal with providing world class quality, delivery and service to your customers at the lowest possible cost.  Maniacal is the key word.  What does that mean?  It’s the crazy, it’s the insane.  Can you remember a time in your life that you were so maniacal about getting the person of the opposite sex to go on a date or go do something?  Or to go play golf, or maniacal to go fishing no matter what.  Nothing is going to get in my way.  I am maniacal in protecting my children.  It’s that thinking system that is so powerful that you are so focused and you are focused on a very specific thing in lean.  That is the elimination of waste. 

P:  It’s like insanely focused.  Ok.  I got it.  Now you talked about elimination of waste.  Does that go along with right sizing? 

S:  They do go together.  Many times I walk into corporations and I ask is the company healthy.  I get brought into companies on two levels. They are either at the top of the game, like number one or two in their industry and they are seeing some lethargic type behavior who are sitting back on our great product name and it makes us a unique benefit to the world.  They are looking to get to the next level.  Or I get brought into companies who aren’t doing so well.  Their next step will probably be not being in business.  They are aggressively looking to figure things out.  In that sense, I typically ask, is your company right sized?  For instance, if you are a landscape company and two years ago you aware servicing 100 lawns with 25 people and this year you have 50 lawns.  If you still have the 25 people, there may be a need to right size the company.  The first aspect is what do you need to do in order to be in business?  What size do you need to be?  Are you scaled correctly?  The second component would be to look at the waste that are inside the process.  See if there is a possibility to eliminate the wastes. 

P:  Those are the two main things that you are focused on. 

S:  Those are the two things I look at.  Is the business sustainable to make the improvements?  If it’s not sustainable, it’s hard to improve.  In one of my Fortune 50 companies that I was helping out with, they needed to right size to the order of over 33% of the employees.  They had over 40% too much inventory in the facility.  They already filled up every square inch with equipment, people, inventory and they felt like they couldn’t expand.  Or put another piece of equipment without adding brick and mortar.  We went in and said, ok let’s look at right sizing the company.  If we right size it now, we won’t be able to take care of the customer.  Then there is a process of going through how strategically do you right size the company.  Utilizing temp agencies, etc. 

P:  Those two things are interesting for our listeners as we dig deeper into the process but understanding that these are the first things you look at.  How did you get involved in lean?  How did this become such a big part of what you do?

S:  I fell into it.  I was asked to start up a company in a farm country in Mexico.  When I went down to Mexico I had this thought process of designing a process that could not be stopped as in a sense that we were going to be machining metal.  I wanted a process where the machine would not stop cutting metal.  I had the concept of the only reason our customers are paying us to do is to change the shape of metal.  In my thought process was as long as I continually change the shape of the metal, then I am adding the value they are requiring.  I started putting our process in place.  I hired the first three managers.  The plant manager kept saying to me, what you are asking us to do is a something Japanese.  A few days later he handed me a book.  I stayed up all night and read the book.  I came back the next day and said to him, why you didn’t tell me that they write books on this stuff.  He said, I tried to tell you.  I said, the key thing is that we don’t tell people that there are words for all of this stuff that we are doing.  I am realizing that what we are doing here is how people are thinking.  We are creating a thinking system.  Yes, we are utilizing the tools of Lean however we are doing it in a manner that we are asking people better questions.  Those better questions are requiring our work force to think differently about our processes.  That is the true key.

P:  The idea of the hierarchy of communication.  It revolves around language in my program.  Dr. Duncan and I were talking about that and the impact that questions have on our thought patterns and our behavior is incredible.  I do want to encourage the listeners to go back and listen to language.  I want to point out how they can see that in every one of these elements these patterns of thinking and how people think integrated into everything.  It’s not just about the tools and techniques of Lean it’s really around the psychology and the thinking patterns.

S:  Yes, lean, the first time we heard the word lean, was back in 1990 when James Womack wrote The Machine that Changed The World:  The Story of Production.  That book talked about the Toyota Company and their philosophy.  Many companies in America were doing “Lean” or going through the process steps of what they thought it was.  Quite frankly, there were many companies going out of business spending money.  It wasn’t until 1996 when they wrote another book and they came out and said wow, why are so many companies going out of business doing lean, while other companies are having rocket growth.  What’s the difference between the two?  The core difference was thinking systems. 

P:  It makes sense.  There are so many different strategies being implemented in business.  Lean is one of them.  But sales strategies and people are seeing different results.  What would be the difference clearly comes back to the psychology and thinking systems that are implementing them.

S:  Going back to the core beliefs of why you are doing what you are doing.  Having that maniacal focus and have a passion of where they are looking to go. 

P:  Adding that maniacal focus, you talked about adding value while you were in Mexico. 

S:  Value is described specifically in lean terms.  Two ways:  you are looking for the non-value and value added activity.  Value added activity by definition is a process step that transforms or shapes a product or service which is eventually sold to a customer.  My friend is in the landscaping business and he mows lawns.  Years ago, he said, Steve you are going all over the world helping companies, are there any tools you have that I can use on my landscaping business.  Mowing lawns.  I said one of the main concepts is are you only doing tasks that the customer pays for.  He said, yeah, I show up and mow their lawn.  I asked do you ever run out of gas while mowing?  He said, yeah.  I said what do you do?  He said, I walk back to my trailer and fill the gas.  I said is the customer paying you to walk to the trailer?  He said, no.  I said good, then don’t do it anymore.  I said, when do you add value, in the eyes of your customer?  He said, when the lawn is cut and thrown out of the shoot.  I told him to only do that.  Don’t do anything else.  He said, wow!!!!  He said, this has blown my mind.  How do I go about doing that?  I said, I don’t know but now we are on the same subject. 

P:  The how comes second.  First you have to identify.  What are all of the elements that directly contribute to value?

S:  Yes.  From the customer’s point of view.

P:  So many times, people are looking from their own eyes and they don’t see what is really perceived as value from the customer.

S:  Is payroll value added?  The people who pay the paycheck, so the employees can get paid.  Everyone said, oh yeah it is.  I said not according to the customer.  The tasks or the entire value of doing that is not value added by the customer that is paying.  It may be a necessity but again, the value is not seen as value added by the customer.  Unless you are in the payroll business.

P:  Right.  I want to go back to a point you talk about.  When you discovered that this was about thinking systems.  How did you come to work with this methodology that drew you to that mind set?

S:  I guess from seeing the pain.  I have been VP, Director of Ops of large companies, I’ve had up to seven companies in five countries.  I have watched these corporation implement Lean at various levels.  I have seen pain or awkwardness from using these Lean tools.  Just feeling the pain of the coach or not being able to grasp or understand it.  I know they can.  And that’s when I started to dive into wow, so many people are really focused on did I get the name correctly?  there are so many lean experts out there that if we took a test together they would get 110% because they would finish early and get all of the answers right.  I would get maybe 5.  The difference is why Fortune 50 are companies hiring me when they have all of these people on payroll that can implement Lean.  Why are they hiring me?  It’s simply to help people understand the philosophies and tools of lean that will inspire themselves and what they are doing for the benefit of all.  Utilizing lean as the framework for them to understand these concepts.

P:  People think just because you have a certificate that you are going to be the best in that field.  That is not always the case.  You get the knowledge but not the experience or application or the true understanding of the way things really work.  People go through years working through lean and don’t get results in years sometimes.  You get results in months.  What is your secret?

S:  To be clear, it’s not so much how I get the results it’s that when I walk into the companies, I work with them in a way that helps them to understand what their beauty is.  What is beautiful about their skillsets?  Each individual person remembers and recalls their skillsets and what makes them beautiful.  Put the right person in the right place, right sizing. 

P:  So many times we focus on what are weaknesses are and we try to fill that gap.  You look at what their strengths are and build upon those.

S:  The first place that I ask companies to look at is the process.  I almost without question, when I walk into coaches and companies, I notice that they are looking at skillsets and trying to find a place where each person can fit.  I ask the coach, where do you want to go?  When we get crystal clear on where they want to take the company, break through objectives, that will get change results, we start bringing that laser focus in on how to achieve the results.  The next question is do you have the processes in place to support getting you there?  Or do you need to add a process that doesn’t exist or enhance a process and get it to that point.  That is the first question.  Focusing on the process.  That is the first question.  Secondly, you ask do I have the skills, knowledge and ability in the company right now in order to understand how to enhance this process or create a whole new process.  Does that make sense? 

P:  Yes, very clearly.  I have further questions and so do our listeners.  If you have any questions for Steven Drewes, post on my Facebook.  You can post them there and I will make sure Steven gets those questions.  We are due for a break.  We will dig into process and productivity when we get back.  We will talk about the lean system and through its implementation how you can create dramatic efficiencies within your business environment.  I am Penny Zenker and this is Take Charge of Your Productivity.

P:  You mentioned thinking systems.  Tell me is there a name for the type of thinking to represent our thinking systems or how does that fit in with lean a little bit more specifically that what you said so far?

S:  Lean has a very specific name for improved mindset.  That name is Kaizen.  This word means continuous improvement mindset.  What does that really mean?  I asked a Japanese man and he said two words:  Kai and second word Zen.  Kai is to take apart.  Zen is to put back together better than it was.  I said, wow, that is really profound.  Then he responded with, yes, and most people want to go to Zen right away.  Not good.  Need to spend 90% of your time on Kai.  You spend time on Kai figuring out current state and where you are and what you need and how to eliminate all of the waste from the process.  The Zen kind of pop out. 

P:  Most people think of Zen as spirituality, right? 

S:  So, that is funny because in that context it’s very similar to personal development.  You have to figure out where you are now and where you need to be and then look at the whole thing and then it pops out.  That is one of the most powerful things in working with cultures.  Each individual person you are looking to help them with their transformation or their Zen.  They have to ask, why am I here?  What is my purpose?  Finding that new purpose in the future state.  In a sense, they are polling the processes to the future state.  That is being able to create that inspiring beautiful Zen like future state for their world.  It’s one of the powerful things of when you truly understand the process of Kaizen or the process of creating continuous improvement.

P:  These strategies are cross contextual.  Kaizen in the sense of business and how it can also be applied to personal development.  As you said, they are hand in hand.  Not just developing the company, you are developing people by looking at their strengths and putting them in the right place so they can get clear on what they should be doing.  Whether you are an entrepreneur and you have a business or not, these concepts are applicable to you too.  Listen carefully and I hope you are taking maniacal notes.

S: I always tell people, listen, these are tools are being shared with you, please do not use these processes and thinking systems in order to have the most amazing magical life with your family.  Do not go home and try to use these concepts in gains with your children to help them clean up their room.  Don’t because you can only use these things in the corporation.  Usually the entire room breaks out.

P:  I have done the same thing.  We have a lot of the same thinking systems.  I have said that too.  You listeners, whatever you do, don’t apply this to time and energy management and productivity.  That’s great.  I ask each guest this question:  How do you define productivity and why?

S:  It is simple.  There are two aspects to a process.  You have outputs and you have inputs.  Productivity is defined by the outputs need to go up as the input needs to go down.  In a sense, the formula for that is productivity equals outputs over inputs. 

P:  ok.  I like it.  I am taking notes. 

S:  A key philosophy of lean is standard work.  Which is a very specific tool that lean has and the reason why it’s so unbelievably powerful is that it gives you step, function, and change in your results in weeks and months instead of years.  It works on both parts of the equation at the same time.  Your outputs go up and your inputs go down at the same time. 

P:  Can you repeat that again?

S:  Productivity is outputs over inputs.  And one of the many tools inside of the lean toolbox is a tool called standard work.  In that tool we look at the outputs and the inputs at the exact same time and at the end of the event, the outputs do go up and the inputs do go down at the exact same time.  Lots of times people are working in their corporations and they are saying I just have to get sales up and get more output out, and then they start adding the inputs, as you know, there is only three inputs to any business process.  Three tangible inputs that you will spend money on.  Those are employees, equipment, and inventory.  If those are the three main inputs, were are looking at eliminating a lot of those inputs and at the same time increasing the output of that production cell or service organization. 

P:  Maybe be digging deeper into that definition, what are the factors or elements that have the greatest impact on productivity? 

S:  It gets back to the 8 wastes.  Those are the factors that have the most significant impact on any business process and service.  It’s the maniacal pursuit of the 8 wastes.  I always just ask for people to look inside yourself and ask, when does this add value for the customer?  I got a phone call from a very high level person in one of the Fortune 50 companies who said, there was an earthquake and a tsunami that happened in Japan and one of our competitors is not able to be in business.  The market is requiring 2x’s the amount of product right now.  There is a 2 million dollar machine on the floor that is the bottleneck of the entire company.  Can you look at this Steve?  I went out and looked at the machine and I asked the question to the operator, what does this thing do?  It’s a welder he said. I said does it weld?  Is welding what the customer is paying for?  He said yes.  I asked when does it start welding?  He was loading the parts, opening the doors, changing out some filters, writing a program.  I kept asking, is it welding yet?   He said no.  Then he said it is pack welding.  I said is that what the customer is paying for?  He said no.  I said will the customer see those packs?  I said, ok. And then I saw it started to finally weld.  In my brain, all I did was look at the welding and everything else, I need to eliminate.  That is the power of value added and non-value added.  Inside that non value added activity is found the 8 wastes.  That gives you laser focus in on how to eliminate things like walking, motion, from this process from welding if you will.  Does that make sense?

P:  What are the 8 wastes?  You are not going to leave us hanging.

S:  Well, the first of the eight is motion.  So, if you say, what is motion?  Motion is just twisting, bending, turning, picking something up, reaching, since the definition of lean is the maniacal pursuit of the elimination of waste.  Or did you say reduce?  Because that is a major shift between the two.  Are companies looking to eliminate or just get a gold star?  If you are looking to eliminate, then it is like trying to do something vs. making it happen.  Second one is walking and transportation.  Going back to my buddy in the landscaping business.  Walking to fill up the gas tank.  Why don’t you make sure that the tank is full before you even start?

P:  Wow, just by asking a different question opens up different possibilities.  My initial thought was to be stuck on the wrong question. 

S:  How many weed wackers do you need to have, and how many spools do you need to have pre-spooled to go all day long?  Does that person have an extra spool in a pack designed to wear on their belt.  If the lawn mower needs sharp blades and if it hits a rock, what are you going to do?  The blade is bent and he will have to walk back to the truck to fix it.  There should be an extra blade on the lawn mower and the other tools to have that stored on there all of the time in case you need it. 

P:  Number one is motion, and number two is walking and transportation.  What’s next?

S:  Overproduction.  It one of the worst if you had to prioritize these wastes. 

P:  Is that too much in inventory? 

S:  So many companies produce a lot of product because maybe they have long set ups and they haven’t eliminated their set ups as of yet.  When you overproduce you have storage and transportation issues.  Then you have to have a sorting process.  You have the possibility of damaging one of the components.  If you take that one component out and not check the other ones, then you have to ask the question is the customer paying you to store, check and sort them?  When your answer comes to no no no, you realize that is a lot of over processing.

P:  It opens up a whole can of worms by overproducing.

S:  Inventory by definition is a widget that you are making that is not changing shape.  So, lots of companies say oh no its work and progress or its finished goods or all kinds of fancy words for inventory.  Lean doesn’t have all those words just a simple word called inventory.  It’s either changing shape or not changing shape.  If is not changing shape, its called inventory and its waste.  What do we do with wastes?  Reduce or eliminate?  Eliminate them, excellent.

P:  Motion, walking, overproduction, inventory.

S:  Waiting.  It’s a waste.  When the people are producing the product that is transforming to the customer.  Ask those people, what are you doing now?  They say, waiting for engineer, or quality or a result, etc. That is waste.  You say waiting is a waste.  Specifically what lean is talking about is the product is waiting.  Why is this product not moving to the next step?  We are waiting for something in order to know that this widget can move to the next step.  It helps you identify what you are looking or waiting for?  Over processing is another waste.  In my example of pack welding.  Pack welding is a way of putting a little clamp in place.  I asked if the customer is paying for those clamps.  The answer was no.  Then it was defined as over processing.  You simply look to eliminate that step.  So, one of the things we did on that process is designed a fixture that loaded the part.  We made it heavy and it left the fixture on top of the part.  Lift the loading arms in the air and shoved it into the machine.  The weight of the fixture eliminated the over processing in the pack welding process.  The most costly waste is defects.  Defects in the process.  Many people say, yes of course because it uses up the three inputs to your process.  The three inputs you are paying money for.  It took the money for the equipment to make the product, and inventory and manpower to make the product.  The most costly of one of the wastes. 

P:  Another can of worms right there. 

S:  When people want to utilize tools in their process.  I ask if they have a stable process to begin with.  They say, no but we are looking to put all of these tools on top of it.  Then I say, we have to go back to step one to look at our process.  Is our process able to create the product that we want every single time?

P:  Yes, at that the standard it needs to be produced at.

S: Yes, but the first thing is to be able to produce a perfect product. 

P:  Efficiency.  Who couldn’t use it?  Is there an eighth?

S:  Behavioral waste or unused creativity or saying its fine the way it is.  Or saying it’s not my job.   Or I don’t get paid enough to think about how to improve this process.  There are entrepreneurs or business owners or managers are all looking to engage their work force and in a sense, they want them to see this process.  I always ask the question:  Picture thirty to fifty people in a room to get lean training.  I ask how many people in this room have a home based business.  And ironically enough, practically no hands go up.  I apologize maybe I asked the question incorrectly.  Let me see if I can ask the question better.  If we want better results, we need to ask better questions.  How many people chose for their home based business to come to work at this facility, punch in, do what they are told to do and punch out and they get a check and that is their home base business they have chosen.  How many people have chosen for their home based business that model?  I go, wow, let me ask you; how many people that are running this home based business to develop their skills knowledge and ability so they are the best in the business.  Machinists, are you reading machine books?  Order entry people, are you learning about the latest in order entry?  If you ask the people that this is the business that you have chosen, are you getting the education in order to compete at the top of your game?  And truly being engaged.  That is so critical.   

P:  It’s the skills and the mindset together.  The experience makes the difference.

S:  I was at a metal refinery a few weeks ago and we started the event out and they said they were going to be buying some magic robot. I thought oh no.  Magic robot, magic software, they will fix everything.  Everyone else has to sit back and wait for this magic thing to fix all of our problems.  I said, I so apologize that you guys are in that mindset.  As we started going through the process of eliminating waste in that process, they started realizing maybe we don’t need this robot.  Maybe we don’t need this magic piece of software.  More specifically, several of them started going home and researching on google for different ways of going about doing it.  Research on the equipment that they already had.  They had other capabilities that they weren’t utilizing at the moment.  They contacted the operator managers and telling them of what they discovered.  They are now asking better questions.

P:  You were able to shift people and their mindset into an ownership of the process and what was being delivered. From your experience, you are saying it’s through the questions that they ask themselves.  Is that the core difference of what creates that ownership in those people?  That is the key for a lot of business owners who want to get their staff on board and really buy into their vision and their strategy.  Getting them to create some sort of accountability and ownership at that level.

S:  yes.  One of my slogans is:  If you want a better result, ask a better question.  Which presumes that you don’t know the answer.  Another way of saying that is, the people that learn the most are the people that are the most comfortable not knowing.  Or the people that know the most are the people that are the people most comfortable not knowing.  I love when leaders are able to talk with their people and say hey, what are the possible solutions.  Where can we go from here?

P:  It helps you be to be comfortable to ask questions and explore.

S:  I had a problem the other day and my fiancé was watching me.  I asked an Apple guy how to fix something and he showed me.  He then showed me and I was all like oh yeah, I know.  Let me do this, and I will do that.  I got home I forgot how to do it.  I said to her we should have had the genius do it for us at the store.  She said, you seemed to be telling the apple genius everything you knew.  It didn’t seem like you were very comfortable not knowing.  I said, wow, thank you my love, you are correct.  We had to go back again and be more comfortable not knowing so I could truly see what the results could be.

P:  I have this concept called the four levels of I know this.  And uh, by being comfortable not knowing and asking and learning, we move to let’s say different stages.  Going from knowing something because you read it but it doesn’t mean that you apply it in every area of your life.  By being aware of it, you will get to a level where you inconsistently something.  When you inconsistently apply it and put it into more of a mindset, it becomes a habit and it moves up to consistently apply it.  You consistently know how to apply it and make it a ritual and a part of who you are then it moves up to mastery.  At any particular time we are all human.  Even though we know a lot of these concepts, you teach these and you are well aware, we still need to be reminded from time to time to incorporate that in all areas of what we do.  You do it every time when you are on with an entrepreneur and their team.  At the same time, we forget that strategies are cross contextual and to use it in every single context.

S:  Everybody is a coach and everybody can help everyone get to the next level.  And being open to getting that knowledge or advice whether it’s from a child or someone that you work for and just being open and comfortable not knowing in a manner that says I am looking to gain knowledge.  How will this information be able to move us forward into the direction we need to go?

P:  Back to productivity, there is always another level.  Always that next level in increasing where and when and how you apply it.  Comparing it to where you were before to the next level.  You talked about Kaizen as constant improvement and there is a reason.  It’s because there is always another level to improve to.

S:  Correct and Kaizen and the continuous improvement mindset.  Two key things:  People say, hey we are supposed to continually improve everything but then I also heard we are supposed to standardize the process.  When you standardize the process there are how many choices when you have a standardized process.  When its standard, you only have one way of doing it.  Those of you that are having a difficult time with that, I will give you the illusion of choice.  You could do it this way or you can choose not to do it.  If you choose not to do it there are ramifications that come from that.  One of the key confusions that I see in organizations is they have ideas that they are for improvement and that really wreaks havoc in a corporation.  The reason I say that is how can you continually improve something if you just asked everyone to standardize it and only do it one way?  Can you see the confusion?

P:  Of course.

S:  One of the things that I look to instill in the cultures is respect for the work of others.  That is when you bring a group of people together and you say I would like you to focus on creating a step function change improvement in this area of our business, I would like this process to be 20% more and I would like it to do with 30% input.  And when that group of people accomplish that objective, during those few days or week, you lock it down.  You do not change it.  You do not improve it again.  Leave it alone.  The people that are working in that area, when they have continuous improvement ideas, they can write those ideas down and their supervisors or leaders post these ideas, and when they have enough of them and they feel like they are able to do another step function change result and an improvement in that area, they then request the researchers in the company to be focused in their area for the next step function improvement. 

P:  Is there a process?

S:  Yes, the company can then incorporate a process to rack and stack which improvements will get the biggest bang for the buck.  Focus on the goal of where they are going to.  Not just randomly making improvements all over the place.

P:  It’s more strategic than a spray and pray approach.

S: It’s a drive by Kaizen approach. 

P:  Let’s take a break.  Keep listening because when we come back I will be speaking with Steven Drewes about why continuous improvement is important and also about resistance and what role it plays in the entire process.  Stay tuned.  This is Penny Zenker with Take Charge of Your Productivity.

Hey, we are back with Take Charge of Your Productivity.  Today we are speaking creating lean ways to eliminate waste with Steven Drewes.

S:  Hello!

P:  We just had some exciting discussion around reducing waste.  I wanted to talk a little about focusing on process centric organizations vs. people centric organizations.  If you think about a typical HR thought process and mentality that it is opposite to what they think.   They think it is more people centric.  The think that way that there could be some resistance from thinking about it from a process perspective as opposed to a people perspective.  What is your experience with that?

S:  The best way to do that is I when I think of a team sport.  You say what makes a great team mate?  The answer always comes back will they are able to coach me on something that I didn’t do that I can do better.  Does that make sense?

P:  Sure

S:  You have to ask yourself.  How does the teammate next to you understand enough about your job to make a comment about your job?  That is because they focused on your process and what that team is looking to do and the role you are playing in that process.  In that realm, true teams are focused on the process first and then the peoples skill, knowledge and abilities to fulfill the role in supporting that process. You mentioned the word resistance.  ha-ha  I never get any of that.  Ha Ha.  What do people resist more than anything in the world?  It is change.  That brings up resistance.  Or what is the actual feeling that they feel when you say we’re going to change something.  FEAR.  They have a fear of something.  Not being good enough, or maybe being too good.  A fear of the unknown.  A fear of being confused as to what their role is going to be.  If we say hmmmm…when someone brings up the word change, they will feel fear.  What is a fancy word for change?  We are not going to change you, we are going to improve you.  A fancy flowery word for change.  IMPROVE.  Let’s take this real slow.  Change brings up the feeling of fear.  A fancy word for change is improve.  When you say hey, we rae going to improve your process.  That brings up the feeling of fear.  Great and now we are going to initiate a corporate wide, rapid and continuous improvement process.  We don’t understand why a whole bunch of people have a little bit of fear or resistance to this process.  Maniacal fear.  So one of the exercises I do in one of my classes is to have people get a feeling of what a Kaizen experience is like.  I say hey we are going to pick a process and does everyone have a wallet on them?  They pull out their purse or wallet.  I say don’t open it yet.  Imagine that what we are going to do is improve your wallet or purse so you so can get a feeling of these tools.  It will take less than 2 minutes.  In a moment, but not now, we are going to go through your purse or wallet and go through each item in your purse and figure out which ones you don’t use.  Make a check list, you can audit it, and we are going to do this.  Does that make sense?  Everyone says yes.  Sometimes it’s difficult for someone to improve their own life so they may need a coach or assistance.  People are starting to get nervous.  I say, ok hand your wallet over to the person to your left.  Don’t open the purse or wallet yet, but in a moment we are going to be going through it.  All of a sudden, everyone is feeling the resistance and change.  They are going through the emotions of loss.  And they are getting a feeling for wow, this is what it feels like to be a human being about to go through an improvement cycle.  Letting people know that this is normal.  It is natural. You shouldn’t deny it, it is going to happen.  Then go to the next stage of being angry.  Then they start asking can I chose who I give this to?  Then they get depressed.  Then they get to the point of acceptance.  They say, wow, so this is what it takes to go through a transformation.  I always say, remember those feelings.  Remember how it felt to go through a transformation.  Be compassionate and understanding that when this transformation is happening to your business, or family life, be understanding that people are going through those feelings and be understanding and coach them through it. 

P:  That is how you sensitize people in understanding the feelings and emotions that are going on.  What is the next stage of resistance?

S:  I call that energy.  Energy is a beautiful thing.  If you don’t have it, you can’t get maniacal. 

P:  That is why this program is about time and energy management.  I agree!!

S:  Which goes right back to where did you start from?  Did you start with breakthrough objectives?  Objectives will stretch the organization.  By definition it is an objective that at the current moment you don’t know how to get there it’s so stretched that you are not too sure how it’s going to do.  Like hey, I am going to do a marathon.  Or maybe it’s not a big stretch, so you are going to run across America.  When you hit those stretch objectives, you are not sure how you are going about accomplishing that, you just know that you have to figure out what it requires you to do.  Figure out the right sized gas tank.  Starting with those stretch objectives that people can wrap their heads around. It becomes a great thing and it’s positive.  There also has to be some kind of a crisis to it too.  If we stay where we are, things are not going to go well.  Maybe the local movie theater may not be in existence if we don’t bring the worlds market to our little city or town.  We need to be the best in the world so we can attract the world’s energy and bring these products to us so we can enjoy the theater down the road and bring people here to utilize our little town.  There has got to be some crisis, a little bit and a lot of this is where we are looking to go.

P:  The crisis creates the urgency.  That is energy too.  We know that in the way our brain works.  We are ten times hard wired away from pain than towards pleasure.  I would guess that this is being able to take the organization and give them a sense of urgency and use that to get them moving quickly.  As you said the element of understanding what they are working towards.  That is the element of sustainability.

S:  The key is the crisis, people move away from fear real fast, it’s not sustainable.  So, burning platforms and things like that is not sustainable moving forward and so having one burning platform after the next just wears people out.  It’s tiring.  Having those organization focus on where they want to go is so important.  What is it going to look like and feel like or sound like?  Making that beautiful future state really awesome and tangible and real is really where we should spend 90% of the energy. 

P:  Very much in line with the way my program is segmented out.  It starts with the psychology then it involves the strategy which this element of process is so much a part of.  Then there is a whole area with three elements under sustainability.  It’s so important that the three of those areas work together. 

S:  The definition of happiness is being able to progress.  The feeling of progressing towards a goal.  It gives you the feeling of growth.  The feeling of what growth is and being alive.  Since we are all basically energy addicts, we are all addicted to the feeling of energy and growth and movement.  We get our emotions from movement.  In order to create a process in your organization people need to feel like they are growing, winning and accomplishing.  Giving triggers and feedback to them, to specific cells, about the efforts that you are doing is truly giving you a progress in sustaining these results and the world is noticing.

P:  As I always bring people to understand in productivity it is about the end of the day, how you feel about what you have produced.  The element of value and growth and energy.  It’s not just about what you do it’s about how you do it and how you feel about what you have accomplished. 

S:  If you are looking to do a transformation you are looking also to manage those feelings and that energy.  Creating a team atmosphere and the way to do that is to have the team focus on the process.  The process will make the improvement for all.  A process centric culture first then look at the people and how they can support that movement.

P:  Fantastic.  People have gotten so much value from this call today. 

S:  I am feeling your calling and what you are doing Penny.  Wow. 

P:  Thank you.  I would love to talk to you about creating a workshop out of this.  I would like to get people to be able to implement these tools into their businesses that would be phenomenal.  Understanding the principles of lean and thinking systems to be able to create more value.  I am sure people are chomping at the bit to get more information about yourself.  How can they get a hold of you?

S:  Simple and efficient. is my website and we offer services for the personal and professional side.  My team and I offer/provide coaching for personal and business transformations.  I will also do seminars and public speaking where I will provide concepts to use.  Focus on lean principles in an intimate manner so that they can be superstars in their organizations.  We also offer cultural transformation using lean philosophies at the core.  Our team has some of the original lean creators.  They can pull your strategies straight down into your company through all of your systems with unbelievable clarity and specificity so that enterprise wide, everyone is focused on the break through objectives.  How do you train a coach?  What do you do when you are walking into these companies and they are getting transformed from being resistant to end up having them all take those walls down and come together with a can do attitude in such a rapid amount of time?  I simply say through cultural transformation. 

P:  Fantastic.  People might think, I am such a small company with 10 people so this may not work for me.  What size company is appropriate to approach you for your services?

S:  I just left a chiropractors office with two doctors and two assistance.  They are looking to double the amount of patients that they serve.  We just did a four day workshop with them.  They now have tangible processes they can use.  The feedback from the owners and the assistance has been great.  They are truly working together as a team now.  All of them feel like they are adding value to this process.  They are able to see the company from a whole new perspective.  They are so appreciative.  That is my mission in life.  When I ask myself, why am I here on this Earth?  I came up with one word:  growth.  To grow.  I said, well what can I do to put myself in a situation where I can get rapid and continuous growth.  I came up with helping others grow.  Being able to insert myself in a situation to truly help others to grow which is listening with every aspect of my being.  Where they are and where they would like to go.  Then seeing if I possibly have some resources and some words of wisdoms or tools that could possibly help them get to wear they are to where they want to go that is fun and efficient. 

P:  You certainly have found your calling.  You are so passionate and it has come across today in the way that you have brought these principles and thinking systems and concepts.  At the same time, you just bring that passion.  People may not know but these transformations can go on for hours and hours and days.  You get results really quickly.  In months’ time you have turned around organizations.  I want to thank you so much for being here and for sharing just wonderful wisdom that you have. 

S:  Penny, I thank you.  What you do is amazing and beautiful.  I am so honored to be a little part of the movement that you are doing and the difference that you are making in people’s lives.  Thank you for considering me to be on the show.  Thank you.

If you are a business owner who is listening to this I hope you took maniacal notes.  Process is really about thinking systems as much as it is the process and the things that we actually do in the process.  The steps in the process.  It’s those thinking systems together that help us to eliminate the unnecessary steps.  Defining, refining and optimizing your processes is a standard of excellence that you can measure against that enables your business to run without you.  Without you having to hold someone’s hand.  Getting lean, enables you to get out of survival mode of working 24/7 and to create a business that thrives and enables you to add more value to your staff and to your customers and to your family.  Like Steven Drewes just said, it’s about happiness, progress and challenging yourself and adding value.  Through taking charge of your productivity you are creating happiness, balance, and that growth and achievement that makes you feel alive  If you like what you have heard here, message me on Facebook, twitter, text me.


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