Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

5 Key Actions of Successful Lean Leaders

December 12th, 2013 by John Gallagher No Comments

Recently, I had a chance to attend a large conference and speak to a small group and discuss challenges that leaders face in attempting to transform the culture in their organizations.  The leaders were part of a larger group of over 5,000 Healthcare leaders at a two-day conference learning tools & techniques to improve quality, reduce cost, and improve the experience that patients receive in Healthcare.  There were lots of resources… over 100 books for sale, 100+ vendors, 400 story boards and 200+ workshops.  Lots of learning opportunities.

leadership key

When I had my chance to talk to a small group, I described actions necessary for leaders to be successful in transformation.  When leaders turn these actions in to regular behaviors, the chance of success increases exponentially

1) Lead by example – To transform an organization, you will need to ask your team to change behaviors…some they have learned over years of work and education.  Are you willing to lead by example and change as well?  Your team must SEE your willingness to learn

2) ‘Round’ for improvement – This was a Healthcare conference, so ’rounding’ was a familiar term.  To transform an organization, you won’t be able to do it from behind the desk in your office.

3) Follow Leadership Standard Work – What are those disciplines you need to repeat on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to achieve success.  Write them down… check them off. This is not natural or easy, but is rewarding.

4) Ask coaching questions – As the leader, you don’t have to have all the answers.  Challenge your team to solve the problems.  You must ask them coaching questions to get them to think and act differently

5) Relentlessly reflect – When was the last time you sat down and spent time ‘alone’ reflecting on how things are going?  You must plan reflection time in your week.  Put it in your calendar.  Protect it and treat it like other important meetings you have.  Ask yourself, “What is going well?”, or “What needs to improve?”  Write these things down and then develop a plan to keep doing the good and changing what needs improved!

Do I think this is an all-inclusive list?  No.  But, if you can develop the discipline to complete these 5 actions, the other things will come easier.

Are you completing these actions in your leadership?  What do you need to improve?  What is going well?  What is a critical action you would ADD to this list?  Let me know in the comments.  I will choose one commenter at random on December 25 to receive a ‘Christmas present’ from me.  A copy of Leading the Lean Enterprise Transformation by George Koenigsaecker, who has been an influence on my leadership development.


September 6th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

This summer, I completed The Big Miss by former Tiger Woods golf coach, Hank Haney.  Like many, I was curious about the Tiger Woods’ ‘story’ from his coach’s perspective.  When I read the book, though, I was fascinated by the challenges that Hank Haney faced in his years coaching Tiger Woods.  I found some of the challenges to be very similar to the journey I am on as an executive coach implementing Lean in Health Care.

I thought the author (and coach) did a good job detailing some of the approaches he used to get Tiger Woods, clearly the best and most polarizing figure in golf, to improve.  Here are 4 takeaways for me from the book to improve your coaching ability:

1) Help coachees see where they need to improve – Tiger Woods is the BEST golfer in the world.  How do you improve on that?  But, the fact is, we all need to get better because the competition is trying to close the gap.  If you are not getting better, than you are falling behind.

2) Help coachees develop a routine (standard work) – For Tiger, Hank Haney instilled the idea of “Nine Shots”.  This was a practice routine that gave Tiger a leg up on competition.

3) Help coachees develop a discipline of reflection – Self-reflection is an important discipline.  In coaching we must get those we coach to ask themselves “What is going well?” and “What could go better?”

4) Know when to listen – Often, the most valuable time in coaching is just listening.  Often, your coachee will systematically talk their way through a situation based on the previous 3 coaching techniques.  When this occurs, the student improves exponentially.

As a coach, you may not get the chance to coach the #1 golfer in the world one day, but you can have an impact on others.  Employ these 4 techniques and your impact will be greater.

The story of the complexities involved with being a part of Tiger Woods was a big part of the book sales.  The techniques that the coach employed are valuable tips from which you can learn

Have you had the chance to read the book?  What are your thoughts?

Leadership and 'Re-fueling Pit Stops'

February 19th, 2010 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

In a Nascar race, an average efficient pit stop that consists of the changing of all four tires and a full tank of fuel can take anywhere between 13 and 15 seconds. The amount of pit stops during a race vary because of numerous factors — race length, caution flags, fuel mileage, tire wear and pit strategy to name a few.

In Leadership, it is necessary to take regular ‘pit stops’ so that you can keep your engine running. In today’s economy, it sometimes can feel so important to continue to run around the track at 200 miles an hour and not have time for a ‘pit stop’. We all know that if we don’t come in and ‘re-fuel’, replace the tires, and adjust the suspension, we will not be able to cross the finish line.

Recently, I completed an overnight ‘pit stop’ where my wife, Chris, and I were able to get away for an evening…just the two of us…to re-fuel and prepare to get back out on the track again. This opportunity was refreshing and got me thinking how important it is to take time away to refuel. You see, re-fueling doesn’t mean to shut it down completely, but rather, a brief moment to ensure all the systems are ‘go’. And, it isn’t enough just to do this for a vacation annually. It has to be planned as daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual down time to recharge. Mark Sanborn tweeted recently a post that touched me completely about the need for weekly ‘down time’. He asked if Sunday was a ‘day of rest, or a day to catch-up’. Too often, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is seen as the norm, and I don’t want to allow myself to fall into that trap.

So, I am committing to the following ‘pit-stop’ schedule for myself.

  1. Daily – 1 hour (reading an inspirational book or listening to a podcast)
  2. Weekly – One day (Tuesdays. In real estate, Sunday is a ‘normal’ work day. Even for church leaders, Sunday is a work day!)
  3. Quarterly – One weekend
  4. Semi-annually – One week

During this time, I will take my foot off the gas and re-fuel the engine. I know it will benefit me. It is important to set boundaries around this time as well. No email…No PDA…Minimize the distractions. My wife needs this time, too. Rarely do stay-at-home moms get the benefit of pit stops and I need to honor her time.

So, are you taking ‘pit stops’ to re-fuel? What do you need to do to ensure that your motor is running at the end of the race and that your down time is rest time and not catch-up time?

Leadership and Shoveling Snow

February 11th, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

In the midst of one of the historic winters in Roanoke, VA, (with regards to snowfall) it has been a CHALLENGE to manage my attitude each time I have to go out and shovel the snow off of our driveway. Perspective is important. So, as I was shoveling our driveway for the 3rd time in a 24-hour period just the other day, I found myself thinking about how this could POSSIBLY relate to leadership and it actually was relatively easy.

Continuous improvement – I am always trying to find the ‘least waste way’ to do things and shoveling a 3,000 square foot driveway is no different. How can I improve upon my methods to reduce the time that it takes? Probably one of the many things that drives Chris crazy about me, but it is just how I am wired. (No comments from the Peanut gallery about buying a snow blower. That is another story in itself!)
Relationships – I was able invest time with Chris as we talked about a future vacation, sitting on the beach, and being WARM! We had about 3 hours of time with no TV, no distractions, except for the scraping of the shovel over the asphalt. It was almost peaceful.
Discipline– It was a great workout. Not a whole lot better core workout than shoveling about 4,5000 cubic feet(yes, I calculated it!) of heavy wet snow. Great cardio, too. Thus, I did not have to go to the gym (could not have gotten there, anyway!)
Attitude – Rather than it being WORK, it is time to reflect, think, be grateful…Grateful for the time with Chris, for the beauty of the snow falling, etc.

So, next time you get frustrated or angry with the shoveling of the snow (or some other project), view it as a time to grow personally….make a game out of it…consider it your exercise…It really helps to reduce the stress of it. (this DOESN’T mean that I am hoping for several more inches of show 😉 )

So, what project do you think you HATE to do that if you were to take a different approach, would make it a positive experience?