Lean Black Belt Highlight

Posted by Heather Barto on July 8th, 2019

2019 Lean Black Belt Project Highlight: Lean for Leadership Collaborative

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series

In our previous Lean blog posts, we heard from Suzy and Colin about the value of Lean for Leaders Collaborative and the roll out of their program. This three part series documents  the story of their Lean Black Belt journey.

Question 1: What would you tell anyone who is interested in learning about Lean Black Belt?

Colin:There’s always more than one way to accomplish a task. Lean Black Belt, Lean in any manner really, represents the concept that learning is on-going and respecting varied perspectives is an immense “value-add” to any organization.”

Suzy:The value of the Lean Black Belt program reaches far beyond the confines of the classroom–it is the networking, the sharing of ideas and camaraderie that grow a Lean culture into a sustainable entity. The tools themselves hold great value but what the Lean Black Belt program taught me is that the true value add is in the relationships you build, the trust you establish and ongoing communication required to maintain and sustain a Lean culture.”

 

Question 2: We have heard about your Lean for Leaders Collaborative. What might a bureau or program expect to benefit from having a trained Lean Black Belt in their group?

Colin:You don’t necessarily need a trained Lean Black Belt in your group; you just need to know that resources are out there, what they are, how to engage with the resources, and why it matters.”

Suzy:A well-seasoned Lean Black Belt in any organization would be a benefit to a Lean culture. I feel a Lean Black Belt can offer is the experience to step back and provide insight and recommendations into effective methods for continuous process improvement that go beyond a Kaizen event. A Lean Black Belt is prepared to encourage principles and concepts that may be a little bit more out of the box than traditional Lean tools.”

 

Question 3: Colin, what are your observations about the Lean methods working in state government?

Colin:Collaboration within Department of Administrative Services, as it pertains to Lean, is something I am seeing and hearing about very frequently. In my division, Procurement and Support Services, we are very focused on the benefits that stem from Lean tools and Lean thinking. My director makes it a priority to put work groups together for as many opportunities as possible that relate to continuous improvement. We are establishing internal training seminars, we are focused on mentorships, and we are celebrating all of the ways our “individual contributors” add value to various projects and project teams. A large part of our division mission is a focus on best-in-class customer service and we see continuous improvement as a way to keep ourselves fresh and proactive for the benefit of our internal and external customers (ourselves included).”

 

Question 4: Suzy, any plans for moving Lean forward?

Suzy:NH Hospital is in a full court press to bring Lean into our Hospital. We are engaged in a two-tiered approach both at the top and at the foundation of our hospital. For Leadership we are rolling out “Lean for Leaders” as an introduction to the basics of fostering a Lean Culture. After the initial presentations have been conducted my plan is to offer follow up micro-sessions to dive deeper into these Lean Leadership concepts:

  • Shingo Guiding Principles– Lead With Humility. Humility may be seen as a sign of weakness. Respect Every Individual. Focus on Process. Embrace Scientific Thinking. Flow and Pull Value. Assure Quality at the Source. Seek Perfection. Create Constancy of Purpose. Etc.
  • Hoshin KanriOrganic flow of communication with the intention of the technique to let the strategic goals of the organization guide every decision and action.
  • Yokoten– Refers to the practice of copying good results of kaizen in one area to other areas. Horizontal deployment of information. PDCA.

 

Chuck Bagley, Heather Barto and I are providing a custom Lean Yellow Belt training for leadership and staff at NH Hospital using a Plan Do Check Act model. Even more exciting is that we will be utilizing the talents of several NH Hospital Lean Green Belt staff to keep the Lean progress flowing! Training will be conducted with group 1 in a weekly format over a few months to ensure time to discuss and incorporate the practical application of Lean tools in the workplace. We have over 35 people interested already! As a means to support and sustain the learning process we will also hold a DHHS Lean Learning Labs open to any and all that want to discuss Lean concepts, mentorship, culture, and more.

I am already hearing about people’s 5S stories just a few days after presenting the Lean for Leaders Collaboration! The forward progress at NH Hospital is gaining momentum! It is exciting to experience the training from Black Belt evolve into performance in the workplace and beyond.”

Congratulations to Colin and Suzy for their hard work in Lean at the State of New Hampshire! We can’t wait to hear more!

The NH Bureau of Education and Training’s program offers Lean training to state employees, community non-profits, and local municipalities for  Lean White Belt, Lean Yellow Belt, Lean Green Belt and Lean Black Belt.

For more information with the State of New Hampshire Lean programming visit http://lean.nh.gov/

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