Creating and Sustaining Solutions with Adam Lawrence

Creating and Sustaining Solutions with Adam Lawrence

by Patrick Adams | Sep 14, 2021

This week I’m talking with Adam Lawrence, the Managing Partner of Process Improvement Partners, LLC and the author of The Wheel of Sustainability.

During this episode Adam and I talk about his book and what inspired him to write the book. We also talk about what the wheel of sustainability really means and how you can use this information to create sustainable solutions. 

What You’ll Learn This Episode:

  • Why Adam wrote the Wheel of Sustainability and what he was trying to solve
  • How to sustain the solutions you’ve created 
  • Using the wheel to strengthen leadership commitment 
  • What is the Wheel and what does each part mean
  • Implementing the Wheel during a Kaizen event
  • Why it’s important to celebrate wins

 

About the Guest: 

Adam Lawrence is the Managing Partner of Process Improvement Partners, LLC. He has 30+ years of experience in process improvement activities, targeted at manufacturing and business processes. Having facilitated 300+ Kaizen events in multiple industries around the world, Adam aligns with leadership, engages teams, and creates sustainable results.

Adam is also the author of The Wheel of Sustainability.  

Important Links: 

https://pi-partners.com/about

https://www.amazon.com/Wheel-Sustainability-Engaging-Empowering-Produce-ebook/dp/B08VVX8F6Q

Full Episode Transcript: 

 

Patrick Adams  

Welcome to the lean solutions podcast where we discuss business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for true lean process improvement. I am your host, Patrick Adams. Hello, and welcome to the lean solutions podcast. My name is Patrick Adams and my guest today is Adam Lawrence and he is the managing partner of process improvement partners LLC. He has 30 plus years of experience in process improvement activities targeted at manufacturing and business processes. And also Adam has facilitated over 300 Kaizen events in multiple industries around the world. He aligns with leadership, engages teams and creates sustainable results. Adam is also the author of the wheel of sustainability, which we’re going to be talking about in detail today. So Adam, welcome to the show. 

 

Adam Lawrence

Patrick, thank you for having me on today. 

 

Patrick Adams

Absolutely. No, I’m looking forward to diving into your book the wheel of sustainability before we talk about the wheel itself, because obviously we have listeners that are probably wondering, what is the wheel of sustainability? What problem were you trying to solve? When did you initially come up with the wheel itself? What was the problem that you were looking at?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Well, thanks for that. So many years as a continuous improvement practitioner, what I noticed was I was helping teams solve these really complex business problems, go into a factory or back office or whatever. And we would do our darndest to solve critical problems, cut change over time and half reduce safety, risk, improve quality, etc. But early on, what I was finding was after I left, because I was normally being brought in to help ensure that the problems would resurface. And I thought, you know, that’s horrible. We put blood, sweat and tears into solving a problem that really meant something to the people on the team yet. Things would fall apart, right? The theory of entropy, yes, things go back to chaos, to say, Okay, I can do better, right? So my mission became How do I assure and ensure that what we’ve done lives on. So over the next many, many years we beat ourselves too much. But I think we’ve already done that, I created a system that originally didn’t look like a wheel, but eventually turned it into the thing that I call the wheel sustainability. And it’s just an easy way to visualize all the components that need to be in place to sustain critical results.

 

Patrick Adams  

There has to be so many listeners out there right now who are thinking to themselves, you know, sustainability is so important, but they’ve probably struggled with it. Right? I mean, you know, you think about all the organizations that are striving, you know, on this journey for continuous improvement, but maybe don’t have that ability to sustain those improvements. And they’re struggling with that. And we’ll dig into some of those things that make up the wheel. But I’m curious to know, could you share with us maybe a couple examples of some improvements that you were involved in, you know, in, in your many years of experience that maybe didn’t sit that weren’t sustainable, or that didn’t, you know, didn’t make it long term?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Right, so one of the plants I used to help from this in the south and a great group of folks, right. And so I would go down there, and we’d have an operating line that just wasn’t performing very well. So with the help of the team, we would adjust and put new standard work in and create some physical fixtures and, and everything looked fine. why is this so much easier. Why wouldn’t everybody want to do it this way? And then let’s say six to 12 months would go by so I was helping reduce jams. So jams on the line, something doesn’t go into a process properly, which means the line shuts down. And oftentimes people are their minds get very stressed, and they’re trying to clear the jam. They’re putting themselves in harm’s way. So this was critical work, right? So we put in systems and put in physical corrections. And I’d come back six months, 12 months later, and we’re the staff. Where’s the document? Oh, well, what document do you know, so Hmm. So early on, I realized that’s not great. So what we started to do the teams that really we’re passionate about fixing these types of problems, we would welcome things, okay, we don’t need documentation, we’ll just weld the thing. You can’t move it anymore. Okay, that’s important. But there is a thing that used to call the red wrench. So anything you fix can be unfixed if you want. I realized that those things just weren’t necessarily sustained. And the other issue when we go back to the problem we were trying to solve was all these books talked about sustained, but there doesn’t seem to be Okay, but what does that actually look like? Sounds good. It’s like saying, you know, leadership commitment. Sounds good. And accountability. Sounds good. But what’s the image of that? So yeah, I didn’t have a clear image of how to get people upset. Or things would go wrong, by my words not being so good. So I had to create a better image for that. So, you know, we weren’t keeping the performance levels, performance would go up to A to E, and then come down to 65. And then 75, and just would go back and forth, back and forth. How could we keep that level so that we can then improve upon it? So that’s why it was my mission? Yeah, because it’s so much effort. It wasn’t my effort. It was people in the process that really, that we cared about, that they have to deal with it every single day putting themselves in harm’s way, or stressing out because people are, you know, barking down their necks because things aren’t running as well as it could it’s not their fault, right? They just been given a system that is not ideal.

 

Patrick Adams  

Right? Right. And I’ve definitely experienced the word sustainability being that buzzword out there, right that everybody likes to use. But to your point, what does it actually look like? What does it look like to be able to sustain improvements and have consistency in your processes and maintain some of those improvements and not fall backwards? So I’m excited to hear a little bit more about that. I love to dive into the wheel. And I’m hoping that you’ll be able to explain it. It’ll be interesting to hear, obviously, over audio through the podcast, you know, people can grab your book to see the picture, I’m sure of the wheel. But can you do your best to walk us through what it actually looks like to see the wheel of sustainability? Right? 

 

Adam Lawrence  

the first thing you need to know is I live in Central Pennsylvania. So this is an Amish country. So think about a wagon wheel, get yourself an image. So this is all about the imagery, right? The simpler the image, the better. So Amish are just amazingly simple, but so efficient that what they do, but that isn’t really what inspired that. But that’s the image now.

 

Patrick Adams  

okay, try to have the image.

 

Adam Lawrence  

you’ve got the image, right, because this is audio. So okay, so think about a hub in eight spokes, right? So the central hub of the wheel is leadership commitment. This is the thing that keeps the wheel together. And then there are eight spokes surrounding that hub. And I’ll go into each one of them. And I’ll try to keep it short, right? And then we can go back to that but think about this. If a spoke, if one of the eight spokes goes away, the wheel is weaker, right? But you can still roll down the road. You know, you probably don’t like it so much to take the hub out. The wheel falls apart, right? Okay. So the leadership commitment has to drive and support and align with all the other spokes. Okay, so I’ll talk to you about all the spokes first and then we can get wherever you want to go with the rest of them. Okay, so eight spokes. So if I started at 12 o’clock, right, most people still, I mean, these days, we have digital, everything. But let’s pretend back in Amish country, sure. 12 o’clock would be the first element of the wheel, which is notification. So this idea is that a team, or project team or Kaizen team or whatever, has made a critical change to something to the benefit of the customer, the people in the process, the company, what have you, we might be safety, productivity, quality, you name it, now we need to notify the organization. So how we notify the organization is vital. This is all about respect for people who think about it that way. And so the why more than the what, because you’re not going to get that many people’s attention anyway. But if at least you know why you did what you did, and why you believe things are better, you might get a few people’s attention. So that’s the start. Again, leadership commitment is the critical element. And I get back to that. The next one is training and review. So when we notify it might be across a large group of people, when we do training and review this is one to one. So the ultimate view of this would be training within industry. But a simpler version, I call it just tell show do. I’m going to tell you about the thing that’s changed. It’s just going to be you and I, I’m going to show you how I can do it. So I have enough respect for you to take the time with you. And I care enough about you that I can show that even I can do it. And now I’m going to want you to demonstrate that you can do. So what does that do? Well, it creates a safe space, it allows you to ask anything that you wouldn’t ask in front of other folks. And I can then assess, do you really understand Do I have How else can I help you? Okay, so that’s element two. Next element. I called visual visible evidence. The idea here is like a parking lot. I drive to the mall, and from 20 feet away, I can tell whether I got a space or not. Right. So the idea would be how do we make it so visual and so visible that it’s obvious from a far distance away that anybody can tell if everything’s okay, or not okay? It’s not okay. One of the later elements has stepped in and help if it is okay. One of the later elements says step in and celebrate right because We want to reinforce Yes, we want to reinforce what’s the right thing to do what good looks like, Okay. The fourth element is called all tools available. What that means is that we’re giving people everything they need to do, what they’re about to do in the safest, most productive, stress free manner. What we’re not doing is arguing about how much something costs, because what the team is doing with the leadership commitment to give them the autonomy to come up with a solution is if they say we need three of something, because we’re going to place it in three locations that make it convenient. And I don’t have to search for anything, kind of the foundation to find this right. leadership can only say yes, they have no choice but to say yes, because why would they say no? I mean, it just wouldn’t make any sense, right? So we’re trying to make it almost impossible to do the wrong thing. So these are the physical and communication pieces. The next element I call clear benefits. In the old days, we might call that what’s in it for me. My teams hate this element. So what I didn’t tell you is every element gets implemented during the Kaizen event. It doesn’t happen as homework, it happens right then and there. Because I hate homework. Everybody hates homework, yes. And then we won’t do homework. So we implement it. So what happens here is, somebody that wasn’t on the team isn’t on the team is spoken with, we’re thinking about doing x, we might be in the first day of the Kaizen event, we don’t even have a fully formed idea. But we’re gonna have conversations one to one. And we’re gonna get unfiltered feedback, because it typically is not positive, right? You go out and somebody is yelling at you, what were you thinking? Right? Perfect. But the idea is, we’re engaging people, we’re including them, we’re getting ideas that our team, our teams get married to their cool breakthrough ideas. But this kind of re grounds them. And sometimes, it uncovers something we hadn’t thought of, like, one example is that we had designed a right handed solution. And luckily, we spoke to a left handed person, and they kept us from implementing something later on that we would have regretted, we all would have regretted. But the idea behind clear benefits is that the person receiving the new standard work or the change sees it as a benefit to them benefit to them personally, right? Because we’re not always going to be watching them. So they have to want to do it, right? Because most people want to do it the way they used to do. And if you think about human behavior, most of us expect the worst and hope for the best. So we’ve already got that negative lens on when somebody says, Hey, we’re changing this for the better, you’re gonna love it. Sure, you will. Okay, so then the next element is layered audit, meaning that and it and I’m very critical of how we audit, but it needs to be two person learning together engaged, shorter than five minutes the person doing the work audits, their work, the person managing that person audits with less frequency all the way up the chain, but we’re creating alignment. And if I see somebody doing something incorrectly, here’s the opportunity during the discussion to redirect behavior, right? Because if we don’t, we’re saying it’s okay to do it wrong, which leads to accountability. The seventh element, which is the imagery of this is, your small child is about to touch a hot stove, you jump up from your sofa, like one behind me, and stop that from happening now you probably yelled, you probably brought him to tears, but at least kept their hand from being burned. So we go into a business process, we see somebody about to do something improperly unsafely, we should take that same level of personal accountability to jump in and help. We’re not jumping in scold jumping in helps help is a key four letter word. The last element is recognition. This is to me, I use this term and my professor told me I was totally wrong. And I said, well, it’s already in my book. But what I am going to do to me is the telling of stories, the understanding of cause and effect, how information gets handed down in a way that people can value and treasure and feel like they were part of something bigger than themselves. So the telling stories, the person says, Hey, it used to take me two hours to do something, it was really hard. Now it takes me 10 seconds. That’s awesome. Okay, keep telling that story. The ideal is somebody that wasn’t in that situation is telling the story as if they were now you know, you’ve gotten through the people, the organization, this all comes back to the hub of leadership, commitment, leadership, must support every single spoke. And I have very clear thoughts about how they do that. How, what is the image of how you support every single spoke? How do you charter a Kaizen so that you can create a winning experience before, during and after? And so, there’s lots of do’s and don’ts and all that butcher that is a long short summary of the wheel.

 

Patrick Adams  

Now, that’s great that that gave me a very clear visual of, of the wheel of sustainability. And it’s very exciting to even think about how that can impact an organization in a really big way. The question that I have is would you say that those bolts are in the way that you gave them number one at 12 o’clock and then went around. Are they to be done in order like that starting with spoke number one and in order? Or is there a different approach?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Yeah, so as all good questions and the answers to that, of course, it depends, right. So we do a lot of stuff to get at the same time, right, the visuals are created, the tools are identified, you know, notifications usually happen after the event. I mean, there’s usually some form of report out, but if you want the whole organization to know, we typically so the way I designed the wheel, or the wheel designed itself, for me, was thinking kind of from a traditional view, through the leadership side and behavior side, you know, so the physical and the obvious to the maybe not so obvious. And this is kind of the order that I put it in, but it’s, you know, you think of wheel spins anyway, right? So right. But you know, when we’re, we’re not going to end the Kaizen without having a nice audit that’s very visually easy to find and easy to do. Anybody can do it, it doesn’t matter, it takes less than five minutes, you know, that’s the challenge. The goal is everything has to be so simple, because otherwise people will find reasons not to do it. So. Simple, Simple, Simple. So that’s always the challenge of facilitating teams who’ve never seen this before. But in the end, it makes it much easier for them, you know, going forward, and then once they truly understand what that is, they go Okay, that kind of makes sense.

 

Patrick Adams  

Right, right. And you said that you will implement all eight of these spokes of the wheel or during a Kaizen event, you found that that’s difficult to do given all the other aspects going on in a Kaizen event, or do you have an approach that works to implement those during the event itself?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Yeah, so I would ask a great question. And certainly, these days, it’s not nearly as difficult as it used to be. So what you do is you introduce concepts very early, right? And what you don’t do is you make things really hard, right? Like lean is not meant to be difficult, no simpler, better, simpler, better, simpler, better. So right. How are we going to notify Well, okay, team, you know, you can easily run a little posted exercise to say, what, what were the three reasons we did what we did? Cool. Now we know three things. Okay, we’re done with that. Wonderful. Okay, how are we going to train? Okay, Joe, you take Sarah over here, and Mary, you go. So what I do is I send each one of my team members anywhere from eight to 28 people out to find one of their colleagues. Usually they are one and a half. Okay, so they’ve already done that. Right? What’s the audit look like? We’re gonna have an audit on the laminate already built. You know, it’s amazing what people are able to accomplish when we challenge them. The only thing that holds us back is our thinking that that’s too much to do. You know what? I’ve seen Kaizen teams do things in eight hours that my old teams in 14 hours weren’t doing. Why? Because we put that image in front of them early, we are going to get that. First of all, most people do not want homework. Most people don’t want homework, myself included. I want them to see it, feel it have the opportunity. Are we going to be perfect? Of course not. Never have been, never have been. But my feeling is if we’ve implemented all aspects, or at least considered all aspects, right? At least we’ve considered things that we might not have otherwise, right now I’ve set them up early by chartering with leadership prior to events, developing the team, developing the problem statement, the objectives and giving leadership the image of what’s going to happen and what their role is in every element. If they haven’t kicked me out of their office or business, then we got a good chance.

 

Patrick Adams  

Yeah, so you pay a lot of work upfront, obviously, to lay the groundwork. And you mentioned leadership. So let’s go back to the hub of the wheel, right? How does the wheel help strengthen leadership commitment.

 

Adam Lawrence  

right. So one thing I have found is that I am able to give an image of what good looks like to meters, I’m able to show them what their role is, and what the benefits will be due to their role. So because I’ve had, you know, some people had more Kaizen event experience than me, I get that, but I’ve had enough to be around the block a few times, right? So when somebody says, we want to do X, Y, and Z, you know, I can imagine that that’s a three and a half day event, right? And here’s the type of team I need. We need to accomplish this and, and you know, the type of downtime we’re going to need to take if it’s in a factory, etc, and so on. So I’m able to give that image and I’m able to show leaders what that might look like, I don’t know the solutions, right? Because I’ve learned if I predict the solution, I’m going to always be wrong. Because teams always beat my expectations. It’s just amazing what they’re able to do, but I’m at least say okay, you’re going to listen before we even do this. We’re gonna have audits and you’re gonna have to participate probably weekly. Okay, plant manager, maybe two every two weeks. Are you willing? Yeah, you’re gonna have to be part of the kickoff for the team, can you? Can you join us for lunch? Can you stop by a few times? Can you make sure that all your friends and neighbors come for the record? The reporter? So we’re doing all that ground, we’re gonna say, here’s, here’s what, here’s the value of doing that. You want to solve the problem? Right? Right. You want to stay solved? Right? Right. Okay, when’s the last time you had a problem? stay soft. Most people would say not that often, right? Unless you’re a really, really disciplined organization. There are those we read about better, but not everybody’s that discipline. So would you like to keep saving three quarters of a million dollars annually? The answer typically is yes, we’d like to save even more. Okay, I’m cool. So I also because I can be this way, I usually stack the deck in the team’s favor. Right? I’ve already done a number of gimble walks. So that I’ve seen the people I know who the Kaizen rockstars is kind of what I call them might be or if I’ve been in somebody else’s site, I’ve seen two or three folks that just are the cream that rose to the top, you need to get this one in that one and the other one, do that all the time. I’m paying attention to that because I want them to win, right? And most people except for my baseball team want to win. But if you find the Baltimore Orioles, you’re pretty sure they don’t want to win. And they just want a first draft pick. Right? Most people want to win. And most teams want to win because they don’t want to give four days of their life or three days or a half a day of their lives. To not win is great. I don’t want to be part of that. I want to be something that they had a great experience with. They’re kind of like my extended family anyway, I want to be invited back for supper one day, right? Or sometimes I get pictures, people will text me pictures of Luca, we did not have that. And oh man, it makes my heart just warm up. I love when they take whatever we did and make it three times better. It blows my mind. It makes me so happy. And I still get some of that. I don’t get it all the time. But every so often out of the blue, a picture comes in. I like that’s pretty cool. 

 

Patrick Adams  

very nice. I love that from a from a Kaizen perspective, a lot of people that are listening right now lean practitioners in such that that are experienced in the lean world would say Kaizen events by themselves are not going to sustain improvements long term, but it sounds like what you’ve created with this wheel is the opportunity to to deploy some techniques that will create sustainability so that the the daily management, you know, as people would would think about it is part of what you’re deploying when you when you carry out a Kaizen event. Is that correct?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. You’re right. So ideally, your the whole organization is committed to a culture of continuous improvement. They truly understand this. What this does is models, you know, how some people do model lines? This is a model leadership approach. Yes. Right. And what what I have found is it kind of grows into so if they don’t have that image of all the other things that you should do, they see it in a small amount, and they go well, that’s not really that hard, right? You know, they totally, they totally get it or it makes them curious enough to find out. What are the other things but I will say this, I include all the coaching and preparation and everything, the chartering, I’ll even set up the room, I’ll tell them how to order the right food. Because again, the goal is give them something that is replicable, repeatable, sustainable, and a winning experience, because I like to win too. You know, it’s kind of fun, even though it isn’t my solution. It’s cool to win man, and the joy, and the and the emotion and all that is just so contagious. I mean, it’s kind of what keeps you going in the industries we’re in. So again, it’s a model thing. So the whole gamble, piece, and MDI and and huddles, and all those things, those are built in Yeah, and and the coaching of what it looks like. But again, you’ve got to make it in such a way that it’s, it doesn’t seem that hard to do, right. But doing five or 10 minutes of this replaces 30 minutes of trying to figure out what went wrong. And if we can do that, and model that in any level, from the very floor level, or the office level, or the or the nonprofit level, or anybody that just physically does work, or mentally does work and has to figure it out minute after minute, they find that I can do this. Yeah. And when they see that it gives them a benefit, then they start to spread it to their, their cohorts. And what’s nice is that just helps the whole organization. And then if leadership is really paying attention, I’m trying to prepare them for that. I always even tell them, here’s what I would look for. So there’s even terms and phrases that they should look for. And when you hear these phrases I tell, then you need to promote that. Because what that does is it says people are now ready to potentially do it elsewhere. Sure, because why would you just do it once? If you had a whim? That’s right, no, we should be paying back whatever we cost 20 20x. So I hope people that are hearing this, don’t hate me for saying that. But it’s not hard to do. The real investment is the people on the team, of course, because of the commitment of leadership to allow them to be fully focused 100%, clear the schedules, work on something tough and give them full autonomy to solve, regardless of what the answer is, as long as it’s legal. Moral, it doesn’t violate the laws of physics, we’re going to let them do it. So following that, if you can do that, do more, do more and do more, because that type of return is hard to get that type of return many other places where I was not an early adopter of Bitcoin. So I clearly don’t understand how to get that level of return.

 

Patrick Adams  

Yeah. Earlier you mentioned celebrating the wins. Can Can you give us some examples maybe of how you’ve incorporated celebrating and why it’s important that you celebrate, because there’s a lot of people out there that maybe would say, Oh, we don’t have time for that, you know, we’re you know, so I don’t know, can you give the listeners maybe just a picture of what celebrating the wins looks like and why it’s important.

 

Adam Lawrence  

Right? So during Kaizen, there’s always milestones, right? We tried something that didn’t quite work, but we learned something. let’s clap for ourselves. Let’s clap for the idea. Let’s have a little fun with it. Right? I always bring little silly fabulous prizes, you can’t see it, you can see it my little ninja right yes to earn it will have little games and such. So all along the way we’re making progress. If you think of status indicators, some people call it the Kaizen newspaper, you finish this task, we always have the person or team that finished the task, fill it in, people clap. That’s exciting. It gets exciting. Write the report out at the end, we always have it in person, although with COVID little harder to do that, right. But the team does the report, not the facilitator, I don’t say a word if they’ve heard enough from me, the team tells their story, I build their story, they tell their story. And so the pride of that it’s exciting, the ownership and the end, the joy. I’ve seen teams hug, high five clap. I’ve seen tears well up in 350 pounds, six foot eight mechanics, when they said in front of the CEO of the company, I’ve never done anything as impactful in my career as we did this week. And so I still get chills when I remember things like that. So what I thought about was how do I create as much of that opportunity to feel like I was part of something special. So recognizing those milestones, you can give away prizes, you can give away certificates, you can thank people, another great one will show up. keep showing up. The Lead sponsor came to kick off. You need to come to lunch, come out and visit and say Hey, what’s up you show me what you’ve done so far and teach me how to be a plant manager. A few months ago, one of our TWA trainers showed her how to change over her line. And the supply manager never touched equipment never. And after she did the TWA training with her. My trainer who was an hourly employee said to her before we started this, how confident were you on z on a scale of one to 10? She gets zero minus 12. Okay, how confident are you now nine? Wow. Now that level, that type of commitment and recognition and just true alignment about how important a plant manager came out took the time to be trained. You know, TWA didn’t go quick, right? It was about a 45 minute process. You could tell she had a meeting to go to. But she hung in there, man. And by the end, I mean you could see the lightning, you know the sparkle in the trainer’s eyes. I love that. Just the pure joy of it. So that’s the stuff that didn’t cost any money. Right? That’s right.

 

Patrick Adams  

So we talked earlier about the problem that you were trying to solve when the wheel of sustainability came together? Why did you decide to put this into a book? What was the feeling behind that?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Well, you know, you’ve written a book, right? So everybody’s got a story to tell. Everybody’s got a story to tell. So I have a little downtime. So I am a hands-on kind of guy. Right? There are people that do virtual Kaizen events and I get it and I love it. I think it’s a great idea. I would but I love being with my teams. I’ve masked up and socially distanced and worn every bit of gear you could ever imagine climb up on equipment and doing stuff but there was a period of time that I was not on site. So there were choices, do something, or drive your wife crazy. So what I did was I said, you know, if you’re ever gonna write a book, I started writing one about 15 years ago on a different topic. It sort of kind of made sense that I said, if you’re ever gonna write a book, this might be the thing because what I learned was when I was teaching the wheel, I was always giving the wheel as you know, how to do it in all my Kaizen events. Anyway, people were writing notes. Every time I talked about the wheel, people writing that kind of blew me away. People were posting, like, Can I have a copy of your slides? And they post the wheel on their wall? This must be something to this. Yeah. So let’s say if you ever gonna write something write about the wheel. I wonder if you can write a book. Like, I don’t know. So one day I said, I’ll tell you what, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna write a chapter about each of the spokes and about the hub. And we’re gonna see what happens. Yeah, so I started writing, I could come downstairs early. I’m an early morning person, I crank up some loud hair, metal music, and I have a lot of hair. Most of us listened to heavy metal rock concerts in the 80s. And am I hearing too, by the way, oops. But anyway, so I started typing stories about each spoke, then I said, well, that’s not really helpful, we need to explain what each spoke is and said, well, that’s fairly helpful. But how do you use it? How do you do it? What do you not do? And I started to write and I got like, three spokes in elements in and I said, I think I could do this, you know, the engineer, and he says, you know, it could be absolute garbage. But I think it could do this, I did that. And I had that. And then I had some beta readers, and they kind of garbage me a little bit. And then I got I, somebody really intelligent said, you need somebody to read that out loud to you. So my wife and I sat on the back to that sofa behind me. And she’d read half a chapter in the evening with me. And she started to understand what it was I was doing, I had stories about home life, there’s personal uses of the wheel that are in there, she kicked me out of the kitchen once because I was messing with her all the tools available. So that was good. So she corrected my memory of it. Then eventually, on the cheap, I got a Content Editor. And then eventually, I got to the point where I said, well, that’s enough. I think there’s a book, let’s see if anybody likes it. So that was the end of that. And then I’ve been on site, the book launched in February of this year. And thankfully, I got back on site, because I didn’t write in a second.

 

Patrick Adams  

It is quite the process. You and I both know that’s quite the process. But I’m excited for you to get this book into the hands of the listeners. For those that do grab the book and read it. Do you have any stories, do’s and don’ts in regards to the wheel things that, you know, we kind of have the inside scoop right now talking to the author. So I’m curious, anything that we wouldn’t see in the book that maybe you can share with us? Or that you wouldn’t see in the book? Okay, because there’s nothing that maybe we should think about?

 

Adam Lawrence  

Well, here’s what I would say that I’ve told a few folks: don’t write a book, if you think you’re going to sell lots of books. That’s that ain’t that’s not a great idea. What is a good idea is to share something that you feel will be of value to people. Right? And there’s something cathartic, right to, to to write your story. Everybody’s got a story to tell, right? And so what was fun for me was reminiscing. I could actually visualize, there are like two or three stories in the book out of 36 or 36 separate stories, two or three where I just about got fired? And I could, I could feel it. Yeah, I can feel how that felt. You know, so part of that. Part of this is just doing it for yourself. But the hope was, do it for others that could get something from it because it truly bothered me, that people were letting problems resurface or problems were real. They weren’t letting them. But the reality was, they were resurfacing. Yeah. Was there something I could do? And I did a bit of research. I’m not a big researcher, but there are not a lot of books on how to sustain stuff. Right? It’s mentioned, but it’s not clear. So my goal was, and I knew I got to my editor. My editor was a friend of two author friends of mine, you know, they loved her so of course, I had the lover right and in the middle of all this, she goes to me, she goes you really messed me up. What do you mean? She said, Well, I’m gonna now make a suggestion. It’s gonna let you know that you messed me up because you need five chapters. She did mostly like romance novels and you know, fiction stuff and you know, Hallmark type stuff and scientific. And she says, I can’t believe that view. If you five s this book, that will be so much better for you and for your reader. And I was like, I have ruined you completely. Welcome.

 

Patrick Adams  

Yeah, that’s great. The book is available on Amazon.

 

Adam Lawrence  

Yes. Okay. Only on Amazon. I’ve got a physical and Kindle version. I’ve given away a ton of them. We did free Kindle, you know, weeks a couple of times. Sure. They make you wait. So I don’t necessarily have another one coming up. Yeah, I’m afraid that if you want when, you know, you’re going to have to

 

Patrick Adams  

write now that makes sense. So they can just search the wheel of sustainability, Adam Lawrence on Amazon and find your book also. Obviously, you know, you facilitated hundreds of Kaizen events and it sounds obviously like you know what you’re talking about? So there’s probably people that are listening, that maybe are thinking, Man, I could really use a facilitator like Adam, how would someone get ahold of you? If they’re interested to maybe bring you out to facilitate a Kaizen event? Or even questions about the wheel of sustainability? Can they have their your website? Or where would they

 

Adam Lawrence  

go? Yeah, yeah, okay, so easily connect with me on LinkedIn. I have a company page process improvement partners, I have a personal page, Adam Lawrence, do have a website, pi dash partners calm, okay. And you know, all my contact details are there, I can talk about this stuff all day. I can also do it in less than a day. Sure. And I offer many, many different services. And facilitation anywhere from you know, any leadership type work to five s to PSM three, p two, you name it, if there’s a problem you want to solve, we’re going to come up with a way to help you solve it that that is with your people, if you want to engage your folks to be part of the solution. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a lean topic. Actually. If you care about your people being part of the solution, I can help you facilitate through that. So I’ve done global cost reduction sessions, I’ve done help with plant design, equipment, failure and reliability. A lot of the traditional type work I love, I love the challenge, I will tell you that I wasn’t really very familiar with DWI. But a client had a need. So I did a huge amount of research and said, how would I help them in a way that’s sustainable? And what’s really cool is, they’re growing. They’re loving it. They’re, they’re using it. And you know, they’re all believers. So it made me a believer to say, thank goodness, I could help them as well.

 

Patrick Adams  

That’s amazing. And we’ll drop all of those links into the show notes, too. So if anyone that’s listening wants to reach out to Adam, they can find the link in the show notes. So Adam, this has been great. As you said, we could probably talk about this all day. And maybe we can have you back on a future show. And we can dive into the details of one of the spokes, maybe we can get into great , really dig deep into one of those spokes. But thank you so much for being a guest today, a ton of value for the listeners and just really appreciating what you’ve done with the wheel of sustainability and, you know, opportunities to help organizations sustain their improvements as they move forward on their Lean journey. So thank you. 

 

Adam Lawrence

Well, thank you, Patrick. I really appreciate the opportunity. 

 

Patrick Adams

Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the lean solutions podcast. If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to subscribe. This way you’ll get updates as new episodes become available. If you feel so inclined. Please give us a review. Thank you so much.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.

1 Comment

  1. Adam Lawrence

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story – it was fun!

    Reply

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