Core Pillars to an Op Ex Journey with Paul Deane

Core Pillars to an Op Ex Journey with Paul Deane

by Patrick Adams | Sep 13, 2022

In this episode, Paul Deane and I discuss his three core pillars to an operational excellence journey.

What You’ll Learn This Episode:

  • Three Core Pillars of an operational excellence journey.
  • The biggest drivers for an organization to adopt Lean.
  • The biggest challenges organizations face when embarking on a Lean journey.
  • Paul’s biggest ‘win’ he has seen organizations achieve having implemented effective Lean.
  • How do you get buy-in for Lean?

About the Guest: 

Paul Deane has over 25 years working with large global organizations all over the world leading manufacturing and service operations, and successfully deploying business improvement methodologies.

An innovative continuous Improvement practitioner, with strengths in operationalizing LEAN systems, ISO9001, manufacturing best practice and DMAIC projects. CSSC/ISSP certified 6 Sigma Black and Green Belts. Over 15+ years implementing OPEX systems from zero base within global organizations with strong insight into engaging front line staff.

His operational, service and manufacturing experience has covered chemical, industrial and food industries.

Paul also spoke at the Virtual Lean Summit 2022.

Important Links:

Full Episode Transcripts: 


Patrick Adams  00:01

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, everybody. And welcome. Today’s guest is Paul Dean. Paul has over 25 years working with large global organizations all over the world leading manufacturing and service operations, and successfully deploying business improvement methodologies. Paul, I am super excited to have you here. I follow you on LinkedIn love all your posts, your pictures, your descriptions, the conversations that we have on LinkedIn, it’s great to finally meet you and kind of in person here on the on the Lean solutions podcast. So welcome to the show, Paul.


Paul Deane  00:42

Thanks, Patrick. Well, for me, it’s certainly an honor to chat with you today. I’ve been following some of your stuff for a number of years. And I really love your lean solutions podcast. So you know, much appreciated to be on the on the program today.


Patrick Adams  00:56

Absolutely. And you are you’re actually I’m sure most of our listeners can tell by your by your accent. You’re not in the US. You’re outside of the US. So where are you? Where are you calling in from?


Paul Deane  01:07

Well, I’m calling in from Brisbane, Australia. So it’s kind of down under?


Patrick Adams  01:13

Yes. And we’ve had a few guests from from Down Under Andy, all rich Paul Dunlop, as well. So we’ve had a number of people from Down Under on the show, and it’s great. Great to have you on. So tell it tell our listeners a little bit about the your background, how’d you get started in Lean? Give us a kind of an overview?


Paul Deane  01:32

Well, well, Patrick, I’ve, I’m a chemical engineer by profession. And I’ve worked for a number of global, large global organizations over the years, I really have had the privilege, when I look back, I’ve really had the privilege to be in leadership, you know, nearly all my career and in some of those positions, you know, senior leadership. And so I’ve always had the feeling that, you know, obviously with a large, a large organization being you know, plant manager, or GM, you’re responsible for the KPIs, right. So but I always thought that there was an opportunity to engage my team to find, you know, better ways of working. And, and so the interesting thing is about, almost 20 years ago, I was invited to, to embark upon this Six Sigma journey. And so over five years, or five or six years, I did the yellow, green, and black belt. But the exciting thing was, is I undertook projects with people on the factory floor and Frontline leaders, that actually made a difference. And that was the exciting thing. So really, you know, about 1516 years ago, that was the turning point. So I’d like to say sometimes I was on one side of the fence, and then then I switched to the other side. So since then, I’ve been involved in, in operational excellence programs, leading those implementing those two as a zero startup. And really, it’s been exciting. And one of the things I’ve just learned over the years, is that people in the process are so very important.


Patrick Adams  03:15

Absolutely. And people are not only so important, but I it made me think about the three core pillars that you live by, and those kinds of, you know, one of those is engaging everyone, right? And then you talk about keeping it practical. And then you and I both align on this one as one of our core core pillars is that is make it simple. I say keep it simple. You say make it simple. But tell me a little bit more about those as we talk about, you know, the people side of things and just engaging people in the process.


Paul Deane  03:47

Oh, sure. Guy, I think I think it’s very important to engage people in the process. I think it’s, you know, length of journey. And I know, that’s a cliche, and we kind of use that really easily but but lean, lean is a journey. Lean is about business transformation. And, and you can’t I don’t think you can do successful business transformation. With a few people. It has to be everybody, you know, and, and we in Australia, we have challenges, you know, we have, you know, people like Jim Collins used to say, in his book, Good to Great, there’s some people on the bus, there’s some people aren’t on the bus. You know, in Australia, I think Australia is very much very similar to the rest of the world. But there are people who don’t want to be on the bus. But I typically find that people who don’t want to be on the bus, or those have been disenfranchised by the system, you know, so this system hasn’t helped them or supported them, or engage them. And really, really, I believe engagement is really about the connection between the person and the task, you know, and this is what we’re talking about lien, you know, the connection between the people and the task is so very important. So we need to equip people. We need to, you know, train people that we need to support them along. The way we need to collaborate with them, we need to involve them, we need to ask and listen, you know, so very important. And, you know, look, I think the other aspect is we, we talk about Toyota, as, you know, the pinnacle of lean on. But if you actually have a look, and this is just my my take on it, if you have a look at the way that Toyota did it, it was really around the people is really about equipping frontline leaders to be empowered to achieve the result. You know, it wasn’t about necessarily systems and strategies and plans. You know, that’s important. But it was really about how do we involve people? How do we respect people in the roles, whether they’re senior leaders, or whether they’re frontline people? How do we speak them? So I think I think in engaging everyone, unfortunately, I think we miss it, quite often. And I’ve seen the fact that we miss it. And I think the other thing, too, is it takes a time, you know, business transformation, using people, it takes time. And I don’t think there’s a lot of organizations, particularly at senior level, that they’re willing to wait. And look, I get it, you know, a lot of organizations implement Lean because of financial challenges, right. So they want to stabilize the business, they want to improve the costs. I think that’s important, but I think there’s a balance between getting that and producing a pipeline, as opposed to taking too long. I think there’s a balance. And that’s where engagement people is very important.


Patrick Adams  06:41

Absolutely. And I love that you mentioned that the, you know, Toyota and how people, you know, were involved in the, in the development of what has we now know, as a Toyota Production System, right? It’s not, it’s not like, at least in the US, where you have a leader that brings a toolbox into the room and hands everybody the tools and says, okay, here, you go here now create this Lean program for our organization. Right? That’s not what happened at Toyota that this the tools, the solutions, the things that we see now, the artifacts in the tools were developed as solutions to problems by the people that were actually experiencing the problems. Yep. Right.


Paul Deane  07:24

So angry, and really honed and modified by the people, yes, you know, the whole, you know, what do you want to call it hypothesis testing, or predict his verify, it’s, let’s try something and, and modified as we go. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s, it’s not going to be effective. But that I encounter, over the years, I’ve encountered people who perhaps are fearful of failing, so we don’t actually do anything at all. And once again, it’s a balance, and it’s a balance about going off half cocked and doing something you know, and not working, as opposed to, you know, sitting in the, in the boardroom, conceptualizing this Lean journey before we actually do something. So, I think it’s very important to actually have a plan and then do something. And I think that’s, I agree, that’s where Toyota has come from over the years.


Patrick Adams  08:19

Yeah. Yeah. And, and also, you, you know, talked about kind of the, the flip side of that, too, is organizations that, you know, maybe continue to build on the tools or develop, you know, you think about technology getting rolled out and all these different things, and they just keep building on the complexity of what started out very simple in their organization. And then, you know, again, over time, with different people coming in and adding their own flavor to it, or, or, again, technology or whatever it might be, and it’s become so complex that now they feel like they can’t even maintain it. Right. And this goes back to your other pillar about making things simple. Can you talk a little bit about some, maybe some examples of what you’ve seen? Yeah.


Paul Deane  09:04

Yeah, thanks for you know, totally agree that I think from the start, we have to make it simple. I think we, you know, my opinion is we we equate maturity with complexity. So, we start simple, but over time, we just add to it becomes more and more complex. And sometimes we actually lose our direction or our track. And we just kind of make it over academic. I I’ve run a few businesses over the years and I had a business where we were implementing ISO 9001 quality systems and getting a certification to ISO 9001 and and Hasim. And, and I recall, one potential client who became my client came to the first meeting, and this business was in the in the business So of hiring, scissor lifts, mobile cranes, elevated work platforms, and what they were targeting, though targeting some government contracts, and the government required them to have ISO 9001 certification. So I done a few businesses that are that were connected with. And the first meeting with the directors, they came with this quality man manual that was five inches thick. And they, you know, would have been four or five pounds worth of paperwork, right, put it on the desk, and they said, Oh, this is what we want to do. And I said, Well, you know what, the more complex you have a system, the harder it is to maintain it. We’re talking about ISO 9001. You know, you have annual audit surveys, annual surveillance audits, right. So the challenge is that if you make the system more and more complex, then there’s more likely because it’s a risk based system, right, there’s more likely that you’re going to get failures. And those failures, small failures are nonconformances miners, but some of those large failures could be major. Now, if you have too many of the miners or too many majors, you might actually losing your certification. And the message that sends to your clients that you’ve lost a certification is so much worse, just my opinion, so much worse than not having certification at all. So and you can still, you can still achieve with a small quality management system, you can still achieve what the requirements ISO 9001 require. So with that particular client, we ended up over a couple of months, we ended up with a document or management system, you know, a third of the size. And I think they ended up winning the government contract, which significantly boosted their revenue, and then gave them credibility across the marketplace, which was really, and this is what I say 9001 Does Well, it used to when people used to make it a criteria. But interesting that that businesses now, you know, 1516 years later, is still doing what they’re doing. And the manual is not that much bigger, you know, so always believe let’s let’s from the start, let’s make it simple. I worked for a global food organization that had been on the Lean journey for a number of years. And in the six years I was at that or seven years old at that organization, they actually then got to the point where let’s go back to the basics. We created the system. That was a simple because I think at the beginning, we had the control over the system. So let’s not make a complicated from the beginning. Let’s make it simple. And then as we make it simple, what typically will happen as you said earlier, Patrick, it, it can kind of grow and become more convoluted. But this organization came to the conclusion that we have to get back to the basics. No, we don’t have to scrap methodologies. But let’s streamline the methodologies. Because we were losing engagement. People just don’t understand it. The simple, you know, handover between shifts, we’ve made it too complicated. So instead of having chats, and this is absolutely brilliant, and I was involved in this, let’s go to Doc charts, yes, or no red or green pen, and the level of engagement from the frontline staff in in understanding that was so easy, you know, and then then then then manage that, you know, this is what we’ve got control over, you know, in our production line, we don’t have control over default. You know, so let’s do it. We have control over whether we met the plane for the hour or the plane for the day. That’s yeah, we have control over that. And if it’s not, right, okay, maybe it’s a planning issue, or maybe it’s a mechanical issue, or staffing or whatever it might be, let’s raise an action to fix that. And so that’s going back to the basics. So, you know, I do, I do, I and I’m very passionate about making it simple, because we have the control at the beginning, we have the control over.


Patrick Adams  14:16

That’s right. And for those companies that are that are starting out on their Lean journey, or any leaders that are listening, or anyone that’s listening that is starting out on their Lean journey. I think that’s such an important recommendation to keep things as simple as you can make them simple from the beginning and maintain that simplicity. And simple doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy, it’s still going to be hard work, right? But think about that as you as you embark on your Lean journey. And really understand that the importance of keeping things very simple.


Paul Deane  14:53

We have Yeah. Oh, yeah, sorry. We have the control. From the beginning. We need to do Something that, that we understand the end in mind. So let’s start. I like to work that way, what’s, what’s the result we want to achieve? And let’s work backwards and start from there. But I think it’s very important that we, that we make it, we make it simple from the start. And that way, you know, you mentioned, you know, organization starting out, I do a lot of direct messaging and helping people on LinkedIn, I might get, you know, some days, I might get 10 messages a day, people asking for help. An interesting, the big the biggest challenge, I think, organizations, well, from, perhaps from LinkedIn, but I’ve also from my personal experience, a lot of organizations don’t know where to start. Because I think in some ways, and I guess we’re all responsible, we, we’ve created this beast that looks to the and unfamiliar, so big, that where do I start? It’s just like, you know, there’s all these different levers, where do I start, and that’s why I, in a lot of the roles that I’ve had, and also coaching on LinkedIn, let’s start with visual visual management, let’s start with the daily stand up, you know, let’s measure something that we’ve got control over. And let’s start there. Yeah. And, and really, I, I’ve done a few seminars on that particular topic. And it you know, I did a did a seminar in Egypt, late last year, I did one in Croatia, Croatia earlier this year. And interesting thing is that it’s the same globally, you know, that, that we need to start somewhere. And let’s start with, you know, the visual management, let’s start with the daily, the daily management review, let’s get a core group of people who are already talking about where they’re at. Right? Unless it’s, you know, this is not working very well. But typically, people are actually already getting together in some capacity to talk, let’s have a board that matches their conversation and habit visual, you know, and not necessarily the beginning, do it, do a digital, or do it printed charts. Let’s get a whiteboard marker, or red or green whiteboard marker. And let’s, let’s annotate that chart, you know, in real time, while we’re talking to the team, and that is so very powerful. And there’s actually, there’s actually a principle called the power of the pen. And the power of the pen is really where people annotate the chart, and they own it, they own what the result is, and then the rest of the people in the forum, then can support that that person in that department to achieve the result.


Patrick Adams  17:50

I love that. Such a great example. Would you say, Paul, that those two you mentioned visual management and daily management? Would you say that those are the biggest drivers? For an organization to adopt lean? Would you say there are other drivers that should be included in that list? Or what what would your in your experience? What would you think?


Paul Deane  18:10

So I think, I think I think the Patrick, I think the tools like the daily stand ups is a very important tool, I think organizations going to lean, believing that they can get a financial perhaps that one of the first drivers is a driver to introduce Lean is financial control or financial improvement. I think the other one is, is control over quality and service. And I think organizations, you know, six sigma is really predicated on, on driving out variation. And then we’ve got lean the Lean Six Sigma version, which is actually creating more tools, and making it making it simple, which I love that. But I think they’re the drivers are some of the drivers that go in for launching organizations to go into lean. Sure. But you know, one of the things that I would say, and I’ve done this in a number of organizations, and I coached this in, in LinkedIn, and also the connections I’ve made within Australia, the let’s start with the daily stand up, you know, and in, you know, it’s so powerful. And then what happens I, I’ve found a number of times, what happens is, you get the financial control, or you get the financial improvement, you get the consistency in quality and service, because you’re actually doing something as opposed to thinking about it. And then more people involved once again, engaging everyone in a daily stand up meeting. It’s not the plant manager or it’s not the operations manager that’s driving it. He or she might be actually facilitating the meeting. But it’s a team. Right, you know, and, and we know you know, it’s once against a cliche that people are a river important asset. But one of the things that happens and I think in a daily standup, if it’s done reasonably well is people get the opportunity to contribute. So I’m I’m, I can have a voice in my team on the factory floor. And if we’re talking about, for example, a manufacturing environment, I can have a voice because I know the people I work with. And I know the task, put me in a room with people that are different leaders from other departments. But I still, I still have a voice, but I can’t use that voice. So let’s create an environment where people can contribute. So if someone’s coloring in a chart, and it’s red, then everybody in the room has the opportunity to support that person to make it green. Okay, so what’s the action you’re gonna do? Do you know what the issue is, maybe just drive an action, maybe even have an action before you come to the meeting, you know, pretty powerful stuff, right? And you don’t know what the action is tested, predict, test, verify, go off and try something, go off and do a root cause analysis. But but really, really try something. And I think that’s where the environment can really then help the senior leaders get the return on the investment that they’re looking for.


Patrick Adams  21:18

Absolutely. And I would say that daily standup is so powerful in helping to eliminate the challenge of miscommunication or no communication, which is a large challenge that I find in in organizations where there’s just just a massive communication breakdown happening. And just that one, that one short daily standup meeting, every day, can just really transform the way that that, you know, communication is happening within within the organization, there’s so many ways that you can build on that, obviously, with tier one, tier two, tier three. And, you know, the some of the daily management items that you talked about, Abby, obviously can build off of that. So definitely a huge benefit for organizations that are struggling with that, you know, that that miscommunication challenge, what are some of the other challenges that you see in organizations? When, you know, when they’re embarking on their Lean journey?


Paul Deane  22:19

You know, I mentioned, I mentioned the challenge of where, where do we start? You know, that’s, that’s kind of a given? I think, I think one of the things that I see a challenge is that, you know, if we get back to the financial improvement, I think a lot of CFOs. And this is this is, there’s nothing wrong with this. A lot of CFOs want all, not just CFOs, but you know, senior leaders and organizations, they want the financial improvement, you know, lean lean, doesn’t need to cost a lot, right? I’ll talk about that in a sec, because I’m very passionate about that. It’s a very recent conversation, but lean doesn’t have to cost a lot. But you know, what it costs has to be recouped in return on investment, or the return on energy. And also, so I think that we need to have a mechanism where we actually create improvement financial improvements, as part of the system. And, you know, I, I know, a lot of Lean consultants, and, and a lot of clever guys far more clever than me. And, and they do promise to organizations that you’ll get a, you know, five to six fold return on the work that they’re going to do. And that’s obviously, that’s, that’s from experience. Right. Right. So with the experience that they’ve they’ve created, they’ve, that they can, I guess almost promise that. But I think we need to create a system where it becomes part of the organization, and not a not a bolt on. So sometimes I’ve seen organizations want to get the return. But that return is, you know, perhaps with the five or six, investment, five or six times investment, the return is very quickly achieved, but it’s the pipeline. So we need a pipeline. This, you know, I believe we need a mechanism to create that pipeline for the future. Now, we may not achieve a sugar hit to start with, but eventually we get the program to deliver the outcome. And the really the only way to get an ongoing pipeline of financial improvement, once again, is to engage everyone you know, so the it’s kind of all it all weaves together. But one of the challenges with particularly with those who know lean or old coaching lean into an organization it’s about at delivering balance between that sugar hit, and, and an ongoing pipeline. And you know, and I’m sure Patrick, you do this as well, that you eventually want the client to be self sufficient, you want to create a system where, and not because you don’t need the money, but because that’s the joy of business transformation is the light bulb comes on, and they get it. So interesting, I find that, you know, lean consultants want to make the organization self sufficient. And the only way to make it self sufficient is continuing to drive that financial improvement. And then along the way, you would get the consistency in quality and service, because the variation that’s causing you to leak cash, or, or, you know, you have to drop prices in order to retain customers, all that stuff that’s leaking out the bucket can be controlled by systems and practices that are gonna give you improvement. And then that’s when you tighten up on your control. I’m not necessarily suggesting that, you know, you, you have a huge step change. You can control your, your processes, but if you can control the processes, remove the variation, create a platform, then the next step is okay, we’re currently doing this level. It’s not sustainable, we need to move at a higher level. But now we’ve standardized that now we’ve taken the variation out, what can we do to go to the next level?


Patrick Adams  26:35

Yeah, I love that. And you mentioned a little bit earlier about Lean not being not needing to be expensive, right? We say creativity before capital. Any any, can you expand on that just a little bit to Paul?


Paul Deane  26:50

Yeah, so poetry, one of the things that, that I’ve been talking about recently, within my sphere is that lien can be considered a bolt on, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s almost like a tool, that, or a toolkit that we bring in to fix a problem. And it becomes a bolt on, and I don’t think business transformation, using Lean is gonna be successful. If we have the mindset of a bolt on, I think we need to embed it in the organization. And one organization I worked for, did a really shuffle of the values, the core values, the things that that are the heart and soul of the business. And I think values are very important. So the heart of the business, the core values, let’s create a core value of improving every day. And that was so powerful, because what that did, that was at the core of the heart and soul of the organization, not just the business, but the people. And then so the people thought, initially that people thought, well, this is getting a lot of airplay. So improvement must be very important. And, and I think if we could, and I’ve developed, as I said, I’ve started develop this conversation with, you know, a few people, if we can change the or modify the core values to include that mindset of of improvement, then we go a long way to actually sustaining the improvement, and removing that mindset that it’s a bolt on, because if it’s a bolt on, do we use it today? Do we attend the daily meeting today? Do we do we worry about that project that the make project on time? Do we worry about this? Sop? You know, if if we kind of worry about those things when we need to? It’s about them?


Patrick Adams  28:51

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s it’s not sustainable, long term. You know, it’s it might get some pockets of good things happening, but it’s definitely not something that would be sustainable long term. I love the idea of of embedding it into your core values, in how much does it cost for someone to do that? Is it not very expensive, right? It not takes a lot of work to, to really build that into the culture and really make it you know, embedded into the organization. But it doesn’t cost anything,


Paul Deane  29:24

right. Yeah, well, I, one of the things that I’ve been talking about recently is it doesn’t cost a lot. But it takes a lot to do. Because the core value, we’ve got to live and breathe our core values right in an organization. And one of the one of those groups of people that need to live and breathe it are the people that that shaped the organization, the senior leaders, so the senior leaders need to be on board with the values. I mean, obviously that’s a given right, so on I’m not saying that, you know, they can do what they want, but I think they need to be on board with the values. So if the value includes improving every day, or, or whatever, some kind of improvement mindset, senior leaders need to be not just by voice, but by action, you know, so. And I think that’s the only way it’s gonna work, right is that we communicate from the heart, because I really think lean, lean doesn’t live in the mind. Lean lives in the heart. You know, we’ve got to be passionate, we’ve got to be, you know, we’ve got to put our heart and soul into it. You know, this is where it’s a lifeblood, which is quite challenging, challenging thought it could be the lifeblood of the organization, because if we’re not improving, then we’re actually going backwards, right? You know, if we, if we think that we’re quite, we’re quite happy at the moment, you know, we’re getting a very high score, we’re hitting our targets. If we, if we’re happy where we’re at, then we’re actually going backwards, we need to be constantly thinking, Where do we want to take this organization? And not just at the macro level? But at the micro level? Where do we want to take? Where do I want to take my team? I’ve got five people on a production line, as a as a frontline leader. Where do I want to take my team, both corporately and individually, to to be better, right now, and I want to sell, I want to sell into the individuals, because I want the individuals be the best people they can be. But I want my team to be the best team they can be. You know, and does that mean that I’m in charge, or someone’s responsible, but the whole servant, servant leadership thing, so I’m going to put my people forward, I’m going to look after my people to make sure that my people can be the best, you know. So this is where I think Lean is the heart and soul of an organization. And once again, not not a bolt on, yeah.


Patrick Adams  32:05

Now for those organizations that have embedded lean into their organization where they’ve, they have made lean that the heart and soul that they’re continuously improving every single day, all the time, what is the biggest win that you see those organizations achieving, you know, having implemented effective and, and properly, you know, not as a bolt on, but really embedded it into the organization?


Paul Deane  32:32

The way you think, I mean, naturally, you’d think that there’s going to be all the, all the metrics are going to improve, okay. But I think the measure of a real successful I don’t know whether I’ve heard this or whether I’ve just kind of thought of myself, but you know, we expect lean to give us the improvement in the matrix. You know, if we, if we don’t get any proven and metrics, then you know, maybe sometimes lean will fall over. But I really think the success of a lean system is really about the internal propagation of that system. So I’ll give you an example. There’s a government organization that in in, in Melbourne, that is such a state government organization, and I just, I just am puzzled. And it’s a good thing that I am puzzled at the way they do things they’ve got. They’ve been on their Lean journey. So this is a government organization. And sometimes government organizations can be, you know, very bureaucratic, very political, but this particular organization has got, it’s been on the Lean journey for now, nearly three years. They’ve got they’ve got a number of staff are about 20 25,000 people. And they’ve amalgamated this particular government department that amalgamated other service departments. So it’s, it’s quite a large beast. But out of the 25,000 people, three years into it, they have 500, or actually, I think it’s now nearly 550. Yellow belts. Right. But okay, that’s, that’s exciting. But one of the great things is they have lunchtime sessions, independently run by the yellow belt, or the Green Belt, project managers, organized by the company, not organized by the leadership. But they’ve had this self propagating program, where people are innocent, it’s not new. And then also organizations do it, but this particular organization has lunchtime, get togethers with people who are interested in knowing this person did a Greenbelt project in such and such way and obviously it’s, you know, more server service related. Sure, and they have overprescribed, constantly over subscribe, yellow belt applicants for the ongoing and there’s one particular organization doing doing the yellow belt training you Who could run all their business? Doing ILA belts for this one particular government department? You know, if you imagine, in three years 550, yellow belts, that’s quite a sizable workload. Yeah. But it’s just the proper direction. So I think the success of lean, obviously, is the matrix, you know, but I think the success of Lean is really then the propagation, internal propagation of the system. So people actually adopting it, before they actually been told they should adopt it. So there’s almost, I hate to say there’s almost like a poor, that there’s a hunger or B stuff, because I’ve seen it work. I don’t know much about it. But I’ve seen it work. And I want to do it in my in my department. Right? I see


Patrick Adams  35:45

that, even with the executive level leaders, when they start seeing, you know, the excitement levels and things they they’re, they’re asking how to when do we get that over here? How do I, you know, get things started on my side of things? So, no, that’s so true. What about buy in, Paul? I mean, that sounds like for that exact example, the buy in is huge. I mean, the people are obviously bought in, they love it. They’re excited about it, they’re showing up for, you know, to hear all the amazing things that are happening in the stories in the impact. I mean, how do you get that level of buy in from, you know, from people throughout the organization?


Paul Deane  36:24

Well, very good question, Petra. But I think I think it comes down to a number of things. But the first thing I think of is communication. I think clear, and simple communication is very important. Obviously, you know, if we’re going to embark upon a lean, or Lean journey or business transformation, we need to have your strategy implementation plan, you know, all the mechanics are very important. But I think CLI or simple communication is very powerful. Once again, that speaks to engaging everyone. So when we want to engage people, we want to make sure that people understand the simplicity of the system that we’re going to do and, and the benefits. And not Not, not necessarily, after we’ve discovered we’ve not communicated, but from the very beginning. So you know, and all this really weaves together, we talk about improvement being part one of our core core values, then we can start the talk about how does this look, you know, it’s going to strengthen, it’s going to strengthen the organization, by strengthening the individuals, you know, and lean, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a concept that lean actually is, you know, used to cut costs and people lose their jobs. Lean, I’ve always said, lean is about improving the matrix, and redeploying the people, you know, and getting the best out of people, none of our Toyota did, you know, Toyota got the best out of people, not by working them harder, by working smarter. So I think communication is very important. I mean, it’s a very important business tool. But in terms of lean, where a lot of people don’t know, necessarily, how do we get to the outcome? I think that’s where we need to be, you know, a clear and simple communication. Right.


Patrick Adams  38:21

And in, I would say, I would also add practical, and I’ll circle back around to your three core pillars. Right. Tell us that last core pillar about keeping it practical. Tell us a little bit more about that, and how that ties in with buy in?


Paul Deane  38:39

Yeah, so I think I think the core pillars just very quickly, the core pillars, and making it simple. And I think there’s a logic step, I tried to be quite logical sometimes. So there’s a there’s a logical step, there’s make it simple. And then keep it practical. And then the result is part of the engagement. So the middle pillar is or the middle foundational practices is keep it practical. And I don’t think this just applies to a manufacturing industry, but it could be quite across a lot of different industries, industries. So we, I don’t think this is any different globally, but within Australia, we have a lot of a lot of people who perhaps English is their second language, right? So if we make it to academic, we will get an offer. We get two types of people, we get people who nod yes, I understand it, but they don’t really understand it, or people who don’t understand it and don’t want to get involved. So by keeping by keeping it practical, keeping it hands on making it accessible. So part of the practicality is is making it accessible, having the having a visual board in a corridor, you know, obviously we’ve got to be safe. So in a manufacturing environment, you don’t want to have it in an unsafe zone, right but let’s have the meeting. Board poured in full view of everyone else make it accessible. So even if you’re not in that team, you can actually walk past and see, see what’s happening. You know, there’s a, there’s a line of thought about the war room, you know, the buyer and but you know, which I think it has the player has its place, but we need to make everything we do accessible, we need to have it open to everyone, it can’t be a exclusive club. And part of keeping it practical is is including people is making sure that we have inclusivity at the heart of it. So whether whether you’re in a manufacturing environment or service environment, I really think that we need to have something more hands on, you know, we need to color the charts, we need to, you know, fire this, I think the reason why five s is so powerful as a fundamental system is it’s practical, you know, we can, we can move things around, we can change our environment, I have the authority under this activity, where I can change my, my environment, and I know Petra, you’ve used a few examples where, you know, you have to fill out this huge long list or this form to get approved to move your desk, 90 degrees. Right, you know, and I love that I love that story, right? Because I’ve been there done that, right? So I’ve seen that. And I think well, you know, if the person is doing a task at that workstation, sure, surely we need to make it make link practical enough that that person can move things. And you know, you’ve had, you know, Paul Akers, for example, and that kind of stuff is just moving stuff to be more effective, is so powerful. Now, if it’s not the right position, okay, let’s move it again. Or let’s, let’s test it, but that’s where I think we need to keep it practical. And we, and perhaps, maybe we need to change the way we think. And, and not so much the philosophy of it, or make it academic, we need to make it hands on. And, and, and have it accessible to people. Yeah.


Patrick Adams  42:20

And that’s what makes it real and impactful for people because they, they, they can, like you said, it’s the academic side of it pushes people away, when when it’s more practical and hands on and it makes it just makes more sense to them, you know, then there’s an, there’s an appetite for it, and they they really they want it then versus the academic side is kind of like, you know, this is over my head or too much or whatever. So,


Paul Deane  42:47

yeah. And I and I love, I’ve seen it a few times, and I love where not just external consultants, but you know, internal lean people, I love it when they changed the way that it’s communicated to make it, you know, easily more understood. So, you know, there’s a, it’s like contextualizing so we, we’ve got this concept. And in order to embed it in our organization, we need to change the way that we communicate it to make it more practical. And, and I was at an organization and we did the Hoshin, Kanri thing, right, so we did objective setting, but we didn’t call it that, what we call that was the elephant in the room. So we have, and this is one of the late one of the senior leaders. And this is quite powerful, very simple, right, but quite powerful. That he said, his common narrative was, well, we should be targeting the elephant in the room, but we can’t target the elephant all at once. You know, we need to go one spoonful at a time, you know, the old saying, Yeah, and so when we did the objective setting, we did it around an elephant. So this was an A zero picture of an elephant, large style elephant. And people would then come to the elephant with their improvement ideas that could then be conceptualized to projects to improve the pipeline for the following year. And and I just love when organizations and it’s not dumbing it down, right that I hate that saying, but it’s really about making it, you know, making it simple enough that people can contribute to it. That’s right. So people coming to an elephant poster, and I’m posting notes that I’m going to, I’m going to eat away to this elephant one spoonful at a time and my spoonful Is this your little yellow post it note,


Patrick Adams  44:45

right. Love it. That’s such a great visual. I might have to use that now. Welcome, Paul. If anybody wants to get a hold of you outside of LinkedIn, how would they how would they get a hold of you and if they had questions, or anything at all, how they find you?


Paul Deane  45:04

Yeah, Patrick, I think you’ve direct message me on LinkedIn works really well. Okay. I do get my messages very quickly. So, yeah, direct message me on LinkedIn. And I’m happy to help. I do have a YouTube channel as well, where I put some stuff that I’ve created. Once again, it’s it’s making it simple, you know, could be practical and engaging everyone. So yeah, so the tagline, there will be a YouTube channel link. So, yeah, so have a look at that. And I’m happy


Patrick Adams  45:32

to help perfect and will actually take that link and put it in the show notes. So if anyone’s interested to take a look at Paul’s YouTube channel, we’ll pop that right into the show notes. So, Paul, it’s been great to have you on I hate to close up. But man, I will have to have you on again. And you know, maybe dive into those three pillars a little bit further. I’d love to hear some more stories about you know, how those are working down under. So thank you again for being on the show. Paul. It’s it’s been great to have you on.


Paul Deane  46:02

Yeah, certainly. My pleasure.


Patrick Adams  46:04

Thank you. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the lien 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.

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.


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