Improve Everything With Katie Labedz

Improve Everything With Katie Labedz

by Patrick Adams | Apr 11, 2023

In this episode, Katie Labedz and I discuss trends and ways to become successful in terms of a person’s CI journey as well as improving everything in every process.

What You’ll Learn:

  1. Tell us about your new book “How to Improve Absolutely Every Process”
  2. What trends are you seeing in the CI space?
  3. Why are people hesitant to start or restart their CI journey?
  4. Why do most CI journeys fail?
  5. How can people set themselves up for success in their CI journey and where to start?

About the Guest:

Katie Labedz is the President of Learning to Lean, LLC.  She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Project Management Professional. She has been practicing Lean, Six Sigma and Project Management concepts for over 20 years. She has a diverse background that includes manufacturing, materials, supply chain, HR and IT in the automotive and electronic industries. Katie makes it her professional goal to expose the genius in all of her students.  She has also authored two books: “How to Improve Absolutely Anything-Continuous Improvement in Your Home, Office and Family Life” and “How to Improve Absolutely Every Process-Kaizen for process improvement and fun.”


Click here for more information on Katie Labedz

Click here for Katie’s New Book

Click here for the Kaizen “Go” Bundle

Click here for The Lean Solutions Summit 


Patrick Adams  00:00

Hello and welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. My name is Patrick Adams and my guest today is Katie Labedz. Katie is actually returning. She is one of our former episode interviewees, and we appreciate having you back. Katie loved our conversation that we had back in season one. We are now in season two and Katie is back we’re going to talk about her new book. But just for those of you that did not hear the first episode with Katie, Katie is the president of learning to lean LLC She is a certified Lean Six Sigma, Master Black Belt and Project Management Professional. She’s been practicing Lean Six Sigma and project management concepts for over 20 years. She has a diverse background that includes manufacturing, materials, supply chain, HR and IT in the automotive and electronic industries. Katie makes her professional goal to expose the genius and all of her students. I love that. Katie, welcome back to the show. 


Katie Labedz  01:30

Thanks, Patrick. I appreciate being welcome back. Thank you so much.


Patrick Adams  01:33

Absolutely. You know, I love love having you on the show loved our conversation that we had last season. And you’ve actually authored two books. So the first one was how to improve absolutely anything continuous improvement in your home office and family life. And then your new book, How to Improve absolutely every process Kaizen for process improvement and fun. So I’m excited to chat a little bit more in depth about you know, we I think we talked a lot about your last book. Last time we had you on the show. So this time, I want to talk specifically about your new book, How to Improve absolutely every process. So this this is I love the title, by the way, it’s great. Thank you so much. Yeah, so tell tell our listeners, just a little bit about your book. I mean, what was the motivation behind it? You know, what’s it about? You know, just fill us in?


Katie Labedz  02:27

Absolutely. So thank you so much for for asking. As you mentioned, my new book is all about Kaizen events and how we can use Kaizen events for making revolutionary change within organizations, and how we can also make them fun. So from determining whether or not you actually need an event, through creating your measurable problem statement, determining how long your event should be inviting guests, all the logistics in the agenda and the activities. That’s what the book really talks about. And it likens it to to a party. So if you are planning a party, how would you plan it? And that’s what the book really talks about. It demonstrates how we can bring these wonderful concepts to anywhere in any organization across any industry.


Patrick Adams  03:21

Very nice. Well, we run I’m been involved in hundreds of kaizen events, I can’t even count how many but you know, they’re always a blast. I love a good kaizen event. And so let’s talk about the process. I mean, you mentioned problem statements, right? So, you know, for us, we’d love to whenever we do a Kaizen event, we normally kind of charter that out, put some structure behind it ahead of time, which includes putting together a good problem statement. But I mean, what what for you what makes a good problem statement, when you’re going into a Kaizen event?


Katie Labedz  03:56

Absolutely measurable, it has to be a measurable problem statement, as you know, Patrick, and that, to see our professionals is very obvious. But to somebody that maybe has not had that experience before, that can sometimes be challenging. And we have a tendency to hear that we don’t have the data for that. And it’s very rare that I would encounter an organization that really doesn’t have the data. I’ve recently have encountered an organization that may not have had as much data as we would have liked. And you know, we can work through that. But it’s really just about having that measurable problem statement. I always tell folks, it’s like, if you’re gonna go on a weight loss journey, right, you have to step on that scale to begin with. And that’s what we need for our measurable problem statement. As you know, we need to know what it looks like now, so that when we make changes through our events, we know if we’ve made things better or worse, because sometimes we can make them worse.


Patrick Adams  04:56

Yes, absolutely. I love that you use the example of of weight loss, because I think that’s a really great example when you think about developing measurable, you know, transformation metrics. Because, like I can say to I can say, well, I really want to lose weight, and or I guess, or I really want to be healthy, or, you know, maybe that’s your statement, I really want to be healthy. Well, what does that mean, though? And how do you know that the decisions you’re making are actually making you healthier? Or driving you in the right direction? And how do you know when you’ve arrived? If, if you have a goal in mind, you know, or an end goal to be the healthiest person you can be what you know, what is that? Exactly? How do we know that we’re actually, you know, moving in the right direction? So by by giving yourself like you said, you have to step on that scale? And you say, okay, you know, I was 180 pounds, when I started, and maybe the first thing I did was I incorporated a new diet, you know, and then you can measure that, you know, week after week to see if that new diet is actually causing you to lose weight or gain weight potentially, right?


Katie Labedz  06:04

Absolutely. And, and I’ve been through that journey myself, and I love going to a doctor that appreciates data. And that you can really be able to not just use the scale for your measurements, right? You look at your whole measurement system, and you say, Okay, we look at the scale, we look at blood pressure, we look at blood sugar, and hormones and all these sorts of things that collectively will influence that just like your process. 


Patrick Adams  06:32

Yes, absolutely. And again, then then, you know, the decisions that you’re making, are they bringing you in the right direction? Or do you have to redirect or do different things right to ensure that the metrics that you’ve put in place are actually showing you the results that you that you’re trying to see. So I like that. Another thing that you mentioned was the the the length of time for a Kaizen event. So what would be your recommendation for determining you know, the the length of time of a Kaizen event?


Katie Labedz  07:03

Sure, as I mentioned, in my book, there’s no magic formula. Like when we talk about how people learn, right? We have visual learners who have kinesthetic learners. And then we have people that learn by formulas. And in my life experience, and probably with yours, too, there’s not a formula that you can say that this plus this equals this many days, it’s really all starts with, besides your measurable problem statement, understanding what the scope of this is, so how wide Are you going with your scope? Or how succinct are you with yourself, and it’s really being able to go from there. I’ve seen Kaizen events that I’ve done in two to three days, and I’ve seen events that go much longer than that to so it really does depend. It depends on schedules too, I prefer that it is a Kaizen event that is, you know, obviously, one day after another. There, there’s differences in everybody’s industry and challenges that we face. So we have to work through all of those other things that are coming into play to one of the things that we’ve been facing recently is, obviously organizations that have multiple shifts, and how do we accommodate everybody in a Kaizen event, when you have three shifts within your organization, so trying to find that that sweet spot, and making sure that we’re setting everybody up for success, and, of course, having the process owner in there is is so important, too. And then for some organizations, they are seasonal. We have one clients that have multiple divisions, and they’re very seasonal. They support many schools in many institutions. So this time of year, things start to really ramp up for them. So this is not a good time of the year for them to do a Kaizen event. We would then focus in the fall when things start to slow back down a little bit.


Patrick Adams  08:55

Yeah, that’s a good point for sure. And you mentioned having the the process owner in the event itself, where does where what what role does leadership play in a good kaizen event?


Katie Labedz  09:07

You know, that’s an interesting question. First of all, we need to have leadership buy in, obviously, for the event. So they need to not just talk the talk, but they have to walk the walk to and every event, we conclude with our report out, and we have a list of what we need from you to be successful. And I can say without a doubt, 100% of my events, say support, we need support from leadership, because it’s easy for all of us to go back to the way we’ve always done it. We need leadership to be able to say, You know what, we’re just going to try this change and see how it works. And don’t give up right and everybody always says you don’t want to give up right before the good thing is supposed to happen. So we need that type of support. In some organizations, the leaders actually will participate in the event. In other organizations, they do not and it depends on the culture of the organism. sation, if there is a culture in which leadership, it has a dominating factor over the attendees, and people feel uncomfortable speaking freely in front of them, then we generally will not have a leadership team in there. And we have to work through all of that. Because if that leader is the only one that is responsible for that process, we do have to figure out, what’s the best way for us to be able to hold that is, but I’ve seen fantastic sessions where I had to brought two operations managers from a facility participate. And they were able to do that successfully. And everybody felt very open and very relaxed in that situation. So you just have to really understand the culture of the organization.


Patrick Adams  10:48

Absolutely. And so one last question about Kaizen events, you know, ties to your book, How to Improve absolutely every process. What would you say if you could say one thing, or maybe two, two things that would just cause a Kaizen event to be a complete failure? Pick, you know, one or two things that you would say, you know, if this happens, or if you don’t do this, then you might as well just not even show up? Because your kaizen event is not going to be successful? What would those one or two things be?


Katie Labedz  11:23

Sure, absolutely. Kaizen events that are not successful, you don’t have a steady group of people that are in any event, I get a lot of questions. And I’m sure you do, too. And our listeners do too, too. I have to be president for the entire event. Yes, when we talk about team dynamics, we go through those stages, as everyone knows, forming, storming, norming performing and a journey. And people don’t realize that every time the people in the room change, the team will slide back on that scale, and you have to go through it all over again. Now, some teams have been with they can get all the way to performing in 20 minutes, I’ve also seen teams that have taken eight hours, and they’re still not there. And in that particular situation, it was because the people in the room continued to change. We had people coming in and out of the room all the time, oh, I have a meeting at 10 o’clock, and they leave to go to that meeting, and then come back. So I’m, I have some Kaizen rules of the road. And, you know, I always make sure that people understand we will take breaks, you will have a chance to check your email, you know, we will have time for lunch. And we have to say as a cohesive team. And it’s interesting, you know, as you mature in your journey, and you’re able to now, take a step back and watch what’s happening when those team members change. And it really solidifies the fact that you have to have that same team all the time, you can’t have people popping in and out. And the other aspect for a Kaizen event, if you don’t have that leadership support, if you are a team on an island, and you haven’t really vetted this through, or you are trying for some reason you are trying to change the process for somebody else, and you don’t involve them in the Kaizen event. That is your recipe for disaster. Now, for us as facilitators and leaders, we ask all the questions, we do everything we possibly can. But sometimes we get into a situation where we’re asking these questions and saying, Well, you know, what about this? And what about that? And they’re like, oh, that’s somebody else’s process, and you inadvertently are impacting them.


Patrick Adams  13:32

Yes, powerful that those are definitely some really, really great points. And I appreciate you bringing those up. One other point that I want to make briefly is that you because I want to move into some discussions around continuous improvement journeys. And you know, as a methodology, you know, applying lean and continuous improvement to an organization. Kaizen events are super important, but they cannot be the only way that you are working through your journey. There has to be other parts of becoming a learning culture, in addition to a good kaizen event, good Kaizen events are a way to, you know, take improvements and rapidly improve things in a very small amount of time. But again, it’s not those aren’t necessarily going to change the culture on their own. Would you agree with that?


Katie Labedz  14:24

I absolutely agree with that. It’s one piece of your support structure for continuous improvement in an organization. And I always tell people, you know, is you do too, it’s a journey. Right? So, in there’s certain points that if you were to lay this out on a timeline, and say we’re going to do a continuous improvement journey, Kaizen would not be number one. It would not be step number one, at least not in my process and not in yours either, I’m sure. So it is part of the journey and it’s a maturity situation too. It’s it’s not it’s it’s how you are maturing within your continuous improvement journey and understanding the why behind it understanding or recognizing some of the terms that we’re using. And, you know, there’s just like, we have marketing campaigns for our own business, there’s a marketing campaign that happens if you’re really going to go through with this continuous improvement journey, and make it stick within your organization. The Kaizen ins are just icing on the cake.


Patrick Adams  15:24

Absolutely. So, you know, we kind of talked about the CI or CI journey. And I’m curious to hear what you’re seeing in the CI space, because a lot has changed. Since you know, COVID. And now we got this hybrid work, work from you know, some people are working from home, some people are back in the office, and you know, people are, are starting to get back to, to the way things used to be. And I’m just wondering, what do you see that’s been changing in the CI space? Or What trends are you seeing in the CI space?


Katie Labedz  15:56

Sure, I am seeing more focus on emotional intelligence. Well, I am also an emotional intelligence Coach. And this is really interesting to see how this is working. So we’re taking a different look at the reactions that people have when we’re introducing change, based on where they are on the EQ scale, and then continuing to develop those that to bring them to a higher level of EQ. If you have somebody on your team that is a lower level of EQ than the rest of them, they’re probably going to be the ones that are going to say, No, I don’t want this change. No, they’re very resistant. I like the way we’ve always done it, that’ll never work. And that’s all low EQ type of thinking. So that is becoming more and more to the forefront during my discussions about continuous improvement with organizations.


Patrick Adams  16:48

So So tell me more about what what you’re seeing at different levels of the organization with emotional intelligence. And, you know, what’s different from what it used to be versus you know, what’s happening today?


Katie Labedz  17:00

Sure. And I think before there was a greater focus, not necessarily seeing emotional intelligence, but people would do Korn Ferry, people would do Myers Briggs and disc and all that. And that helps us to understand where we are from a personality standpoint. But emotional intelligence, I think takes just a different slice of that. And I can’t tell you that, because you’re a leader in an organization, you have IQ, because they don’t all they really don’t. And so that’s really interesting to be able to see that in it. It can raise its head while you’re doing an event, or while you’re doing training, or just having those discussions where you will hear people within organizations say, Oh, we tried that seven years ago, or we failed the last time we did that. And you know, what’s it, what will make it different this time. So it’s very interesting, we can’t make an assumption that somebody that is high EQ as a leader, and vice versa. Also, the fact I think that everybody is surprised at is that EQ is a muscle, right. And we can work in our focus normally, as hey, we bring somebody that’s lower on the EQ scale higher. But we also have to remember that if you are surrounded by low EQ folks, that you could possibly slide down the scale if you’re not conscious and aware of it. So go from high EQ to low EQ, if you continue to surround yourself with folks that are lower on the EQ scale, and you’re not confident or strong enough to be able to keep yourself elevated.


Patrick Adams  18:40

So what are some things that people can do to keep themselves at the the level that they’re at? Specifically,


Katie Labedz  18:49

there’s, there are definitely techniques that you can do in regards to just reminding yourself, you know, what is what is the positive, trying to look for the positive and everything like we’ve always been taught, right? It’s trying to make sure that you understand specifically that you’re in control of your emotions, and your emotions can influence those around you. So one of the examples we talk about in class is, let’s say that we’re working together and our boss Patrick told us something that we have to give to our teams, you and I might not be completely bought into it. Our teams are going to see right through that. So we need to be able to take time to ask questions with our leader, and to be able to find out you know, what information we really need to feel comfortable with that before we then present it on to our team. If you present onto your team that either number one you don’t agree with it, or number two, you don’t understand it. They’re going to see right through and that’s going to bring you a little bit down on that EQ skill.


Patrick Adams  19:55

Sure, sure. Yeah, that makes sense. And I can see where that would definitely be valid. able to understand where where everyone’s at and be cognizant of the benefits of you know, of that those different levels. And, you know, the diversification of the team and things like that. And you mentioned a little bit earlier about, you know, also that being a valuable part of, you know, be being consistent on your CI journey and not having to stop and then and never restart, or I think that’s one of the things that I see with a lot of organizations where they, I think, they see maybe CI as a program, and they start it, and they’re like, Okay, this didn’t work out the way I thought that, you know, lean, lean doesn’t work, let’s get rid of it and go to something different. You know, and I have seen a lot of organizations that do that. And that’s the worst thing that can happen is for you to get people excited about the idea of continuous improvement in developing a learning culture, and then just, you know, basically turn from that and go a different direction. Those organizations that are successful in their CI journeys are the ones that keep, you know, pushing forward. And when things don’t work out exactly the way that they expected. They look at that and go, Okay, what did we learn from that? Now, let’s adjust and let’s continue forward. Ci is not a program. It’s a it’s a journey. It’s a way it’s a new way of doing business. And you know, it’s developing a new culture. And so the question that I have for you, Katie is, you know, why are people hesitant to either start or like, restart? If they did have they roll things out? And you know, then they’re kind of hesitant to restart because things didn’t work out the way they completely expected? You know, what, why do you think people are hesitant to do those things?


Katie Labedz  21:48

I think that a lot of it comes from obviously, when I work with organizations, I asked them if they have ghosts, and I’m not talking about Casper, the Friendly Ghost, I’m talking about ghosts of people past or experience past. And, you know, it’s the adage of, oh, that didn’t succeed, you know, so and so try that was, that person hasn’t worked in your organization in 10 years. And it’s their ghost that’s there. Right? So it’s going back and looking and saying, just like you said, it’s PDCA. looking and seeing, where did we stop, so many people go through PDCA, as we both know, and they get to the check step. And they freeze, they are just frozen in fear, because what they have implemented didn’t work or didn’t solve the problem or made things worse. So they’re frozen. And that’s where their journey ends, because they don’t know how to go back through the cycle, again, to work to continuous improvement. I have also seen that there are some major changes in organizations as generations start to move through. And this isn’t a Gen X Gen Z conversation or millennial conversation. That is this is reality, as we have some people in organizations that are now moving towards retirement, and maybe they were or they were not the people that were supportive of having a culture of continuous improvement. Because if it wasn’t broke, don’t fix it. So as we see, and I’ve seen this in organizations, as those people move on to something different, then we’re reinvigorating those continuous improvement and lean journeys within organizations, and with more of an open mind for change and realization that, you know, this is this is all about culture. And there’s many organizations that really want their culture to change.


Patrick Adams  23:36

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s so good. And it has to be a culture change. It can’t just be, you know, you know, follow these five steps or apply this, these two tools and you’ll become, you know, ci certified or whatever. It’s got to be a true change in culture. And so, we talked a little bit earlier about Kaizen events specifically, you know, in the failure modes that that may be come with, with Kaizen events. What about CI journeys as a whole? You know, what, why do you why do most CI journeys fail,


Katie Labedz  25:36

lack of support, it’s what it really, in my opinion, what it really comes down to lack of support, they may, there may be pockets in the organization that are really excited about continuous improvement journey, and they’re gonna go ahead and forge ahead, they may go to leadership and say, Hey, we really want to do this. This sounds really great. leadership’s, okay, go right ahead. However, leadership’s really not on board. And at the end of the day, in order to really make sustainable change within your organization, you need bottom up and top down support. So you need to make that sandwich effect. And you need to be able to have that, especially when times are tough. When there are some changes, even if you ask for what we would view as a simple change within an organization. And people don’t want to do that, then they’re going to go to leadership and say, I don’t really want to do that. And here’s why. And if they say, okay, you don’t have to, then you’ve lost, you’ve lost it, we’ve lost the whole thing. And I think also people have a tendency to be, as we all know, reactive instead of proactive, and people wait a very long time before they start or re reinvigorate their CI journey. And we don’t want people to wait to the point of I’ve seen it from an IT perspective, they have a piece of software, there’s gonna go end of life, and all their processes have been supportive of the software. And now they have a major catastrophe on their hands. And let’s try to get to be proactive, and try to see that coming so that we can not just have all this change all at one time. But we can gradually introduce it, it’s much easier when you take it in bite sizes then tend to have guess what tomorrow we are, we have a brand new system, and people will have difficulties with it. We’ve actually seen that here in Wisconsin, we have changed over many of our medical professionals have changed over their systems. And they are very much in a struggle mode. They went from one system to the next in in from a patient perspective in a day. And they have really been struggling and they moved on to a very large major Wisconsin based system. And the hospitals and medical organizations that didn’t use it before are continuing to struggle today, months after their implementation. Wow.


Patrick Adams  28:01

Yeah, that I’m seeing a lot of the same thing as well. One of the things too, that that I was thinking, as you were talking is that there’s probably people that are listening, who maybe leadership is not involved at all, or maybe maybe this is all the CI stuff is brand new to someone who’s listening in there. And they’re wondering, like, how do I get leadership, you know, involvement? Or how do I get the, you know, the buy in, that you’re talking about? Or how do we get it driven from leadership? You know, because there’s a lot of people out there that probably want to start a CI journey. But, you know, I see it and I work a lot of organizations that have these false starts where they people try to roll out lean or CI and without having leadership approval, or, or, or driven anything driven by leadership, and then they have these false starts where then they have to stop and then you know, restart again, how can people avoid that? What are some things that they could do, if they are, you know, maybe a mid level manager, or, you know, maybe even a line leader, someone that’s hearing this and going, Man, I’d really love to be part of this, this CI culture or be able to start to develop the CI culture in our organization. So what would be your suggestions on? How do they start?


Katie Labedz  29:15

Sure. I mean, it’s having open honest and frank conversations, making sure that you know, wherever you are within the organization that you have really fueled yourself with knowledge in regards to what the study means. And sometimes that means contacting somebody like myself or like you, Patrick and saying, How does this really work? What type of engagement is required? A lot of times if we have a situation and I have had that in the past, just as you have, where we leadership may be kind of teetering on that fence. We offer a lean for leaders class, it’s it’s not very long class. It’s it’s a tolerable amount of time, around a half a day. And we bring the leaders in and we talk to them about what this really means for their organ. This nation, what things you’re going to start to hear and talk about successes. One thing that has impacted us from COVID was the ability to really go out and see other people’s successes within their industry. And I’m, I’m trying to encourage everybody and kind of reinvigorate that to be able to say, if you know, of a place that’s doing really well, there’s some great organizations in Michigan and Wisconsin, and around the country, they’re doing really well with Lean, contact them or with somebody like the two of us to be able to get in contact them and say, Hey, can we can we set up a virtual meeting? Or maybe could we actually come to your facility and see how lean and continuous improvement is working for you? I think that speaks volumes. And majority, I haven’t worked with an organization yet that has said no to somebody asking them about their continuous improvement journey. So I think that’s really important, too, that you know, that leadership teams aren’t just hearing it from you, or reading books like yours in mind, they are actually being able to talk to other organizations and have some frank discussions of how did this really work? And, you know, what, everybody’s always worried about, you know, what did it cost you? One thing I would, I would caution people is don’t try to, quote unquote, sell lean and continuous improvement as solely a way to save money in an organization. It’s a very dangerous and very slippery slope to go down money. Eventually, money comes as a benefits, it will come sooner than you think it will. But that cannot be your main focus as we need to do continuous improvement because we need to save money. That’s the answer.


Patrick Adams  31:48

Yeah, no, I’m in complete agreement, for sure. And I love the idea of benchmarking, we do so much benchmarking, it’s always good for especially as an organization who’s you know, just starting to learn about lean or just just beginning on your CI journey to see what other people are involved with, we are part of a lien users group that shares that we do we go to a different places around the West Michigan area and share best practices. So again, if you’re listening in and maybe you know, a quick Google search, or, you know, checking with your local lien Consortium, or whatever it might be attending conferences, you know, that those are ways to build your network and start to learn about different places that are sharing some of the things that they’re doing, I was just thinking another way to within an organization is for you to you know, start with what’s within your control. So even if you, you know, have the the model area idea of model machine, like if you were, you’re managing a small area, and you can start to deploy some of the tools and techniques and just change the culture within your own team. And then hopefully, you know, as you start to realize some of the benefits of that, like you mentioned, you know, cost savings being a result of the work that you’re doing, you know, that could start to catch the eye of, you know, other leaders in the organization that go, Hey, what’s, what’s Katie doing over there, and she’s doing some pretty amazing things look at look at how her her turnover, employee turnover is reduced look at how our cost is reducing, why is that happening? What’s she doing differently than these other areas in the organization? And so, I don’t know if you have any experience with people who’ve who’ve tried to do that. And has that been effective? Or do you have any other ideas about ways that people can, you know, start on their CI journey? without necessarily having leadership approval?


Katie Labedz  33:41

Right? It’s it just like you said, it’s it start within the area in which you have control? It’s over? Right? And I’m a huge proponent also of non start non manufacturing. So start in HR, right? I mean, you just mentioned about employee turnover, that’s a hot topic right now, right in the way the market is becoming strange and things like that. That’s a huge area of opportunity. And typically, I’m the one always raising the flag, my background is actually in it. So I’m always the one raising the flag for start with service centers first and go from there. Those are not typically chosen first, because you can’t necessarily walk by it HR or finance and say, Well, look at that changed. It’s all behind the scenes. But many times you’re going to have a greater return on investment. When you start with an area like HR and the recruiting process. You see online all the time of people have applied and they’ve never heard back or, you know, summer internships, right. We’re just about starting that season, you know, how are we as organizations managing and processing that? How are we from an IT perspective, how are we managing our data and you know, do you have requirements or restrictions like far and defined that you have to accommodate and looking at those organizations. And that’s really where, you know, that’s more of a self contained unit, right? We have some external customers, internal customers, but start someplace like that we had one organization, they were talking about the load on their ERP system. And we were working with finance. And we said to finance, can you finance typically has write their reports and things like that they’re running continuously? And we said, can you go through and see how many reports are automatically being generated a month, and there were around 180 reports, and we were really concerned about system usage and the the ability to be able to keep up with things like this. We said, well, could you take a month? Go through and see how many of those 100 named reports you actually use? And the answer was, three. Wow. So you go back through and say, you know, it was people trying things, let him go in production, and they moved on to a new position, or they’re no longer there. And they’ve retired and they just started to accumulate. And that was part of their quarterly process to go back through and see, you know, what are the reports are running? Do we really need them? Are they adding value?


Patrick Adams  36:15

Powerful? Yeah, and adding value, that last point is the key, right? What what’s adding value and what’s not adding value? I always say that too. When I’m walking through, I just think about, you know, a manufacturing plant and walking through and I see, you know, certain things like a like a shadow board on the wall that is completely not being taken care of. There’s no tools on it, you know, that it’s they have trash cans and things pushed up against it, if it’s not adding value, just because it’s considered a lien tool, but it’s not adding value, get rid of it. Like it really is not doing anything for you to be out there. In fact, it’s probably causing you it’s probably causing people to think, you know, what a waste of money, what a waste of time. Why do you have that out there? Why do we develop that report? If it’s not, and why am I spending all this time filling that report, if it’s not adding value, right? Just get rid of it, eliminate it, make sure that everything that you’re doing is is adding value, you know, for the organization or for the customer? Katie, it’s been great to have you back on again, love the conversations. If someone is interested to get a copy of your book, How to Improve absolutely every process Kaizen for process improvement and find where would they go to find the book,


Katie Labedz  37:32

you can go to Amazon. So both of my books are available on Amazon paper copy, or also Kindle or e reader version. So you can check that out. Also, on my website, learning to lean dot training, there is a link there to shop and one of the things that we’re offering is what we call a Kaizen gold bag. So on that website, you can order that and it has a bag that has everything that you need to run a successful kaizen event.


Patrick Adams  38:02

Nice. I love that I love having a kit to bring along with me that has everything I need to be able to do something like that. So that’s amazing. So we’ll actually put both of those links in the show notes. So if anyone’s interested to reach out to Katie or to get her book, you can find the link right in the show notes. Katie, once again, it’s been great to have you back. We’d love to have you back on again. In the future. Maybe we can talk about a couple specific Kaizen events or you know, dive into you know, a CI journey that you’ve been a part of, and maybe a model area or anything at all, and we can get get together on maybe later next few months.


Katie Labedz  38:38

Sounds great. Thanks so much, Patrick. I enjoyed being here. And it’s an honor to be able to be on your podcast. Thank you

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.