Introduction to Lean Government Reading List

Our friend and training partner Steve Elliott of Constant Improvement Consulting, Inc. has annotated this reading list for both new and experienced Lean enthusiasts. You can find information about his introductory webinar series at https://patternresearch.com/free-webinar-kicks-off-lean-government-webinar-series/

The Change Agent’s Guide to Radical Improvement, by Ken Miller. Copyright 2002 by American Society for Quality. This is a handbook chock full of exercises, templates forms, and step-by-step instructions for how to work your way through implementing Lean in your organization. I was a member of a book club that read this book and met every week to go over one chapter. It brought up some good discussions!

We Don’t Make Widgets, Overcoming the Myths that Keep Government from Radically Improving, by Ken Miller. Copyright 2006, Governing Books. If you are in government, you need to read this book. It’s small: 118 pages; you can read it in a day.

Extreme Government Makeover, Increasing our Capacity to Do More Good, by Ken Miller. Copyright 2011 by Governing Books. I’m a Ken Miller fan; have you noticed? Another good book for government employees.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins. Copyright 2001 by Jim Collins Published by HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. The first line of this book is: “Good is the enemy of Great.” Think about it. Complacency is an insidious, seductive siren. Good enough is good enough. If you believe that, you’ll never be great. This book identifies great companies and the common threads that make them great. Read this book.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, Lessons from the Road, by Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino. Copyright 2006 Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Again, aimed at manufacturing. But it contains some of the best real-life examples of how to overcome problems usually passed over in books trying to champion a new methodology. Things like: Where do you start, how do you overcome resistance, and managing expectations.

Lean for Dummies, by Natalie J. Sayer & Bruce Williams, Copyright 2007 by Wylie Publishing, Inc. Need I say more? Like all the Dummy books it gets right to the meat and lays it all out.

Lean Six Sigma for Service, by Michael L. George. Copyright 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies. At last, a book about Lean that isn’t aimed at manufacturing.

Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones. Copyright 2003, Free Press. This is one of the very first books about Lean I read and one of the few available when I got interested in Lean. A good overview of Lean Thinking – but definitely aimed at manufacturing.

Office Kaizen, by William Lareau, Copyright 2003 American Society for Quality. This is the book that translates manufacturing into service and describes how to identify Lean concepts in an office environment. For example, waste in the office is waiting for a return phone call or a signature, or being given an assignment to create a report that isn’t needed.

Kaizen Event Planner, by Karen Martin and Mike Osterling. Copyright 2007 by Karen Martin and Mike Osterling. 2010 reprint by CRC Press. Charts, graphs, checklists worksheets, and a CD in the back. If you’re going to facilitate a Kaizen event, this will help to make sure you are really prepared.

The Big Book of Six Sigma Training Games, by Chris Chen and Hadley Roth. Copyright 2005 McGraw-Hill. Let’s face it, if you’re going to do any training, you’re going to have to have exercises for your class. Somewhere in here is an exercise that you can use. It will, at least, get your brain cells working on the kinds of things you can do.

Innovator’s Toolkit, Second Edition by David Silverstein, Philip Samuel and Neil DeCarlo. Copyright 2012 by BMGI. Wiley & Sons. Buy this book. Study this book. Memorize this book. Reference it weekly. People will think you’re a great consultant. You don’t have to tell them how you got that way.

Visual Thinking, by Nancy Margulies and Christine Valenza, Copyright 2005 by Nancy Margulies and Christine Valenza. Crown House Publishing. OK, this isn’t strictly a Lean book, but if you ever have to stand up in front of a white board with a marker in your hand this will make you look better. With a bit of practice, you can wow people with your fantastic cartoon capabilities. And, you’ll be able to get simple concepts across to everyone.

Hoshin Handbook, by Pete Babich. Copyright 2005 by Pete Babich. Total Quality Engineering. At some point you will realize that Lean is just one part of the puzzle. If you are going to have an organization with purpose and direction, there has to be a way to get the entire organization aligned and to coordinate everyone’s efforts. This is how it’s done.

Free Webinar Kicks Off Lean Government Webinar Series

When I first heard about the Lean Government movement and how quickly and effectively it could save money, eliminate waste, and improve customer service, I knew we needed to offer practical webinars on the topic. The fact that Steve Elliott, whose work we have admired for decades, is now a leader in Lean Government advocacy in our state, made our choice of trainers very simple. Please join Steve and me July 9th, 2013 for our free introduction to this engaging series on transforming your public sector workplace.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution 1938. No known copyright restrictions. This is an adaptation of the original work. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2551232980/Introduction to LEAN Government PM 130 – REGISTER NOW!

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/796985657

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 from noon to 1:00 pm Mountain Time
[Please adjust for your local time zone.]

Who it’s for: Managers, supervisors, and employees interested in change in government agencies as well as businesses and nonprofits.

What you’ll take away: How to reduce waste, save money and time, and improve customer satisfaction.

About your presenter: Steve Elliott, president of Constant Improvement Consulting, Inc. based in Longmont, CO, has decades of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors as a manager, business owner, trainer, and consultant. He was instrumental in the creation and adoption of Colorado House Bill 11-1212, which officially made Colorado a Lean Government.

Webinar description:

This webinar and the webinar series is a joint project of Constant Improvement Consulting, Inc., and Siera: Learn. Teach. Inspire.™ Registration for the rest of the series will open August 5th. Let us know if you would like to be notified: Pat Wagner at pat@patternresearch.com

Most people (we know who we are) who work in smaller organizations – local government agencies, community nonprofits, and small businesses – watch the bottom line and provide great customer service.

However, we develop blind spots. Procedures, once efficient, are slowly choked with red tape. Processes, which worked fine when we had more staff to serve fewer people, fail under the pressure of expanding demands and shrinking resources. Our workplace cultures become reactive, A.K.A. “whack-a-mole,” and responsive customer service is replaced by a culture of expediency.

The Lean Government movement is based on a practical set of principles, organized around eliminating waste, saving money, improving the quality of products and services, and making customers happy. Steve Elliott, president of Constant Improvement Consulting, Inc., will guide you through those principles in a 10-part webinar series over the next few months.

The introductory webinar is available for free and will show you how you can immediately use these ideas in your workplace. Although the focus is local government, the principles apply to any type or size workplace. Also, leaders, managers, supervisors, and frontline (and back room) staff can master them. The goals? Reduce costs, improve productivity, and please your customers with better response time and a client-centered approach to delivering goods and services.

Lean Government Webinar Series
All begin at noon, Mountain Time
[Please adjust for your local time zone.]
Registration opens August 5th, 2013.

Contact pat@patternresearch.com for prices and payment options related to the paid programs below:

  • Tuesday, July 9, 2013: Free Introduction to Lean Government
  • Tuesday, Sept 10, 2013: Define Customer Value
  • Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013: Muda Eyes: Learn To See Waste
  • Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013: The Value Stream
  • Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013: Change for the Better
  • Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014: Tools of the Trade
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2014: The Change Agent
  • Tuesday, March 4, 2014: Embracing Resistance
  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014: Lean Leadership
  • Tuesday, April 29, 2014: The Totally Lean Organization

Postmaster General James A. Farley is shown sitting with some of the hundreds of thousands of letters mailed during National Air Mail Week, May 15-21, 1938.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution 1938. No known copyright descriptions. This is an adaptation of the original work. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2551232980/