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Posts by John Bernard

Passionate about employee engagement and the elimination of fear. Author of BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW.Experienced executive (CEO, SVP Operational Excellence, Founder, Chairman), consultant, writer, speaker and outspoken advocate for the elimination of fear.
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Quality Circles: The U.S. False Start to Lean

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(This is the fifth in a 12-part series on the origins of Lean in the U.S. and my role as one of its pioneers.) It was clear that employees in Japan were engaged. Toyota was famous for andon, a manufacturing term used to describe a system whereby employees could “pull the cord” and alert management » Read More

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Lean Blossoms: The U.S. Pioneer of Lean Spreads the Knowledge

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(This is the fourth in a 12-part series on the origins of Lean in the U.S. and my role as one of its pioneers.) By 1984 Omark was gaining wide recognition as one of the best companies in America. The company was featured in what I believe was the first book written in the U.S. » Read More

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Lean Germinates: The U.S. Pioneer of Lean Spreads the Knowledge

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(This is the third in a 12-part Series on the Origins of Lean in the U.S.) To get the Omark revolution underway, in early 1982 we bought the first 500 copies of Shigeo Shingo’s A Study of the Toyota Production System that were imported into the U.S. Because it was the first edition, it was » Read More

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Lean’s U.S. Origins: The Seed of Change is Planted

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(This is the second in a 12-part Series on the Origins of Lean in the U.S.) “Go find the best management practices in the world!” That was the challenge that Omark Industries’ president gave the task force I was assigned to in late 1981. It was a broad and exciting charter, one that would significantly » Read More

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The Tour That Inspired the Lean Movement in the United States

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(This is the first in a 12-part Series on the Origins of Lean in the U.S. and my role as one of its pioneers.) Those who have read my book, Business at the Speed of Now, and who work with the great team at Mass Ingenuity, rarely hear us talk about Lean. Even though the » Read More

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See is Controlling

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Unless we make the process of managing our enterprise visible, we cannot hope to have any control over its results. So much of what we do in organizational life is invisible – or perhaps more appropriately said, unconscious. When we are surprised by a shortfall or failure we can be assured it was because we could » Read More

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Democracy, Work and Employee Engagement

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No nation in the history of the world has paid greater respect for the value of the individual voice than the United States. Moving into the 2012 holiday season, following an incredibly interesting political season has me reflecting on the nature of our political and work worlds — and their many parallels. It is true » Read More

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The Accidental Organization

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It’s critical to recognize that “You get what you got until you decided to create what you want.” Organizations come to be managed as a result of a long series of small and large decisions, decisions appropriate to the needs and the challenges at the time. But over the years, the accumulation of these decisions » Read More

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Lessons from 30 years of implementing lean

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Recent conversations with the Lean team in one of our great states reminded me of the passion with which organizations embark on their Lean journey. It also reminded me of the lessons I have learned from leading its application in many organizations over the past 30 years. Lean includes a wonderful and powerful methodology for » Read More

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The mysterious lever of success

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Culture is a big deal, and as my colleague Beth Doolittle puts it, “Culture is not what we say it is, it is what it is.” Culture is the great invisible hand, and that hand determines much of what is possible for our organizations to achieve. But because it is invisible, shaping it is one » Read More

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