Category Archives: government consulting

From the Archives of a Common Sensei – Volume 2: Building a Kaizen Environment

Continuing on our journey of sorting through my father’s archives, I am reflecting on the power of having him as a mentor. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate being fed small bits of information and then following the trail of breadcrumbs to wherever they may lead. This approach has my approach to life and allowed me to be more agile, adaptive, and creative in solving problems as opposed to simply accepting processes as they have been laid out before me. Volume 2 intends to drive the practitioner to discovery and growth rather than simply going through the motions.


Volume 2:  A Checklist for A Kaizen Environment

While this document from my archives includes the word “checklist” in the title, do not let that be a sticking point! In fact, these questions can lead you toward building a “kaizen” or “Lean” culture. Every section of this list of questions applies to nearly every type of organization. Admittedly, the “machines” section is more manufacturing oriented, but I have applied all the other questions in nearly every business sector and found they are fundamental in building the Kaizen (Lean) Culture. Granted, this document was produced back in 1995 prior to intense use of PowerPoint, but most of the foundational Lean principles in the United States were based on a “learn – do” practice. While hiring employees, it was preferred to hire people without relevant experience (except for skilled trades employees) to develop the desired new culture without having to undo people’s old cultural habits. Try using the questions on the document below in your work.

Max Allway

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Filed under Business, common sense, consulting, efficiency, government consulting, Kaizen, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Management, process improvement, Toyota Production System

Utilizing Strategic Innovation to Redefine your Normal

A global health crisis and increasing levels of civil unrest are changing the way that we approach our daily lives, from how and where we work, to our social interactions and how we consume information and entertainment.

Organizations who continue doing business in the same way they always have are going to be left behind in a world where innovation is now being measured in days to market as opposed to years. Chances are that your organization has the people it needs to solve problems but, do you have the tools to pull those solutions out of them?

As you continue to add more technologies, trying to resolve issues, streamline processes, and create efficiencies, how do you know that you will get the results that you are expecting?

For decades organizations have had varying results when trying to emulate the Toyota Production System (TPS). The consistent underlying theme in explaining the levels of variation is that the success of TPS has as much to do with the synchronization of employees and management as it does with the tools and the processes. (Marksberry, 2013)*.

The days of simply taking the next great technology innovation, inserting it into your organization, and sitting back to realize the results are gone. Just because something is innovative, imaginative or disruptive does not necessarily mean that it is evolutionary. If you want to separate yourself from your competition or redefine world-class, your next transformation must qualify as an “I.D.E.A.” (Innovative, Disruptive, Evolutionary, and Atypical), and therefore, it must move your organization to a new level in the value it provides internally, externally, and peripherally.

Prior to any new implementation, transformation, or re-organization, it is paramount that you look at your company, agency, team, etc. as a system made up of management, employees, technology, processes, customers, and community. This requires a new way of thinking to define requirements while your assessing and aligning your organizations strengths and addressing weaknesses as part of your Strategic Innovation process rather than after a decision has already been made.

Are you ready to break out of the current cycle of incremental progress and challenge the status Quo?

Let me know at

Works Cited
Marksberry, P. (2013). The Modern Theory of the Toyota Production System. Boca Raton, London, New York: CRC Press.


Filed under Business, Coaching, connected, consulting, efficiency, Goal Deployment, government consulting, Human Performance, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Management, process improvement, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Strategic Planning