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With the mindset of always wanting to do better and using a method to develop you will win, for example in this video around problem-solving and golf. …

2 Min Drill, The Mindset for Problem Solving

When I was a production manager for an area and I had a team of fantastic people that I worked with, one day when I was walking to a meeting one of the guys there told to another guy that “if I was intelligent I will be working in design.” I stopped and asked him “what do you mean if you’re intelligent to work in design”? He said “yea, I meant exactly what I said!” so I thought it was a bit strange and when I walked into the meeting, I addressed that to everyone and I said “do you feel the same?” basically, they said, “yeah if we’re intelligent, we will work in another area”. These guys for assembling jet engines …

[Listen to the rest, on the video]

2 Min Drill, The real focus for better output

Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to focus on talking a little bit about resistance to change. Inspired by watching television, seeing the protests going on, as well as things happening in other countries, one thought struck me: I can’t help but think that the less you are a part of the change, the less you’re a part of what’s going on. The decisions are happening, but because you’re not apart of the decision-making process, you’re more prone to resist the change.

To find out how to better manage your reactions to change, check out the video .

2 min Drill Inclusive Leadership

Hey everyone! Today, I’ve been thinking about learning and how much I enjoy learning new things. In fact, I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m a consultant.I like to learn new things, how things are made etc., But sometimes, it can be hard to find the time to learn. How well do you find the time to learn new things, on an everyday basis?

To find out my tips on how I continuously learn, check out the video .

2 Min Drill Continuous Learning

Hello everyone, my name is Joe Majlov and today I’m putting this video together to talk a little bit on the culture of 5s. 5s is a very famous method based on the idea of world-class manufacturing or Lean Thinking. During this video, I’m going to tell a little story, an idea about what I think is important around the culture of 5s, and why it works in some areas and why it doesn’t in others.

To find out more on the culture of 5S, watch the video .

The culture for 5S video

Operational Excellence 2.0 ™

Let me tell you a little bit about how the puzzle pieces come together to be one system that really can change your business. I want to show you a model here that has become somewhat of our trademark.

When we talk about Operational Excellence, World Class Manufacturing (WCM), World Class Operations Management (WCOM), Lean Manufacturing, World-Class Business Process, TPM, Supply Chain Excellence, etc, it can be a struggle to explain the whole system in a simple way. You can see that as a reflection in businesses that the people who are in charge are often engineers who are promoted into a position to then, lead the implementation of continuous improvement of some sort. There’s a downside to that, and that is everything could become technical. We really believe that IQ * EQ = Unity and Results.

So, think about that. It’s about technical aspects as well as emotional aspects that actually generate the results. Companies that are successful have managed to address the emotional side of people to really bond them with the system. And that’s the point. It’s a system; it’s not a set of tools. We often see that it shows up when you are asking engineers to drive it. No offense to engineers. I’m an engineer myself, at least a recovering engineer, but the point is, that, if you look at it as a nice toolbox, that you can use whenever you like, people choose to opt-out more often than not. It’s Not a Toolbox. It’s a way of thinking and living and acting in a business.

It’s a System not a collection of Tools

Let me take you through this model here and as you know, no model is perfect, but some are useful, and we found this to be quite useful in the interaction and explanation of the operational excellence system or, whatever you would call it where you work. Or maybe I could say what you want to call it maybe as well because a lot of companies have not really started to implement a system they’ve started to train people in tools and they don’t hang together. You’d be surprised how much easier it is for people when they see a picture of things that hang together then suddenly they look, and you can kind of know what’s going on. And you can see that everywhere in life I guess, but especially here and there’s a lot of puzzle pieces everywhere and then there’s a picture, it’s not too bad.

Operational Excellence (OpEx)-Working ON the Business

So anyway as you can see from the drawing above it has three sides to it and one side on the right hand here is what we call working on the business, it’s about disassociating yourself from the content of the work to be able to look at the processes and see if they are meeting your requirements or not. And think about it like this, I call it “watch the family, watch the movie” so if you sit with your family watching the movie, you’re going to see a movie, if you sit behind your family watching them when they are chewing away or having a drink or whatever you will know what happened to them and once in a while you need to do that, you need to back away and watch people working so that you understand what is really going on, that is working on the business. But having said that, we start with a management team or steering committee or whatever they want to call it and they need to set the clear direction on where they want to go, if people don’t know where they are heading, they don’t really know what they are going to leave behind. Does that make sense? If you know where you’re going you know that you’re building this, but after you’re done with whatever work you are doing, this has to be in place so what is that?

What you leave behind matters

That is what you learn when you run this system, that you need to leave something in place that can bring the operational system forward. Often you have a team of people who analyze this – the business in different parts. It would be very hard to analyze everything in one goal so you can split it up in smaller teams. In some systems, like world class manufacturing, et cetera, it’s called pillars, you have other names and other systems but if you think about it as a team that takes time out, they’re going to back away, watch the family, watch the movie and they might concentrate on your quality, or maintenance related issues or industrial engineering issues or production floor issues, et cetera. So, you concentrate on different parts.

This means that if you set up a direction on where you want to go, a vision let’s say, this team of people can say, “okay here’s why we’re not there yet”. They analyze that, they do something, it’s called lost intelligence in our lingo. But they understand that, then they launch improvement teams, you can call it Kaizen teams, improvement teams, continuous improvement teams, whatever you want to call it, but there are teams of people and it’s important to be a team of people because here’s one thing that happens in businesses. We are so disconnected today from each other from different functions in a business, different layers in a company, that if we never come together to learn from each other, the disconnection stays and that is the difference that makes the difference. If you are connected to each other and you more unified, you are going to get the result. And two brains are smarter than one that’s how it is. So you put the team together and they come up with some type of output.

OpEx-Ownership Transformation

The problem here is that when you work on the business, it’s like putting a boulder up on the top and it rolls down to the bottom corner, and when comes to this point it’s going to go out to outer space never to be seen again and that happens often. People run projects and they promote them they show people or whatever but they are never really sustained and everybody knows that I mean seriously, we know how often that happens. Why is that? because maybe, they never thought about holding the gains. We normally point at people and say “You are supposed to do it” which is also creating disconnections. So how do you create a system to hold the gains?

Well at the bottom of this triangle is what we call “the ownership transformation”, it’s about transformation in general, to transform into the culture, which is important that the knowledge and capabilities of the people create processes, to create value, to bring results. But, it’s also about taking the output from teams and handing it over to the line organization.So, this has to be designed, right? Not to be forgotten, because then all the work you’ve done here is going to be wasted soon.

OpEx 2.0-Working In the Business

On the left side, is what we call “working in the business”, so every day when you’re working you could potentially use the thought process of operational excellence. What I mean by that is the only thing you can affect when you are working and want to change the output, are two things, good news it’s not 200 things, but there are still two. You can add Time, so if you want to have more output, a lot of companies add time , more resource or overtime, right. In the short term it’s nice, maybe you make a little bit more money and in the long term you’re also sacrificing home life and stuff like that and that may be hell for people, so nobody really wants that, plus it costs you more money. You can still add time, every person from the CEO down to an operator or any direction in the company can add time, normally.

The second thing you can do is you can reduce your Losses, and the definition of a loss is everything outside of the ideal. If you can do something in an ideal way, you have no losses, that is the fastest you can go. If you can get it down to zero loss, which should be your target to be honest, why would you target to have some losses left it doesn’t make sense, might be hard to reach it and sometimes impossible I do understand that but it’s good to be unreasonable at times, I think. Anyway, you aim for something like that to eradicate the losses, that’s the fastest you can go, the right amount of time, no losses, maximum output. That’s it, so this means if you work in an area and you don’t know the losses you have, you cannot eradicate/reduce/minimize them. This means you’ll need help from the Pillar teams to analyze it, but where you are working it’s good to practice, to get new eyes, to see the world with new eyes, to see where the losses are.

If you don’t know your losses you don’t know your business

If you don’t know your losses you actually don’t know your business I would argue, ’cause imagine if you have a 50 percent output of a machine, 50 percent of the time people are spending are on losses. So, if you don’t know them, you actually don’t know your area, would you say? You need to get those eyes. When you walk to a meeting as a leader, for example, you pass through a production area did you walk without looking or did you actually see what’s going on around you? because if you see it, you can see a lot of losses that you could potentially address at one point. I see this as a bunch of candles on the table, they’re burning and you put your hand on top of it it’s like “Ow!”, and some people, they like that, crazy. Anyway, so you burn yourself everyday on the same candle, right, and on Friday you know that guess what’s happening on Monday? I’m going to burn myself again, really, how do you live with that? Exhausting just to think about and the next week it’s going to be another candle and you will burn yourself again and again…

Performance Control System (PCS)

In the performance control system world, which is the left side of the triangle, working in the business, it’s all about understanding what losses you have and attack them to create the output; it’s not focusing on the output because you can’t focus on that.

It’s like focusing on the gross profit of the United States, right, how do you do that? You focus on something you can actually do something about. Operators on shift are meeting every shift, weekly you have trends to review, you see where you are going so you know if you are getting better or worse, do we need to do something and what is actually sabotaging our shifts every day, you can see trends in the week and then attack them once a week. Then every month, you will add money to it. That creates working on the business, transformation, working in the business, that is operational excellence, that is world-class manufacturing, that is lean thinking, that’s the system.

PDCA, DMAIC, A3, 8D…   

The core is Plan, Do, Check, Act and I know other people say, “No, no it’s DMAIC, 8D, or A3 whatever, think about it like this; it doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you are going to train people and you have PDCA, you understand that you are in good shape, you could argue that all the other models are linked to PDCA. Maybe you don’t agree, so let me know if you don’t but, the thing is that it’s a mindset of following a process, it’s more effective than arguing what you want, right. You have good leadership of managing change, loss intelligence, loss eradiation, and loss prevention, and prevention means holding the gains but also making sure that the problems you design into your own process because guess who did that, it was you. We need to stop losses from being introduced in our processes. We need to learn from history and change how we act when we introduce and act differently new Machines, new Products, and new people into the process. Keeping adding the same losses into the Processes and then running Projects to eradicate them sounds exhausting.

Build Unity with your people and build a system together

This is the Operational Excellence System, we call it “Operational Excellence 2.0” for the reason that we think that the heart has to be involved. It’s not only the brain that is needed and if you want to start to bring the heart into it, the passion, then make sure people can see that this is One System and Not a Toolbox. IQ * EQ = Unity which gives the results.

Leading Change is a topic worth spending time on and in this article I explain more about the basic conditions needed for success, Taking Charge of your Change.

If you see the need of a successful system like Operational Excellence 2.0™ for your organization, send us an email and let’s discuss. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

Johan Majlov, CEO Lean Dimensions International


Getting Real with Operational Excellence

Two types of climate

I was out walking here on the BeltLine in Atlanta, the East BeltLine. It’s different than the west, there are two different ones, so the east one has a bit more hip stuff going on. the west one is calmer and more for people walking or exercising. Out here walking on a warm and humid day I come to think about climate, and that there are, I would say two types of climate. I know I’m simplifying it but it makes my point easier to explain. One is logical, practical climate that you can feel. I’m warm, I’m sweating, it’s hot. People are outside, and they feel the heat, humidity. It’s very clear that there is a logical, practical climate.

You can feel that when you’re working too. You can work in an area where it’s really hot and humid, and you have to wear sometimes gowns because of the industry you’re in, etc, makes it even warmer. What I’m taught is that if you lose 4% of your body fluids, you half your physical performance, so it’s obviously very important to hydrate, and so on. We have counter measures for that, so we do know what to do to cool down, to stay cool, to drink and cool off and more. Still, people malfunction in that a little bit, and it can be very serious, people can die from it.

Then, you have the emotional climate as well, and the emotional climate is trickier because you can’t see it, it’s something you feel. Not everybody is sensitive to it, consciously. Subconsciously everybody is sensitive to it, it’s just that we choose to ignore how we feel about certain things, and sometimes we think that if something is hard, or if people are acting against you in a way you don’t like, that might be because they are like that. Some managers think that they need to be tough, and then tell people off, and be a little bit aggressive, because that’s how you lead, because people don’t listen otherwise, and so on. It might be more of a reflection of them than the people we work with.

The Leaders who rise

In any case, that emotional feeling, that culture you have around you has a very similar effect as the physical culture. If it’s hot, and humid, and smelly, and hard to work in physically, you can have an emotionally reaction as well. It’s important for leaders, managers in organizations to try to understand what the climate is like, what it really is like for people who actually work in that climate. Not for people who distance themselves a little bit, then sit in a satellite building, but the people who actively work adding the value you sell. What is it really like to be affected by the leadership, to be affected by the team that you work with, etc? The leaders who have the ability to do this will rise and have more impact of the companies future.

What successful Leaders do

In some organizations, they pay attention to both climates and ensure they have countermeasures for both the Logical and the Emotional climate. Both can be proactively acted on and Leaders can learn how to become sensitive to the Emotional climate and how they can impact their part of the organization and be the leaders others rely on and look up to. These organizations are successful and they have what others describe as a magical touch to the climate and the culture. Leaders of then downplay it by saying “There’s no magic just treat the people like you want to be treated” and similar comments. What I think they have is a sensitivity to how people feel and they are able to be proactive and reactive to that. The skill of the future leaders.

Let us know what thoughts you have about this subject in the comments below. Visit www.askldi.com

Johan Majlov, CEO Lean Dimensions International


When the work climate feels Humid and Hot Future Leaders Rise

Let me tell you a story about what happened to me when I was working with my customer one day. They were lacking a system for safety of making sure that they knew how many people were on site if something happened. So, we discussed this a little bit back and forth, and I threw out an idea to the team and said, “Why don’t we just put up whiteboards by the door, some different entrances where people come in, and we have the names there and you can put a magnet on if you’re in or out. Something simple like that, so we have something, at least,” and one of the guys said, “That will never work because we tried it already.” So, I said, “What do you mean don’t work? “Yeah,” he said, “That didn’t work.” So, what didn’t work? Whiteboards fall down or couldn’t people read their names or what? What didn’t work? And you can hear, I was slightly sarcastic at the moment.

So, we had a discussion and I said to them, “Remember that your idea can be good, but the way you implement the idea wasn’t thought through,” and there’s something called the six steps of the countermeasures, or the Countermeasure ladder. Sometimes what we do is we have an idea and we just tell people about it and hoping they will get it and then if they don’t, we blame the idea or we blame the people. That is not even a countermeasure to just tell people. So the lowest level of countermeasure is to tell them and train them and training ensures that they actually know what to do after so you have some way of qualifying that the training was good enough.

You can also add another level, which is auditing. You can audit, and make sure things are working like it should. You can add a visual system in place as well as the third level to make sure that you can easily see if things are normal or abnormal. You can create a fool safe system or poka-yoke, so it’s hard to make a mistake. You could also automate it. So, everything happens by automation. Then it’s easier for people to not make mistakes, obviously. Or, you can also eliminate it totally.

So, remember, it’s not always the idea that wouldn’t work. If you are a person on the receiving end of the implementation you might have been blamed for the failure. It’s common to point fingers and find somebody to blame. It’s often done out of frustration. It might be possible to discuss how the implementation is done to give an alternative reason for it!? It might have been the way you implemented it, and you need to think that through to ensure sustainability. Do you recognize this? Have you ever seen this happen that you had a good idea but it wasn’t implemented correct and therefore it fell apart?

Please comment below. Let me know more about that because I love to discuss these things with you and learn more from you guys. So yes, comment. Let me know your thoughts and if you want to talk more about the countermeasure ladder and maybe other situations and issues in implementing good ideas, send me an email.

Contact LDI at:


The Countermeasure Ladder

Team Close, time to hold the gains 

Assuming that you have been running the team for 12 weeks, we are now in week 12 and it is time to close the team. I always recommend that you will aim to close the team at 12 weeks even though you are not ready. My thinking behind that is that if you have a target to close after 12 weeks we should try to close, and if we cannot we should learn from the reason why we did not close.

Whatever the reason could be, the objectives or the scope is too big, could not take the time or using people that went on vacation, had to change the team leader, or technical difficulties, or we could not agree on the team, whichever happened we should learn from that. However, let us assume that we are ready to close the team at 12 weeks. For a company, I always recommended that you create a closing checklist to ensure that every improvement team that you build follows the same approach. There are some key points to closing a team, these include:

For all phases, Basic Conditions, Improve and Innovate, the PDCA is relevant and the full PDCA cycle has to be worked through for a phase to be completed. Not all improvement teams will go through all three phases. You need to decide that when you start, whichever phase that you are in that you decided to close at has to have the PDCA steps closed before you can close the team.

A key part of closing a team is to make sure that we have standards, one point lessons, or standard operating procedures done. There also must be training for the team itself, an internal training matrix captures the training that should be done for any team. Also for the external people, the people who are now going to be effected by the new way of working that the team has implemented. So, a training matrix for internal and external people is needed. You will also need to have a performance indicator. The performance indicator could be the one that you have been using along the way for the team, and that indicators role is to say let us follow this indicator for 26 weeks is a good rule of thumb. It should stay within control limits, so if the indicator is within the control limits for 26 weeks we can consider the gains to be held and we do not need to keep following that KPI or performance indictor anymore.

When choosing the performance indictor, you will need to have some type of criteria. For example, if the performance indicator is outside of the control limit for 3 consecutive weeks. The team leader has to be called back and huddle up with the team again to understand what happened, and to try and understand why we do not hold the gains. What are the reasons and see if we can get back on track again.

Other than that, when you close the team you also have to consider auditing the new way of working that you implemented. Let’s say that you have created a new type of process it could be around a machine to clean, inspect, lubricate and tighten the equipment. You need to implement some type of CILT standard that can be used and a manager of that area, who is accountable of the work in that area, can audit to ensure that the standard is followed. If you are working in a business process or administration area of some sort you might want to consider other types of process standards, process reliability standards, where you would look at key components to the process, to ensure that the standard is being followed. Remember, that the line manager is the person that is accountable for the area or the process. They are the ones that should be auditing the process apart from following performance indicators.

It is recommended to have some type of visual system that controls the output of the team. What I mean by that is when the team is closed and the team board is taken down, you need to keep on following the performance indicators and following standards and so on. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a machine boards where you can keep documentations close to the machine area where you have performed your improvements, or a process board if you are working in the business process area. This machine board or process board can contain different types of information but they should contain the performance indicator, the criteria for calling back the team. The audits that are performed in the process, also an audit of the actual board and audit schedules and so on. Often one point lessons are on the same board together with any uncompleted tasks from the team, so they are controlled after the team is closed. It is recommended to try to close all outstanding tasks while the team is running, but sometimes we may run into situations where we cannot close everything. For example: we can have a maintenance task or an IT task or something that will take a bit more time, you might want to control that on a process or machine board.

Remember that when the team has achieved the target and you close the team, you have a chance to celebrate, discuss lessons learned and enjoy the fact that you achieved something good together. This will help you in the future to run teams and get people engaged, doing this it will mean you won’t need to put so much time and energy into the next project.


Because when it’s fun it’s easier for everyone, for you as a team leader but also for the team members. It’s important to ensure that the receiver of the new standards and the owner of the machine board and process board is established and that there is a hand off to that person when the team is closed

If you look at how much energy you need to put into any change, 20% of the energy is to find the problems and eradicate them, and 80% is toward all the gains so the closing and the delivery of the performance indicators is vital. The audits and so on are not to be taken lightly because this is where it is easiest to fail. The focus is gone from the improvement area where people have celebrated, where no one will follow up nor care if the standards that we are supposed to work towards are not happening. It only takes a couple of times where someone is breaking those standards without anybody reacting to it before old habits come back again. However, it is all about creating good processes, a good process of holding the gains will ensure that you do not fall back to the old behaviours and the closing part is key to hand over to that process.

Johan Majlov, CEO Lean Dimensions International


It’s a wrap

Taking Charge of Your Change

What’s your state of mind right now? Do you think about that to adjust it to the most helpful mind-set or does it just happen to you?

There are obviously different people in the world and to make my life simpler, or at least simpler to explain, I divided them in to two categories.

One is the person who let the world outside of them affect them and how they feel and act. They are in Effect, effected by the surroundings which is to blame for how they feel right now. If others are happy I’m happy too, for example.

The other is a person who controls their own state of mind and decide how they want to feel and act. They are in Cause. They make things happen and take responsibility for what the world around them should be like. Being in Cause is a better fit for a leader.

What mind-set do they have?

First let me say that the whole concept is built on the idea that you can choose how you feel. “You make me so upset” in this concept it’s not technically correct, but you could say “What you did made me choose to be upset”. You can decide how you do want to feel and not everyone would feel the same as you for every given situation, it’s an individual choice.

There are no models that are perfectly correct but some are useful. This is a model that isn’t easy to accept for everyone and I understand that, however if you want to be in Cause, I find this to be a useful model.

What does that mind-set scale look like?

There are many ways to explain it and I have chosen to explain the two ends of the scale. The state you are in, especially if you lead others, affects them and might be the difference that makes the difference in achieving the targeted outcome in your communication.

Crash state.

In this state, you have a tunnel vision, you don’t notice much outside of yourself. Typically, during communications, you will wait for the other person to stop talking so you can say what you know is right. You don’t hear what the person is saying, you wait for them to stop talking. A person in Crash can be perceived to be threatening or aggressive. This is a very effective state if your life is threatened, like during a fire, an active shooter etc. it is however not very effective while communicating, it’s worthless for that type of activity.

Coach state.

In this state, you have a wide peripheral vision. You can see the other person’s body language. You can notice what they say and how they say it. You have a statement in your mind “I don’t know, but I’m eager to find out”. Communicating with a person in Coach state is easy and not threatening. The person in Coach state seems to be very interested and present. Very effective for communication, coaching and cooperation of any kind.


A couple who lives together meets after a working day, one of them wants to talk about the day, what happened, problems and how that felt etc. The other person, who has heard this before (at least, think so) crashes and starts to give advice about what to do to solve these problems. The first person says “You never listen to me” the other person replies “What do you mean I’m even giving you advice what to do”…the first person didn’t want advice but just wanted to talk, to vent and feel that somebody listened. A very stressful situation for both and not very helpful for a nice evening with the one you love.

I often ask people to try this: Next time you meet, maybe tonight, try to make sure you are in coach state. Make sure you have a peripheral vision, breath out longer than yo breath in and pay attention to the other person. Feel your feet to the floor and notice your breathing. Listen to the words, notice the facial expressions, notice the body language and keep the “I don’t know” thought in your mind. Ask to understand more. People who try this always come back and say “Last night was the best night I had in a very long time” they talk and connect and have meaningful time together. I even had people crying while giving me the feedback, it’s very powerful and learning how to master yourself in this area opens so much possibilities and gives you a much richer life with good interactions.

Choosing your state means that you can choose to be happy for no reason at all just because you want to. There’s no need to connect your happiness with an object, a person or a circumstance. You can be happy just like that, because you choose to. Try it, smile to the world and notice the reaction you get and how good it feels.

As a leader in change you need to learn how to lead yourself, before you lead others. Self-mastery is a long journey but worth taking.

Please let me know if you recognize this and find it helpful to learn more about this basic leadership skill, write to me at:

Johan Majlov, CEO Lean Dimensions International


Taking Charge of Your Change

AskLDI AudioBook – Leading Effective Improvement Teams