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Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - Jeffrey Johnston shares advice and expertise with undergraduate class
Jeffrey Johnston of Goal Advantage spoke at the Lean undergraduate class, HRD 304: Lean Principles and Practices in Organizations, on Tuesday, March 15.

The president and Lean facilitator for the Michigan-based consulting firm, Johnston spoke to the class about the goals he has for an organization, as a Lean consultant coming in to facilitate process improvement. He also discussed the processes Goal uses to achieve these goals.

Johnston told students one of his main objectives is to help the organization become self sufficient in its Lean projects and process improvements while creating and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement within the organization.

“My main goal is to make a cultural change,” Johnston said.

The key in successful Lean facilitation, according to Johnston, involves getting employees involved with goals on a personal level. Creating a link between the goal and the individual helps everyone “truly own the project,” Johnston told the class.

The process for facilitating Lean process improvement that Goal uses is called Cycle Time Reduction (CTR). This process, as Johnston explained it, is used on a just-in-time basis and “refocuses attention from cost to time.” The goal of CTR is too reduce non-value added activity and create a template for future growth and improvement.

CTR also focuses on creating a behavioral change by involving all levels in some way, while tying CTR goals in with corporate strategy as well as individual goals.

Again, in terms of identifying waste, Johnston stressed the importance of helping everyone see the error and how it effects the organization as a whole and them as an individual.

“Teach people to see waste translated to the paradigm of their environment,” Johnston said.

CTR also focuses of getting individuals personally involved so that they care about process improvement.

He told students to answer the “why,” and always help those going through Lean training understand why it is important to them. This helps to keep everyone involved and committed to the project.

“The why is so important because the why is what drives attitudes,” Johnston said. “A negative attitude will always defeat a good process.”

This is advice that HRD 304 students can put into practice as they begin work on their final projects.

Every semester, HRD 304 provides students with an introduction to Lean principles and practices in a variety of human resource development and workplace settings. Students then take on a Lean assessment project, where host organizations invite students on-site to learn about Lean concepts and applications in a work setting.

Recently, the results of one of these student projects helped to create a new grade change process in the Registrar’s Office at Oakland University. The students identified how to dramatically reduce the amount of time and number of steps that it takes to change grades at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Read more about this project here.

HRD 304 is being offered in both the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 semesters. Registration is now open, so register soon as spaces are limited!

For more information, visit the Pawley Lean Institute website at oakland.edu/lean.


Related Blog Post: People Before Process
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