62 episodes

The Edges of Lean explores topics in continuous improvement (lean thinking, creative problem solving, six sigma) that get overlooked. Meet the people practicing lean in odd places or with different twists, always with a focus on respect for people and continuous learning. A Lean For Humans production.

The Edges of Lean LeanForHumans

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

The Edges of Lean explores topics in continuous improvement (lean thinking, creative problem solving, six sigma) that get overlooked. Meet the people practicing lean in odd places or with different twists, always with a focus on respect for people and continuous learning. A Lean For Humans production.

    Ep 62 Continuous Improvement and Brain Injury Recovery with Kaj Smit

    Ep 62 Continuous Improvement and Brain Injury Recovery with Kaj Smit

    Kaj Smit was a typical student with a typical life – until the day he woke up in a hospital and learned he had suffered two brain hemorrhages.  Physically he had to start over again and mentally he was in a very dark place. What does it take to recover from something like this? And what did Kaj learn that continuous improvers should take to heart? Just a note before we get started: we will be discussing suicidal thoughts.  If you or a loved one are considering suicide, the number to call for help and support in the US is 988, and in the Netherlands, it is 0900 0113


    Kaj Smit

    Kaj Smit is a young man who has experience in designing and creating websites online. He's also an escape room expert!

    On May 12, 2021, he had two brain hemorrhages.  That's not the end of the story, but the beginning. He went from a vegetative state to being once again a fit young man who's capable of everything, and he did this in less than one year. This has given him a new view of the world and incredible perseverance and a positive attitude that no one can take away from him.




    Kaj's experience of brain injury following his brain hemorrhages
    Why did he consider suicide?
    What made the difference for him to pursue life, not death?
    How did he help himself to regain his memory
    What activities helped him recover quickly
    The valuable lessons he learned from his experience.
    The three steps to move forward, even in a difficult situation: Wish, believe, dare!



    It's important to remember that suicide is not a solution. When someone is considering suicide, they are usually in a great deal of pain and they see death as the only way to escape that pain.
    When someone is going through a tough time, it's important to have a supportive network of family and friends.
    Being positive is important when you are trying to recover from an illness or injury. Your body responds to your thoughts and emotions, so if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts, your body will produce stress hormones that can make it harder to heal.
    To achieve our goals, we must be willing to take risks. This is especially true when it comes to our health. Too often, we allow fear to hold us back from doing what we need to do to heal and live normal lives.
    Tiny steps are important.

    Memorable Quotes From Kaj Smit


    “ Don't look at the end goal. Look at where you started”



    Website: www.kajsmit.com   

    • 50 min
    Ep 61 Continuously Improving Prioritization with Adam Walker

    Ep 61 Continuously Improving Prioritization with Adam Walker

    Today we're talking about knowing your priorities and achieving your goals. So often we get bogged down in the day-to-day, and we lose sight of what's important to us. In this episode, we're going to talk about how to identify your priorities and how to plan to achieve your goals with Adam J. Walker. 


    Adam Walker 

    Husband, Father of six, Wearer of fedoras, Nonprofit co-founder & CMO, Co-founder of TogetherLetters, a collaborative newsletter service for groups to share without using social media. He is also a co-host of Tech Talk Y'all, a self-proclaimed tech comedy podcast.



    Adam’s career background 
    The importance of valuing your time 
    How setting priorities helped Adam to become more productive
    Why is saying no not a bad thing?
    Why is choosing wisely spending your time so important?
    How to balance your time with your priorities?


    Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but it's how we use our time that matters. Time is our most precious commodity and it's important to recognize and value our time. 
    Allocate your time to something creative and productive
    Use a to-do list and save your time 
    One way to regain a sense of balance is to know your priorities and save time. By taking a few moments each day to assess what's most important, you can ensure that you're spending your time in the way that best supports your goals. 
    If you want to be successful, it's important to focus on your priorities and use your time wisely. That means saying "no" to things that are not on your list of priorities.

    Memorable Quotes From Adam Walker 


    “ I want to say yes to only the things that I emphatically and joyfully shout yes to!



    Adam Walker on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamjwalker/

    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/onewaywalker

    Website: http://www.adamjwalker.com/


    • 38 min
    Ep 60 Continuous Improvement and the Art of Business with Fiona Valentine

    Ep 60 Continuous Improvement and the Art of Business with Fiona Valentine

    In this episode, Fiona Valentine joined me. We've talked a lot about what continuous improvers can learn from artists, and about how and why we can’t practice continuous improvement without building our skills for creativity.  Fiona Valentine is an artist, who works right at that important intersection of art, creativity, and business.   She helps artists learn how to sell their art – and she helps businesspeople tap into their creativity.  And she knows a thing or two about lean thinking as well!

    Fiona Valentine 

    Fiona Valentine paints the beauty and joy she finds in nature, hosts The Confident Artist Facebook Group, and is the creator of The Profitable Artist Method for aspiring artists who want to paint for fun and profit, even if they’ve never sold any of their work before.
    Her teaching challenges the typical advice given to creatives because she believes that both painting and the art of selling art can be learned by anyone willing to follow The Profitable Artist Method.

    Fiona's mission is to help each student enjoy their creativity and discover that real artists don’t starve, they thrive.


    Fiona’s career background
    What is creativity?
    Common misconceptions about creativity
    How does Fiona define "artist" and "creativity?"
    How to develop creativity?
    How to incorporate arts in business and our daily routine?
    Art explained
    The Importance of a combination of art skills and business skills


    Creativity is often described as the ability to come up with new and innovative ideas. However, creativity is much more than simply coming up with something new. It also involves the ability to see things from a different perspective and to find new ways to solve problems
    Many people believe that creativity is a trait that is reserved for artists and musicians, but the truth is that everyone can be creative. Creativity is simply the ability to come up with new ideas and see the world in new ways. 
    One of the most important skills that any business person can possess is the ability to think creatively. After all, it is often the out-of-the-box ideas that lead to breakthrough products and services.
    By incorporating the arts into businesses, we can allow employees to explore new ways of thinking and problem-solving. In addition, the arts can also be used as a tool for marketing and promoting businesses.


    Memorable Quotes From Fiona Valentine


    “ Anything is possible. You've got an enormous amount of potential, You've got enough talent and creativity to make beautiful art and a beautiful business. What you need are skills so focus on getting those skills and enjoy the journey. There's no hurry.”



    Website: https://fionavalentine.com/ 

    • 41 min
    Ep 59 Continuous Improvement and Remote Work Success with Mari Anne Snow

    Ep 59 Continuous Improvement and Remote Work Success with Mari Anne Snow

    Remote work: it's here to stay, and that impacts everything! For many remote workers, it’s still something new. But for Mari Anne Snow, who is the author of the soon-to-be-released “Remote Work Handbook," remote work has been her area of expertise for more than 20 years. That's how long she has been leading remote teams and continuously improving how to operationalize remote work. Mari Anne is the CEO and founder of Sophaya, and the Remote Nation Institute (RNI), Tune in to this episode to learn more about how to handle a team in a remote work environment.

     Mari Anne Snow

    Mari Anne Snow is a recognized expert on remote and distributed team leadership. As CEO and founder of Sophaya and the Remote Nation Institute (RNI), Mari Anne is rewriting the rules of remote work and setting new professional standards that ensure business results, team engagement, and top productivity in today's dispersed workforce.

    Mari Anne is a business expert who can help you create engaged remote team cultures. Mari Anne and her team work with your company to set up, implement, and maintain remote work or distributed team programs that lead to top business productivity. We provide the knowledge, coaching, and implementation support to operationalize any size remote work, work from home, virtual or dispersed team program as well as optimize existing ones.



    Mari Anne’s career background
    How did she get involved with coaching leaders who are managing teams working remotely?
    How leaders effectively implement change management with a remote team
    What leaders can do to help team members adapt to changes in their process
    The importance of engagement and the reward system in a remote work setting
    Common pros and cons of working remotely and some countermeasures for the "cons" 
    What a leader should have to be able to effectively manage teams working remotely
    What Mari Anne's upcoming "Remote Work Handbook: is all about


    One of the biggest challenges is dealing with change. Because the remote work setting is constantly changing, we must learn to be adaptable and flexible in our approach.
    Leaders must be adaptable themselves so they can effectively lead their team through change. 
    By making change a positive experience, you can help your employees become more flexible and adaptable, which will benefit your company in the long run.
    Being a successful leader requires a great deal of strategic thinking. This is especially true when leading a team in a remote setting. Because there is no face-to-face interaction, it is important to find other ways to build relationships and foster communication.


    Memorable Quotes From Mari Anne Snow


    “The only way to learn is to put your hand up and to make yourself available... So take a risk and then be ready to not be perfect, because you won't be perfect. And admit your mistakes, learn from your mistakes. Just don't keep doing the same thing. “



    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariannesnow1/

    Email: masnow@sophaya.com

    Website: https://www.remotenation.com/






    • 46 min
    Ep 58 Continuous Improvement and Lookism with Kathryn McIver

    Ep 58 Continuous Improvement and Lookism with Kathryn McIver


    What does a PhD candidate look like? What does a “Lean Six Sigma expert" look like? How about a CEO? My guest Kathryn McIver wants you to know why how we look impacts our opportunities. So, she changed the topic of her PhD dissertation to research lookism. She's here to share her research.

    Dr. Kathryn McIver 

    Dr. Kathryn McIver is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and earned her doctorate from the University of Maryland where she studied the impacts of appearance on women’s careers. Prior to shifting into operations management, McIver focused on Lean Six Sigma program inception and development where she strongly emphasized the employee’s role in program sustainability and success. When she isn’t designing Lean programs, McIver teaches at the University of Colorado Denver Business school and spoils both of her Bassett Hounds rotten. 



    Dr. Mclver’s career background
    How her looks/pink hair impacted her profession 
    “Lookism” explained
    How making assumptions about other people’s looks may affect them negatively 
    What does it mean to look “professional?”
    Why we believe that people in certain professions need to look a particular way, and how this is intersectional with sexism, racism and other biases. 
    What can leaders do to reduce lookism inside their organization?



    Lookism is the prejudicial or discriminatory treatment of people based on their physical appearance. It can manifest as discrimination in hiring, promotion, salary, and other areas of employment.
    Combating lookism can be difficult, but raising awareness about the issue is a good place to start. Increasing understanding and acceptance of the different types of beauty can help to reduce the harmful effects of lookism..


    Memorable Quotes From Dr. Kathryn McIver 


    “ It is okay to have a bad day, it's okay to have a bad week or a bad month or even a bad year that we don't always have to always be on. And that doesn't erode who we are, what our contributions are. And I certainly think coming out of the pandemic, everybody will resonate with this idea that it's okay to have a bad year.”



    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathryndmciver 

    Email: kathryn@thecomplexmanager.com

    • 51 min
    Ep 57 Continuous Improvement and Designing a Remote Workplace Culture with Gustavo Razzetti

    Ep 57 Continuous Improvement and Designing a Remote Workplace Culture with Gustavo Razzetti

    Where do we work? It is one of the biggest questions facing leaders today. It doesn't look like employees are flocking back to offices, and remote and hybrid work sure seem like they're here to stay. Does that mean we can't have the culture we want? In his book “Remote, Not Distant” Gustavo Razzetti argues leaders can design a culture for remote work. And by the way, that includes a Lean culture - so tune in.


    Gustavo Razzetti

    Gustavo Razzetti is the CEO and founder of Fearless Culture, a culture design consultancy that helps teams do the best work of their lives. For more than 20 years, Razzetti has helped leaders from Fortune 500s, startups, nonprofits, and everything in between on every continent but Antartica.

    Gustavo is also the creator of the Culture Design Canvas, a framework used by thousands of teams and organizations across the world to map, assess, and design their culture. 

    In addition to his consulting work with clients, Gustavo regularly speaks with leaders and teams about culture change, teamwork, and hybrid workplaces. His coaching and tools have helped countless executives and teams develop work environments where people collaborate to accelerate individual and collective performance. 


    A prolific writer and author of four books including the recent “Remote, Not Distant,” Gustavo’s insights have been featured in The New York Times, Psychology Today, Forbes, BBC, and Fortune, among others.



    Gustavos’s career background
    Company culture defined
    What is a culture retrospective?
    The importance of leaders demonstrating vulnerability
    How a "stinky fish" tool helps team to boost trust and collaboration
    Hybrid and remote company culture explained 
    The importance of trust in a remote company 
    How the book “Remote, Not Distant” helps companies to build a strong  and positive culture


    People need to feel that their leaders are reliable and dependable, and that starts with ensuring that words and actions are always in alignment
    When expectations are clear and communication is open, employees are more likely to be aligned with the company's goals and values.
    Communication is vital to maintaining a healthy culture.
    Being a leader doesn't mean that you have to be perfect. In fact, admitting that you're not perfect can actually help to build trust and credibility with your team. 
    The most important thing in a company culture is not your location, but your ability to be flexible. 
    A strong company culture doesn't just happen, it has to be built intentionally. Creating a culture of respect, trust, and teamwork is essential for any organization that wants to function at its best.


    Memorable Quotes From Gustavo Razzetti


    “ Culture is something that everyone creates. So the behaviors of all the employees shape the culture”


    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gustavorazzetti/ 

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gusrazzetti 

    His Book:


    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Dom Brightmon ,

Solid Show for Top Performers

Continuous improvement is one of my life values and to find a show all about it is a blessing. I love hearing about being lean from so many different people. Excited to hear even more episodes from Bella and the gang. :)

WillliamA ,

Great opportunity for learning and growing

I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to learn and grow, and this podcast is a great resource. If you are a leader with a teachable spirit, make this a “must listen to” - I have.

Mgrabanqqqq ,

Fresh perspectives

I really enjoyed the first episode with the Founding Mothers and I look forward to listening to more...

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