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Real Life Lean - 020 - Respect For People

Welcome to another edition of Real Life Lean. This newsletter is intended to give construction professionals worldwide 4 quick and easy resources to grow and continue on your lean journey.

Today's Summary:

Lean Article

Respect for people is a pillar of lean construction. It is the reason we do everything we do, and it intertwines with all other lean pillars. In the article below, the author dives into how we can show respect to the people we are managing and the work we are doing. Total read time 6min.

Takeaway: Respect for people is so much more than “treating people with respect and dignity” as the article point out. It means listening to their opinion, giving their ideas a chance and giving credit where credit is due. Respect for people means having the people doing the work a the forefront of decisions made and getting them involved in the processes that impact them. It means being a continuous improvement engine and learning from the front line workers. “We practice continuous improvement because we have respect for people… we practice respect for people by engaging people in continuous improvement and challenging them to perform better… for the sake of our customers.”

Lean Podcast

In the podcast linked below, Jamie Parker shares bits from a larger interview she had with GE. The episode takes a holistic view of respect for people from family life of employees through suppliers. Jamie shares stories of how looking at the whole human experience with work has shaped here leadership style when it comes to respect for people.

Takeaway: I love the idea of looking at the human experience when it comes to our work life. Taking the time to see someone for their whole - thinking about their family, their commute, their work life/environment - and how it all plays a part in who they are is so important to how we manage people.

Lean Event

Want to build a high performing team that focuses on collaboration, continuous improvement and innovation? The Lean Construction Institute’s Respect For People Event will help attendees do just that. Learn from and collaborate with design and construction professionals from around the world as the come together to build on the most crucial of lean pillars - Respect For People.

Takeaway: The theme of this years Respect For People Event is Supporting Employee Mental Health: Building a Culture of Compassion and Communication. Join LCI on August 9th for what I am sure will be a wonderful event that will help better your people and your organization.

Real Life Lean - Lean practices in the real world

For those of you that are new here, welcome. My wife recently gave birth to our second son, and I’ve had a great time seeing lean practices applied to our life in the weeks that I have been home bonding with my family. This brings me to today’s Real Life Lean story/scenario.

Hand-me-downs - the clothes of 2nd children. My wife did a tremendous job of keeping all of our first sons clothes, in the event we had a second boy. Surprise, this past May we had our second son, and these clothes would get to be put to good use. The only issue - there were boxes and boxes of boys clothes from newborn through 2T, all intertwined and mixed. Couple that with the 3 bags of clothes that friends had brought by from their older children and the new clothes our son had received and you have a recipe for disaster. We knew we had PLENTY of clothes, but had no idea where the next or right size was. Enter the 5S method of sorting baby clothes.

My wife spent 2 days going through the clothes at nap time to find sort the clothes into piles of keep, donate and trash. We then sorted the keep pile down further into sizes, and finally boxes, labeled and stored the boxes in ascending order in the closet for quick grabs as needed. We also decided to use an empty box as a catch all for clothes that are getting too tight for our son, so when we swap boxes, we can simply change the label and store the clothes, feeling good that we are staying organized.

Lean practices don’t have to be difficult or fancy, you just need to fix a system that bugs you. This week, it was baby clothes. Lets see what next week brings.

Have a Real Life Lean story you think would be a great feature in an upcoming newsletter? Send me an email at

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