Posted by: Knightbird | November 15, 2011

Our NCAI Presentation on Lean Tribal Government

Tom Jackson and I presented on the topic of Lean Tribal Government at the recently concluded National Congress of American Indian’s annual convention in Portland, Oregon. Our 2 ½ hour session was well attended. Generally, when the topic is not what the audience expected, they start leaving pretty quickly. Our audience stayed for about 90 minutes before about 30-40 percent left. We did all that we could to entertain and inform them.

My general presentation starts with building a knowledge base for thinking differently. I start with my introduction to Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points, along with my teaching experience at the University of Alaska Southeast. I talk about the 30-minute lunch I had with Brian Jones of Nypro Precision Plastics and my introduction to their High Velocity System—nee Toyota Production System. My visit to the Shingo Prize Conference in 2004 followed where I met Tom.

I then talk about our corporate culture of Employee Values; No Blame, No Shame; and Respect for People. A number of stories follow where I explain the waste we encountered early on during my tenure at Chugachmiut.

Tom talks about what he is a master at, the tools of lean and the improvement theory behind Lean. Tom is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of TPS and Lean. He is also a master of Lean content and his PowerPoint’s are impressive.

Together, we discussed the many lean improvement projects we undertook at Chugachmiut. We showed pictures of 2 5S + 2 events we conducted. One of my favorite stories, the Snoopy Dance, is included among the examples we gave. Tom was a leader and our teacher during the Snoopy Dance. I wrote about this Kaizen earlier.

When I present, I hope that a few members of the audience get it and are inspired enough to start the long learning path to lean leadership. I think we did find a few.

Overall, the presentation was a comfortable one for me. I felt no stress or anxiety. I continue to dream that Indian Country will lead the country in competitiveness and productivity through Lean Leadership, and that the Indian Health System will be the catalyst that takes us there.

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