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Chicago Tribune news : Business:

This is a tough spot to be in. Ideally, you'd like to grow your way into increased efficiency — avoid hiring instead of letting people go. But if the choice is to sacrifice some jobs to save the rest, wow, that's a real tough and unenviable leadership challenge to face.

“Making full use of a Japanese manufacturing philosophy called Kaizen, management and labor worked together to make the plant more productive and profitable. There was plenty of grumbling as managers asked workers to think of ways to eliminate their own jobs. But incremental changes in the way things were done led to major savings. And as the appliance business grew, increasing production, Herrin managed to keep most of its jobs.”

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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