Know-how, tools, and techniques drawn from the best of Lean, Agile/Scrum and Service Design thinking to work smarter not harder in an office and virtual environment.
Making knowledge work - work better.
We believe that bad processes almost always beat good people, so we teach people how to see and take advantage of opportunities to improve processes specific to knowledge work so they are motivated and enabled to deliver products and services better. At the same time, the work becomes more interesting and engaging, charging not draining their batteries.
It started with an urgent business problem.
In 2002, the Royal Canadian Mint had encountered a string of losses and faced the threat of being sold or shut down. The CEO called our founder Craig (an employee at the time) into his office, asking him to improve the Mint’s performance appraisal system to help bring the organization back to profitability. The CEO said “I’m off on vacation for the next two weeks – but I want your report on my desk when I return”.
Understanding that the appraisal process was part of the problem, but that poor processes were a much bigger cause, Craig and his team desperately researched process improvement, finding and reading the book “Lean Thinking” by Womack and Jones. It described several Lean turnarounds that almost exactly mirrored the challenges of the Mint at the time.
Convinced that Lean was a great approach to the Mint’s biggest problems, Craig FedExed a copy of the book to the CEO’s cottage in the Maritimes. A few days later, the CEO wrote back: “Craig, Great book. We’re going to do Lean. I’m back on Monday. You’re in charge. Be ready! David.”
Craig and his team learned on the fly how to adapt the Lean approach to improve many different types of business processes. Within the first 12 months, the Mint returned to profitability for the first time in years. Harnessing the ingenuity of the people, over the following years, the organization realized tens of millions of dollars of improvements, dramatically reduced the time and effort to deliver products and services and moved from a stretch of financial losses to an annual profit of over $68 million. In the same era, employee engagement skyrocketed, and the Mint became the first public sector organization to be named among the 35 best companies to work for in Canada by the Report on Business Magazine of the Globe and Mail. They also learned that you could try to “do Lean”, but to make it stick, you have to “live Lean”
In 2010, realizing the potential of Lean in knowledge and service processes-yet finding little to no guidance available on how to do so, Craig started Lean Agility to help knowledge-work organizations improve how they work. Since its inception, Lean Agility has trained thousands of knowledge workers in its approaches and consulted with more than 50 public, private and not-for-profit organizations to help them get better at what they do.
Leading some of Canada’s largest, most successful public sector transformations
Lean Agility has grown from a staff of one (Founder, Craig Szelestowski) to comprise a network of seasoned change agents from some of Canada’s most successful business transformations. Each of our people bring their own brand of specialized experience in multiple improvement disciplines and together they have contributed to the development of a proven, proprietary approach customized to the challenges and objectives faced by knowledge work organizations.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?
While we have built much of our practice on the principles of Lean Enterprise, we do not limit ourselves to what are thought of as traditional Lean tools, methods, and mindsets.
Many firms specialize in only one discipline: Lean, or Six Sigma, or Agile/Scrum or Service Design. In our experience, organizational issues don’t always fit cozily into these categories. Making organizations work better requires more of a toolbox than a single tool.
Our training and consulting practice gives clients access to a full integrated virtual toolkit drawn and adapted to knowledge work from, among others:
It is this nimbleness that puts the “Agility” in our name.
Further, transforming work to create sustained, measurable results is about 10% technical challenge, and 90% human challenge. Unlike on an assembly line, in knowledge work, people get to choose what they do and how they do it. Using principles of First Followers, Natural Attractors, and proactive human change management, we help you influence how your organization thinks. Different mindset = different methods and results. Our approach creates greater momentum and faster change that is owned and sustained by the people doing and leading the work.
We have developed cutting-edge methods to work both in-person and virtually, so distance is never an issue.