Lean Blog Interviews — 429: John Chacon on Continuous Improvement and the Dangers of Paying People to Think

Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/429

My guest for Episode #429 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is John Chacon, the Director of Construction Excellence at Black & Veatch. We’ve been connected on social media for a while and John’s reply to a tweet led to this podcast conversation, where he said:

“If you have read this blog post and are still thinking about incentivizing folks for ideas…stop…give me a call and I will tell you some stories about paying your folks to think.”

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • John’s Lean origin story? In the Marine Corps.
  • Deployed to Japan – painted a different picture – in what way?
  • Cultural differences? A different level of respect?
  • Why didn’t you like it at first?
  • How do you define Kaizen?
    • Not just the process, it’s the people
    • Continuously improving the people
  • Later company — “The work was to improve the work”
  • How do you foster that culture?
  • Curiosity and genuine wonderment
  • What does Kaizen (what does John) suggest about how to incentivize people to submit ideas?
  • DO we need to incentivize?
  • What happens when you run out of rewards funding? Improvement stops
  • How do you tap into in intrinsic motivation?
  • Kaizen and Kata?
  • Putting things into plain English?
  • Working in other countries – Thailand, India, China — how does the Lean/Kaizen message get delivered differently?
  • Marine Corps like Kaizen — the way you are vs something you do

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network