The Edges of Lean — Continuous Improvement and People Solve Problems

Every person in every organization faces problems, and has to solve them.  Jamie Flinchbaugh has been observing what organizations do about the problem of having problems – and how they often fail to achieve the full impact of being able to solve problems well. In this episode, Jamie talks about his new book,  “People Solve Problems: The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem” and how it can be a roadmap for organizations and companies when they are faced with the challenge of problem solving, no matter what problem=solving approach they choose to use. 

Jamie Flinchbaugh 

Jamie Flinchbaugh is an accomplished Entrepreneur, Senior Executive, Consultant, and Board Member with 30 years of learning-oriented experience spanning a range of roles across exceptionally diverse industries and functions. As the founder of JFlinch, Jamie helps teams accelerate by solving the most challenging problems using resources, education, and tools. He helped purpose driven leaders craft effective resilient organizations in over 300 companies. Jamie collaborates with leaders and their teams to bridge capability, strategic cultural and systems gaps, so they can safely span potential pitfalls, and have a purposeful impact on their organizations. Jamie is coauthor of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to lean: Lessons from the Road, and is the co-host of the podcasts Lean Whiskey and Happy Heuristics.



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 Key topics in this podcast:

  • We know Jamie as a Lean Organization advocate, so why is his new book not categorized as a “lean” book?
  • What is Jamie’s definition of “lean” and a “lean organization?” 
  • What are the pica problem-solving methods Jamie sees in organizations?
  • What does Jamie see as the keys to effective problem solving no matter the method used?
  • How can a manager be a coach and why is coaching by managers the most effective approach to solve organizational problems?
  • What is the core behavior that makes problem solving more effective?
  • What are the cons of using processes or templates to solve problems?
  • Why is human intuition and creativity necessary for effective problem solving? 
  • What did Jamie learn while writing his new book?


  • There is a difference between thinking about your problems in the negative vs. seeing them as opportunities for growth and innovation.
  • Solving problems effectively is vital for organizational success, especially in the environment of rapid change we are experiencing today. 
  • Good problem solving is team sport – and it requires great leadership, the right behaviors, capabilities and coaching.

Words of wisdom or Tweet-ables 

Jamie Flinchbaugh

  •  “Treating problems like a failure, essentially leads to a very different response to when that happens”
  • “Problem solving is that fundamental capability that makes you resilient to the future yet-undefined problems that we are surely going to face. We just don’t know what they are yet.”
  • “ Take ownership over your own learning journey.”