Ground-breaking Development Opportunities With the Ever-So-Lean Learning Series and Rising Stars Programs

Unlock the potential of your workforce and the young minds in your life with the Ever-So-Lean Learning Series and the exciting Ever-So-Lean Rising Stars initiative. Our comprehensive suite of e-Learning courses are designed to engage, empower and inspire to drive change, foster innovation and deliver tangible cost savings. Kickstarting your journey of continuous improvement couldn’t be easier with our ‘Continuous Improvement Foundational’ e-Learning course. This self-guided entry-level program covers all the basics in 20 interactive and engaging lessons, providing you and your team with the essential tools and knowledge to implement effective improvements. The foundational course is an ideal stepping stone, empowering participants to make a real impact within their organizations. But we don’t stop there. Soon, we will launch intermediate and advanced levels of our e-Learning series, ensuring that you can continue to grow and excel in your continuous improvement efforts. Each course builds confidence and knowledge, creating a robust learning pathway that supports ongoing development and mastery. Launching in July, our Rising Stars e-Learning program, endorsed and accredited by the illustrious British Quality Foundation, takes a unique approach to nurturing future leaders. This program is tailored to individuals aged 11 and up, focusing on leadership, problem-solving, and continuous improvement skills. It’s an excellent development opportunity for young minds, equipping them with the tools, awareness, and confidence needed to drive excellence from a young age. Book your on-site workshops now to experience the dynamic, hands-on training that sets Ever-So-Lean apart. Our expert-led sessions are designed to complement our e-Learning offerings, providing your team with practical insights and real-world applications. Ever-So-Lean Learning Series – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com) For workshop bookings and more information, visit www.eversolean.com To hear more of my ramblings, follow me on LinkedIn – Matt Sims, or check out my Blogs at Blog – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com)

Unlocking The Potential of Tomorrow’s Leaders: Introducing Ever-So-Lean Rising Stars

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the ongoing success of our Ever-So-Lean Rising Stars program! The positive impact on the young minds that have participated so far has been nothing short of inspiring, and I am excited to share this journey with you. I believe that unlocking the potential of young minds is key to shaping a future filled with innovation and emotionally intelligent leadership. Continuous Improvement skills go beyond problem-solving; they foster agility, critical thinking, and confidence in navigating the complexities of today’s diverse, modern world. The Ever-So-Lean Rising Stars program, tailored for ages 11 and up (and enjoyed by those as young as 8), is a gateway to this transformative journey. We’ve already hosted dynamic in-person workshops across the UK, and soon we’ll launch interactive and engaging, certificated online e-learning modules, developed and endorsed in association with the British Quality Foundation (BQF). Transforming Education Through Continuous Improvement Continuous Improvement, often associated with the manufacturing or corporate world, holds profound relevance in the education of young minds. According to a study by the International Journal of Educational Management, integrating Continuous Improvement in educational settings significantly enhances student engagement and performance. Our Rising Stars program is designed to bring these benefits to young learners, preparing them for both academic and personal success. My Journey: A Testament to Continuous Learning and Perseverance I developed the Rising Stars program myself, drawing from my own journey from academic challenges and frontline roles to global senior leadership. This path underscores the power of continuous learning, mentorship, a pull to learn, and sheer perseverance. This program is more than just education—it’s empowerment. My experience exemplifies the transformative power of resilience and the importance of fostering a growth mindset from a young age. From my early days on the frontline to leading multi-million dollar global initiatives, I hope that my story inspires and motivates young minds to embrace challenges, seize opportunities, and believe in their potential. Practical Applications for Real-World Skills Rising Stars delves into the practical applications of Continuous Improvement. Participants will discover its relevance in their daily lives, honing essential employability skills like teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, public speaking, and innovation, to name just a few. This program isn’t just about preparing them for future careers; it’s about instilling a positive, growth mindset and a sense of endless possibility from a young age. Hands-On Learning for Lasting Impact Our workshops prioritise hands-on learning, emphasising the acquisition of new skills through practical application. We accommodate diverse learning styles and needs, ensuring every participant feels engaged and supported. By making meaningful connections between theoretical concepts and real-world scenarios, we create an environment where learning becomes an engaging and enjoyable experience that resonates with each young mind’s unique way of understanding and absorbing information. A 2019 report by the National Education Association highlighted that experiential learning boosts knowledge retention by 75% compared to traditional learning methods. At Rising Stars, we leverage this insight to ensure our workshops are as impactful as possible. The Rising Stars e-Learning Program The Rising Stars e-Learning program is designed to empower young minds with essential skills and knowledge to thrive in the business world. Developed by me personally, the curriculum is built on the standards of the British Quality Foundation (BQF) adult equivalent, but repositioned with greater relevance, essential elements, and an engaging delivery format for the young minds audience. The result? A learning program that prepares young minds for future careers by empowering them with foundational knowledge in highly desirable skills that modern organisations depend upon to drive innovation and operational excellence. From mastering problem-solving fundamentals to cultivating leadership behaviours and nurturing innovation, our self-paced modules provide a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. Each lesson includes easy-to-follow instructions, interactive activities, and knowledge quizzes that allow learners to progress at their own pace. Our e-learning modules not only prepare students for future careers by teaching them valuable workplace skills but also promote critical thinking, collaboration, and a growth mindset. Accredited with BQF certification, learners can achieve credentials from the UK’s leading business excellence foundation, further enhancing their educational journey. I’m proud that our self-guided e-learning modules are endorsed by the British Quality Foundation, patronised by HRH Princess Anne. This association ensures that Rising Stars achieves excellence in every sense of the word. Looking Ahead: The Launch of Our New Website Stay tuned for the launch of our new website – coming very, very soon! It’s taken countless hours from me over the past four weeks, but it will provide a platform for excellence. Our website will feature interactive modules, resources, and success stories from our workshops. It’s all about Engaging, Empowering, and Inspiring tomorrow’s leaders! The Ever-So-Lean Rising Stars program is more than just a learning series; it’s a movement towards a brighter, more innovative future. By investing in the potential of our youth today, we are paving the way for a world filled with confident, capable, and creative leaders. Join us on this exciting journey and witness the transformative power of Continuous Improvement in action. To hear more of my ramblings, follow me on LinkedIn – Matt Sims, or check out my Blogs at Blog – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com)

Embracing Failure: Insights into Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement (CI) is the backbone of sustainable success. It’s what keeps us innovating, streamlining and staying ahead of the curve in our industries. But let’s be honest, the journey to excellence is more like a rollercoaster ride than a smooth sailing on calm seas! As someone who’s navigated the trenches of various organisations, I’ve experienced first-hand the exhilarating highs of progress and the gut-wrenching lows of setbacks. But it’s not about avoiding falls, it’s about learning to bounce back stronger each time, armed with valuable lessons that propel us forward like a well-executed slingshot manoeuvre around Saturn on NASA’s 1980 Voyager mission to reach Jupiter (if you know, you know). One major stumbling block we often encounter is the lack of unwavering leadership commitment. Without leaders fully invested in CI, initiatives are like ships without captains, directionless and vulnerable to storms and pirates (I made up the pirate bit). It’s not just about talking the talk, it’s about leaders rolling up their sleeves and walking the walk, embedding a culture of CI into the very fabric of the organisation. It takes time and persistence, but it is totally worth it! Then there’s the elephant in the room, resistance to change. Change can be as uncomfortable as breaking in a new pair of shoes – it’s unfamiliar, and it might pinch a little at first (just like the ones we buy just before attending a wedding. Totally overlooking the fact, we will be wearing these shoes for twelve hours!). Studies have shown that a staggering 73% of employees see resistance as the biggest obstacle to change initiatives. Fear of the unknown and a longing for the comfort of the status quo can create formidable barriers to progress. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle, clear communication and adequate resources are like oxygen for CI efforts. Without them, our initiatives are like fish out of water – gasping for air and struggling to survive. I’ve seen first-hand how ineffective communication and scarce resources can breed confusion and apathy among employees, derailing even the most well-intentioned efforts. There is no substitute for honesty, transparency and authenticity. Setting clear objectives and identifying metrics is crucial too. We need a roadmap to guide us through the twists and turns of the improvement journey. SMART objectives aren’t just a buzz words that we roll out once a year during an appraisal, they’re our North Star, keeping us on course and showing us how far we’ve come. But let’s not forget the human side of the equation. Recognising when things aren’t going as planned is can be challenging to admit, but is an important milestone in the journey. Stagnant metrics and disengaged employees are like red flags waving in the wind, they demand our attention and prompt us to take action. It’s about being proactive in assessing our CI initiatives, involving people, people that are impacted by CI at every step of the way, and being open to feedback and being agile enough for some course correction. I often joke that a CI roadmap is like a Mother’s Day card, you write it as you’re going. What I really mean by this is that we often know our starting point, and our largely our destination, but the route to it is undefined and unknown. We uncover the best route along the way, as we overcome obstacles and barriers that we come across. And finally, let’s talk about the power of a learning culture. Celebrating wins and learning from losses keeps the fire of improvement burning bright. It’s about embracing a culture where failure is seen not as a setback but as an opportunity for growth and innovation. The journey to excellence is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about embracing the highs and lows, learning from our experiences, and always striving to be better than we were yesterday. And remember, it’s not about reaching the finish line, it’s about enjoying the journey and the growth it brings along the way. Did you find this interesting? Is there a spark of interest in exploring continuous improvement methods that will provide growth for you and your organisation? I offer a number of certificated learning opportunities, workshops, on site, virtual or self-guided e-learning though the Ever-So-Lean Learning Series. To learn more about how I can support you on this journey and more, visit www.eversolean.com or email me matt@eversolean.com. Let’s connect and explore how we can work together to create a brighter future. To hear more of my ramblings, follow me on LinkedIn – Matt Sims, or check out my Blogs at Blog – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com)

Learning by Doing: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice

In the often-daunting world of education and personal development, there exists a transformative approach to learning that transcends traditional methods: “Learning by Doing (LBD)”. This dynamic method emphasises hands-on experiences and active engagement, fostering deeper understanding, enhanced retention and profound inspiration. I first encountered the LBD approach in the early 2000s while studying World Class Manufacturing. It fell under the aptly named “People Development Pillar” and proved to be a truly dynamic approach that empowers employees to continually learn, adapt and innovate in response to evolving challenges and opportunities. It embodies the principle that practical experience and application are essential drivers of success and excellence in operations. Let’s delve into why this approach yields such positive benefits and explore its impact on learning styles, engagement and inspiration. One of the key strengths of LBD is its ability to accommodate diverse learning styles. From visual and auditory learners to kinaesthetic and tactile learners, this method provides a multi-sensory experience that caters to various preferences. Unlike passive learning approaches, such as lectures or readings, active learning encourages participants to immerse themselves in practical tasks, enabling them to grasp concepts more effectively. Age and experience agnostic, active learning ignites a spark of curiosity and passion within learners, driving them to explore, experiment and discover. By actively participating in tasks, individuals feel a sense of ownership over their learning journey, leading to increased motivation and engagement. Whether it’s through simulations, group projects, or hands-on activities, learners are actively involved in the process, making learning more enjoyable and meaningful. One of the greatest strengths of LBD is its ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice. By applying theoretical concepts in real-world scenarios, learners gain a deeper understanding of how ideas manifest in practical settings. This experiential learning approach not only enhances comprehension but also inspires creativity and innovation. Real-life examples and case studies serve as catalysts for inspiration, demonstrating the tangible impact of knowledge in action. I’ll get to some of these in a bit. While LBD offers many benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge potential challenges. One common concern is the time and resources required to implement hands-on activities effectively. Additionally, some learners may initially feel uncomfortable stepping out of their comfort zones or fear making mistakes or embarrassing themselves. These are real concerns, often routed in how we feel others perceive us. Despite these perceptions are often inaccurate, as a leader, it’s important to emphasise right at the start of any LBD experience, that this is a safe space, no judgement and no wrong answer. Set the scene correctly, and these challenges are often outweighed by the invaluable insights, skills and confidence gained through active learning experiences. A quick Google search and you’ll soon find numerous studies that support the effectiveness of LBD. According to a report by the National Training Laboratories, individuals retain 75% of information learned through hands-on activities compared to only 5% through lecture-style learning. That’s an incredible statistic, but not surprising. Just the word ‘lecture’ switches me off! It creates visions of being ‘spoken at’ and for want of a better word, ‘lectured’! Nope, not for me thanks! So, I promised some examples of LBD. My son loves coding, it unleashes his innovative mind to create some wonderful, yet complex in my mind, digital masterpieces. To learn this skill, he’s attended coding bootcamp. These are excellent as they offer hands-on programs that immerse learners in coding and software development. Rather than traditional classroom lectures, these bootcamps focus on practical coding exercises, projects and real-world challenges. He’s been learning by actively writing code, debugging errors and building applications, gaining practical skills that are directly applicable to the future career aspirations he has in technology. Medical schools and healthcare institutions utilise simulated training environments to provide hands-on experience to learners. Simulation labs offer realistic scenarios where learners can practice medical procedures, surgical techniques and patient care in a safe and controlled setting. This enables learners to enhance their clinical skills, decision-making abilities and confidence in handling real-life emergencies. To a lesser extent the LBD method is applied an all first aid courses I have attended over the years. We’ll all no doubt, recognise the torso dummy that comes out for some CPR. The most common example of an LBD approach comes in modern apprenticeship programs. These provide individuals with hands-on training and mentorship in various skilled trades and industries. Apprentices work alongside experienced professionals to gain practical experience, technical skills and industry-specific knowledge. These programs typically combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing apprentices to learn by actively performing tasks and receiving real-time feedback from mentors. What better way to learn! LBD is not a modern approach either, historic examples, such as the apprenticeship model in medieval Europe or the Montessori method developed by Maria Montessori, highlight the enduring success of active learning approaches throughout history. These examples illustrate how LBD is all around us, providing practical, experiential learning opportunities that empower learners to acquire new skills, deepen their understanding and prepare for success in their chosen fields. My conclusion, LBD transcends traditional education paradigms, offering a transformative approach that engages, inspires and empowers learners. By embracing diverse learning styles, igniting passion and curiosity and bridging theory with practice, this method fosters deeper understanding and long-lasting skills. Fancy a taste of LBD? Get ready because I’ve got some exciting news! I’m absolutely buzzing to announce the “Ever-So-Lean, Lean Thinking 5S Workshop” happening on March 19th, 2024, at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce HQ in Ashford, Kent. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill workshop; it’s a hands-on, interactive journey into the world of Continuous Improvement. We’re talking about rolling up your sleeves, getting stuck in and experiencing first-hand what it means to apply 5S. At this workshop, you’ll have the chance to dive into Lean Thinking through interactive sessions, practical exercises and plenty of networking opportunities. It’s not just about learning; it’s about doing. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just dipping your toes into the world of Continuous Improvement,

Igniting Excellence: 5S Your Key to Success

If you’ve delved into Lean Management, even a shallow dip is likely to have introduced you to the term “5S”. But what is 5S, and what makes 5S worth the investment of time and effort? Originating from Japanese manufacturing practices, the 5S methodology has evolved into a keystone for achieving operational excellence and cultivating a culture of continuous improvement in organisations all over the world. In this blog, we’ll dive into the significance of 5S, its application in optimising workspaces and its transformative effects on both employees and customers. We’ll unravel the principles of 5S, drawing insights from real-world examples, including the often-overlooked mental health benefits of maintaining an organised workspace. At its core, 5S is a systematic approach to workplace organisation. It’s about smartly arranging and setting up a workspace so that people can work better, find everything easily and operate in a safe and tidy environment. The five pillars of 5S are; Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. These represent a structured process to enhance Safety, Quality, Efficiency and Productivity. To illustrate these principles, let’s consider an everyday kitchen: Sort: Streamlining for Efficiency Imagine that you’ve been in your kitchen, sifting through utensils, pots, pans and herb and spices that have a use by date of 1987! You’ve Identify essentials and donated, discarded or stored items you don’t need in the garage or loft space, creating space for what truly matters. Set in Order: Organising for Workflow Next up, you arrange the remaining items logically. You place frequently used utensils and pans within easy reach of the hob, or coffee mugs in the cupboard right by the kettle. You organise your kitchen to optimise workflow. You even use tupperware containers and drawer organisers to keep similar or smaller items grouped together. Shine: Maintaining Safety and Quality Now for the dirty work, you thoroughly clean your kitchen. You wipe down surfaces, clean appliances and sweep or hoover the floor. You might even turn the toaster upside down to get rid of the millions (and millions) of crumbs that keep falling out everywhere (or you might ignore that bit hoping someone else will do it later – I don’t condone this shocking behaviour). We know that regular maintenance ensures a hygienic and pleasant environment. Standardise: Establishing Consistency It’s now time to develop some routines for cleaning and organising, such as setting or agreeing a designated day for deep cleaning or a shared rota among everyone in the house. You standardise the arrangement of items, fostering consistency and making it easy for everyone to find what they need, right when they need it. Sustain: Cultivating Continuous Improvement Just like that, you’re on the fifth S! You make organising and cleaning a habit, a set frequent routine that you follow. You use an ingredient, you put it right back where you got it from. You spill some milk, you clean it right up. You put in mechanisms to encourage everyone to follow standards (even better if they help to create them) and regularly review and adapt the organisation system to changing needs. While you might already implement these practices at home, the question arises: Why not apply the same principles at work? Just as an organised kitchen leads to a more efficient and enjoyable space, 5S in the workplace reduces waste, improves productivity and creates a positive environment for everyone. Implementing 5S isn’t merely about tidying up, it’s a strategic move with profound implications. Improved efficiency, reduced waste, enhanced safety and increased employee morale are just a few of the many benefits. However, challenges like resistance to change and the need for sustained effort can impede progress. Overcoming these hurdles involves effective communication, leadership support, perseverance and a continuous emphasis on the long-term benefits of 5S. Statistics from the National Sleep Foundation reveal that individuals with organised and clutter-free bedrooms report better sleep quality. Additionally, a study by the Psychological Association suggests that an organised environment contributes to reduced stress and anxiety levels. In my experience, organising my home space has resulted in a sense of accomplishment and reduced stress, contributing to a more relaxed atmosphere. As a reluctant participant in a Sunday morning spring clean, I’ve felt the sense of accomplishment and reduced stress that accompanies an organised space. It’s another reminder that the benefits of 5S extend beyond the workplace and into our personal lives. Having witnessed first-hand on multiple occasions the pride and ownership from employees in organisations that have completed a 5S exercise in their storage areas, the impact is profound. Brimming with pride, employees are eager to show me their end results, sustain mechanisms and plans for the next work area. It’s moments like these that drive home just how powerful Lean can be. Even in this foundational element of 5S, the impact on people’s morale, ownership and motivation is profound. It’s contagious and drives real, clear to see results. It’s not just under the roof that benefits either, as on the customer front, the impact of 5S is tangible in improved quality, faster delivery times and increased customer satisfaction. Realising these benefits requires a holistic approach involving everyone from the shop floor to top management. In conclusion, when applied correctly with strong sustain mechanisms, the 5S methodology is a powerful tool for organisations seeking to embed Lean principles and create a culture of continuous improvement. It’s a logical and engaging starting point, often beginning in a specific work area or department. While challenges exist, the benefits far outweigh the initial investment of time and resources. Approach 5S with dedication, involve all levels of the organisation and witness the transformative impact on efficiency, employee morale, and mental well-being. To hear more of my ramblings, follow me on LinkedIn – Matt Sims, or check out my Blogs at Blog – Ever-So-Lean (eversolean.com)