post archives

October 2, 2012

If you’ve been following us, you’ll know that we embarked on a Lean journey in 2011. We’ve seen some pretty impressive results as we’ve adapted Lean methodology to our business.

Though Lean’s roots are in automotive manufacturing, its principles and methods apply to many...

June 26, 2012

It takes courage to objectively reflect on performance—individually or corporately. Without honest reflection and feedback, creating a continuous improvement culture can be incredibly difficult. And while traditional feedback methods—like employee or customer surveys—have their strengths, they lack in timeliness. By the time periodic survey results land in your inbox, months have often passed—and with them, opportunities to make vital corrections in course.


June 12, 2012

For most executives, the decision to embrace Lean and advance it across their enterprise is a deliberate one. Whether Lean is brought in to relieve cost pressure, improve quality or help scale processes to deal with rapid growth, reasons for going Lean are compelling. Optimism, comfortable training budgets, ambitious improvement goals, and visible executive support define these early days.

Fast forward a year or two, and the patina may be showing signs of fading. Although having...

May 14, 2012

We’re now just past the one-year milestone in our Lean journey. It’s been an exciting year—we’ve had some great results, trimming waste from processes, creating efficiencies in our back office and streamlining service to members. Our employees are embracing the Lean mindset across the organization.

But as we often say at First...

May 4, 2012

“Sounds great in theory—but will it work in practice?”

You’ve probably heard something like that a few times before. That statement reflects the fact that past experience teaches us that sometimes, attempts to address a need falls short. Things don't work quite as they were conceived.

Now, there are a whole host of possible reasons why a solution may fail in the execution stage. The great thing about Lean is that it addresses one of...

April 13, 2012

The late Steve Jobs was notorious for his unwillingness to use market research to find out what customers wanted. His stance was that customers couldn’t really tell you exactly what they wanted—at least without reference to some existing product. Jobs felt intuition as a guiding force was superior to intellect.

It’s hard to argue Jobs’ belief in the face of Apple’s meteoric resurgence. But what do you do when you don’t have that extraordinary gut...