Tag Archives: hannahhager

It takes a community to combat PTSD

PTSD victims often suffer alone.
PTSD victims often suffer alone.

An alpha male is assertive. He’s dominant. He’s often found within leadership positions, and frequently ranked in the military. He’s expected to hide his emotions and deal with personal issues privately.

An alpha male is not expected to take his own life. But many are; and more and more frequently they are taking innocent bystanders with them.

Iraq war veteran Ivan Lopez opened fire April 2 at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, killing three people and injuring 16 before turning the gun on himself. At the time of the mass shooting, Lopez was undergoing tests to identify signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. None were found.

Among other tours, Lopez had served four months in Iraq in 2011, but was not wounded nor did he suffer any battle-related Traumatic Brain Injury, according to Army Secretary John McHugh.

This mass shooting – the second at Fort Hood in less than five years when U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot dead 13 people and injured 30 more in 2009 – compounds an issue that has been taboo for far too long within the U.S. military.

Mental illness amongst active duty military personnel and veterans is being swept under the rug. And, we’re all suffering because of it.

Many military personnel are unsuccessfully dealing with the side effects of multiple deployments, including separation from their families and support networks. When discharged, they struggle to acclimate to everyday civilian life.

They are human, but we expect them to be superhuman because of their rough-and-tough lifestyles.

Lopez was married and had a 3 year-old daughter. He saw no direct combat. But although he had no visible injuries, reports show that he had other, less apparent ailments: depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. The same military doctors who did not find any PTSD symptoms in him, also did not find him unfit in a way that would have flagged a background check and prevented him from purchasing the .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he used in the shooting.

My question is how many deaths and shootings need to occur before our military starts to weigh equally mental and physical wounds?

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Adam Shatarsky is co-founder of the non-profit, The Wounded Walk, which will host a rally April 12 in Columbus Circle to raise awareness for physically and mentally wounded veterans.
He describes the Marine Corps as a dog-eat-dog world where if a soldier has a problem, they are expected to deal with it on their own. It’s unspoken that you should just “man up.”

One of Shatarsky’s fellow Marines committed suicide while serving at Camp Pendleton in California. According to Shatarsky, there was no indication that he would take his own life. He hadn’t shown any signs. Time and again we hear that there was no indication and that “we never thought it would happen to us.”

The record amount of military suicides is a whisper until it’s replaced by the shout of a mass shooting.

But, last year the number of suicide deaths within the U.S. military hit a record high and exceeded the number of those who died in combat in Afghanistan in 2012. An average of 18-22 veterans commit suicide daily – totaling 8,000 per year, according to the 2012 Suicide Data Report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers outreach in nearly 200 specialized PTSD treatment programs throughout the country. These medical centers offer one-one mental health assessments and psychotherapy, medications and group therapy.

But many military vets consider the outreach programs to be “clinical” and “unwelcoming.” What’s not considered is that these men and women are trained to not only hide their emotions, but to not have emotions at all.

How comfortable, then, would they feel walking through the doors of a VA-sponsored medical center?

To their credit, the military and the VA are now more active in ever before in their campaigns to de-stigmatize PTSD, depression and anxiety. Several military personnel have taken the mental health issue into their own hands by offering innovative solutions such as yoga classes with the goal of teaching the soldiers how to counter their stress through meditation and other non-pharmaceutical methods.

This shooting shouldn’t launch another gun law debate. It should trigger discussions on what’s behind the gun – mental illness. The stigmas of weakness that have long been associated with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders need to be chipped away within the military and by us citizens as well.

Sufferers of mental illness may show no signs while they deal with the accompanying shame, secrecy, isolation and social exclusion. There is no shame in seeking help, but we as a community need to make it known that it is ok to do so by changing the conversation around mental illness.

Shatarsky is lucky. He has a support network in his fellow Marines. His goal is to create a family and a community where veterans come to share their stories – and their grievances.

We all need to make every man and woman feel so lucky. We as a community need to step up to create support groups for our wounded veterans. The goal should be to decimate isolation and depression and replace it with social inclusion and reduced discrimination. We need to let veterans know that they are not alone.

The nature of the stigma will evolve as the stigma is challenged: There is no weakness in mental illness.

Our job is to identify the stigma in every context – then destroy it.

This was published on CNN and the LoudounTimes.

AirBnB: Not just extra cash for tenants, but for all New Yorkers

During the heat wave of July last year, my 66 year-old mother rewarded herself for surviving the painstaking climb up my four story walk-up by parking herself in front of my window AC unit until the sweat subsided. It was hard to watch.

So when my six-month pregnant sister decided to return, my mom said, “You’re going to climb those stairs in that state?”

Yes, that’s exactly what she did since paying for a NYC hotel room was out of the question.

If I ever want family or friends to visit, I have to offer up my miniscule apartment as bait to leverage the cost of everything else. Who wouldn’t accept the offer considering the average rate for a hotel room in NYC was almost $300 in 2012, the most recent data available on NYCgo.com. That’s not exactly affordable.

AirBnB is a savior in this regard. What if I didn’t live here; does that mean my family would never visit? The answer is most likely; and I can see that being the case for many NYC tourists who flock to AirBnB in droves as means to end.

AirBnB, and any other like services, are under a microscope. Negative press and disenfranchised landlords have made a stink about its legality. There have been horror stories, yes, but for the most part it is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Friends who use the service have nothing but praise for it and AirBnB offers a substantial amount in insurance money to its lessees. For tourists, the added advantage to saving money is the ability to feel like they’re a real New Yorker. We want to make tourists happy considering they’re the basis of an industry that generates $55 billion in economic impact and 363,000 jobs.

It seems one Manhattan Housing Court judge agrees – he recently ruled in favor of a tenant being sued by her landlord for using the service because, according to the ruling, the Multiple Dwelling Law that prohibits short-term sublets is “generally aimed at the conduct of owners of property, not tenants.”

This particular battle was won, but the company and its competitors face an uphill battle as the voices of landlords who condemn the legality of the practice grow louder. It’s time to think less about the chump change it costs landlords and more about the millions to be made if AirBnB provides even more tourists the ability to visit the city . That’s more money to be made – for everyone.

The nuisance of New York’s noisy streets

Note to self: Don't ever move into an apartment located directly above a night club.
Note to self: Don’t ever move into an apartment located directly above a night club.

Last year I was engaged in a Battle Royale over noise brought on by my neighbor – a hookah bar located directly under my first-floor apartment.

At the time, my roommate and I suffered from the usual naivety of first-time New York apartment renters when we listened to and believed the real estate agent who said there had never been any noise complaints against them.

We moved in on a Monday and slept peacefully for four days. Then Thursday came. At 10 p.m. a torrent of Rihanna’s melodies rose up through the floorboards and an overwhelming sense of dread coupled with bass beats was its undertow.

I was immediately awash in the truth that we had been lied to and were trapped in a wet-inked lease. How could anyone live like this? Our floors and walls vibrated and the dishes in our sink clinked along with every beat of the Thursday – Saturday show time.

Noise is the number one complaint since the 311 helpline was established in 2003, according to amNewYork’s Monday front page article. More than 3.1 million noise complaints have been filed in the past decade. I was among those voices.

I’m not perturbed by sirens, honking or yelling. But, I can’t handle bass during a weeknight. A war was waged on the bar owners and I became an expert in New York sound ordinance codes. Commercial establishments must limit the level of unreasonable noise to 42 decibels as measured from inside nearby residences. To give you an idea, the level of normal conversation is 50 dB(A) and stereos/boom boxes measure 110 dB(A). The next highest level is a jet plane, which clocks in at 130 dB(A).

I also became a prolific dialer and filer of 311 noise complaints. The cops – whose station was located across the street and whose desks were visible from my kitchen window – dutifully followed up with each complaint, but to no avail.

Two of the owners made half-hearted attempts to appease us. They said they would pay to install carpet and would caulk our pipes. They would do anything they could think of that wouldn’t cost them more than $50 and would also therefore be useless.

The other tenants could feel and hear the bass up to the fifth level. We had all become dependent on sleeping pills and wine. I begged the landlord to force them to properly soundproof. Maybe it had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy?

It was clear that they weren’t going to spend the tens of thousands of dollars to do this and it was also clear that if we didn’t vacate we would go insane. The night I found myself on the sidewalk screaming and pointing my finger in the owner’s face I realized the battle was a losing one.

We decided to skip out on the lease and move five streets down to an apartment our friends were vacating. We sent a letter from a lawyer stating they our contract had been breached. Two days before we moved out, I received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection saying they would step in on the matter. It was a major victory.

We still live in our friends’ apartment. The window in my bedroom is single-paned and I can hear people talking on the street and car wheels striking manhole covers. A friend said the street noise reminded him of being in Venezuela. I haven’t called 311 once. The traffic is my lullaby.

Hannah Hager is an Online Content Director living in Alphabet City.
This article was originally published in amNewYork.

Sarcasm in content marketing

My marketing team received a very eloquent, middle-fingered response to a content email that was sent in my name. It’s for an event we’re hosting on a very niche topic – dredging in ports. No further introduction needed.

Dear Hannah-

I can’t believe that I failed to respond to your unsolicited email – shame on me!  

As you know, I am a big fan of dredging and reclamation, and ever since I was a little nipper I would brag to my friends about how some day I would dredge and reclaim with the big guys – little did I realize that some day I would actually get a personal email from you inviting me to a real live dredge and reclaim party!  Hannah, thank you so much for looking out for me!   I don’t know how to thank you enough for getting this invite to me – to bring me front and center tomeet and rub army boots with the celebrities and the kings of the world of sludge!

Again, I apologize for losing your email in the white noise of annoying irrelevant and unwanted spam.

Sincerely,

xx

 

Bit By Bit: Bitcoin is the Future of Crypto Currency

Bitcoin has received some heat in the media lately.

In February, Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy after losing $490 million worth of investments and is also facing a lawsuit after a cyber attack brought down their exchange. Further, the CEO of BitInstant was arrested in New York in January for money laundering. BitInstant is also facing a class-action lawsuit from its investors who allege the service was misrepresented to them.

Descriptions for Bitcoin are abysmal. A scam. Destructive. Illegal.

The currency will face an uphill battle to prove its worth – figuratively and literally – to the public and national governments.

“Bitcoin matters because it has governments and major banks scared stiff. It presents a currency that cuts them out of the picture,” writes CNN Money’s Jose Pagliery.

China and Russia have already declared Bitcoin illegal. But, the U.S. government and its private financial institutions are not so sure it should be. Beyond the concern that there is little protection for consumers who trade in Bitcoin, there is reason to be optimistic. Bitcoin allows for the opportunity for private and public sectors alike to capitalize on the ability to easily transfer money across the world without fees or inflation.

“We have finally figured out how to send value over the Internet – faster, cheaper and more securely. We are not going to ‘unlearn’ that,” Jinyoung Englund, spokeswoman for the Bitcoin Foundation, the currency’s top advocate, told Pagliery.

The raucous over New York’s noise levels

Last year I was engaged in a Battle Royale over noise brought on by my neighbor – a hookah bar located directly under my first-floor apartment.

At the time, my roommate and I suffered from the usual naivety of first-time New York apartment renters when we listened to and believed the real estate agent who said there had never been any noise complaints against them.

We moved in on a Monday and slept peacefully for four days. Then Thursday came. At 10 p.m. a torrent of Rihanna’s melodies rose up through the floorboards and an overwhelming sense of dread coupled with bass beats was its undertow.

I was immediately awash in the truth that we had been lied to and were trapped in a wet-inked lease. How could anyone live like this? Our floors and walls vibrated and the dishes in our sink clinked along with every beat of the Thursday – Saturday show time.

Noise is the number one complaint since the 311 helpline was established in 2003, according to amNewYork’s Monday front page article. More than 3.1 million noise complaints have been filed in the past decade. I was among those voices.

I’m not perturbed by sirens, honking or yelling. But, I can’t handle bass during a weeknight. A war was waged on the bar owners and I became an expert in New York sound ordinance codes. Commercial establishments must limit the level of unreasonable noise to 42 decibels as measured from inside nearby residences. To give you an idea, the level of normal conversation is 50 dB(A) and stereos/boom boxes measure 110 dB(A). The next highest level is a jet plane, which clocks in at 130 dB(A).

I also became a prolific dialer and filer of 311 noise complaints. The cops – whose station was located across the street and whose desks were visible from my kitchen window – dutifully followed up with each complaint, but to no avail.

Two of the owners made half-hearted attempts to appease us. They said they would pay to install carpet and would caulk our pipes. They would do anything they could think of that wouldn’t cost them more than $50 and would also therefore be useless.

The other tenants could feel and hear the bass up to the fifth level. We had all become dependent on sleeping pills and wine. I begged the landlord to force them to properly soundproof. Maybe it had been damaged during Hurricane Sandy?

It was clear that they weren’t going to spend the tens of thousands of dollars to do this and it was also clear that if we didn’t vacate we would go insane. The night I found myself on the sidewalk screaming and pointing my finger in the owner’s face I realized the battle was a losing one.

We decided to skip out on the lease and move five streets down to an apartment our friends were vacating. We sent a letter from a lawyer stating they our contract had been breached. Two days before we moved out, I received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection saying they would step in on the matter. It was a major victory.

We still live in our friends’ apartment. The window in my bedroom is single-paned and I can hear people talking on the street and car wheels striking manhole covers. A friend said the street noise reminded him of being in Venezuela. I haven’t called 311 once. The traffic is my lullaby.

Up yours upskirters

I always feel a jolt when I hear that “a girl is asking for it.”

This charge implies a woman deserves what she puts out into the universe—as if she’s procuring sexual harassment or violence. Well, no girl, however short or tight the clothing, deserves that sort of comeuppance.

Don’t get me wrong, I have dressed inappropriately in my day. Not to work or school, but in my private life to social events. Does this mean I am asking for it?

What I’ve found is that no matter what I wear there is no escape from the sexual advances of certain men. Unwanted and unsolicited advances keep rolling in: From the not-so-subtle stares to the out-right cat calls echoing out of cars.

Multiple men have felt they hold the right to grab my butt. I don’t consider this a compliment to my appearance – it’s a side effect of my gender.

I know this because I’ve been chased three times in my life. The first time, I was 17 years-old and walking my two dogs in my hometown of Round Hill, Virginia. I had no makeup on and was wearing gray sweatpants. The second time was in Paris, France. Donning a heavy coat and jeans on a walk to the Metro, a man rolled along beside me in his car catcalling even as I ignored him. When I didn’t react, he took it a step further by pulling over, exiting his car, and running toward me. I ran. The most recent time I was chased was in Vienna, Austria. This time it was two men in a car who jumped the sidewalk curb and touched the nose of their BMW to the building beside me, effectively blocking me in. Again, I turned and ran. I was wearing shorts.

It shouldn’t matter what I was wearing on these occasions, but apparently it does, because none of these times have been as emotionally disruptive as when I was upskirted.

This morning a Masssachussetts court deemed it legal for a man to secretly take a picture underneath a woman’s clothing. The court ruled that “the practice did not violate the law because the women who were photographed while riding Boston public transportation were not nude or partially nude,” according to Haimy Assefa at CNN.

The ruling took me back to a fall day in 2011 when I was searching for winter boots at Tysons Corner Mall in Virginia.

I was wearing a light pink, knee-length dress from J.Crew. If you must know, it was conservative, but I don’t feel I should have to defend that. As I perused the Bloomingdale’s selection, I felt that soft, raw nag of being watched. Although no one curious appeared to be around, the feeling wouldn’t shake and I left to ride the escalator to the top level.

Halfway up the climb, I felt a finger slide along my inner thigh.

I turned to find a young man on the stair below me. He was holding out his phone in his palm.

It was then that I realized he had just taken a picture of my underwear from beneath my skirt. I lunged for his phone, screaming, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

He kept repeating, “no, no, no.” He didn’t speak English. And he didn’t relinquish his phone. I reached up my hand to slap him in his face – but couldn’t muster it.

A mother and her teenager daughter were standing behind us on the escalator. They did nothing. When we reached the top we were all under a shower of my screams, but I felt the screams were trapped inside me because no one reacted.

This man, he didn’t bolt. He watched me scream. Then, he turned and slowly walked away.

In this moment he dwarfed my self-assurance that what had just happened was a violation of my privacy and self respect. When I later recounted my assault to two undercover policemen, it became abundantly clear that my violator had escaped. I wanted to know why he would touch me.

He hadn’t meant to scrape my leg, they said; he just wanted to get his picture without me ever knowing. This man had done it before and he would do it again.

Several people have asked why I didn’t hit him. The only answer to give is that just because he is a bad person doesn’t mean I am. My only regret is that I didn’t stop him. I didn’t try hard enough to confiscate his phone. He is out there now – at the mall or in the airport – preying on other women. I had a chance to stop that, and I didn’t. I couldn’t.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Massachusetts Justice Margot Botsford of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court wrote in her ruling that “A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing.”

Outrage at the ruling has prompted action to change the law. I hope it does without delay.

Upskirting happens and it’s not fair. Hopefully my story will lead ladies to pay attention. Listen to your intuition and your instincts. Be constantly vigilant of your surroundings. Lastly, make an effort to help a screaming woman.

You are so special to me

You are so special to me.

It’s in the signature of grandma’s letters. It’s a phrase reiterated in person and it’s a phrase that resonates after her death.

It’s a phrase to remember her because throughout my life she proved it was true.

I will remember her hands as they stirred through the steps to creamy, homemade fudge in an attempt to satisfy the sweettooth we’ve all inherited.

I will remember her excusing herself from a room of company only to reappear with a slash of bright pink lighting her lips. Always a lady.

I will remember her candor in agreeing Pop Pop was a good looking man — but only when he had hair.

I will remember her hands as never still even after she could no longer sew or write. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

I will remember her hanging laundry from the clothes line behind her house as the wind whipped down from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

I will remember last spring when she hobbled out to her vegetable garden, and having been dissatisfied with its state, bending down and weeding it herself.

I will remember the last time we sat on her porch on a beautiful spring day and her instructing me to listen to the birds, slow down and hear God.

I will remember her telling me that this is my life to live after I had decided to move to New York and was coming to terms with the real possibility that she could pass away without a goodbye.

I will remember her belief that I will return to Virginia because it’s where I came from.

I will remember her summoning the strength to whisper for the last time that she is proud of me.

I will remember thanking her for setting an example of how to live my life as a woman and as a Christian. And, I will remember when she could no longer speak, that I was able to say for her:

You are so special to me.

Purcellville resident turns 100

This is an article I wrote for my grandmother’s 100th birthday. It appeared in the March 27 edition of the Loudoun Times-Mirror.

In 1913, during the relatively quiet year after the Titanic sank and before the escalation of the First World War in Europe, Geraldine Jane Potts James was born to Linda Kidwell and Walter Potts at their home in Hillsboro, three days before Easter on March 20. Their kitchen counter meat scale read that she weighed 4 lbs., give or take a few ounces.

One century later and several towns over, Geraldine celebrated her 100th birthday March 24 at the Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville amongst more than 120 close family and friends. The celebration of her birthday and life was hosted by her three children; Roberta East of Purcellville, Linda James of Round Hill, and Gerald James of Herndon.

As children of the Great Depression, Geraldine and her brothers Raymond and Lloyd Potts – who lived to see 93 and 94, respectively –were expected to pitch in on the farm, especially after their father died when she was three years-old. Her tasks included feeding the chickens and milking the cows. To earn extra cash, her family would dress and prepare their chickens and eggs and load them on the train at the Purcellville station to be sold to city dwellers in Washington, D.C.

“You couldn’t buy gasoline for the car, so we had to be very careful anywhere we went. We bought very little at the store; mainly coffee, sugar and flour with a ration book,” Geraldine said. Back then, “You survived by growing things you had on the farm.”

She credits her long life to her faith in God, being a teetotaler – with an undisputed and never satiated sweet tooth – and “walking for her education.”

While in primary school, she would walk – or hitch a ride on the horse-drawn school bus – to Hillsboro. When she reached high school age, she walked two miles to then catch a ride in her neighbor’s Model – T Ford that was headed to Lincoln High School (now Lincoln Elementary School).

It shouldn’t be a surprise that she later became one of the few women of her time to attend college, graduating in 1935 from Madison College, now James Madison University. Her mother, “who believed in two things; the Lord and education,” died a few months after Geraldine graduated.

On July 3, 1936, she had the pleasure of shaking the hand of one of the most beloved presidents in history, Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he dedicated Shenandoah National Park. She was 23. She spent her roaring twenties as a home economics teacher at Lincoln High School, taking respites to swim in “the Big Eddy” in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and vacationing with a girlfriend to Atlantic City, N.J., where they were reprimanded by a police officer for showing their legs on the boardwalk.

Geraldine wore a navy suit when she married Robert “Bob” James on February 21, 1942, with only the pastor and his wife serving as witnesses. She was 28 years-old. Their long and happy union lead to the proudest moments of her life when she became “a mother of three good children.” She is now a grandmother to five and the great-grandmother of seven children.

During her days as a homemaker she kept a garden and canned, froze or cooked the yield for her family and the workers who helped butcher the meat, harvest the grain and tend to their dairy farm operation. Dairy farms were once the economic mainstay in Loudoun, but today only one remains and is operated by Geraldine’s cousins in Purcellville.

Geraldine considers her greatest achievement to be “becoming a Christian and loving the Lord.” She and Bob, before he died in 1983, were lifelong members of Purcellville Baptist Church where she has taught numerous Sunday school and vocational classes. In 1996, she was recognized by the church as one of the first recipients of their Oaks of Righteousness program for her dedication to God and the church.

“Life has been good. I’ve enjoyed living on the farm; raising my children, feeding all my neighbors,” she said. “We had simple things, but we had fun, a lot of homemade fun.”

Lean Is Not an Initiative, But a Lifestyle

As a Lean leader, Mitch Sparber, the Head of HR Service Center Operations at Farmers Insurance, understands Lean isn’t an initiative, but a company-wide lifestyle. In this interview he shows how Farmers Insurance leverages lean concepts to streamline its operations to better serve the internal customer.

Building a lean culture takes time – what are your suggestions on managing expectations and setting realistic metrics along the way?
You are correct, Lean is a journey. It is important that leadership continually reinforces this with team members. While highlighting our Lean efforts during team meetings, I try to make an effort to remind everyone that Lean is not an initiative but an approach that we are trying to embed into our day-to-day activities.

Since success is highly dependent on engagement and commitment from everyone, it is also important to establish the ‘right’ pace of introducing Lean concepts and tools. Lean introduces new terminology, such as customer value-add and tools like time analysis. It is easy for employees to become frustrated in the application of these new concepts. As a Lean leader, I wanted to make sure I was personally involved in our initial Lean events. For example, during our first Kaizen (a four-day event to identify process improvements), I made it very clear to the team that while the outcome is important, it was even more important to me that participating team members obtain a solid understanding of how to use the various Lean tools to identify process improvements.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate Lean achievements. Recognize the commitment being made by your team members. Leverage food days to celebrate the completion of a process improvement event. Provide special recognition to employees who achieve Lean certification.

Could you share with us how you use lean concepts to support your True North vision by providing all employees with a world-class HR experience?
One of the best examples of supporting our True North vision is by introducing the concept of communication cells. The communication cell is a 15-minute meeting during which a team meets to review and discuss the previous period’s performance, the work plan for the current day, KPIs and continuous improvement opportunities.

Similar to a team huddle, this daily meeting has been the catalyst for getting the team to begin to understand lean concepts. The daily meetings are centered around a Comm Cell board. These boards make information about people, performance, and process improvement easily available to all team members. This activity, coupled with a goal to improve communication between team members, supports our True North vision by leading to better customer service.

What are the top tools you use to engage HR employees in Lean?
We’ve implemented several tools around visual management to engage our employees in Lean. These tools make our progress and results visible. For example, we have our HR Lean News You Can Use bulletin board, which is located in a high-traffic employee area. HR Lean news and success stories including certification requirements and training dates are displayed in quick, easy-to-read formats.

In the true spirit of Lean, our team is constantly checking on its progress. We’ve posted our objectives, targets, and metrics. Making our results visible and linking them to strategic drivers of the organization has been a key focus. When people walk by and see it posted on the wall, they’ll start thinking about metrics in their own areas. By making them visual, people will learn to think about metrics as part of their daily work.

Is there a new or emerging technology you can point to that you think will transform Lean within HR Shared Services?
While I don’t see any special ‘technology’ to transform Lean within a team, I see an organization’s commitment to provide ongoing Lean education to all team members as a key driver of success. For us, all new hires are required to complete a one-hour e-Learning course on Lean. Within the first six months, we ask our newly hired employees to attend a Problem is a Buried Treasure course where employees learn about the 7 Wastes and problem solving techniques.

With this basic knowledge, we now encourage employees to complete their first process improvement exercise, called a “Just Do It” submission. Embracing a Lean learning environment during an employee’s introductory time with the organization allows us to develop a culture in which Lean is the way we do our work, not just something extra to do.