The Edges of Lean

The Edges of Lean explores topics in continuous improvement (lean thinking, creative problem solving, six sigma) that get overlooked. Meet the people practicing lean in odd places or with different twists, always with a focus on respect for people and continuous learning.

As a lean leader, you take "Respect for People" very seriously.  What happens when one of your colleagues, team members or employees is going through a serious illness like cancer? How should you demonstrate "Respect for People?" And what should you not say?  Kim Hamer joined me to share her insights and learnings from her husband's journey with cancer, so tune in


Kim Hamer

On April 16, 2009, Kim Hamer watched her 44-yr-old husband take his last breath. During his illness and after his death, she was amazed by the helpful ways their coworkers, bosses, friends, and family supported them. Kim started calling their kind actions "acts of love".
After the death of her husband, Kim, an HR leader, noticed how little guidance leaders received when navigating cancer, health crisis, or the death of a team member. She knew their lack of knowledge negatively affected morale, employee engagement, and productivity. She set out to change that. Combining her personal experience with her professional knowledge and leadership skills, Kim launched her business to support leaders and coworkers when cancer (or any health crisis) affects a team member.


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Kim’s career background
  • Her husband's cancer story
  • How to support someone who’s dealing with cancer in the workplace
  • Why managers should avoid assumptions about sick employee's capabilities and wishes
  • What managers can do to manage the situation the right way
  • Vulnerability is not a weakness
  • How your support greatly impacts someone who’s dealing with cancer 
  • What leaders and team members can do to avoid the sick employee feeling discriminated against, and better yet, still feel engaged
  • What your leader standard work should be in this situation
  • What not to say! 


  • Show Respect. Showing respect for your employees always shows that you value them and their contribution to the company. It also creates a more positive work environment for everyone.
  • Show Support. Employees who feel supported by their employers are more likely to be productive, positive, and engaged in their work, even if they are sick. 
  • Communicate effectively. By being an effective communicator, you will be able to create a strong foundation for your team that will allow them to thrive in spite of any challenges that may come up.
  • Understanding creates a big impact. if you have an employee who is facing a tough health challenge, make sure to let them know that you're on their team. It will make a world of difference for them.
  • Create a positive environment. By creating a positive environment, you can help someone dealing with illness feel valued and appreciated, instead of marginalized.
  • Be flexible and ready to pivot. What your employee needs will change.  Incorporate frequent communication to understand changing needs in your leader standard work.  

Memorable Quotes From Kim Hamer


“When you can help your team support an employee with dealing with whatever crisis they're working with, you are supporting their mental health and their well being. You are providing them with tools that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.”





It’s an odd thing to say, but one of the worst things that can happen to your business is to grow too fast! Marco Koeniger just happened to be in the right business at the right time, when he was suddenly faced with explosive growth.  What helped him lead successfully? His Green Belt training. Listen to hear the story!


Marco Koeniger

Marco is a young professional who has been working in different leadership positions for more than 4 years now. He is experienced in recruiting and coaching loyal team players who are willing to build a successful and caring organization.
In his different positions, he encountered various challenges and was often left without guidance, which led to him getting interested in self-development and empathetic leadership.
In January 2022 he started his Podcast Leading Better Lives, which focuses on self-improvement, communication and empathetic leadership.


Key Topics in this podcast:

  • How Marco get into Lean
  • His career background
  • The importance of having SOP’s in an organization
  • Marco’s process of writing SOP’s
  • His learnings from managing the Green Belt Project
  • His learnings from the Change Management
  • The importance of active listening skill as a leader
  • His plas for continuing Lean Mindset and Continuous Improvement
  • The Importance of root cause analysis



  • SOPs are an important part of any organization as they help to ensure that tasks are carried out consistently and accurately. They also help to improve efficiency by eliminating the need for employees to constantly reinvent the wheel. 
  • When creating an SOP, it is important to be as specific and detailed as possible. The more clear and concise the instructions, the easier it will be for employees to follow them
  • One of the most important aspects of effective change management is communication. Leaders need to be clear about the reasons for the change, what will be different, and what the expectations are.
  • The key principles of lean are reducing waste, improving quality, and increasing value for customers. When these principles are applied to change management, they can help to simplify the process and make it more efficient.
  • Root cause analysis is a methodology used to identify the underlying cause of a problem. By understanding the root cause of a problem, we can take steps to fix it and prevent it from happening again in the future.
  • When Leaders actively listen to their employees, they create an open and respectful environment where everyone feels comfortable communicating and working together. 

Memorable Quotes From Marco Koeniger


“If you do a root cause analysis, you see how deep these causes are sometimes or how much they vary from what we’re actually expecting, Root cause analysis is somewhere active listening as well” 



Do you hate get up to speak in front of people? Do you have to do it achieve your goals? Brenden Kumarasamy knows just how you fell, and he is ready to help! Brenden joins me for some surprising tips on how to not only get comfortable - but maybe even enjoy speaking in public.

Brenden Kumarasamy

Brenden is the founder of MasterTalk, where he coaches ambitious executives & entrepreneurs to become top 1% communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called MasterTalk, with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world.

 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Brenden’s career background
  • Why is public speaking so scary?
  • How to apply lean to help you overcome your fear of public speaking? 
  • What is the random random word exercise? (AND hear it in action!)
  • Brenden's tips on how people can easily retain information from presentations
  • The importance of getting feedback for improving presentation skills
  • The very best age to start coaching kids to develop communication skills



  • Many people experience fear when they have to give a presentation. This fear can manifest itself in different ways, but one of the most common is a fear of communication. This occurs when a person feels like they are not able to effectively communicate their ideas to the audience. 
  • Feedback is an essential part of any communication process. It helps us to assess how our message is being received and to make necessary adjustments. In the context of presentations, feedback can be extremely helpful in ensuring that our message is clear and concise. 
  • When it comes to effective communication, it is never too early to start coaching kids. Children who are coached early on in the basics of communication tend to be more confident and successful communicators as they grow older.
  • When it comes to developing communication skills, many people tend to feel shy or uncomfortable. However, research has shown that making coaching communications skills fun can help learners feel more comfortable and confident. 

Memorable Quotes From Brenden Kumarasay


“For your future goals, start picturing the person you want to be... And just ask yourself, what would that person do and how can I be like that person today rather than in 10 years?”



MasterTalk on YouTube:


Here at the Edges of Lean, one of my great pleasures is learning from people who practice lean thinking, but who don't think of themselves as lean practitioners. William Attaway is one of those people.

In lean, we know how vital leadership is.  William joined me to talk about how we all can be better leaders, how to continually improve our leadership, and why  coaching is the best way to improve our leadership skills .

William Attaway

William Attaway is a Leadership Coach for Catalytic Leadership, LLC, a company he founded to help leaders to INTENTIONALLY grow and thrive. He has served in local church ministry for over 25 years, and is currently the Lead Pastor of Southview Community Church, a church in Herndon, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.) where he has served since 2004. He holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament (with an emphasis in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology), and he loves to read and speak about leadership, organizational change, archaeology, and building up people and teams. His newest book is Catalytic Leadership (January, 2022). Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, William now lives in northern Virginia with his beautiful wife Charlotte and their two daughters.


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • William’s career background
  • How he got into leadership coaching
  • His perspective about leadership
  • What is the secret sauce of leadership?
  • What can leaders do to make a difference in the organization
  • Why leadership coaching is the best investment for leaders to make in their career development
  • What are the most misconceptions about leadership?
  • Why continuous improvement in leadership is the key ingredient in organizational success.



  • Being a good leader requires more than just having the right skills and knowledge. It also requires a willingness to grow and learn.
  • It is essential for leaders to be coachable in order to improve their leadership style. 
  •  Coaching allows leaders to learn about their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they can better motivate and inspire their team. 
  •  By being open to coaching, leaders can ensure that they are always learning and expanding their capabilities. This, in turn, allows them to more effectively lead their teams and organizations into the future.
  • What it means to have a teachable spirit.

Memorable Quotes From William Attaway


“One of the most undervalued skills that every leader has to possess, you have to be able to listen, when you ask the right questions. And when you listen, you can help to avoid the ditch of those missed expectations.”



Michaell Magrutsche thinks that systems get in the way of our humanity.  I believe that (good) systems are necessary for humanity to thrive.  I thought a conversation was in order!


Michaell Magrutsche

Michaell is a California Multimedia Artist, writer, advisor born in Vienna-Austria, Magrutsche’s visual work has been coined Liminal Hard Edge, Reductive Pop and Antidepressant.


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Michaell’s career background
  • What does it feel like to be a person that doesn't fit the system?
  • Chaos theory painting explained
  • The difference between knowledge and wisdom
  • How does system harm us and help us and how humanity can flourish in a system-driven world.
  • What is art and its importance in our system



  • In order to have a good system, humans must be allowed to be limitless and powerful.
  • Knowledge is an important part of life. It can be defined as the understanding and abilities that someone has obtained from experience or education; it also may refer to information about some specific topic that they possess due to their expertise on the said subject matter
  • Wisdom is the ability to take practical action in your life. It's not something that can be given or bought, it has been developed through experience and this takes time
  • The arts are a powerful tool for improving our society. They can help us to better understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us by providing opportunities that lead towards self-expression in all shapes and forms! 
  • Human appreciation for value is an essential part of being human.


Memorable Quotes From Michaell Magrutsche


“Be yourself which is on the way, and understand what's real”


Linked In: 



. A leader is the one who steers the ship in the right direction. Direction setting is not easy - and Greg Offner has applied the benefits of root cause analysis to help leaders explore goals: Greg joins me to share this approach Root GOAL Analysis) and to talk about how it benefits lean leadership and a lean culture. He also discussed why coaching leaders is important, so tune in! 

Gregory Offner

Gregory Offner is one of the most in-demand experts on the topic of professional performance, and navigating disruption. His clients include Fortune 100 companies, and he is often asked to keynote at conferences where industry leaders and executives turn to him for new perspectives on how to elevate performance, eliminate disengagement, and make work suck less.


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Gregory’s career background
  • What is leadership and the characteristics of a good leader
  • The 3 important evaluation questions
  • Gregory’s leadership coaching approach 
  • What is the misconception about leadership?
  • The steps of Root Goal Analysis 
  • The importance of self reflection for leaders
  • What do most leaders miss in their leadership style? 


  • A true leader is always willing to reflect on their own choices and actions. After all, it is only through honest self-reflection that we can learn and grow. By looking back at our successes and failures, we can gain invaluable insights into what works and what doesn't.
  • All leaders can benefit from coaching to improve their leadership style. A coach can help leaders to identify areas where they need to develop, and provide guidance and support as they work to improve their skills.
  • Leaders who are committed to continuous improvement will be better able to meet the challenges of a constantly changing world. 
  • A coach can also help leaders to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to develop strategies for leveraging their strengths and addressing their weaknesses. In addition, a coach can provide an objective perspective on leadership issues, helping leaders to make better decisions.
  • Root goal analysis leads to stringer and more meanigful personal and organizational goals. 


Memorable Quotes From Gregory Offner


“One of the most undervalued skills that every leader has to possess (is this): you have to be able to listen, when you ask the right questions. And when you listen, you can help to avoid the ditch of those missed expectations.


Linked In: 


Whatever form of continuous improvement you practice, it's all about learning through experimentation. But once you've learned something, what happens to that knowledge? Clark Shah-Nelson joined me today to talk about knowledge management, why it is essential for organizations, and how to get started managing knowledge.

Clark Shah-Nelson

Dr. Shah-Nelson has taught, designed & led award-winning virtual, online, instructional design and distance learning teams; supported end user and learning management platform implementation and led teams for training, professional development and project management. Recently published articles include human resource management of virtual teams and collaborative tools for knowledge management. 


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Clark’s career background
  • What is knowledge management?
  • Understanding taxonomy
  • The importance of Human Resources in knowledge management
  • Why documentation is so important in knowledge management, and what to do with all that documentation.
  • The importance of the documentarian role


  • Knowledge management is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge
  • Corporate taxonomy is the hierarchical classification of entities of interest of an enterprise, organization or administration, used to classify documents, digital assets and other information. Taxonomies can cover virtually any type of physical or conceptual entities (products, processes, knowledge fields, human groups, etc.) at any level of granularity.
  • Corporate taxonomies are increasingly used in information systems (particularly content management and knowledge management systems), as a way to promote discoverability and allow instant access to the right information within exponentially growing volumes of data in learning organizations.
  • Human resources are crucial to onboarding for knowledge management. The key is having the right people in place and making sure they have all of their information available when it comes time to sit down with new employees, so that process can go smoothly from start to finish


Memorable Quotes From Clark Shah-Nelson


“Look into knowledge management, because it's a growing field, it's going to grow more, It's maturing, it's evolving and  it's going to become even more mission critical and more and more organizations and companies are going to prioritize knowledge management.”


Linked In: 



Everyone "knows" that you can't deploy lean without engaged leadership.  So, just how do you get leadership engaged? Rebecca Snelling shares her insights at The Edges of Lean.


Rebecca Snelling, owner of RS Consulting, coaches people, teams and organizations on Leadership and Lean Transformation with an emphasis on advancing culture. She is active in the Design and Construction industry, speaking at various industry events across the US and abroad. Rebecca also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) and the Center for Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry (CIDCI).


We had such a great conversation about engaging leadership - and lots more! Rebecca shared that she will be hitting the road soon at these two events:

5/19/2022 :Lean Construction Institute "Lean Roadshow" Chicago, IL

6/15-16 2022: Lean Construction Institute "Lean Roadshow" Austin, TX

Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Rebecca’s career background
  • How she got into leadership
  • How she applied Lean in her previous company
  • How she got into into coaching and the challenges she faced
  • How Lean transformation solves the problems in an organization
  • How Rebecca handles people who are resistant to change
  • Engaged leader and leadership explained
  • How good organizations start with Lean thinking


  • Applying lean in your organization can be a great way to help improve efficiency and productivity.
  • An engaged leader is one who genuinely cares about helping those around them grow and succeed. They create an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks, trying new things, and speaking up. This type of leader fosters a sense of camaraderie and collaboration, rather than competition.
  • Lean thinking can help you create a culture of continuous improvement, where employees are empowered to identify and solve problems. As a result, applying lean in your organization can have a profound impact on your bottom line.
  • When it comes to helping people who are resistant to change, it's important to have empathy and understanding. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective. 

Memorable Quotes From Rebecca Snelling

“Just be better today than you were yesterday and drag someone with you”


Linked In: 



EA Csolkovits joins me today to talk about his life experiences and how they've molded him into the person he is today. He also talks about the Givers University he founded, which is helping people from all walks of life to achieve their dreams. And we find out what a "Giver" is and how to find yours.



E.A. was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a milkman (not everyone will remember what a milkman was!) At age 16, he started his business career selling janitorial services to business owners.  At the age of nineteen, E. A. Csolkovits met Sam Robbins, a millionaire businessman from Detroit, Michigan. Sam took E. A. under his wing and began to mentor him. E.A. learned the value of having mentors like Sam Robbins and June Martino to support his growth. 

 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • EA’s career background
  • How June Martino influenced his life
  • The importance and the difference between coaching and mentoring
  • What is Givers University? 
  • "Deeds" explained 


  • Follow your curiosity. Being curious allows you to learn about new ideas and helps you to better understand the world around you. Whether it's delving into a new hobby or seeking out advice from others, following your curiosity can help to unlock endless opportunities for growth and self-discovery. 
  • You need a coach and mentors to succeed. When it comes to succeeding in life, having a good coach or mentor can make a world of difference. Having someone to guide and support you is key to overcoming the challenges that inevitably arise on the path to success
  • Be a giver. EA had no clue about who he wanted to be in the future. He just knew he loved helping others and being a giver so he started sharing his knowledge and helping those around him. And it quickly became his passion. 
  • Invest in your self growth. Investing in your own self-growth is one of the best things you can do for yourself. With the right mindset and a coach or mentor to help you along the way, you can make significant strides towards achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. 

Memorable Quotes From EA Csolkovits


“I will never give up, I will keep rising up, and I will always overcome”







How many PowerPoint presentations have you seen? How many have put you to sleep? Betsy Lawson joins me to talk about how to end boring PowerPoint presentations and have engaging and fun training Listen in to this episode and learn how the stories you know by heart can help your trainees remember more and have more fun.



Betsy Lawson specializes in Lean edutainment for the workplace. She is a Performance Improvement Coach at Augusta Health, has a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, an ATD Training Certificate and a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia (’07). Betsy lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her fiancé and two cats.



Linked In: 

Betsy's Spotfiy playlist for training (so much fun and inspriation here!) :


 Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Betsy’s career background 
  • Her ideas on improving PowerPoint
  • How she uses well-known stories to enliven her training
  • How she aligned "Jaws" and PDCA training 
  • Her vision for how people deliver training in the future



  • Naming characters and giving examples plays an important role in improving any presentation. This trick captivates the audience's attention and knowledge. 
  • Using creative PowerPoint templates can give your presentations a professional look that will impress your audience and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. With a little creativity, you can turn a boring PowerPoint presentation into an engaging and informative experience for your audience.
  • Relatable characters are a good way for an enjoyable and engaging training. The use of well-known characters like Cinderella and Snow White bring the story to life in a relatable way. The story provides context and understanding to the listener. In addition, it is also motivating and inspiring to see someone like yourself succeed. 
  • In today's rapidly changing world, it's more important than ever to be adaptable and continuously improve. To do this, we need to be creative and come up with new ideas. We also need to be open to change, willing to experiment, and always learning. This can be a challenge, but it's essential for keeping up with the times. By being adaptable and continuously improving, we can stay ahead of the curve and make sure that our skills are relevant in an ever-changing world.


Memorable Quotes From Betsy Lawson


‘’Get your Lean Six Sigma certification, whether that's a green belt, black belt, if you'd like math, go for the black belt immediately. it's just more math, that's my biggest piece of advice is get that certification. It'll open more doors.” 

Older Episodes »

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App