The Power of a Peer Group: Lean Communicators | Bonus April 2021

by | Apr 11, 2021 | 0 comments

The Power of a Peer Group: Lean Communicators | Bonus April 2021

Lean Leadership for Ops Managers

The Power of a Peer Group - Lean Communicators - Coverart OP - Bonus April 2021 - Lean Leadership for Ops Managers PodcastLet’s be real. Leadership and management can be hard. And if you’re not careful, it can become lonely, too. That’s why building your squad is an activity worth investing time and energy.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The power of a peer group or squad to help you improve
  • Why sometimes you need to be open to things you don’t think you need
  • Who the Lean Communicators are and how they’ve made it easier for you to tune in
  • Lean and Leadership related shows you might want to tune into


Why You Need a Squad

Leadership is hard. There are tough decisions. You’ll get feedback you don’t like. You’ll be faced with situations you don’t know how to handle.  That means you need a squad. It might be your formal peer team. It might be an informal group. But it should be a group that has your back. That will encourage you. That will challenge you. Your squad that’s on this leadership journey with you.

Be Open to Peer Groups and Squad Members You Don’t Think You Need

Have you ever had something in your life that was so amazing. . . . but that you didn’t even know you needed until you had it? That’s what happened to me when I was presented with an opportunity to join a new peer group that was forming (and that became Lean Communicators).

I wasn’t sure if I really needed another group to join. Did I really have the time? Don’t all of my other peer groups give me the support I need?

Fast forward six months, and I can’t imagine being on this Podcasting journey without Lean Communicators. They’re the Peer Group – the Squad – I didn’t even know I needed. So as you’re thinking about who’s in your squad today? Who are the people that you count on? Who do you pour into?  Be open. You may not realize who and what you need . . . but someone may come knocking on your door with just the right thing at the right time. Keep an open mind.

How Lean Communicators Make It Easier for You to Learn about Lean and Leadership

At Lean Communicators, we have you in mind. We want to make it easier for folks to learn about Lean, leadership and related topics. That’s why we’ve created two resources for you:

  1. Lean Communicators Website –  where you can find all of our show episodes in one place. You can even subscribe to get a brief, simple roundup email each day showing what new episodes published that day.
  2. Lean Communicators Hashtag – #leancommunicators – where you can follow the hashtag on LinkedIn to see our posts, new episodes, and conversations about related topics.

 I’d like to recognize and thank Mark Graban for building and maintaining the Lean Communicators site.

Take Action:

Reflect on your answer to these questions:

Who’s in your squad? How’s that going for you?

If you’re happy with your squad circumstances, then go say thank you. Send a note of gratitude right now. Even a quick text will work. If you’re not happy with your squad circumstances right now . . . .then make a commitment to engage someone and bring them into your world. Remember to give – not just to take.

Mentions & Features in this Episode:


What Is Lean Communicators?:

Lean Communicators Making Funny FacesLean Communicators is a networking and mastermind group initiated by Mark Graban in late 2020. Mark reached out to folks creating compelling content via podcasts or video on LinkedIn or YouTube.  The group meets every three weeks or so and maintains a private discussion group that is used for sharing ideas, practices, encouragement, feedback, and support. 

We’re an organic peer group who intend to stay together for at least the next six months. And then after that, we’ll see what comes next. You can find details on each of the Lean Communicators participants at the website.  Want to connect with the contributors on LinkedIn? Head to their profiles here:



The Power of a Peer Group: Lean Communicators | Bonus Episode April 2021

Welcome to Lean Leadership for Ops Managers, the podcast for leaders in Ops Management who want to spark improvement, foster engagement, and boost problem solving – AND still get their day job done. Here’s your host, Leadership Trainer, Lean Enthusiast, and Spy Thriller Junkie, Jamie V. Parker. 


Jamie V. Parker: Hey, ops leaders, have you ever had something in your life that was so amazing but that you didn’t even know you needed it until you had it? Yeah, that happened to me recently. You know, last year, Mark Graban extended an invite to me to join a new peer group that he was helping to pull together. I don’t even know of the actual origins, but it was a peer group of Lean related professionals who were experimenting our way through podcasts and YouTube channels. So these were ways that we could share our message and serve others. And the idea was that we could get together on Zoom maybe once a month or whatever the frequency and really learn from each other because none of us were professional podcasters or professional YouTube or is our video editors. We’re really learning, so that we could share our message and we didn’t have a plan and there was no one in charge. We just kind of said, we’ll figure it out as we go. And that’s how Lean Communicators was born. Now, I want to tell you more, but just so you know, you can find us at or follow the hashtag #LeanCommunicators.


Now, here’s the thing for full transparency, which, you know, I definitely encourage. When this group first started, I wasn’t totally sure about it. I was kind of mediocre. You see, I already serve as the executive director for the Colorado Lean Network, and I’m active in the Women in Lean. And I have a business coach and a mastermind group that I’m a part of and that I, I give in as well as I just wasn’t sure, you know. Did I want to add another group and was this group really going to help me in ways that my other groups weren’t? I definitely didn’t want to join and just take. Right. I wasn’t going to join if I couldn’t give also. So did I really have the time and would it be worth it?


And I kind of went in this whole to this whole thing like an experiment a little bit . . .  kind of a warm . . . it wasn’t hot, it wasn’t cold, it was just kind of warm medium. Well, let’s see what happens. I don’t have huge, high expectations, but I don’t know, maybe this could be good. So that’s how I got started.


Now, fast forward six months later and I can’t imagine being on this journey without this group. Let me tell you, I’ve learned some tips and tricks I didn’t even know I needed. My network has expanded as I’ve met people that I admire and my relationships have strengthened. I know that I have people to turn to. I don’t have to wait for our next meeting three weeks away. They’re right there to encourage me to give it advice and to share what they’re learning.


We each have our own shows in different niches and we’re at different points in our show’s life cycles. We might even have different objectives, like what’s the overarching goal or vision or objective for our shows. But one thing is clear. We are all better because we’re working together. This has really turned into the community, the peer group, the squad that I didn’t even know I needed,


I wasn’t out certainly searching and Googling like, oh, podcast peer groups right now. It wasn’t a thing I was doing? I didn’t even know I needed it. Now I just am so grateful. And I can’t imagine not having this community, not having this squad.


So here’s a thing, stay tuned, because you’re going to get to meet some of them at the end of this podcast episode.


But first, let’s talk about you. And here’s my question for you. Who is in your squad? You know, the ones that support you and challenge you and encourage you and share the struggles with you. It might be your formal peer team, it might be an informal group, but it should be a group that has your back that will encourage you and will also challenge you. The squad that’s on this leadership journey with you.


Look, leadership is hard, there are tough decisions you’re going to get feedback that you don’t like and that doesn’t feel good. You’ll be faced with situations you don’t know how to handle. And you’re going to have to grow and improve as a leader. And that means you need a squad.


I remember in my last role at corporate, I had my immediate peers and boss as a squad. I mean, we were tight, we were good. We we worked so well together and really built relationships that were beyond just a working relationship. And it was great. And I also had a squad of other professionals that weren’t on my direct peer team. Because sometimes, you know, I needed to talk through how I was going to manage sideways or manage up. Sometimes it was the dynamics with my peer or the dynamics with my boss that I needed to work on and talk through and figure out how to better communicate with them. So I’m really grateful that I didn’t just have this immediate peer group squad, but that I had a broader squad to count on as well.


Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to think about it and think about your squad. Are you happy with it? If you’re not happy with your squad circumstances right now, then make a commitment to engage someone and bring them into your world, remembering to give and not just to take.


And I want you to be open to the possibility that the people you need in your life. . . The people that really can help you may not be the people that you’re searching for right now. I want you to be open to the possibility of finding people, finding a squad, finding a group, finding an individual. That you look back six months, 12 months from now and say, oh, my goodness, I didn’t even know I needed them, and now I can’t imagine not doing this leadership journey with them.


All right. Here’s what I’ve got to tell you. The Lean communicators are some of the most giving, thought provoking folks that I’ve partnered with. To make it easier for you, we, and when I say we, I really mean Mark Graban. . . We, Mark Graban, has created a single website where you can find the newest episodes of all our shows. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to remember to go look at mine and then go look at Mark’s and then go look at Bela’s. You can find it all in one place. You can go to to find that. You can also sign up there to get a daily notice of each time that there’s a new show from one of us.


Now, here’s a special treat for you. This is a group that I love and I’m so excited to be partnering with. I want to introduce you to a handful of the Lean Communicators. So listen up. Hear who’s involved, and think about what shows you might want to explore.


Brian Buck: This is Brian Buck and I am the co-host with Catalina Park of the People Purpose and Profit Business Coaching Podcast. We want to enhance the heart and the smarts of small to medium sized businesses where we help bring out the best in everyone. When you balance people and your purpose, it will only result in profits.


Deondra Wardelle: Hi, my name is Deondra Wardelle, and I’m the owner and CEO of On to the Next One Consulting LLC. On Fridays, I recognize people who model the tenets of Lean in my High Five Friday feature on YouTube. Each week I spotlight honorees for the work they’re doing to promote continuous improvement while demonstrating respect for people in their workplace, communities and circles of influence. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and learn more about people who are continually making a difference and moving on to the next one.


Paul Critchley: Hi, everybody, my name is Paul Critchley and I’m the host of the New England Lean Podcast. On our show, you’ll hear from inspiring people who are all doing some pretty cool things from international Lean thought leaders to local and regional business owners. Each weekly episode is focused on trying to help bring us all closer together. I’m a firm believer in the saying that “none of us is as smart as all of us”, and this show is my way of helping to try and make that happen. So I hope you listen in, I hope you like it and I hope you get something from it.


Mark Graban: Hi, I’m Mark Graban, I’m the host of a number of podcasts, including one I started back in 2006 called Lean Blog Interviews. We interview people about the Lean methodology in manufacturing or health care or other settings. In September, I started a new podcast with a broader business audience. It’s called My Favorite Mistake. Their leaders come and tell a story about something that in their career was a favorite mistake because it turned into a positive somehow or it was a great learning opportunity that was really formative and impactful on their career. Also, I’m the host of a podcast called Habitual Excellence, presented by Value Capture, where we focus on health care improvement. So I hope you’ll check them out.


Bella Englebach: Hi, I’m Bella Engelbach, and my podcast is The Edges of Lean. I’ve always been interested in those things that don’t quite fit the normal pattern. And I love to learn about when Lean thinking and continuous improvement is practiced in places that we might not think of as being Lean places. Places that are not the shopfloor, whether it’s in the cockpit of a fighter jet or it’s on a construction site, or it’s how you practice and prepare for a cheerleading event. All of these things to me are really exciting and interesting. I think we can learn from a whole realm of people who may not be our traditional Lean thinkers and Lean for Leaders. So come along with me on a journey to the Edges of Lean.


Brion Hurley: Hi, this is Brion Hurley, Lean Six Sigma for Good is a podcast dedicated to teaching and sharing ideas about process improvement with mission driven organizations such as government agencies, nonprofits, NGOs, not for profits and benefit companies. I share interviews and presentations dealing with topics such as homelessness, inequality, education, poverty, energy efficiency, reuse and recycling and much more. These methods can also help these organizations save money, engage their employees and maximize value for the taxpayers, donors and those receiving assistance. You can find past episodes, articles, videos and additional information at


Jon Thurmond: Hey, everybody, it’s John Thurmond from The HR Social Hour Half Hour Podcast. On the HR Social Hour Half Hour, my co-host Wendy Dailey and I talk to H.R. practitioners, vendors, analysts, people from all across the human resources industry about themselves and their work. We also talk about the power of connection, giving back and ultimately the power of your network. You can find the show at or on your favorite podcast platform. Take care. Thanks. We’ll see you soon.


Tracy O’Rourke & Elisabeth Swan: Hi, everyone, I’m Tracy O’Rourke, and I’m Elisabeth Swan, and we are co-hosts of the Just-In-Time Café Podcast. It’s a cross between a gabfest and a talk show at the cafe. Elisabeth and I wrestle with tough questions, talk to thought leaders, discuss great books and get insights from Lean Six Sigma practitioners. We let you in on helpful apps, we bring you the news, and we challenge the status quo so you can build your problem-solving muscles. You can find video episodes of the podcast at You can also find us on Stitcher and Spotify. And for past episodes, look for us on Apple podcast. Come join us for a jolt of Lean caffeine at the Just-In-Time Cafe.


Patrick Adams: Hello, I’m Patrick Adams and I’m the host of the Lean Solutions Podcast. Lean Solutions Podcast offers business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for Lean process improvement and implement continuous improvement projects, cost reductions, product quality enhancements and process effectiveness. Improvement listeners come from many industries in both manufacturing and office applications. You can find the Lean Solutions Podcast on your favorite podcast platform.


Sam Morgan: This is Sam Morgan, creator of 90 Second Purpose and CI in 5. On 90 Second Purpose, every day I share my purpose, reflect on my previous day’s intent in action, and look forward to the intent and action in the day ahead. This has been a great place for me to explore my purpose and encourage others like you to do the same. On CI in 5, I invite my favorite CI practitioner friends to come on and share what continuous improvement means to them in five words or less, and in five minutes or less. It’s kind of like a Kata Geek going on a speed date. I know, right? It’s a blast. So if you want to join me for 90 Second Purpose or CI in 5, you can do that by connecting with me on LinkedIn, going to my YouTube channel “Sam loves Lean” or following me and my continuous improvement communicator. friends at Look forward to seeing you there.


Jamie V. Parker: I’m Jamie V. Parker, host of the Lean Leadership for Ops Managers Podcast. If you want a team of proactive, systematic problem solvers, but that whole everybody everywhere, every day improvement just hasn’t happened for you yet. If you want a people focused culture, but you don’t want to sacrifice results to make it happen. If you’ve started using Lean tools but haven’t achieved integration across the operation. Then tune in weekly because Lean Leadership for Ops Managers is the podcast for you.


Jamie V. Parker: Can’t you see why I love this group so much? So much fun. Really great shows. I think you’re going to love it. Head over to Or you can head over to LinkedIn, follow the hashtag #LeanCommunicators to get notified and follow our shows. Take a look and expand how you want to grow and learn and develop as you progress along your leadership journey.


Jamie V. Parker: Until next time.


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Meet Jamie

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I’m a recovering Command-and-Control Manager who’s now on a mission to make the world of work more human. With a soft spot in my heart for Ops Managers, you’ll get the straight talk combining Lean, Leadership, and the real challenges of operations management.




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