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DJ Duarte on Get a Sensei to Start Seeing Differently

2 minutes, 58 seconds read

Our recent podcast interview with DJ Duarte was more focused on the growth of individuals and leaders than many of our other conversations with consultants. We believe his perspective from living in Japan has much to do with the way he sees things. Specifically his strong belief in the importance of a mentor and what the mentor relationship means.

According to DJ, “Every good leader has a coach, a mentor. A sensei is someone who is a professional in their discipline. They are a teacher and a professional in their discipline.” He then added, with the passion and a sense of urgency for anyone who currently does not have one, “Why get one? Number one, I would say, is to grow the way you see the world, to challenge yourself in different ways and obviously to enlighten different practices, enlighten your own way of doing things with different practices and approaches.”

Once you are able to start seeing things in a new way and have ideas about new approaches, DJ shared that it was critical to observe two principles that work together.

“The first principle is no involvement, no commitment, which means you’ve got to get people involved to get the right level of commitment to be able to live this kind of thinking. The second principle is memorize before you customize. Which means do it the way it’s designed to get the results that we know it will achieve. And then once you’ve done it a couple of times, you can now customize it to the way it best matches your business.”

The phased approach of second principle really struck a chord with us in how there needs to be patience, and a well structured plan, that allows everyone to be comfortable and expert at a standard before starting to optimize and change that standard. 

DJ concluded our conversation by bringing the conversation back to the individuals within an organization and the critical role they play. “Akio Toyoda said making things is about making people. So no matter what service or what industry you happen to be in, the key is that people are contributing value to your organization. They help you achieve what it is you are trying to deliver,” said DJ to emphasize the point that no matter what strategies, tactics, and tools you may use, it is all about engaging and aligning those people at the frontline with the value to the customer.

About DJ Duarte:

DJ Duarte’s 34 years as a Global Optimization Expert & Lean Leadership Coach has enabled him to influence the practical application, facilitation and implementation of business processes and systems that delivers real operational cost outcomes. He is currently the owner and founder of Makoto Flow Ltd.

His unique ability to develop lean leaders with the right mindsets & behaviors to support the sustainable changes is just one of his great strengths. His vast experience working in a variety of industries from manufacturing (automotive, construction, electronics & medical devices), service (resorts, casinos, telecom & retail stores), healthcare (out-patient care & documentation), aerospace (maintenance & servicing), logistics and back office/shared service environments (call centers, finance, HR, IT, & procurement).  

His expertise spans 7 continents, 40 different cultures, 17 different industries and several leading global consulting firms.  Through a combination of TPS, TPM, TQM and TPD (talent development) principles & practices, DJ enables companies to achieve unimaginable sustainable business results.

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