Robert Bull – The keys to finding the right formula for continuous improvement

Interview with
Robert Bull
Robert Bull – The keys to finding the right formula for continuous improvement

How Lean can help your business strive for perfection … and discover excellence.

Choosing the right tool for the job is something you would usually relate to manufacturing or hands-on industry maintenance.

What say you could also have access to a tool kit which enables continuous improvement within your business’ operation and gives you the competitive advantage? One such tool box available is promoted internationally and by our guest today, Robert Bull of

It’s called Lean.

Not an acronym for anything, but a way of thinking, of doing things (originally developed by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota in the 1980’s) that continually improves your business through change management resulting in streamlined processes, waste reduction and increased productivity.

Robert is a champion for productivity and how to engage business’ and organisations to want to get better at being better; systems, people, work place culture. He says “never be comfortable with the status quo” because otherwise how do you move forward to success?

"Just as a carpenter needs a vision of what to build … to get the full benefit of a hammer, Lean Thinkers need a vision before picking up our Lean tools. Thinking deeply about purpose, process, people is the key to doing this."

(Jim Womack, founder of the Lean Enterprise)

The process of Lean transformation is long term and big picture oriented.

Lean is all about getting people on board to empower them in their work roles to do the job and solve the problem. Communication through all levels of the team; leaders talking to staff, asking questions and then working together to diffuse issues at ground level.

“I’ve never met a person who goes to work to do a crap job. They come to do the best job possible. Lean empowers them to do that … fulfil their human potential.”

Robert Bull

Robert recommends leaders take note of the Lean philosophy and consider these basics:

  • Transform to an open, ‘control’ rather than ‘command’ style of leadership
  • Go to the ground floor and find the issues
  • Ask ‘What can we do today to be one step better tomorrow?’
  • Create complete transparency so everyone is on the same platform
  • Identify the pinch points in production
  • Get the work up visually (to hear how this works in other fields, listen to our VizLink ( podcast from a few weeks ago)
  • Likewise, go analogue more often so everyone can see what’s happening: a whiteboard identifies roles, work flow, responsibilities, flow processes
  • Make these disciplines habitual.

The outcome of this model is:

  • A confident workforce who know they are heard and valued
  • Strong business foundations that allow ‘cookie cutter’ seamless upscaling
  • A more effective and streamlined workplace, working towards the same goal
  • Efficient team work which ensures optimal productivity
  • Elimination of waste using less resources i.e. less human effort, less space, less capital, less time, less costs
  • Customers who receive great value goods and services: quickly produced, high quality, cheaper.

So, who needs to be Lean? I asked Robert to identify the red flags. He sites any business owner who is doing over 60 hours a week, with high productivity but low profitability, and is in chaos. Lean gets you off the ‘busy being busy’ treadmill and into a calm, controlled, creative and no blame situation that allows your company to reach its benchmark of efficiency and then beyond.

You can message Robert on his LinkedIn account or email him:

Books and resources Robert recommends:

Jim Collins, ‘Good to Great’

Mark Graban, ‘Measures of Success’

Robert Brown, ‘The People Side of Lean Thinking’

Fish Story

Ken Robinson Ted Talk

And by the way, if you need more help in moving your business from chaos to control visit me, Craig Oliver at:

Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at:

So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just look back, listen and learn.


Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and grow your business into something remarkable


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