March 2, 2022

Continuous Improvement Passion with LaShira Champion-King

The unknown enables us to grow when we take on new challenges. You don’t have to leap into it alone when it comes to improving your work. LaShira Champion-King is a passionate builder dedicated to improving project delivery and has helped many constructi...

The unknown enables us to grow when we take on new challenges. You don’t have to leap into it alone when it comes to improving your work. LaShira Champion-King is a passionate builder dedicated to improving project delivery and has helped many construction project teams adopt the continuous improvement mindset. She shares her knowledge and experience in providing value while minimizing waste throughout different projects. She has years of experience helping people transform to make their project delivery easier and better. 


Gifts and Hooks Introduction Activity 

Give each person four sticky notes. They will use three to state a gift they give to the group (e.g., experience, knowledge of what hasn't worked, Innovation), and one sticky will state a "hook" that will keep them fully engaged in the meeting/workshop (e.g., focusing on the future, open environment). Then post the sticky notes to show commonalities among the group. 


*The use of sticky notes here is a part of "ninja Scrum" for LaShira. It’s her way to start people off with the process without much suspicion.  

Credit: Michael Wilkinson at Leadership Strategies


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Episode Links: 

Construction Scrum Master Training


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Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at 


Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at 



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LaShira  0:00  
So I immediately started sticking or sneaking some things into there. So I'm obsessed with post it notes or sticky notes. So it was already up my alley to start doing things and learning how to pull them. Oh yeah, I got some here. Myself. They're hidden under something Oh, this is it here with something that's already there all stuck to my keyboard too as well. So I'm obsessed with sticking them on things. So when things like last planner system came out and such, all of those things were right up my alley just because of my obsession with post it notes alone. So I immediately started sticking, you know, things all the way across my desk and such and I started sneaking in things because at the time, I had recently trained the year before to be a facilitator. And so I took this masterclass on facilitation. And so the two of those marry together, I was like, I can totally do a sprint like right now. Oh, with a couple things that I have. I'm like, Alright, let me gather some people and test that out.

Sponsors  1:07  
Welcome to The EBFC Show, the easier, better, for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by Bosh RefineMySite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, refined my site in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market for the last time. Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refund my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Registered today to try refine my site for free for 60 days. Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now, to the show. 

Felipe Engineer  2:54  
Welcome to the show. LaShira Champion-King. Hello, LaShira.

LaShira  2:59  
Hi, how are you today?

Felipe Engineer  3:01  
Surprise, I woke up and I was alive. So it was a beautiful day.

LaShira  3:06  
Always a plus I took your scrum class. So I was all super excited about that. And when I saw you on LinkedIn, I follow the show I believe beforehand. And then yeah, super thrilled super big fan of yours. Especially after the the exciting scrum course that we had met the Lean construction Institute Congress there a few years ago. So yeah, super excited to be here. So there's a couple committees that i i chair at work, and one is for quality, I do both the quality, lean and innovation for Walbridge. And so in each of those meetings, I find a way to sneak something small. And it's going to expand here a little more. With the new innovation process that we're starting to roll out. I'm going to have what we're going to call I'm not going to call them sprints I'm going to call them sparks sessions. Yeah. However, yeah, it's my way of sneaking in some Scrum and getting people on board with with seeing how exciting it could be.

Felipe Engineer  4:04  
Oh, sure. I gotta tell you this is right from Jeff Sutherland himself. He said when they're deploying it, to name it for what makes sense for you in your organization? Yes,

LaShira  4:13  
absolutely. I think I've heard the I don't know if it was from him or yourself or someone that Verizon, the phone company was doing Scrum. And then of course, they didn't want to say sprint. Horizon and we're like, we're not calling anything sprint. So I thought that hilarious. Good scrum joke.

Felipe Engineer  4:33  
Yes. Oh, my God. This uh, the competition is real, totally beautiful people. All the listeners out there listeners. We love you. Thank you for following watching, listening worldwide. We appreciate you please feel free as always to make comments we do respond. And I encourage all my guests to respond as well. Like feel free to jump on in there and leave a review. It's not going to hurt you to tell us what you love about the Episode. We'll share those on the website at The EBFC LaShira, please introduce yourself.

LaShira  5:07  
So my name is LaShira Champion-King. I work at Walbridge. In Detroit, I've been in construction for about 16 years, like tons of people, I did not intend on going into construction. I was an architecture student with a specialty in facilities management. And I never applied to work at Walbridge. Yet, here I am. I was searching for an internship. And I went down to the career services office while I was doing my undergrad. And when I said something about specializing in facilities management, I had to explain what it was most people don't know what what that encompasses. So I had to explain what that was and how it's tied back to architecture. And that's how I ended up in the, in that particular field. Well, it turns out, that particular person went out with a person from Walbridge. That night, they went out for drinks, and whoever the person was that he had gone out with said, hey, you know, I've been busy because we were starting this facility management part of the business and he said, Hey, I met a lady, she's gonna have a bachelor's degree that specializes in facilities management, you know, maybe you should, you should talk. So he had given Walbridge my number my information, I got a call, and they're like, hey, you know, we'd like to have you come in for an interview. And I'm looking for I was looking for an internship. But I was applying for jobs to do CAD I was applying to like, you know, reproduction companies I was applying to everything gets up construction, pretty much. And I go in for the interview. And the guy's like, Hey, I'd love to hire you. It's like, okay, awesome. He says, Do you know where you're gonna work on? I have no idea where I'm going to work. Do you know, tell me where I'm assigned. And, and I'll show up? And he says, Are you sure you don't know? Well, turns out it was directly across the street from where I lived. So it was awesome. I got to walk across the street to work every morning. And so it worked out well. And I stayed ever since they welcomed me. with open arms I had, I've had tons of great experiences. Throughout the 16 years, just over time I started on the construction site. I've gone over to facility management side and done some project management on that side, too, as well. One of the things that happened, if you read my first name, my first initial is L. And before I was married, my last name was just champion. So I was last year a champion. Well, we are a big lean organization were huge on lean construction. And our business unit leader at the time said, I got this idea. You're gonna be our Lean champion, because everybody was required to have lean champion. And I'm like, is he doing this? Because you know, hey, I'm this low level person. I'm entry level. I just started here. And he's given me this responsibility to do and he said, No, no, that's not what it is. He said, your first initials L. And your last name is champion. And he thought it was the slickest thing in the world. So he says, when I go into the meetings, I tell them, my lean champion is L champion, and no one knew who I was at the time. So it's hilarious as I met people, and I said, Hi, I'm Alicia champion, and they're like, Oh, you're the L champion, you're the guy or the girl that they're talking about, you know, nice to meet you. They didn't think it was a real person, they thought he was just saying that and like he was really the person in the background. And so that's it that got me my starting lean. That was how I got started with doing Lean projects and learning more about Lean construction and being on steering committees and such that was kind of how I cut my teeth based on what my name is. And I remember him saying if you ever get married, don't change your name. Like tell that to my future husband and so then my husband met me and of course his last name was King and he's like you have to hyphenate because it would be the most awesome last name ever. And so here I am last year a champion King the only guy that told your wife that you have to hyphenate hibernate your name but

Felipe Engineer  9:19  
I failed last names I mean, that's a whole it's a whole nother rabbit hole that we're not going to go into in this episode I think Do people ever asked you if Champion is your middle name?

LaShira  9:29  
No, I actually haven't ever been asked to

Felipe Engineer  9:33  
start that right now.

LaShira  9:35  
They usually start off when they read it they're like you are awesome and like I am and they're like your name I love your name you know I want to change my name to you're like okay well that's that's pretty much the the extent of what I get but yeah, everywhere I go, if I paying for something and getting rental cars, whatever it is, it's oh my god, I love your name.

Felipe Engineer  10:00  
Get a mix of that. And Engineer is your middle name.

LaShira  10:05  
Your parents were determined. 

Felipe Engineer  10:08  
Like it was destiny, figure out your path. Destiny. Yeah. Yeah, that's amazing. What did you learn first about Lean after you got made the L champion for Walbridge.

LaShira  10:19  
So part of being the Lean champion, the first thing, of course, was the the cost side of it, and five s was kind of the two things that kind of slapped me in the face at the same time learning to manage various projects all at once to is another piece of it. And so you go over here and listening to ideas, getting people to develop their ideas, some people have very good ideas, and they don't always know how to articulate it. And so gaining the people skills to coach people through how to get to that end point. And then the other side of that is just the joy of being able to accomplish a project, if you will, and helping people to realize, oh, wait, I did that, you know, and so people that that sense of accomplishment is always worth its weight in gold, to watch someone develop to that point. But some people don't they know they have an issue or they know they, they have an idea. And they don't always see themselves as a person that can champion something like that. And so a lot of times, that became a part of the thing too. And it's like wait a minute, we you know, we can do this, there was a young lady that I had a an instance with that like that with an eye died, started coaching her and getting her eyes to see a lot of the lean ideas and getting her to open up her perspective. And now I can't turn her off. Do you have all been? Well, I got this idea. And then we're working on this project over here. And we just saved X amount of dollars over here for this. And now you know that we have the short version. I can't turn her off now, because of the coaching. But it is refreshing to see that in return that now she's a champion for a business unit. Pretty much she's unofficially serving as the champion. And of course, the leader appreciate it really appreciates it because she's so excited about it. And then she started to get other people excited about it. So I like that it's it's cascading in the way that it has. But I learned from the beginning that I had to create that joy and excitement. Because again, I was this entry level person. And they probably thought I didn't know what I was talking about. But when they started to realize I could shoot three pointers, like Steph Curry, and then she helped me realize, then that kind of became, you know, a favorite to a lot of those folks.

Felipe Engineer  12:51  
That's beautiful. I love how you're using a doozy, gasm and positivity to spread it. I mean, that is like, right on point. When I first started getting into this, there's not like a book for people like us to just be like, here, now you're a champion, just follow these steps, it's pretty much every organization's like, we know we need to do this, we know we need to put somebody on this. And, you know, they make decisions to, to pick their champions for different reasons. And psychology is a big part of it.

LaShira  13:21  
And I'm generally not a person that would have gotten into that I'm very introverted and such but again, if you can find the the joy and the passion and something, and sometimes that joy is camouflaged as something that's very painful to you. And so you know, getting those those pains and turning it into something more tangible, and then something that gives you that sense of accomplishment is huge. And so that's how it ended up working out. But yeah, those conversations did not start off with, you know, me being this cheerleader and and everybody says running, it took some, but that's saying and some developing for me to learn to do that.

Felipe Engineer  14:04  
And you've been at it for a while I like to that you focused early on facilitation. Was that something that you reach for and pull for? Or is that something that was just like happening and just took advantage of it?

LaShira  14:15  
A little bit of both? Some people it's, it's, I guess sometimes our CEO has told me one time, I just like it better when you say it, like, Okay. And so that's how it kind of turned on to Okay, now, here's the the facilitation piece, and then yeah, I eventually got some formal training for it. and such, but I've been told that a number of times, of course, the most honorable one was the CEO. He didn't have to explain why he wanted me to do a specific thing. He said, You know, I want you to do it. And you know what, I'm sorry. I know you have this this big workload, but it just sounds so much better. When you know, when you're saying it, it's like okay, cool. Thank you. Yeah, And so I just started to see that I had a knack for it despite being so introverted. And here I am,

Felipe Engineer  15:07  
I would never guessed that you're introverted. I saw you presenting it the link structuring blog in the field conference recently, I was captivated during your presentation. Wow. It was Thank you. Yeah, you're really good. You're really good. I really enjoyed it a lot. I was on the edge of my chair. And wow, yes, I was, you got to go back and watch, go back and look at I blew you up in the chat. I mean, it was like I was in there in the pocket with people. And you know, a lot of the concepts that you were sharing around continuous improvement, and innovation, diversity, equity inclusion, these are topics that you know, some select people have a lot of knowledge in and then overall, the industry awareness can be quite low. And some of these different areas, I'd like to unpack, you know, one of those, let's go, let's start easy first, start with continuous improvement. But let me hear your your take on it. And just your opinion. And if you could share a story that kind of brings it to life, that will be just extra credit,

LaShira  16:04  
For me, just going a little bit with the love hate thing that I was just talking about having so much joy. And sometimes that joy is camouflaged a little bit in something that is very painful to you. So for me, continuous improvement is just loving something to the extent that you decide to improve it and to make it better and to refine it and to build upon that relationship the same way that you would do in the marriage. You're not doing the same things that you did 10 years ago, within the marriage, you've refined and just grown together and such. And it's the same thing in those relationships. With what you do for a living and anything else that you'd like to do, you'd like to get better at it over time, but it's loving it enough to be able to do it not to do it just to say okay, we did we improved, it worked out. One of those items was when I was in the Project Management sides of things and having efficiencies on project sites. And so sometimes I was on very large sites where there was a lot of walking through facilities and such. And, you know, some of those plights that I had those things that wore me out at the end of the of the day, I said, Hey, there's a better way to do this. And so I came up with ways to automate pieces. Sometimes there was things just as simple as spreadsheets and such. And I started to develop these items and some pieces that that would save these project managers quite a bit of time. And when it came time for me to test it out, I had to go to just three different types of sites. And I said, Hey, you know, can I use your computer, I need to test the firewall to see if we could get through to have the specific tasks do what I needed to do in order. And each time I got one reaction was a lady. She said, I didn't I had to keep from saying this out loud, because I didn't know you well enough to know if you could take the joke. But she said, I wanted to kiss you. When I saw what that thing did. I was like, Okay, great. And there's another older gentlemen, gentlemen. And for years after he saw me, he wanted his site to be the flagship site for the kickoff of this. And he's like, I need to do that thing, that thing you had, I need that I need you to go to my site over here. And I need, we need to be the first and I need this. And so it was that success. But the savings and time with just approvals and equipment and getting your materials and there were so many things all in one encompassing and the job was like a 30% time avoidance where you could really shift your time over to something else. Rather than do these things that would take a long time to do. But again, just loving being able to take that whole picture. And then just put it in order. For me it's like doing a puzzle, which I like to do from time to time, I was able to just put something in order and it ended up working out. And so again, it was good to look at the end and see, man this project really worked out. And yeah, those those project managers were pretty thankful to see that time savings and a lot of instances it ended up being cost savings to as well as well as their sanity. You know, it could have it could be really tiresome from day to day with some of the requirements and then how you had to move things around and it preserved people so there's that respect for people again that that that preservation was much appreciated.

Felipe Engineer  19:56  
I find that the key is improvement or special people want done. Well interwined, like DNA like a double helix. One without the other is just noisy information. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I like that story that you're talking about making an improvement for people. And you tested that you did an experiment. And you saved hours, we just say hours per day or hours per week. For hours.

LaShira  20:20  
Oh definitely hours per day, with just just just some of the being able to automate. And like I said, sometimes it was just listing it was simple. It's just being able to list something to allow people but the process improvements it was it was a big overall process improvement. humongous. I took the the whole job description, and just kind of worked backwards from there, like, Okay, we have to do these things, these things, these things. And just like you just said, I went daily, weekly, monthly. What are these deliverables? What is this specific customer asking for? What's this specific customer? And sometimes it consisted of me interviewing others saying, okay, you know, do they ask you for these things? And then it's yen, and I also have to have one of these. And so, yeah, I just ended up working for there. And I became engrossed in it for a few months. And when I finally hit a point in saying, Hey, do you mind if we test this thing out? It immediately turned into them shaking me saying, I need this now. Like, okay. Let's see what I can do.

Felipe Engineer  21:26  
I mean, I just think I like all the project managers listening out there. And I know you're out there listening and watching. You can save hours a day by doing an experiment and having a dedicated person in your company helping you at that, oh, would that be worth to you? Sounds like it's worth a lot. It's at least worth a kiss. We know that it's worth the kiss. And we know that it's worth what did people wanting to be the guinea pig and doing the first trials? It sounds incredible.

LaShira  21:54  
Did like I said it's wonderful. And and now we have other similar projects to that seeing the same results. But it's now the one that they have going I didn't do that one myself. But yeah, the same results were there. They're seeing a lot of the savings throughout Walbridge, just based on having this specific operations guide that that was put together by our management team. And so it was just a smaller scale version of it. And now it's humongous. Someone else's has taken it on and it's it's huge. So yeah, it just, it's refreshing to see and like I say I geek out on things like that. So yeah, it works well.

Felipe Engineer  22:39  
Perfect. So that you kind of hit on continuous improvement, respect for people. Double duty right there in that story. I like that. Can you also unpack a little bit of the diversity, equity inclusion that you talked about in your presentation? For people that don't? Yeah, absolutely.

LaShira  22:57  
I think a lot of people I had gotten a couple notes from some other people. And a lot of them got out of the kick out of the story about Noah's Ark. And and my belief that Noah's Ark only survived because of the diversity, equity and inclusion that consisted of putting together the art, you know, this, the flood destroyed everything in its path. There were other study structures out there that could have been destroyed. But I believe the survival and the thriving of Noah's Ark was because of what was inside of the ark, all the value of all those things, and people and animals and whatever else was in there. All those things put together, I think is what caused it to rise above the flood. And so it's the same difference today, people who are surviving in this time in this pandemic, in all the uncertainty if you pay attention, they have been very intentional about their inclusive excellence. They've been very intentional about those things. I also talked a little bit about how, you know, a storm and the Sahara also fertilizes the Amazon. You know, this is the things that are very far away from each other. But it shows how one part plays. It's a necessity for the other part, no matter how far away no matter how far fetched everything has its own purpose, and every person brings their their own perspective to the table. And so it's things like that, that show us you hear in the health industry. You hear things about your gut health. Now they're saying that that's your second brain or it really is your brain is the state of your gut. Well, the way that the bacteria and such is broken down in your gut, if you throw that out of balance, the next thing you know, you've got an autoimmune disease, you've got all types of allergies, you have what they call leaky gut. But getting those things back into balance, bringing that population back into the correct diversity is optimally what makes your body operate optimally. And so that that diversity, equity and inclusion is all around us. Just being able to have not only different types, but being able to meet each person where they are when you meet each person where they are, you'd be surprised at the results that you get out of people just by meeting them where they are. And I believe I told the story about the carpenters who were Spanish speaking, and terrified to meet others. And then there was a little bit of teasing that was going on. But when they were met where they are, they were able to catch the schedule up. And it was pretty. There was some pretty dire needs there in terms of catching up and working around some circumstances with the weather and such. But they were able to do that when the confidence was there, once that was moved out of that barrier was moved out of the way and they realized, Hey, I'm welcome. I'm included, you know, when other people learn to save when OCS and such who weren't open to that previously. Well, it all worked out in the end, for us to meet some goals that we had, as a project team, not just being friendly to each other. But now we can meet the project goals that we may not have met without having that level of buy in from those carpenters.

Felipe Engineer  26:46  
Those are some really good powerful stories, and it takes many to make it happen. I think now,

LaShira  26:52  
absolutely. Because you think about most of the tools that we have last planner system, what are you how were you doing last planner system to its fullest potential to its fullest extent, without some level of diversity, equity and inclusion, you're meeting whomever, where you're meeting that person where they are to say, hey, if I can finish this area by this time, or oh, wait, I need to get an area for this. Okay, and you have these folks working together. Each of the trades are able to work together and have that conversation with each other. But if you were really doing that, and working last planner system to the extent and to the level of power that it really has, try, including that that element that diversity, equity inclusion, if you were being intentional about that, what would that look like? What would you accomplish, or what's able to be accomplished? Through the something like last planner system.

Felipe Engineer  27:53  
It does lower the barriers down for communication. I mean, I've seen, you know, construction in the United States, in particular, superintendents tend to come up through carpentry and that type of trade for the most part. And then you know, there's a movement now where there's some college educated superintendents as well, we're seeing more and more of that. But for the most part, it tends to be like, consolidated in carpentry. And last point, or I've seen exactly that thing, where all of a sudden now, because of the structure and the framework of the system, people are connecting like, you know, the painter can say something that impacts the plumber that could impact the framer that could impact the Glazer and you get innovation and ideas sparking from people have different experiences that you never would have even thought to ask the cocker like why should this fire sprinkler pipe is done in a certain way? And all that is possible because everyone gets a voice you said

LaShira  28:52  
it perfectly, just the things you wouldn't have thought to ask and even being the person on the other end if I'm the painter, the the carpenter, the plumber, things that they may have not thought to say, oh, yeah, I do. I need so and so and so. And so even the things that they may be forgetting, you're capturing so much of that I'm sure someone's doing a study somewhere on what this captures, it's hard to articulate that or to measure that, but it's huge. So you think of foundational tools like that and the Lean construction world and how those things are applying again, not just at the friendly note level but you can actually you know, get get some production going with these types of things and innovation and it's it could be life changing based on these types of things if you can change up the way that you work to make it that much easier. So yeah, absolutely. I love it. I am missing a when I listened to your show, or I watch sometimes we haven't had any sound effects. Although he does it for me, so I usually make my own noises but so that.

Felipe Engineer  30:08  
Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up that came up on another show. So yeah, there is a there is a sound effect board. It's it's it's here, it didn't get taken from me. But the editing team is having an issue with how the the sound effects get unsynchronized with the audio. Ah, and so we've had to like scale back to feel like I've got another. There's another backup mic right here. Just like two microphones, just in case. And I mean, there's even there's a third microphone, even here, just in case. It's like, it's ridiculous here with what we have, like backup systems for backup systems. And yeah, I'll bring some sound effects in because that is super typical. I'll operate your two right. And that yeah, I've had actually one person complain that they thought it was too many sound effects that they should be a little more professional. 

LaShira  31:01  
Oh, I think it's awesome.

Felipe Engineer  31:03  
For anyone that says sound effects don't belong on a professional podcast. You are incorrect. They always belong. Yeah. Yes, yeah. The sound effects give me excited to I've even seen in last planner system in design. There is a series of meetings I got to participate in. And there was a lead consultant for the architect that came to one of the early meetings. This is LEED leadership and energy, environmental. Yeah, yep. Gotcha, just for everybody else. Because always, I promise everybody that when we say acronyms, I will do my best to spell it out at least one time or put it in the show notes. And yes, people, check out the show notes. There's some good links on there.

LaShira  31:46  
Yeah, we're kind of alphabet soup here in the construction industry. So we have all these abbreviations for everything that awesome. So you said you had a lead consultant that came in early on, 

Felipe Engineer  31:56  
She came on early on to one of the meetings and this was early before. This was right around schematic design starting to take shape. In last planner system, we had to go around and everybody had to contribute. And that was the facilitator. And I said, you know, we'll go around, and I want you to introduce yourselves as what you're responsible for, not what your title is. And it's and I tell people like it's just for me, so I can understand, like, who's in the room, what voices there are, and who should I need to call on if we need to get there. This person had said, you know, afterwards in the plus delta, like one of the first meetings where they actually got to speak and contribute. And then they came, they kept coming back to all these subsequent meetings, like week after week, after week after week. And, yeah, it was an incredible project, they finished the design, I want to say about 12 to 10 months, let me not exaggerate 10 months earlier than originally scheduled by a critical path method schedule. 10 months earlier is impressive. And, and people credited to just having the ability to talk and be heard, and, and even getting some of those things on like the LEED scorecard up in front of people at exactly the right time when structural engineers needed to hear it, and the architect needed to hear it so they can have those conversations and trade offs, and not just trying to make something work.

LaShira  33:21  
I absolutely love it not to say that they

Felipe Engineer  33:24  
Can't just make it work, because people are so creative, as you know, they are they are super creative. But why does it have to be so hard.

LaShira  33:32  
And what you just said, it's so much easier, I actually learned a little bit of a game that I used to facilitate. At the beginning, what we're doing that really starts off with team building, but the same thing, if you get all the players at the table. It's huge there in the beginning. And this one customer was famous for being, you know, the meetings were for answering emails, that's what she was gonna answer these emails. And I turned it into, you know, hey, take out the sticky note and give me two gifts. And the hook is what we call it. So two gifts that you bring to the table, there's two things that you think you could do for the this project while while we're going through X number of months of this project, and then the one hook and the hook was the thing that will hold your attention for the entire duration of this meeting. So I was able to collect all those items and make sure that we got to each of those and the same thing, the same results. As soon as we gotten through the list of those items. Those offenders who thought that the meetings or these team buildings were going to be bring answering emails all shut their computers and we're fully engaged, laughing, talking and really getting some of the planning done, as you know, for people like us and lean and quality planning is you know, to a quality and lean person is what PPE is to safety, men. So it's so essential at the beginning of the project. And it makes everything so much better at the end, so when we do close outs and do a lot of the lessons learned and such, and we have those pieces, it's so much different when you have that level of participation from the beginning.

Felipe Engineer  35:22  
Thank you, man one more time. So you said on your single sticky note, you wanted to what no hook.

LaShira  35:28  
So it's called two gifts. And actually, I could probably send you the the whole, I think I have instructions for how to do it out somewhere. But on the the sticky note, we use the Hulu huddle walls. I know everybody has some version of that. And so you know, you can get sticky notes that don't show up until you have them reveal. So yeah, everybody got a sticky note that they thought they were privately writing this and they're like, Do you want my sticky note, but it's two gifts. So two things that you believe you bring to the table. So for me, I'm the lean person. And you know, I'll make sure we keep our ISO stuff in order because I'm the quality person, I'm just making these things up. And then you know, the hook, the thing that would keep me engaged the entire time for the duration of this meeting, or the duration of the project, or whatever you'd like it to be. But that particular day, I said for the duration of this meeting, what's the thing that will keep you hooked and keep you engaged throughout the the whole four hours that we're gonna be here

Felipe Engineer  36:31  
And that is just lovely. See people, you can have an amazing meeting and four hours work computers are closed and people are engaged.

LaShira  36:39  
At for a person who doesn't attend any they are not, you're going to lose him in 45 minutes. And everyone left more refreshed. It wasn't 12 hours. They loved they loved more refreshed than the beginning of the meeting at the beginning. It's like how long is this thing gonna take? Because I got so and so. And so. And when we were done, a few of those individuals came back around and they kept saying that was really a good meeting. And like, I'm glad we didn't waste the three hours that time it was three hours. But yeah, there's there's tons of tools like that to help us have that level of engagement.

Felipe Engineer  37:15  
I think that's an understated gift to people that are listening. All of us in the construction industry. We're engaged in meetings, millions of hours a week, all across the world. I can't remember the exact statistic. But it's like, an inconceivable amount of time that we spend in meetings, and very few meetings start with an icebreaker or a team building activity. But the ones that do. My goodness, they are so different.

LaShira  37:42  
Absolutely. Yeah, they're

Felipe Engineer  37:44  
So different. So if you're if you take nothing else away from this exchange, start doing that. Try the two gifts and the hook, especially for your longer meetings, I think. And we'll put the directions in there for everyone to try it. I think you'll be really, really impressed. Come on. refreshed. Yeah.

LaShira  38:04  
That's That's unheard of Wait a minute. Like what are you what are you telling us

Felipe Engineer  38:09  
That was that? That was in person that last one that three hour one? Or was that virtual?

LaShira  38:13  
So it was a hybrid? So I had some that were in the room. And that was the other challenge. It's hybrid. So there's some people who, you know, they were probably checking emails at first. And then once we we got engaged at that, at the end. Yeah, it was very nice

Felipe Engineer  38:32  
Ladies and gentlemen, it's still COVID season for now. Yeah, so this, these things can work in person hybrid, or all virtual. So it's totally possible. I like that. Can you tell me a story that conveys a time that you help somebody or could be yourself.

LaShira  38:49  
So one of the bigger things that I do, especially when I'm mentoring, it's such. And actually, this was asked of me at an event I had gone to and it was actually, I won't mention the name, but it's a person who's famous who actually said this. And he said, you have to do the thing that you would do for free every day. And so that's usually when I come across people who are stuck, who don't know what to do, who are confused. And I asked them besides eating, sleeping, watching TV, playing video games, if there was something that you could do, and you would do it, even if it was for free, if you never got paid for it. What is that thing? And whatever that thing is, that's the thing that you should pursue.

Felipe Engineer  39:38  
I've never heard that advice before. Can you name the famous person or you can't even name them?

LaShira  39:43  
Well, I guess I could, if you don't mind, but it was actually Tavis Smiley. And it was some time ago that it was an event and it's like, oh, you know, I don't know, I'm sure. And he said, Pick the thing that you would do for free every day. And that's the thing you should do. So yeah, that that attitude and that mentality always led me to something even things I didn't know that I would be doing, like being a lean champion. It led me into these things, but it turned out to just be super rewarding for me. Using that mentality before I start to do things

Felipe Engineer  40:21  
was that resonates with me. 100% 100% I love that. I think that that's worthy of a bell.

LaShira  40:27  
Oh, yeah.

Felipe Engineer  40:31  
So now I know, it's just out like it's not I can't put it away now. Right? We have to do it. You encouraged me. So there you go. So for, again, anyone who said sound effects are appropriate? No, you're wrong. They are, right. You mentioned one of my favorite subjects. Now you talked about what would you do for free no matter what I mean, for me, it's obviously it's scrum how to do that for free, no matter what can you tell me a story about some ninja scrum that you got going on. And you can change the names of the guilty to protect the innocent if you need to.

LaShira  41:06  
There have been times in my facilitation, we break these out by business units. Sometimes Sometimes it's at a project level. But it turned into getting annual initiatives completed was the task and it's we need to do this thing. And so after we had gotten the prioritization, it borderline turned into a stand up meeting. And, okay, over the next, you know, I didn't get to stick with the two weeks for this sprint, it was over within the next month, we'll say by this date, we're going to have this thing. And so yeah, it turned into facilitating, okay, so you can do this by this. And if you talk to so and so every three days, you probably could have this and so I was able to slide in that way. I've already told you my plans for my my, what I'm calling sparks sessions, a lot of those are going to end up being scrum items that I'll start off facilitating, I want to become a master facilitator, I want to be a scrum master. I got to work on that.

Felipe Engineer  42:12  
But I know a guy that actually offers that course that's focused for the construction industry. It's this guy.

LaShira  42:18  
So I'm gonna play I think I've seen him before.

Felipe Engineer  42:23  
We'll put a link to that type of training in the shownotes, I encourage you to also click on that link when you need to.

LaShira  42:30  
I will absolutely click because I want to do that. I've been sliding it into people. But yeah, as I help coach with some of those ideas and projects that those turned into projects, and such so that we were able to develop those those ideas and innovations and such. That is absolutely how we're going to facilitate a lot of those and get people on the the cadence of utilizing Scrum. And so I'm super excited about that. I'm ordering some extra sticky notes. Because of that because of my obsession.

Felipe Engineer  43:06  
I approve your obsession. And I encourage you if you need me to pour gasoline on that anywhere I will. Let's keep that fire burning strong.

LaShira  43:13  
That's right. That's right. Keep it going. And so yeah, I'm tickled pink about doing all those things.

Felipe Engineer  43:21  
We had some initiatives, we're doing some changes. And at the midnight hour, they said, Hey, why don't you facilitate this next portion of this, and I said, I'll be happy to. So I turned it into a scrum. And we had it. I think we had 10 Different Scrum teams. And we took something that should have taken what everyone said, reasonable amount of time would have been two years. And we did it in five months of just saying scrum was powerful. So and I never told me I never told anybody I said, Hey, congratulations, you're now on the scrum team. I told some of them after the fact for they said that. We think that happened too quick, happen too fast. And like, like the people you work with, they have day jobs to try and to do these initiatives. Right.

LaShira  44:05  
But yeah, getting them to talk it through. And then again, it's another one of those times where they walk away refresh because they're like, We can do this, you know, so they realize that that you know what their abilities are. And so yeah, then it brings back that whole joy of being able to accomplish these things. So yeah, I love I love it.

Felipe Engineer  44:23  
Yeah. Then just Scrum. You're gonna add that to your social media tagline?

LaShira  44:27  
That's yeah, that's gonna be it. I'm gonna make a video for it and everything's gonna be great.

Felipe Engineer  44:33  
LaShira Champion-King, Ninja Scrum Master.

LaShira  44:37  
I need a sound effect for that. Like I don't know what it is gonna be the sound of a

Felipe Engineer  44:42  
let's see, what do we have here in the menu here. I don't know what

LaShira  44:45  
we have that equates to that works.

Felipe Engineer  44:52  
You're like you would have gone for a couple of hours. But I came in in the clutch. I mean, this sounded too too formal. I guess we're gonna go into a battle, but it's not. It's not quite the battle. It's actually not at all. We're all working together. It's quite easy. You've got your sparks set up. You call them your spark sessions.

LaShira  45:13  
I'm gonna call them smart sessions. Yes. Yep. Sparking sparking the idea.

Felipe Engineer  45:17  
I tell people to latura. When you're checking in and you're doing the check in the daily scrum, as we call it in the official by the guide, you can just call it a check in meeting for teams that are co located. They check in it's called daily Scrum because it has to happen every day. Just the Scrum-licious right there. So now I'm

LaShira  45:36  
stealing that, by the way, Scrum-licious. I am absolutely still stealing that. 

Felipe Engineer  45:40  
Steal it. Take it. Scrum-licious want to make a video about that. Right? It's like how do you Scrum, Scrum maliciously.

LaShira  45:49  
Live life scrum maliciously.

Felipe Engineer  45:52  
You can get a lot of things done with Scrum and you get into that flow state. It takes advantage of where we'd like to be in that flow state and things are just starting to fire and you lose track of time. That's exactly where you want to be. In one piece flow. Watch out everybody this year is doing some ninja scrum spark sessions. secret's out now.

LaShira  46:13  
It's still not gonna be Oh, no.

Felipe Engineer  46:15  
I'm not gonna know what's coming. Even when it happens. Maybe they'll ask afterwards. Maybe. So. Like, what is this thing we're doing? It's just so different from the whatever

LaShira  46:25  
the same way I slit in a thinking the same way. Oh, but I love to. Yeah, slit that in the same way it Hey, remember that thing you had? And he said, I love this. And this is perfect. I was putting in your hands. When I read this. I was like, Did you realize it was an a three? Oh, wait a minute. It isn't a three. Yeah,

Felipe Engineer  46:46  
you know this. But for other people listening a three is not just the size of paper outside of the United States. Because in the US we don't use ISO standards, right papers, we use a fancy ANSI because this is America. We are still not metric yet. I think the government threatens for us to go metric like every other year.

LaShira  47:04  
Yeah. You're about right. I didn't think about that. But yeah,

Felipe Engineer  47:08  
happening. The whole basis of the a three is built on PDCA. Plan, do check, adjust. And Jeff when he was developing Scrum and really formulating the framework and getting the theory down. He based it on exactly PD ca as well. So I tell people, like if you're doing an a three, you're actually doing a version of Scrum as his tack time as his last

LaShira  47:32  
planner system. Oh, yeah. Every single one.

Felipe Engineer  47:35  
Do you feel like after you learned a little bit of Scrum, because you'd already been dabbling in last planner, did it change how you did last planner afterwards?

LaShira  47:42  
It did change how I viewed it and things that I would suggest to people and it's like, well, wait a minute. Now I can do you know. So when you learn a new trick, it's just kind of like, now let's try it this way. And so yeah, I think it did change my perspective on how to how to effectively do last planter and how to apply it from place to place to having to keep it flexible. That flexibility is always you know, key. That part of it really helped me be a lot more creative

Felipe Engineer  48:18  
creativity in a Lean program from the quality champion person's mouth themselves. That's right. It's all possible. We're having fun, we got sound effects go we're talking about all these Lean tools. Have you dabbled in any value stream mapping it too.

LaShira  48:36  
So I have a little bit and I had to pause on that specific project that I was doing it on, but I will be back if they will happen again,

Felipe Engineer  48:46  
Nicklas Modig and he wrote the book, "This is Lean." Okay, he does this TED talk, where he's going through all this different examples on how a patient is treated in the healthcare system in Sweden, and I watched it again recently, and I was like, I'll be darned. He just described Value Stream Mapping without ever saying Value Stream Mapping.

LaShira  49:07  
Most people don't realize it's more common sense than than anything

Felipe Engineer  49:11  
two books on it that are like one's a textbook and the other ones like it's the mike Rother, John Shook learning to see value stream mapping. It's good stuff, all those people that you work with the organization inside and outside of Walbridge where you work do you ever come across people that you get the impression that the word lien has some negative connotations?

LaShira  49:31  
I have had that. Yeah, absolutely. I have had that one part of it, which is I think with anything is just the lack of understanding and and then not having the success. So it goes back to me showing people the possibilities that are there and also getting them to see that the most painful thing that you are going through on your project can turn into your greatest joy and your greatest success through a lot of these Lean tools and concepts. And so yeah, I've gotten, you're gonna make me say I want to save all this money and all this time and then you're gonna make me clean everything up, and then you're gonna make and. And then those people end up being your biggest advocates in the end, when they're able to see those successes and see how it's easy for them. It's so much easier when you're able to communicate effectively, what's in it for them. Without that sometimes there were some people that, yeah, they come in and they they hear that job title. They hear the Lean managers here, and yeah, I've gotten the person that's like, well, I'm going to tell you what I'm not doing today. All I said was Good morning, that's all I know. What do you want? Yeah, but then now, some of those people are my greatest advocate. Yes, it happens.

Felipe Engineer  50:56  
This is like therapeutic for me. Thank you, LaShira, that...

LaShira  50:59  
I just got my yeah, I've been told about the guy. I thought it was gonna drop down my throat when all I said was Good morning.

Felipe Engineer  51:09  
I had a superintendent one time told me he said, so you think you're gonna teach me how to do my job at us? And I said, I hadn't even said good morning yet. At that point. I was like, the first thing that has a happy ending for both of us.

LaShira  51:23  
But I love it. Yeah, I love superintendents are my favorites because they're that way that they are my favorites. You know, sitting through the the AGC lean courses and sitting through those modules. And, you know, I hear they're the whole row. I don't know how all the superintendents got on the same row. But for all i doing that, I'm not doing that. And then at the end, they're all like working together on the project group work like, oh, man, if I do this, then I can do it was like I love the change. Love the change. So yeah, it's always awesome to watch.

Felipe Engineer  51:58  
Lean is learning. That's right, common thread. It has been my honor and privilege to have you on the show. Thank you so much for being on the show. I'll give you the last word,

LaShira  52:07  
Pick the thing that you would do for free every day and make sure that's the thing that you're actually pursuing and doing.

Felipe Engineer  52:14  
Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. The EBFC Show is created by Felipe and produced by passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe everybody. Let's go build!


LaShira Champion-KingProfile Photo

LaShira Champion-King

Quality Lean & Innovation Director

LaShira is a professional with over 16 years experience of eliminating waste in the built environment. She is known to be an avid advocate of applying Lean principles during the pursuit of both business and personal success.