There’s this article I’ve just read here: What You Can Say To Kill Ideas | Productivity Improvement. I haven’t been in the Lean business for long, but I feel like I’ve already encountered all of them. Sigh.
I think I can give it a try at Solution-focusing it. Let’s go!
- Don’t be ridiculous. So you think some of these things won’t work. What part of it can you think we can start with that will work?
- We tried that before. Great! What worked that we could put back in place? What have you learned so we do it differently this time?
- It costs too much. Of course I don’t have your expertise on the operational stuff. What part can you think could be done cheaper?
- It can’t be done. What part can’t be done? What part can be done? When can we start?
- What’s beyond our/your responsibility. What part is under your responsibility? What are the smaller parts that cna be started right now? How have you succeeded to get management approval for other things? How could we apply the same solutions here?
- It’s too radical a change. Agreed, you can’t make such a big leap in one time. What small part do you want to start with?
- We don’t have the time. What have you the time for, currently? What can we temporarily drop and replace with some small parts of this?
- That will make other equipment obsolete. Great, I haven’t think of this: further improvements. What other improvements do you see?
- We’re too small/big for it. Surely. What needs to be adapted to our size? How would you change it?
- That’s not our problem. Ok. Who’s problem is this? How have you succeded in the past in bringing similar problems to their knowledge and get both os us to work them out? How could we repeat the same process here?
- We’ve never done it before. That’s true. Let’s do it, where do you want to start?
- Let’s get back to reality. What part do you feel don’t fit into current reality? What could be changed to make them fit? What about other parts, can we give them a try?
- Why change it; it’s still working OK. Of course things are working already (indeed, the company’s still in business). I guess there are probably part of the organization already doing this future state map. Can you see them? How can we make more of them?
- You’re two years ahead of your time. So are some of our competitors. What in this plan is already (maybe partly) being done that we could build on?
- We’re not ready for that. You’re already doing part of that. Let’s get figure and ask the people.
- It isn’t in the budget. That’s fine, we’re going to self-finance this anyway. Where can we start today?
- Can’t teach old dogs new tricks. This is not necessary. Look closer, what have you already been doing? What have you noticed in this plan that you always dreamt to be able to do? Let’s go!
- Do the best you can with what you’ve got. That’s my motto too and probably your people’s too. What best to they want for them, the customers and the company? What have you noticed they’re doing superbely despite current work conditions? How can we remove these barriers?
- Too hard to sell. What part is to hard to sell? What about cutting this in pieces and going progressively? Where do we start? Have you sold similar challenging things in the past? How did you do it? How could we adapt that here?
- Top management would never go for it. What are we already doing that works? Could we show that to management as a proof of concept? What small experiment can we try on our own to demonstrate it’s viable?
- We’ll be the laughing stock. And a model for all others. How can we present this differently, then?
- Let’s shelve it for the time being. I understand some of it to be too big a leap for you. What specific part can start with? Maybe cut this into smaller pieces to begin with?
- We did all right without it. Great! On seeing this plan, what part do you see having done already? What further improvement do you notice in the plan could further improve your already good performance?
- Has anyone else ever tried it? Probably, and I think the people in your department have for some part of it. Can you help us point which part is already in place (albeit maybe only partly)? For the other parts, it’s currently done in other places. Would you like me to arrange an appointment with one of our competitors to show us how they’re doing better?
- It won’t work in our industry. What part do you see not doable in our industry? What would make it doable?
- Will you guarantee it will work? I guarantee you that if we try these things, we’ll learn something that will help your people improve their process.
- That’s the way we’ve always done it. Fantastic! What part have you always done already? What other part can we start working on, then? What prevents you from doing it absolutely all the time with 100% success? Can we start working on providing more of this better working conditions to you and your people?
- What we have is good enough. What do you have? How is it good? You’re the one to decide in the end, but can we just imagine what would happen if this plan were to be implemented? How would that further improve your current situation?
- But we would also have to change the___________. cf. 8
- It’s in our future plans. Excellent! What part have you planned already? What small tasks can we do to start now?
- We’ll have somebody study that problem. You’re taking this very seriously, that’s great. We’ll arrange to work through it with someone of your department for the details. What parts would you like to start with? Who are we going to see?
- It’s against our policy. Which policy? This policy’s here for some good reasons. Glad you noticed. What part is against the policy? What other parts can we start already? What would need to change to make that part conform to the policy? Have you got policy changed in the past because they hindered change? How have you achieved it? Can we do it again for this stuff?
- The supplier would never do that. You’d be surprised how much they’re probably doing this already. Let’s go and see them!
- The customer wouldn’t accept that. I may have missed something on the customer part: can you tell me which one and what need to change? What acceptable other parts of this plan can we start working on now?
- When did you become the expert? I’m not: you and your people are the experts, this is just a theoretical roadmap that needs to be worked with your people. Where do we start now?
My main focus points during these rewording was to keep in mind:
- resistance surely is because I don’t have requisite variety when proposing a plan to change: so I need to let the people / managers adapt it
- keep being oriented toward solutions: people are very probably already doing some parts of the future state map: find out which and build on it
I assumed a top managers wanting to move fast forward, so my reframing always has been somewhat pushy. Another approach could have been to be not to push at all and let the manager whether he wants to change or not. See my Solution Focus / Motivational Interviewing Series for such an approach.