Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Reblog @SSIReview: The Dawn of System Leadership – #systemsthinking #stwg

First systems thinking reading during commute this year, and it’s already an excellent paper from SSI Review “The Dawn of System Leadership“. Thorough and with gems inside, I can only urge you to reserve some time to read it (it’s longer than a classical blogpost, but it more than deserves the time invested)!

The Core Capabilities of System Leaders identified in the article are:

  • the ability to see the larger system;
  • fostering reflection and more generative conversations;
  • shifting the collective focus from reactive problem solving to co-creating the future.

The article also mentions Appreciative Inquiry, which is quite rare in the systems thinking field not to be mentioned.

Also mentioned is Otto Scharmer’s “Theory U” which starts with three openings:

  • opening the mind (to challenge our assumptions),
  • opening the heart (to be vulnerable and to truly hear one another),
  • and opening the will (to let go of pre-set goals and agendas and see what is really needed and possible)

Ironically (well, maybe not so in the end) is the link I made in the past between the Strengths of people and Simon Sinek’s three circles in this blogpost and the work we’re developping with Alexis Nicolas in the Labso (laboratory of social technologies) (in bold are the new additions to the previous article):

  • Why <–> Purpose <–> Vision (heart) of where you want to go
  • How <–> Mastery <–> Ideas (mind) of how to get there
  • What <–> Autonomy <–> Experience (hand) that proved to work in the past that can support you going forward

2015 seems to be off to a very good start!

Reblog @mom21blog: “Nous ne croyons pas au Père Noël”

Je me permets de commencer cette nouvelle année d’une part en vous la souhaitant tout à fait excellente, voire décoiffante et d’autre part en vous renvoyant vers l’excellent post de MOM21 “Nous ne croyons pas au Père Noël“.

Et si plutôt que de parler d’entreprise libérée, nous parlions d’entreprise libérante ?

Encore bonne année à tous, qu’elle vous montre le chemin de votre libération personnelle !

 

#TWI Job Instruction is technical #strength-based teaching – #Lean

It stroke me the other day that the Training With Industry Job Instruction material is just strength-based appreciating, gathering and teaching for the shop floor.

Strengths are what make people tick: what they know and know how to do, and succeed at.

Job Instruction is what TWI developed as a teaching method in order to gather shop floors best practices and teach them to new hires in a most efficiency way.

There are two phases in JIT:

  1. Prepare the material, where the trainer go on the shop floor (or Gemba) and interviews the employees on what are the best ways to achieve some work, and how to best do it (safety, tricks, etc.)
  2. Deliver the material, where the trainer is encouraged to cut the work into suitable pieces so that the teaching can be done in 20-30 minutes at most.

The way JIT is built also is based on the best strengths of how people learn: small theoretical chunks followed by thorough practice and correction, before any bad habit have a chance of forming.

Also, JIT insists on the fact that the Job Breakdown Sheets are material for the trainer only, and not for the trainees. What to put inside relies on the strengths of the trainer, it’s not generic training material for all kind of trainees.

In the end, I find JIT to be a method to gather “technical” strengths of workers and transmit them around the shop floor for all to benefit.

Just ages before the strengths movement crystalized.

Can #Lean be #positive? Answer from @thegembacoach

Here’s an interesting one from Michael Ballé’s Gemba Coach Column.

Readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of Michael’s thinking. He’s one of the best sensei one can imagine.

Yet, he’s not strength-based in his approach (apart for the “respect for people” which very few seem to understand from him). This latestest column is no different: in trying to make Lean appear positive (as did some other senseis before), Michael stayed in the deficit-based thinking. He’s sticking to the Toyota approach of Lean (which makes wonder wherever it is applied properly, no argument on this) and he explains how looking for, and solving problems can be a positive thing, because it can help people improve their work and achieve a shared purpose to a level that few organizational development initiatives might bring.

Yet, I’m not entirely convinced. Lean can be so much more when viewed from a strength-based perspective.

First of all, problems can be seen as an opportunity of asking oneself when has the problem been less present (if not just totally absent). This is true positive thinking without the need for reframing the situation. In a true positive deviance, one can meditate on the saying that “in any malfunctioning system, something does work properly”. We just have to ask to start searching for, and finding it.

Second, one can put more emphasis on what people would like their system, organisation or process to be. Sure enough, problems happen, meaning, things won’t turn out like we would like them to be. Yet, by accepting this (just like what Michael advocates for), we can just let go of perfection and “make lemonade when life brings us lemons”. If it can be done with problems (solving them when they appear), then why can’t we cease positive opportunities when they happen?

Indeed, I’m still convinced that the PDCA, continuous improvement way to efficiency is the right one to advance. But just like other systems, you can use the loops and feedbacks to run negative or positive paradigms through it (ok, it goes a bit more complicated than this, but I hope you get the point).

So, continue your PDCA and A3 problem solving, but why not next time try to ask about what’s working and what you’re trying to achieve? Why not ask about a time when things worked, at least partially, and what you did that helped make it better? I’m sure you’ll re-discover interesting stuff that you’ll be proud to share with your colleagues, and standardize and teach to others.

But, by building on successes to confirm and reinforce your positive first steps (instead of possibly demotivating problems to solve), you might get more energy to go down the Lean path and more rapidly. Isn’t this an attractive vision to strive for?

Keep us posted on your experiments!

 

What the #ebola pandemic reveals (again) about the world systemic vulnerabilities – #systemsthinking #vsm #labso

Out of a discussion on LinkedIn, I wrote the following:

Regarding the Ebola pandemic, at first we, the outsiders of Africa, didn’t notice, then we didn’t believe, then we didn’t invest, then we weren’t prepared, then we’re stuck by the huge implications of what might happen, then bounded rationality kicked in and we blinded ourselves to what ought to be done.

Sounds like a reinforcing loop (the epidemic archetype) running faster then the structural adaptation of the minds (cf. works of Maturana & Varela) getting progressively (though exponentially) involved in the system at play.

It seems to be our modern living habits (cheap international travels – flights, trains, cars), dense inhabiting zones, etc have created systems into which both information and viruses spread faster than the speed at which we can think, adapt and react.

This conclusion, for me, supports the idea that we need to change the way we address that high-speed complexity (high interconnectedness). More than ever, we don’t have the requisite variety to tackle it, whether static or, now, dynamic.  More than ever we need skills in facilitation of big groups to achieve collective intelligence. This is what we’ve tried to do by creating the Labso, Laboratory of Social Technologies: showing people how easy it is to tap into the power of the crowd and social networks by uncovering what works and why and making more of it, if not co-creating something bigger.

I hereby also predicts that this won’t be enough in the near future, on two accounts:

  • connectivity will continue increase both in the number of connections and in the speed (because of technology)
  • AND because by going to mass facilitation, we’re just solving a short term problem and contributing to the acceleration as well.

My personal solution to the near future (or present situation for some problems) is to accelerate further by sticking close to the geographical area, trust it to handle the local situation properly, and only signal/ask for help “upwards” when the need arises.

Sounds like a global Viable System Model to me, don’t you think?

#Faircoin as the First Global Commons Currency? | #P2P Foundation

October 13th, 2014 Posted in Change, The Colors of Change Tags: , , ,

The more I’m reading about these initiatives, the more I feel this is the new path to do.

Although I do understand the motives of movements such as Occupy, I’m less and less inclined to think it’s the way to go. After all, I believe that the more one fights something, the more the proponent of the fought decision will try to justify it (I’ve written about this in my book “The Color of Change”.

After all, Buckminster Fuller rightly said it:

‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’

Read the P2P article here: Faircoin as the First Global Commons Currency? | P2P Foundation.

 

Call for articles on #Strength-based #Lean for @AIPractitioner november 2015!

Do you work on organizational improvements using Lean?

Are you strength-based and connect Appreciative Inquiry, Solution Focus or Positive Deviance to your practice?

We want to hear from you!

Have a look at our call for paper and get in touch!

#NoProjects – why projects (in IT) don’t make sense via @allankellynet

July 9th, 2014 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , ,

I just stumbled upon this marvelous piece of read: Why projects don’t make sense.

Just spot on, I love this!

Moreover, when Allan says

Destroying team destroys knowledge – knowledge has value, knowledge exists in heads not documents

I would further add that knowledge exists in the interactions too (social constructionism). Destroy relationships, destroy knowledge.

People resist #change: bullsh*t!

May 30th, 2014 Posted in Change Tags: , ,

This is an affirmation and my own experience is totally opposite of it (well, if I focus on some specific aspects).

A more acceptable affirmation would be for me: “people like or dislike change depending on the situation, but disliked changes seem to be more memorable and thus people speak more of them“.

Think of any day or your life and how things were different from the previous day: there were probably a zillions things different. Can you really say you disliked them all?

Most went unnoticed. Some were disliked, and some were liked.

I work in change management, and I can tell you that when entering Dialogues with people (not discussions where we throw ideas at our heads), people LOVE change, even thrive on change.

Provided it’s a change they want.

Now think about the change people resisted and the one they happily followed: what were the differences?

I’m rarely definitive in my statements, but “people resist change” is the most ridiculous sentence I just keep listening all day long since I happen to see just the opposite again and again. At least this sentence is wrong stated that way.

And of course, believing the sentence is the very start of a self fulfilling prophecy… I believe “People resist change”, so I don’t bother exchanging with them and I just force my changes onto them and hire change management to handle whatever dissatisfaction and resistance will happen, and since it does happen, I was right acting that way from the beginning.

One of the saddiest thing in life, mind you…

Social constructionism is to #Lean what lecturing is to #Taylorism

I just invented this one…

Of course, that Lean promotes cooperation and co-improvement of the organization (through nemawashi) makes the sentence all the more interesting 😉

All those consultants that try to force Lean down the throat of the managers that, according to them, are too dumb to “get it” are just, IMHO, plain wrong. This is the surest path to “change resistance“. Of course, telling is quicker than letting people experiment and trying to understand things from the perspective of the people.

Yet, if management is supposed to learn how to have their people conduct experiments, and then learn from them, then share them with their colleagues throughout the organization, why on earth are they lecturing and teaching them Lean?! If managers learn anything, that will be to continue in command-and-control mode and impose Lean tools and processes onto employees that won’t necessarily understand the purpose of them. And since the managers don’t know exactly how things happens on the Gemba (of many managers do “standing in the circle” for hours ?), they commands will be just resented as unsuited at best by employees, further decreasing their engagement levels, and the few trust left they might have had in their managers.

Is that really what’s wanted?

Of course, putting on my “Systems Dynamics” hat, I can see that the more consultants do it that way, the less organizations really improve on the long-term, and the more need will be felt for more Lean consulting.

I am not saying that consultants want the situation to be that way. I’m just saying that doing more of the same Lean teaching method will just produce more of the same long-term failed results.

Doing more of the same and expecting different results is the definition of insanity according to Einstein

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