I just read a bunch of pages on Nonviolent Communication (The Wikipedia page’s good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Communication) and it occurred to me that practising it as a coach to help people communicate at the frontiers of teams, inside a process, or maybe better teach it to team leaders, would help a lot with efficiency during pass over (moments where the product passes from one team to the next).
NVC has four components that should all be expressed in any form of communication. And I think it goes well with maintaining continuous improvement:
- Observations (well, this one is obvious: Lean Six Sigma is mostly about facts, facts & facts!)
- Needs: how to express a need or listen to a need – should these be clarified, we’d go really further than just complaining about others. Have you expressed your needs clearly recently? Further, isn’t genchi gembutsu (with clients AND suppliers/internal teams) a way to get closer to the real needs?
- Feelings: what unmet needs provoke in people, and how to express it.
- Requests: when they’re clear and made after feelings, needs and observations have been done properly, it’s all the more probable that requests will be fulfilled, or if not, that other solutions will be found.
I think it would go a long way toward improving the chances of Lean sticking where it’s been presented if (1) teams where taught and experienced a bit in NVC and (2) coaches (and management) were practicing NVC during exchanges with other parties. Here are two examples:
For an executive talking to the whole organization, it would help if s/he clarified the observations related to how the balanced scorecard is going (finance, processes, people and learning), expressed the feelings raised because of that (fear, sadness or maybe joy or hope), what the corresponding needs are to further improve the situation and then the request would flow more naturally to employees who would then have the rationale to move on into continuous improvement (including middle management that would be much more informed in order to balance the work between “doing the job” and “improving the job”).
For a team leader, factual observations of errors coming from the previous team and what needs are unfulfilled because of the team’s purpose, would help explain they current feelings about what’s going on and consequently express a clear and justified request to their partner team, in order to raise efficiency of the process at border crossing .
What’s more, I feel a clear nonviolent communication would definitely allow each participant to answer in the best way that would work for themselves, making the resulting exchange all the more solution-focused!