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I disagree: self-organization is NOT hard (reply to @bud_caddell)

This is a reply to Bud Caddell‘s article here.

First, I’d like to say that I agree with most of the content of the article, especially the stuff on Holacracy being complicated stuff. I come from Lean management coaching, and I can say that Lean is complex too. Indeed, we see similar problems: some companies succeed in implementing it, some don’t. Most don’t by the way. Read more »

#Labso leaflet available in english!

It’s with great pleasure that I propose below the first translation of our french leaflet regarding the #labso. That will be the base for the translation of the official website ( once we find the time to do so.

The source document will be uploaded to some shared repository as soon as possible as well. Meanwhile, feel free to drop us a note if you have comments, requests or else @nicolasstampf or @alexis8nicolas.

Enjoy: QUAD LabSoTech v1.2 EN


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!


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!

#slideshare: La puissance des organisations qui se basent sur leurs forces de @bernard_tollec et @pscheuerer‎

Excellente présentation, en français, sur les approches du changement fondées sur les forces ! Je vous la recommande chaudement !

La puissance des organisations qui se basent sur leurs forces.

Build a #school in the #cloud by @sugatam, a @TED #video

I finally took the time to view this wonderful video. Mr Mitra experimented with remote villages in India, where children don’t speak english nor are used to computers, and see what would happen in a few months. Guess what? The children were able to 1) learn english and 2) understand scientific concept far advanced for their ages. All on their own, without any kind of help at all.

His wish is thus to build a school in the cloud where children could learn on their own (he calls this SOLE: Self-Organized Learning Environments (go to that link, there’s a PDF toolkit to download for free) with the help of, for instance, remote retired teachers, through Skype.

I’m not into teaching, but I can’t help make the connection with what happens in organizations. Lean was known as TPS (Toyota Production System) in the beginning, although Taiichi Ohno insisted for it to be called Thinking Production System, meaning by this that it was meant to make people think and really learn about their organization so as to improve it. I guess the concept of a Learning Organization comes from the same desires, too.

In order to improve an organization, people need to learn and innovate in the fields of technology, facilitation, psychology (whether to convince other of the importance of their findings, or to better market whatever it is they’re selling, etc.)

Do our organizations really facilitate this learning? I’m afraid not. Mr Mitra tells us that tests and punishments are seen as threats by the brain and stop all learning and innovating activity. Only appreciation and encouragement liberate those.

Isn’t this a really good praise for Appreciative Inquiry or Solution Focus?!

I think the best way to have organizations improve is not to put up new training or innovation programs, but rather to remote all barriers to self-organization. Let people connect to one another, teach one to another, discussion, exchange and experiment! It’s not just stuff for children. Adults can benefit from it too!

Indeed, lots of companies are starting to liberate themselves in these ways. See the french companies Favi, Poult or others such as Zappos (who just announced they will get rid of all their managers and just function with their 1500 productive employees).

Have you read “Freedom, Inc” from Isaac Getz? Do it now! 🙂 I think it just the same kind of principles for a new way to organize organizations…


Le manager comme un banque de micro-crédit: créer la confiance ! #happy at work thx @bgromard

Merci à Brice de Gromard pour le lien vers cette interview de Muhammad Yunus fondateur de la Grameen Bank (publiée sur le blog de Nicolas Cordier).

M. Yunus explique comment la banque, par de petits actes de prêt (5$), a commencé un processus de développement de la confiance des gens en eux-mêmes et comment, ainsi, ils parviennent à se hisser face à des personnes issues de milieux plus favorisés.

Je retiens des tas de choses de cette interview exceptionnelle, par exemple :

  • une approche solutionfocus : faisons de très petites choses qui ne peuvent échouer, et construisons dessus ;
  • même dans les pires conditions, il est tout de même possible de faire des choses ;
  • en donnant la confiance, on la reçoit en retour.

Elle m’apporte aussi des idées énormes :

  • le capital ne devrait pas être limité à l’argent, mais devrait (et peut !) être plus grand que cela : capital humain, social. Faut-il faire de l’argent pour le reinvestir dans plus d’argent, ou faire de l’argent pour supporter une valeur ajoutée humaine (et le surplus d’argent sert à croître afin de produire encore plus de VAH – valeur ajoutée humaine) ;
  • dans plein d’entreprises, l’activité de management semble se comporter comme une banque traditionnelle (ie, on ne prête qu’aux riches). Si on peut faire du micro-crédit aux pauvres (voire aux mendiants !) ne peut-on imaginer faire du management pour les “pauvres” des entreprises ? De micro actes de management pour inciter les personnes du bas de l’échelle à une petite action qui leur permettra de les aider à construire leur propre confiance. Et celle-ci rejaillira sur le manager qui sera ainsi incité à encore plus de micro-actes de management.

Fantastique, merci encore !

Laurence Vanhée pose l’équation “Liberté + Responsabilité = Bonheur + Performance”. Mais il ne suffit pas de donner la liberté aux employés, encore faut-il qu’il la prennent, se l’approprient, la co-construisent avec leurs collègues et leur patron (idem pour la responsabilité). Dans un contexte historique où la prise d’initiative n’était pas encouragée (voire punie) et où la recherche d’un coupable est le jeu habituel lorsque surviennent les problèmes, savoir prendre et construire sa liberté n’est pas une évidence pour tous.

Muhammad Yunus nous montre ici une voie par le biais du micro-crédit. C’est pour moi la voie de Solution Focus, qui a fait ses preuves par ailleurs.

Si l’on peut prêter de l’argent (de l’oseille, du blé, du flouze, le nerf de la guerre, quoi!) à des personnes qui n’en ont pas, ne peut-on réellement envisager de prêter un petit peu de confiance aux collaborateurs des entreprises ?!


@NancyDuarte #resonate #free #book on making presentations: what if you could *really* turn your audience into a hero?

I’m reading the beginning of this great book from Nancy Duarte she just released for free in beautiful HTML 5: Resonate. The book’s (or the beginning of it at least) is about the Monomyth as it’s been described by Joseph Campbell in “A Hero’s Journey”.

The purpose of a presentation should be to tell a story and make your audience like it is the hero of it, by making it visualize “what could be” in comparison to “what is“. The intent is to “sell” your proposal of how to achieve the “what could be” part of your message.

Yet, I’m thinking of all these strength-based approaches to change I’ve learned these recent years. For instance:

  • Appreciative Inquiry could be used to have people remember of personal situations where they lived the opposite of the problem (that is a strongly positive situation, that is, an experience of “what could be”). Combined with the social constructionist principle of AI, this could help people co-create their journey rights when you’re presenting (instead of waiting for the “call to action” to start it at the end of the presentation)
  • Solution Focus is explicitly based on the premise that the Future Perfect has already happened, at least partially,and to find again what behavior supported it at that time that could be amplified and done again.

So, instead of just encouraging your audience to just imagine them being a hero, what about having them remember they’ve already been the hero, and probably more than once?

Indeed, the story has already begun albeit in a masqueraded way. The real threshold would then be to have them commit to it and reveal it to the world.

Instead of holding the mirror where the audience can see itself in, what about giving them the mirror to play with? To discover sides of themselves they’ve never imagined they had? And then let them experiment with it right away?

This, I will ponder. I will continue reading the book, because it’s just excellent so far!


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