Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Reblog: DOING WHAT WORKS: Perspective change

Another short and nice article by Coert Visser about question that helps develop a Systems Thinking view of a situation in the mind of the person being asked: DOING WHAT WORKS: Perspective change.

The article doesn’t mentioned systems thinking, this is my link of the tswo subjects, but SF is deeply rooted in the field, so it’s no wonder the roots diffused to the core.

 

Reblog: DOING WHAT WORKS: Effective questions for helping and providing direction

Here is a very interesting article from Coert Visser about leading people by asking questions: DOING WHAT WORKS: Effective questions for helping and providing direction.

Also, follow the inner link to “Constructive and Activating Management Techniques” on the same topic.

Telling is straightfoward and not helping people learn. Indeed, people just take what you say and either accept or reject it. Of course, some rare people are able to say things crafted in such a way that it makes people think deeply about it and help them get insights about whatever it is that the discussion is about. Milton Erickson comes to mind for instance.

For the more mundane people like me, asking questions is a way to gently push people to think about an issue and by this way step by step creating in their mind a systemic representation of what you’re trying to get through to them. “What else?” is for instance a powerful yet simple question that fosters deep thinking (used in Systems Thinking or Solution Focus).

Socrates used this a lot of course, but it somewhat had not benefitted him 😉

What else are you using to make people stop-and-think?

Reblog: Lessons Learned About Building Commitment to #Change

Here is a nice article from Daryl Conner (change thinking): Lessons Learned About Building Commitment to Change | Change Thinking.

I obviously like the article because it appeals to my beliefs, that to change others, you need to change yourself first, which is letting go of strictly controlling the change (or be prepared to deal with resistance – which I don’t call change management but change coercion.)

Don’t try to feed people soup they won’t like but invite them to add their preferred ingredients to the soup, so you’ll all eat it happilly together.

It might not be your preferred soup (but even then, you might be surprised) or the one you wanted in the first place, but a soup that is appreciated by all the ones that need to eat it.

In systems thinking, some say that to change a system, you need to become part of it, otherwise you can’t.

Learning courses for #SystemsThinking

March 10th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , ,

#Lean may very well increase your employees intelligence…

Reflecting on my previous quick post (I really need to add value instead of just repeating what I’ve read elsewhere…) I made the link between these five practices that help increasing one’s cognition, and Lean. The practices, should you not want to read the previous post, are:

  1. Seek Novelty
  2. Challenge Yourself
  3. Think Creatively
  4. Do Things The Hard Way
  5. Network

There’s Systems Thinking playing behind the scene here as I feel (like the referred blog post’s author Coert Visser) that they are all related to one another. Let me review each point in turn and discuss it from a Lean point of view.

Seek Novelty

By constantly trying to improve the company, Lean managers strive to maintain a state of permanent change. That is, a state where nothing stays as it is forever and people need to improve constantly, thus change and fin new ways of doing things. Novelty can be found in, for instance, the 5M:

  • Methods: innovate new ways of building the widgets your company sells
  • Man: rotate or change job to discover new places in the company
  • Materials: seek new ways of using your materials, or new materials altogether to improve your widgets (or reduce your costs)
  • Machines: innovate with your machine usage: error-proof devices (poka yoke), automatic unloading (hanedashi), arranging machines into cells, etc.
  • Mother Nature: how can you innovate with the constraints of your envionment to be more efficient? Or innovate in ways to preserve the environment?

Well, you can extend the 5M to 8M if you like, you get the point.

Challenge Yourself

Lean is continuous improvement and this rythms with constant challenge: how to reach that next better point from where you are? I don’t have much to say as this is rather obvious…

Think Creatively

Again, this is what a sensei requests from employees, for instance in A3 problem solving. From Toyota Kata, one knows that constant questioning is required: what’s the problem? why is this a problem? How do you know? What could another solution be? How will you check the results? How will you “sell” your proposal to colleagues (nemawashi)?

Some of the harder problems would probably mandates to think out of the box (as Einstein said, one cannot solve the problems with the same state of mind that created them).

Do Things The Hard Way

This means, do your homework. Don’t rely on others to do it for you or rely on devices to do it for you. If TPS is not hard way, I don’t know what it is! 🙂

Network

Well, I can see two networking tools in Lean: A3 and Hoshin Kanri: they make you meet others, discuss the topics with them, have creative and hard discussions and so exchange possibly differing points of views. A good way to maintain brain plasticity, for sure.

Conclusion

It is said that Lean takes ordinary people to achieve extraodinary results by making them constantly improve the processes they work in. Now, studies have shown that it also turns these ordinary people into extraodinary ones.

Given the flow of past Toyota employees moving to the Lean consulting business, I tend to believe there might be some truth in these studies.

Reblog: @DoingWhatWorks : Five principles for increasing cognitive ability

March 8th, 2011 Posted in Solution Focus Tags: , , ,

Some great findings by Coert Visser: DOING WHAT WORKS: Five principles for increasing cognitive ability.

This is to announce a great article about the fact that cognotive ability can indeed be increased and is not fixed as it was supposed to be until now. The way to improve your cognition would be to:

  1. Seek Novelty
  2. Challenge Yourself
  3. Think Creatively
  4. Do Things The Hard Way
  5. Network

(see linked article to know more: very thorough!)


List of #Lean #Accounting Books

March 8th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , ,

I’ve just found a list of Lean Accounting Books on Amazon.com that I’m passing around for those interested.

I have and read “Real Numbers: Management Accounting in a Lean Organization by Jean E. Cunningham which I found good, but, being an IT person, I’m not really versed in this stuff.

Besides, I came to know about “Direct Value Added”, a new way of doing accounting which seems promising when valuing a company with respect to continuous improvement initiatives. Unfortunately, information about this (“Valeur Ajoutée Directe“) seems to be only available in french (on www.vadway.com). Yet I found an english paper about DVA here (written by a french person), but it’s a paying paper.


How mass production and work was revived through planned obsolescence (somewhat #Lean #history)

March 7th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , ,

Planned obsolescence (see PDF article near the end of the wikipedia article) was proposed in 1932 as a way to relaunch economy and give back work to citizens.

The proposed means were somewhat extreme, yet it’s well known that today defects are embedded in most appliances (which are built to be non-fixable) to force people to buy a new equipement on a regular basis.

How we would fit this with “Total Productive Maintenance” is not clear to me yet 😉

 

#SystemsThinking World Users – Google Maps

February 28th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , ,

For all people interested in Systems Thinking, please don’t hesitate to join the wonderful Linked In discussion group “Systems Thinking World“: there are lots of deeply interesting and challenging discussions, fueld with passion.

Then, you might want to make you visible on the dedicated Google Map here: Systems Thinking World Users – Google Maps.

See you there!

Reblog: Interview with Heidi Grant Halvorson (author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goal) by Coert Visser [and how it relates to #Lean]

February 22nd, 2011 Posted in Change, Lean, Solution Focus Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is a very nice interview of author Heidi Grant Halvorson about her book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals.

INTERVIEWS: Interview with Heidi Grant Halvorson.

Coert Visser, interviewer, works in the field of Solution Focused Change.

I really appreciated the interview and the part about what types of  goals allow for lasting happiness:

  • relatedness
  • competence
  • and autonomy

That book seems to be a very good candidate for mandatory reading for managers.

Again, I find that hoshin kanri, or company wide annual goal setting in Lean companies, when properly done, aligns very well to these kind of researches.

  • hoshin kanri supposes that the whole company, starting at the CEO, deeply wants the best for its customers and its employees. That for me connects to the purpose of the company and fills the relatedness advocated for by Heidi Grant
  • by allowing all levels of the organization to contribute to the details of  the hoshin planning process according to their own level of competency and personal knowledge of what needs to be done at the job position they hold, the competence need is also fulfilled
  • and, in the end, by giving responsibility to all organizational levels to know and work on the specific goals they set, aligned with the company goal, autonomy is taken into consideration.

Of course, this (relatedness, competence, autonomy) is also true for A3 problem solving, but I let that as an exercise to the reader 🙂

It’s great when research validates some practices already done, because it allows for some kind of formal explanation and justification of “why it works”. People can stop complaining that “it ain’t work here” and “we’re different”, because researched formally showed that it’s doomed to work anywhere. It’s also a way to reinforce a (young) (Lean) coach that’s it’s the good way to go, whatever the organization’s reluctance to go down that path.

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