The day that Bob & Mary were liberated at work to be who they really are – @YouTube via @JeremyScrivens #strength
Who have you liberated at work recently?
define("WIDGET_TITLE", "Scheduled Posts"); define("WIDGET_DATEFORMAT", "l, m/d/y g:i"); define("WIDGET_ALLPOSTS", "All Scheduled Posts"); define("WIDGET_NOPOSTS", "There are no scheduled posts at the moment"); define("WIDGET_EDIT", "EDIT"); ?>
Who have you liberated at work recently?
Mark Graban did a very nice recollection of posts on Respect for People and what it means in Lean after John Seddon comment on it being ‘horse sh*t’. Here’s the article: Toyota, Respect for People (or “Humanity”) and Lean — Lean Blog.
I would add my 2 cents here by saying that respect not only is everyday showing of a nice attitude to people (also known as “politeness”), but also a longer term view of the thing where we want people to be part of a great work place (safe and interesting) and that their work has meaning.
Is that too difficult to understand?!
I love solving problems. Moreover, I also love finding solutions and making scaffolding theories. Yet, I feel there’s a big problem behind such tendencies: the more you work at a solution on your own, the more prefect it seems to be, then the more resistance you’re probably going to generate when you go out to the world for implementing your solution. Here’s why.
On the diagram on the right, start at the “Pressing problem” part and follow the arrows.
My intuition is that we should redirect energy flowing from the “pressing problem” to “thinking about a solution” (dotted blue arrow) directly to “others participate in a commonly built solution” (the green dotted arrow, mostly non existent at the time, or so it seems to me?). Doing such an action would suppress R1 and R2 loops and R3 would be shortened and more importantly replaced by a Balancing loop, meaning the more you work on a commonly built solution, the less there will be pressing problems.
The reflection above came out of a context related to finding global solutions to world pressing problem (mostly in the SEE fields: Social, Economical and Ecological). The Commons is all but one of the concepts meant at addressing these global issues. I’m not saying Management of the Commons is a bad solution. Indeed I even think of the opposite. But I think people working on such a solution should also start worrying about how they would have their solution adopted by lay people at a global level.
Here’s one of many web pages discussing the concept of the commons: Growing the Commons as Meta-narrative?
So, how to create that green dotted arrow, for me, is through a worldwide helping/supporting organization (be it the United Nations or else) that would facilitate concrete resolution of problems locally, regionally and globally. That would necessitate some efficient and practical means of communication between all levels top down and also on horizontal levels, between different fields: for instance, you need the ecologists trying to preserve some local pond to exchange with the nearest city officials, with business shareholders that want to build their industries near the pond, some people representatives that want both a green environment and some work to live decently, etc.
Fortunately, principles on how to organize such an organization do exist in the form of the Viable System Model for organizations as presented by Stafford Beer. What’s still lacking is an efficient model of communication, though in bootstrapping such an organization, currently existing forums, Facebook pages, Wikis and syndicated blogs would probably be do the trick.
To put it shortly and bluntly: the more people will think of a solution, the less chances are that it will become a reality.
(unless you can fund and implement it without the help of others, of course, but since we’re talking of a world-wide problem, it’s just impossible).
Here’s a very good article on Happiness at work in Belgium. Laurence is also on Twitter.
Read the article here: Happiness reigns: meet Laurence Vanhée. I love this:
I believe in 5 dondoos to change our workplace :
What a program!
Here’s a nice paper that explains why rewarding the positive is more effective than pointing out failures: Why we learn more from our successes than our failures – MIT News Office.
So I’m now positively rewarded to continue rewarding the positive!
Here’s a nice article on How Do You Get Leaders to Change? – Chief Learning Officer, Solutions for Enterprise Productivity.
I especially like the end of the paper about coaching and asking questions.
Indeed, when we’re told something, there are high chances that it comes to collide with some of our beliefs or mental model (because we make sense of what we’re told with our own past experience, and that often means we mis-interpret what others are saying).
On the other hand, when asked question, we are forced to bridge the gap between where we stand (our current mental model) and what the other is trying to say. A question isn’t as explicit as a statement when it comes to expressing a perspective. So when asked a question, although we feel that some perspective is at play behind the question, we’re let with space which we can feel however we want, thus bridging the gap between our own mental model and that of the questioner.
Whatever your conviction when it comes to how people resist to change, I think we all admit that it’s hard to resist to a question (though, sometimes we might end up affirming that a question is meaningless. Yet, this is an opportunity for dialogue and explaining why we think so. So even in this case, the exchange and gap-bridging occurs, from the askee or asker).
No wonder Socrates asked questions! 🙂
I found this nice piece of Michel Baudin regarding finding local roots for Lean to improve acceptance of Lean: Finding local roots for Lean – Everywhere | Michel Baudin’s Blog.
But then I wondered about having people “discover” that they already invented some Lean principles themselves? Maybe they just didn’t noticed or maintained them consistently over time?
I don’t know why, but it triggered something in myself that I would like to share here as well.
Let me again come back to constructivism: all these approaches and methods reflect the mental models of their conceptors. As such, they’re perfectly adapted to whoever created them along with the context in which they were primarily intended for.
Biomatrix seems the more systeMAtic of all those I’ve encountered, with this respect.
Now, I question the practicality of such highly sophisticated approaches. How do you teach them to people?
I don’t question their usefulness in bringing further understanding of a situation and consequently improving if with less unintended consequences than if no approach would have been used instead. But the more sophisticated an approach is, the more difficult it will me, IMO to “sell” it to some organization, either externally from a consultancy perspective or internally.
All these approaches try to do is help creating a model of a problem or situation in order to improve it. From basic principles (causal loops diagrams, DSRP…) to more sophisticated ones (Biomatrix, SoSM (System of Systems Methodology), etc.) they try to be as close as possible to reality, yet without fully embracing it (for it would be reality itself, not a map of it!) So, here again, we’re in constructivism: that of the creators of the aforementioned methods, and that of the people making up a system we would like to study/improve using one of those methods.
I have two personal convictions.
I personally turned to strength-based approaches to change such as Appreciative Inquiry (part of the “whole-system” change methods) or Solution Focus where the system itself is helped deliver what would work for itself.
If really needed, I can revert to some very simple models (that I use as a checklist) to help ensure some basic elements of an organization have been considered. For instance, McKinsey’s 7S might be helpful sometimes (and I don’t go further than what Wikipedia).
The fact is that a system is what it is, composed of most importantly (to me) its autonomous (sub)parts: humans. And humans construct their own reality, so instead of trying to box them into some different reality, I think we need to help them see their own boxes and help them connect them all so that they do something that matters and makes sense to themselves.
Don’t try to understand in too much details what they mean of what they want. Trust them to know better than you’d ever could. Lead them in the trouble waters of where they are to the clarity of where they would like to be. Let them identify the impediments on the way. Let them identify their strengths. Let them identify their own solutions (most of them they have *already* experimented to some extent – solution focus!). Then let them decide what path would work best for them and help them maintain the direction they chose. And then help them identify when they arrived at their destination so they can congratulate themselves.
And don’t even get me into change resistance, because that’s what a sophisticated method will probably trigger anyway!
In that LinkedIn discussion, the TWI programs have been used with great results (both bottom line AND, more improtantly to me, with respect to the people side of the work). Furthermore, here are three nice questions Mark Warren provided as a sort of quick coaching process to introduce the J programs. Thanks Mark!
The act of going to the work is a “Learning to See” exercise to get people in the habit of looking for problems. Then asking a few questions.
via Just completed a mammoth TWI implementation on a large construction project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 36% productivity improvement within 6 months. TWI is fantastic in the construction industry. | LinkedIn.