Appreciating Systems

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Why #leadership development doesn’t mean ‘winner-take-all’! (A #solutionfocus reblog of @alankay1)

Very nice article (as usual) from Fry The MonkeysAlan KayWhy #leadership development doesn’t mean ‘winner-take-all’!

I especially like the questions one can ask oneself (or others!):

  • Suppose my leadership capabilities got even better, what would I be doing that would be useful to others?
  • What one thing could be better about my leadership abilities?
  • In what situations does my leadership help others? What would they say they value about my leadership?
  • Suppose I was taking a leadership development course, what goals / outcomes would I be focused on? How would that be useful to my organization?

 

Reblog: Forget Empowerment—Aim for Exhilaration | Management Innovation eXchange

April 30th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

This really came at a time where I’m considering writing on this very subject.

Can’t say it better than in this article from Management Innovation eXchange, though, so you’d better read it straight!

Forget Empowerment—Aim for Exhilaration | Management Innovation eXchange.

Reblog: 7 Questions to Make the Best First Impression (#solutionfocus)

April 5th, 2012 Posted in Solution Focus Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a nice, short, and efficient blog post from Alain Kay of “Fry the Monkeys”: 7 Questions to Make the Best First Impression | Fry The Monkeys.

RDA: Read, Digest, Apply!

What if managers started to ask these questions more often: when they take their new assignment? When doing annual (performance) review? At the beginning of each meeting? During lunch?

 

Art Smalley doesn’t fear the hard questions #lean

March 23rd, 2012 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , ,

The Lean Edge asks very interesting questions. For this one (“what makes a good Lean leader?”), Art Smalley shows that he doesn’t fear the hard questions. At all.

Read more there: Art Smalley: Sorry, no buzz word » The Lean Edge.

When have you heard these kind of questions in your organzation?

How do you relate the current question with the current situation (efficiency, finances, etc.) of your organization?

What’s your conclusion?

What’s your Next Actions?

 

#Change management using #TWI Job Relations

Readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Training Within Industry programs. They were at the roots of Lean, along with other things. Although we usually talk of Job Methods as the ancestor of Kaizen, I would like to make a small focus today on Job Relations and how it is sound advice when it comes to change management.

The JR cover page states the following about the purpose of the program:

The Training Within Industry program of Job Relations was developed in order to provide management with a tool whereby supervisors could acquire skill of leadership.

Now, reading the associated card, one can see the following notices:

A supervisor gets results through people.

and

People must be treated as individuals.

I’m not going to review the whole program or card, but would like to stress how JR could make for a good training for any change agent, especially managers when then need to lead a change on their perimeter.

Foundations for good relations

First, there are some fundamental points stressed in JR as how to behave with people and maintain good relations. Two are worth stressing in the context of change:

  • Tell people in advance about changes that will affect them
    • Tell them WHY if possible
    • Get them to accept change
  • Make best use of each person's ability
    • Look for ability not now being used
    • Never stand in a person's way

How often are we seeing changes that are not told in advance and where the affected persons’ ability are not used in the change? I don’t see these two points as being separated, but as working together.

Indeed, it’s been recognized over and over that people are less likely to resist change when they understand the reasons behind it and they get a change to participate in it (by using their abilities).

By keeping the JR card with you and studying it thoroughly, you increase your chances of managing your people respectfully.

JR method step 1: Get the facts

The first step of the JR method is about “getting the facts”. Late Lean literature talks of “grasping the situation”, which is very similar, if not identical.

Worth mentioning though is the “Get opinions and feelings” item. From a systems thinking point of view, it’s good as it fosters different perspectives on the situation. Now, this item is not detailed on the card, but it’s the only one being given a list of key points on how to achieve it, if you do the hard work of reading the sessions outline (synthesis available in session V):

How to get opinions and feelings
  • Don't argue
  • Encourage individual to talk about what is important to him
  • Don't interrupt
  • Don't jump at conclusions
  • Don't do all the talking yourself
  • Listen

How’s this for a “manager as coach” behavior? How often have you encountered a manager that really listens to you that way?

JR method step 3: Take action

Step 3 is interesting here for the two following points:

  • Are you going to handle this yourself?
  • Do you need help in handling?

What’s important here to me is when these two points of the method are combined with the preceding two fundamental points mentioned above. Indeed, a manager or change leader should not fear from getting help from the very people who are going to be impacted by the change. By reflecting in how s/he could get help from the people, by using their ability, he considerably augments the chances of the change going well.

Seeking help and involving others is not a sign of failure, but of sound responsibility.

(From a systems thinking point of view again, it helps achieve requisite variety with respect to the change perimeter).

Conclusion

I hope to have shown how the use of TWI Job Relations method can help in leading change. Of course, this is a bit slower than traditional “command and control” way of managing change, but I bet the JR way has a lot more long-term beneficial consequences than the traditional way.

TWI programs session manuals can be downloaded for instance from http://www.trainingwithinindustry.net/.

#mindmap: Margareth Weathley 10 Principles for Creating Healthy Communities on @biggerplate

I just uploaded a mindmap I had in stock about these 10 principles. Very useful to any kind of organization, including for-profit (but you must not run when you hear forgiveness, generosity and love in that kind of context!).

The map’s available here and the source material was this article.

Reblog: Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do)

So long for command & control: Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do).

One ruler cannot have the requisite variety to manage a system entirely on its own, except for chance.

Give up control and adopt direction. Better yet, share direction setting with your collaborators. Co-create. Help them rather than direct them. Use Appreciative Inquiry!

Probably something to do with Servant Leadership

Also, when people participate and build something, they learn and can adapt to changing setting. Like building resilience in. When you’re in charge, they don’t learn. Or they don’t learn what could save you all later. The less they learn, the more reluctant you’ll be to give them the reins. That’s shifting the burden… You’re setting up yourself for failure…

Biology of Business : a Farrow Partnership presentation (#complexity #systhnk)

I found that slideware on the field of complexity adapted to business and what it means in terms of things to stop doing and things to start doing. Ideas are said to come from Complex Adaptive Systems which I yet have to investigate in detail.

Indeed, there are 11 new things one should start doing to be more efficient:

  1. Pursue agility and resilience
  2. Consciously learn from daily experience
  3. Allow solutions to emerge
  4. Pull, don’t push
  5. Seek healthy mixtures
  6. Rely on vision and boundaries
  7. Appreciate the messy phases
  8. Expect non-linear progress
  9. Cooperate to create abundance
  10. Promote grassroots initiatives
  11. Work in a place designed for humans

Reading this list, I see that I must have been deeply impressed by all of complexity and systems thinking readings since that’s what I’m tending to do these days. My natural inclination toward these have been reinforced by the justifications I’ve found in my readings.

Lean seeks to achieve perfect agility and resilience, with learning and nurture solutions from people. Do I need to talk about pull/push ? Appreciative Inquiry deals with mix of people and points of views, helps build a strong Vision and strive to messy moments (brainstorming, exchanges…)

The complete slide show along with details for each of the 11 steps is available here.

The happy complexity of organizational productivity (#lean #solutionfocus #appreciativeinquiry #systemsthinking #positive #psychology)

I’ve been reading that article in Havard Business Review about “The power of small wins” (paying article) and somehow some things felt down together in place:

  • Lean management and any continuous productivity improvement approach for that matter
  • Solution Focus
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Positive Psychology
  • Happiness (at work)

Read more »

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