Appreciating Systems

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GembaWalkabout – Understand Variation – The Forgotten Principle #Deming #Lean

February 25th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

Here a nice little article explaining the difference between common cause and special cause variation, and what people should be doing about them which they usually fail to do.

GembaWalkabout – Understand Variation – The Forgotten Principle.

Time for management training?

Happiness reigns: meet Laurence Vanhée (@happy_laurence)

February 21st, 2013 Posted in Strengths Tags: , , , , , ,

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 :

  • Don’t Manage. Love
  • Don’t work. Have fun
  • Don’t think. Think green
  • Don’t complain. Innovate
  • Don’t motivate. Trust

What a program!

Why we learn more from our successes than our failures – MIT News Office

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!


BMA Inc – The #Lean #Accounting Leaders : free #mindmap

February 6th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s a nice mindmap about Lean Accounting! BMA Inc – The Lean Accounting Leaders – Lean Accounting.

I remembered when I read the “Real numbers” book that it was interesting an subject (although finance is not my topic of choice). Will have to re-read it again, now.



Reblog: How Do You Get Leaders to #Change? – Chief Learning Officer, Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

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! 🙂


Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! | #Video on @TED

This is the most hilarious, serious and extraordinatry video I’ve seen in quite some time on how to change the world and help people.

Drop whatever you’re doing at the moment, and look at it now (less than 20 minutes).

That video speaks about helping people, listening, entrepreneurship, creating successful organizations, making people thrive, and hippos. Yes, hippos.

To me, Ernesto Sirolli holds the keys to successful Lean turnovers… or whatever else is needed by the people that want to thrive in their lives and work.

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! | Video on


Finding local roots for #Lean – Everywhere (@mbaudin reblog): What about here and there too? #solutionfocus

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?

This is what the Strengh-based approach to Lean is (well, at least using the Solution Focused way).

  • When have you seen this process improving? What did you do that contributed to that improvement? (finding improvements actions that work for the people here; the improvement part of “continuout improvement”)
  • How do you manage actions that you must do repeatedly? (finding ways to remember to to actions all the time; the continuous part of “continuous improvement”)
  • When have your work been easier to do? More interesting? What did you do to help create these conditions? (findings ways to improve the work that work for the people doing it)
  • Tell me about a time where your customers where satisfied with the product or services you delivered. What was it? How did you do it? (same kind of question, but for quality)
  • etc.


What is #Management #Cybernetics? 22 laws by Barry Clemson (#stwg #systemsthinking)

November 22nd, 2012 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , , ,

Just saw this and thought I would reference it so it’s not lost… Barry, please get your book back on the shelves for a decent price! 🙂

1. System Holism Principle: A system has holistic properties possessed by none of its parts. Each of the system parts has properties not possessed by the system as a whole.

2. Darkness Principle: no system can be known completely.

3. Eighty-Twenty Principle: In any large, complex system, eighty percent of the output will be produced by only twenty percent of the system.

4. Complementarity Law: Any two different perspectives (or models) about a system will reveal truths about that system that are neither entirely independent nor entirely compatible.

5. Hierarchy Principle: Complex natural phenomena are organized in hierarchies with each level made up of several integral systems.

6. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem: All consistent axiomatic foundations of number theory include undecidable propositions.

7. Entropythe Second Law of Thermodynamics: In any closed system the differences in energy can only stay the same or decrease over time; or, in any closed system the amount of order (or organization) can never increase and must eventually decrease.

8. Redundancy of Information Theorem: Errors in information transmission can be protected against (to any level of confidence required) by increasing the redundancy in the messages.

9. Redundancy of Resources Principle: Maintenance of stability under conditions of disturbance requires redundancy of critical resources.

10. Redundancy of Potential Command Principle: In any complex decision network, the potential to act effectively is conferred by an adequate concatenation of information.

11. Relaxation time Principle: System stability is possible only if the system’s relaxation time is shorter than the mean time between disturbances.

12. Circular Causality Principle One: Given positive feedback (i.e., a two-part system in which each stimulates any initial change in the other), radically different end states are possible from the same initial conditions.

13. Circular Causality Principle Two: Given negative feedback (i.e., a two-part system in which each part tends to offset any change in the other), the equiibrial state is invariant over a wide range of initial conditions.

14. Feedback dominance theorem: For high gain amplifiers, the feedback dominates the output over wide variations in input.

15. Homeostasis Principle: A system survives only so long as all essential variables are maintained within their physiological limits.

16. Steady State Principle: If a system is in a state of equilibrium (a steady state), then all sub-systems must be in equilibrium. If all sub-systems are in a state of equilibrium, then the system must be in equilibrium.

17. Requisite Variety Law: The control achievable by a given regulatory sub-system over a given system is limited by 1) the variety of the regulator, and 2) the channel capacity between the regulator and the system.

18. Conant-Ashby theorem: Every good regulator of a system must be a model of that system.

19. Self-Organizing Systems Principle: Complex systems organize themselves; the characteristic structural and behavioral patterns in a complex system are primarily a result of the interactions among the system parts.

20. Basins of Stability Principle: Complex systems have basins of stability separated by thresholds of instability. A system “parked” on a ridge will “roll downhill”.

21. Viability Principle: Viability is a function of the balance maintained along two dimensions: 1) autonomy of sub-systems versus integration of the system as a whole, and 2) stability versus adaptation.

22. Recursive System Theorem: If a viable system contains a viable system, then the organizational structure must be recursive; or, in a recursive organizational structure, any viable system contains, and is contained in, a viable system.

via What is Management Cybernetics? | Barry Clemson.

Using #Scrum, #kanban and #AppreciativeInquiry to Manage #Kaizen? Why not!

I often struggle with management giving only lip service to sustaining kaizen (continuous improvement, the problem being with continuous, not improvements which they heartfully agree to have!).

So I ended up with the strange idea of using a framework to create a culture of improving often and having a clear path forward. When the culture has changed to continuously improve, the framework can probably be ditched for something else (indeed, it should have if they improve their way of improving, see Scrumming the scrum!)

To make the story (!) short, I ended up with using Scrum, an Agile Software Development method, to manage improvements themselves.

I did a quick review of basic Scrum artifacts as per what Wikipedia lists, and it looks nice. The trick is using the team leader or anyone willing to play that role as Scrum Master (though the TL would be best).

Here’s a small file to see what matches to what, though this is quite straightforward: Scrum for Kaizen v1.0 EN.

Of course, if you don’t know Scrum, you’d probably want to have a look to Wikipedia link above and go with one of the introductory files linked such as downloading the Scrum Guide.

How to populate the Product Backlog (list of improvements)? Well, I have another idea: do an Appreciative Inquiry with the team and see what they really want for themselves, then:

  • write the Provocative Propositions from the Destiny phase on top of the Product Backlog
  • dump the result of the Delivery phase in the Product Backlog

and voilà, you have your list of (most and much) desires improvements!

Chances are that your list of AI-based improvements will be big so you might as well use a Kanban to manage all of this… So this is more technically speaking Scrum-ban, but… who cares anyway? 🙂

Someone wants to try it?

Don’t do #Lean, Build it instead

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

People read a lot of books to try to know all about Lean. Indeed, I did it myself (and sometimes still do it). And that’s OK.

But then, we try to have others do Lean as we’ve read in the books.

It’s an error.

We ought to have others build a Lean organization, not do it as per the books.

Trying to do Lean is trying to push solutions onto people, which is a sure way to have them resist.

Whether trying to build a Lean organization is about helping people find their own solutions toward Lean. As I say, it’s about pulling Lean out of the people. Not the other way round.

Indeed, Taiichi Ohno told us so: we shouldn’t try to replicate the Toyota Production System, we must grow our own. That’s the main reason he didn’t want to write down what TPS was in the first place (other reason was to avoid it becoming fixed).

Why is it, then, that we try to replicate all that Mr Ohno told, except for this one fundamental, point?


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