Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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#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.

#Happiness @ work, science based #positivepsychology

January 15th, 2014 Posted in Strength Tags: , ,

Positive Psychology is the study of what makes people happy, instead of “just” studying how to bring them from sadness to a more neutral attitude. Popularized by Martin Seligman, it has now been the topic of numerous researches.

Some of the more known results are the 24 Characters, Strengths and virtues that concur to happiness. I would like to list them here so that we can ponder how we support those in our respective organizations to help foster more happiness at work.

The 24 are hereafter, questions are mine:

Wisdom and Knowledge (strengths that involve the acquisition and use of knowledge)

  • creativity: do we foster creativity? (eg through facilitation techniques)
  • curiosity: are people encouraged to ask questions?
  • open-mindedness: do we listen to uncommon ideas?
  • love of learning: do we help learning?
  • perspective and wisdom: do we recognize expertise of low ranked collaborators instead of just that (supposed) of management?

Courage (strengths that allow one to accomplish goals in the face of opposition)

  • bravery: do we encourage people to step out and express their concern, and then take their voice into consideration?
  • persistence: “constancy of purpose” was a motto of Deming. Are we capable of it?
  • integrity: do we take care of it?
  • vitality: do we demonstrate it?

Humanity (strengths of tending and befriending others)

  • love: do we seek to love our employees (which means to seek who they really are, and try to understand them)
  • kindness: are we kind and fault tolerant or ruthless?
  • social intelligence: do we cultivate this one?

Justice (strengths that build healthy community)

  • active citizenship / social responsibility / loyalty / teamwork: are these promoted?
  • fairness: are we known for it?
  • leadership: do we encourage it?

Temperance (strengths that protect against excess)

  • forgiveness and mercy: do we demonstrate these?
  • humility and modesty: do we practice these?
  • prudence: are we demonstrating it when taking decisions? Do we keep a door opened for opportunities or late advises?
  • self-regulation and self-control: do we avoid trampling on others?

Transcendence (strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning)

  • appreciation of beauty and appreciation of excellence: do we get out of own way to recognize them when we encounter them?
  • gratitude: do we say “thank you” enough?
  • hope: can we demonstrate hope in the middle of problems?
  • humor and playfulness: can we conjugate work AND fun at the same time?
  • spirituality, or a sense of purpose and coherence: how do we collectively make sense of the company’s purpose?

I hope I have given you hope that these soft skills do indeed have a place in organizations. Studies have already shown that happy employees are more efficient, and that happy organizations outperform others (see Gallup annual reports since quite a few years)…

Exceptional #Strength based organizations @slideshare from @Bernard_TOLLEC and @pscheuerer

Please take a few minutes to review those exceptional slides on what are Strength-Based Organizations, and why we do believe in their power and the power of appreciating these…


@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!


#Video about the future of #Lean: #Strength Based Lean by @DavidShaked1

David Shaked (@DavidShaked1) as authored a video promoting his book “Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma“. If you want to know more about what this beast is about, check it out below!

Also, you’re warmly invited to contribute to the LinkedIn group on the same subject!


Reblog @HarvardBiz : Can You Invent Something New If Your Words Are Old?

A nice post that makes you think: Can You Invent Something New If Your Words Are Old?

Lean is deficit-based in its language: what problem do we need to fix? What failure demand do we need to take care of? What’s the gap between where you are now (bad) and where you want to be (customer need)?

Hopefully, I see the glimpse of positive change here and there:

  • Lean Startup is gaining a lot of traction when it comes to doing just what the customer want but with a constant thrust to find more and more added value, even in the form customer didn’t know they had a need for. Lean startup is also starting to be use elsewhere, like in Lean Change for instance by Jason Little.
  • Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma by David Shaked which specifically addresses this (disclaimer: I reviewed the book). The book is due on November 4th.
  • And of course the usual positive suspects (deficit word, again!): Appreciative Inquiry, Solution Focus, Positive Deviance, and much more.

In my book (“The Colors of Change“), I make the case for strength-based change approaches and explain why we don’t use them naturally (why it’s normal to fail), what can we do instead, and list some of the change approaches that I feel are strength-based and make use of a different language to achieve different (and better!) results.

Using a different language, we can co-construct a different reality, and, experimenting it, we can confirm and reinforce our thinking that this indeed works better. It’s usually better because of the absence of so-called “resistance to change”, learning step, etc.

Don’t try to match reality to your dreams (it will just reinforce the gap).

Don’t try to force your dreams onto reality (you’ll find resistance).

Instead, do search for your dreams in reality. I bet you’ll find them!

A proposal for a new #Complexity- and #Strength- based #PDCA (for #Lean or else)

Thinking during commute the other day (should I have to live nearer my work, I’d be much more dumb!) I pondered how a better strength-based Plan Do Check Act loop could look like.

I find the current version of PDCA to be a bit too deficit-based and tainted of Command & Control. All too often we see managers or project managers deciding on a plan in their offices and rolling it over employees, without much consideration about what would work for them (they’re the ones with their two feet in the daily work, so they should know best). Sure, if you’re doing nemawashi, this doesn’t concern you. But not everybody does it, yet.

So, since we’re speaking more and more about complexity (hmmm, Google Trends on complexity is making me a liar it seems – a construction of mine?)… anyway, I came up with the following new version:

  • Connect ideas of different people: who are they? what are their strengths? What ideas do they have? Aspirations? Opportunities they see? Results they expect?
  • Select ideas that you (collectively) would think are the more interesting to try?
  • Effect these ideas: go to the gemba and put them to the test of work. Measure heavily what happens of course (People side: does it enhance the work experience? Quality? Delays? Costs?)
  • Reflect on what happened: what did you learn? What new opportunities do you now see? What hopes does this give you? What else?

PS: well, at least the Cynefin  framework is trending more 😉

The bible as a guide for true #Lean?

October 8th, 2013 Posted in Lean, Strength Tags: , , ,

I just spotted this reference to the Bible on Internet (in a systems thinking forum!), and I can’t help but relate this to appreciative inquiry or what others in the field of change management call “embracing complexity”.

I’m an atheist, but then, this doesn’t mean I can’t recognize sound advice when I see it, even in religious texts (indeed, these are great sources of insight!) I must also admit that I looked at buddhism when trying to research what might have been sources of inspiration for the Toyoda family (they were buddhists) and Taiichi Ohno (I don’t know for him). Indeed, Buddhist texts (Theravada to be precise, have a look at the material available on Access To Insight for instance) indeed taught me a lot about Systems Thinking and appreciating people’s mental models (and letting go of wanting to change them). But that’s another story.

Back to the Bible and more precisely Matthew 7:7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Then Matthew 7:1-5 are interesting as well!

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

About what traditional Lean coaching does, and what strength-based coaching can do (still Matthew!)

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Forthcoming book on #Strength-based #Lean #SixSigma by David Shaked #appreciativeinquiry #solutionfocus

A new book called ‘Strength-based Lean Six Sigma‘ will be available from November 4th. Its author, David Shaked, has worked with Lean Thinking and Six Sigma for over 15 years and more specifically using a strength-based approach over the past 7 years.

The book is the first book to create bridges and combine the best of both the strengths and the deficit worlds in the drive for greater efficiency, by combining Appreciative Inquiry (and other strength-based approaches like Solution Focus), with the leading approaches to efficiency and quality improvement (Lean Thinking and Six Sigma – normally practised with a deficit-focus). The book contains principles, fresh ideas, stories and useful tools.

It is hoped this book will expand the community of Strength-based practitioners & enthusiasts by creating inroads with many more organizations and people who are keen followers of Lean Thinking and Six Sigma.

If your organization or clients are using Lean Six Sigma and you would like to use the best of their existing knowledge while introducing them to AI – this book is for you (and for them…)!

You can now be pre-order the book directly from the publisher (with a special launch discount) using the details in the following flyer.

It is also available for pre-order on both Amazon US and Amazon UK:

  1. Amazon UK
  2. Amazon US

It may also be available via other Amazon sites or other online/off line retailers of your preference. You can search it using the book title or the ISBN number which is: 0749469501. An e-book version (e.g. for Kindle/iPad) will also be available closer to the launch date.

There’s a LinkedIn group on the same subject as well, feel free to join to talk on the topic of strengths applied to Lean and Six Sigma.

#Lean & Nonviolent Communication #nvc

I just read a bunch of pages on Nonviolent Communication (The Wikipedia page’s good: and it occurred to me that practising it as a coach to help people communicate at the frontiers of teams, inside a process, or maybe better teach it to team leaders, would help a lot with efficiency during pass over (moments where the product passes from one team to the next).

Indeed, isn’t A3 and nemawashi supposed to achieve something like what NVC does?

NVC has four components that should all be expressed in any form of communication. And I think it goes well with maintaining continuous improvement:

  • Observations (well, this one is obvious: Lean Six Sigma is mostly about facts, facts & facts!)
  • Needs: how to express a need or listen to a need – should these be clarified, we’d go really further than just complaining about others. Have you expressed your needs clearly recently? Further, isn’t genchi gembutsu (with clients AND suppliers/internal teams) a way to get closer to the real needs?
  • Feelings: what unmet needs provoke in people, and how to express it.
  • Requests: when they’re clear and made after feelings, needs and observations have been done properly, it’s all the more probable that requests will be fulfilled, or if not, that other solutions will be found.

I think it would go a long way toward improving the chances of Lean sticking where it’s been presented if (1) teams where taught and experienced a bit in NVC and (2) coaches (and management) were practicing NVC during exchanges with other parties. Here are two examples:

For an executive talking to the whole organization, it would help if s/he clarified the observations related to how the balanced scorecard is going (finance, processes, people and learning), expressed the feelings raised because of that (fear, sadness or maybe joy or hope), what the corresponding needs are to further improve the situation and then the request would flow more naturally to employees who would then have the rationale to move on into continuous improvement (including middle management that would be much more informed in order to balance the work between “doing the job” and “improving the job”).

For a team leader, factual observations of errors coming from the previous team and what needs are unfulfilled because of the team’s purpose, would help explain they current feelings about what’s going on and consequently express a clear and justified request to their partner team, in order to raise efficiency of the process at border crossing .

What’s more, I feel a clear nonviolent communication would definitely allow each participant to answer in the best way that would work for themselves, making the resulting exchange all the more solution-focused!

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