Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Social constructionism is to #Lean what lecturing is to #Taylorism

I just invented this one…

Of course, that Lean promotes cooperation and co-improvement of the organization (through nemawashi) makes the sentence all the more interesting 😉

All those consultants that try to force Lean down the throat of the managers that, according to them, are too dumb to “get it” are just, IMHO, plain wrong. This is the surest path to “change resistance“. Of course, telling is quicker than letting people experiment and trying to understand things from the perspective of the people.

Yet, if management is supposed to learn how to have their people conduct experiments, and then learn from them, then share them with their colleagues throughout the organization, why on earth are they lecturing and teaching them Lean?! If managers learn anything, that will be to continue in command-and-control mode and impose Lean tools and processes onto employees that won’t necessarily understand the purpose of them. And since the managers don’t know exactly how things happens on the Gemba (of many managers do “standing in the circle” for hours ?), they commands will be just resented as unsuited at best by employees, further decreasing their engagement levels, and the few trust left they might have had in their managers.

Is that really what’s wanted?

Of course, putting on my “Systems Dynamics” hat, I can see that the more consultants do it that way, the less organizations really improve on the long-term, and the more need will be felt for more Lean consulting.

I am not saying that consultants want the situation to be that way. I’m just saying that doing more of the same Lean teaching method will just produce more of the same long-term failed results.

Doing more of the same and expecting different results is the definition of insanity according to Einstein

Why do people don’t adopt #systemsthinking?

This is a recurring question in the LinkedIn forum “Systems Thinking World” hosted by Gene Bellinger. And one that haven’t had any satisfactorily answer so far.

Indeed, I think that the opposite question is valid too and even provides a hint as to one possible answer: “why do people using systems thinking don’t reverse to another way of thinking?

A more general question might be “why do people think the way they think?

Read more »

The paradox of improvement and #change in a #deficit or #strength-based vision of the world…

I was considering change this morning, in the context of how the brain, as a complex adaptive system, deals with it (this is explained in my book “The Colors of Change“).

When you work from a deficit-based perspective on life (that is, you have a vision or an ideal in mind and all you see are gaps between it and reality around you, that is, problems):

It’s easy to point out problems, but it’s difficult to solve them.

It’s difficult because you will want to fill a gap using things absent. Which is difficult obviously.

On the contrary, when working from a strength-based mindset, the situation is just the opposite:

It’s hard to point out strengths, but it’s easy to improve on them.

Because strengths are so easy to use, they are hardly noticed on first sight, especially by the person expressing them. For others, it’s a bit easier because someone’s strengths might look so different to one’s own mental model that singling them out is easy.

As for improving, well, the person exercising a strength needs to notice it first before being able to do more of it. But once it’s made visible again (using a slight shift in perspective, for instance), then it’s far easier to do more of it, because you know exactly what it is: you’re going to do more of something you already have done before. Compare this to doing something you never did or for which you’re not so good at!

As far as efficiency is concerned, I’d rather think a bit more beforehand to understand the strengths at play, and then act more easily afterwards, rather than the opposite (jumping straight on a problem but being dragged in acting out a solution to it).

Of course, there’s the middle path where you identify a problem, and then work out to find times when the problem was not present, what the corresponding strengths might be that made the situation better, and then do more of them. A bit simpler than strict problem solving, though still longer than pure strength-based work.

So what? Well, my conclusion is to just don’t damn look for problems in the first place. Just identify what you want more of because you just seem to like it, identify how come you’re good at it, and just-do-more-of-it!!!


Articles @LesEchos : GĂ©nĂ©ration Y, les 5 rĂ©volutions de l’entreprise

My Twitter Social Ego Networks

David R. via Compfight

Je viens de lire cet article trĂšs intĂ©ressants sur Les Echos : GĂ©nĂ©ration Y, les 5 rĂ©volutions de l’entreprise.

Je suis globalement d’accord avec le contenu. Mais j’ai l’impression que les entreprises actuelles encore 1.0 ont dĂ©jĂ  perdu. L’avĂšnement des smartphones et les applications sociales a dĂ©jĂ  cassĂ© les frontiĂšres de l’entreprise. Avant, l’espace interne d’une organisation Ă©tait plus ou moins protĂ©gĂ© de l’extĂ©rieur, une sorte de sanctuaire oĂč pouvait se passer plein de choses sans qu’elles soient dĂ©rangĂ©es.

C’est maintenant fini. Nos smartphones nous rappellent sans cesse Ă  ce qu’il se fait dehors, aux opportunitĂ©s existantes ailleurs, Ă  nos amis, Ă  notre famille, etc. Seule une petite partie de notre esprit est concentrĂ©e sur l’interne d’une entreprise.

Si les entreprises n’embrassent pas maintenant cette ouverture en utilisant les mĂȘmes fonctionnements sociaux (intelligence collective, travail collaboratif massif, encouragement Ă  la co-crĂ©ation entre ce qu’elle est et les potentialitĂ©s de ses collaborateurs, …) elle risque de pĂ©ricliter.

Au lieu de laisser l’Ă©nergie de ses collaborateurs se disperser dans les rĂ©seaux sociaux (technologiques ou non !) l’entreprise se doit d’ĂȘtre le lieu oĂč ces Ă©nergies pourront au contraire se connecter et aboutir Ă  quelque chose qui lui soit utile (et Ă©videmment utile aux collaborateurs, l’exploitation sauvage, c’est aussi fini, ça).

On n’embauche plus une personne, on embauche son rĂ©seau social. Que fait-on pour valoriser cela? S’il y a des “fuites sociales” vers l’extĂ©rieur, c’est que l’attrait de l’intĂ©rieur est insuffisant. Et si les gens sont attirĂ©s par le social, alors il faut faire du rĂ©seau social de maniĂšre encore plus intensive Ă  l’intĂ©rieur, pour inverser le flux !

Quelle démarche active avez-vous dans votre entreprise pour connecter les cerveaux sociaux de vos collaborateurs?

#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.

Build a #school in the #cloud by @sugatam, a @TED #video

I finally took the time to view this wonderful video. Mr Mitra experimented with remote villages in India, where children don’t speak english nor are used to computers, and see what would happen in a few months. Guess what? The children were able to 1) learn english and 2) understand scientific concept far advanced for their ages. All on their own, without any kind of help at all.

His wish is thus to build a school in the cloud where children could learn on their own (he calls this SOLE: Self-Organized Learning Environments (go to that link, there’s a PDF toolkit to download for free) with the help of, for instance, remote retired teachers, through Skype.

I’m not into teaching, but I can’t help make the connection with what happens in organizations. Lean was known as TPS (Toyota Production System) in the beginning, although Taiichi Ohno insisted for it to be called Thinking Production System, meaning by this that it was meant to make people think and really learn about their organization so as to improve it. I guess the concept of a Learning Organization comes from the same desires, too.

In order to improve an organization, people need to learn and innovate in the fields of technology, facilitation, psychology (whether to convince other of the importance of their findings, or to better market whatever it is they’re selling, etc.)

Do our organizations really facilitate this learning? I’m afraid not. Mr Mitra tells us that tests and punishments are seen as threats by the brain and stop all learning and innovating activity. Only appreciation and encouragement liberate those.

Isn’t this a really good praise for Appreciative Inquiry or Solution Focus?!

I think the best way to have organizations improve is not to put up new training or innovation programs, but rather to remote all barriers to self-organization. Let people connect to one another, teach one to another, discussion, exchange and experiment! It’s not just stuff for children. Adults can benefit from it too!

Indeed, lots of companies are starting to liberate themselves in these ways. See the french companies Favi, Poult or others such as Zappos (who just announced they will get rid of all their managers and just function with their 1500 productive employees).

Have you read “Freedom, Inc” from Isaac Getz? Do it now! 🙂 I think it just the same kind of principles for a new way to organize organizations…


Le manager comme un banque de micro-crédit: créer la confiance ! #happy at work thx @bgromard

Merci à Brice de Gromard pour le lien vers cette interview de Muhammad Yunus fondateur de la Grameen Bank (publiée sur le blog de Nicolas Cordier).

M. Yunus explique comment la banque, par de petits actes de prĂȘt (5$), a commencĂ© un processus de dĂ©veloppement de la confiance des gens en eux-mĂȘmes et comment, ainsi, ils parviennent Ă  se hisser face Ă  des personnes issues de milieux plus favorisĂ©s.

Je retiens des tas de choses de cette interview exceptionnelle, par exemple :

  • une approche solutionfocus : faisons de trĂšs petites choses qui ne peuvent Ă©chouer, et construisons dessus ;
  • mĂȘme dans les pires conditions, il est tout de mĂȘme possible de faire des choses ;
  • en donnant la confiance, on la reçoit en retour.

Elle m’apporte aussi des idĂ©es Ă©normes :

  • le capital ne devrait pas ĂȘtre limitĂ© Ă  l’argent, mais devrait (et peut !) ĂȘtre plus grand que cela : capital humain, social. Faut-il faire de l’argent pour le reinvestir dans plus d’argent, ou faire de l’argent pour supporter une valeur ajoutĂ©e humaine (et le surplus d’argent sert Ă  croĂźtre afin de produire encore plus de VAH – valeur ajoutĂ©e humaine) ;
  • dans plein d’entreprises, l’activitĂ© de management semble se comporter comme une banque traditionnelle (ie, on ne prĂȘte qu’aux riches). Si on peut faire du micro-crĂ©dit aux pauvres (voire aux mendiants !) ne peut-on imaginer faire du management pour les “pauvres” des entreprises ? De micro actes de management pour inciter les personnes du bas de l’échelle Ă  une petite action qui leur permettra de les aider Ă  construire leur propre confiance. Et celle-ci rejaillira sur le manager qui sera ainsi incitĂ© Ă  encore plus de micro-actes de management.

Fantastique, merci encore !

Laurence VanhĂ©e pose l’Ă©quation “LibertĂ© + ResponsabilitĂ© = Bonheur + Performance”. Mais il ne suffit pas de donner la libertĂ© aux employĂ©s, encore faut-il qu’il la prennent, se l’approprient, la co-construisent avec leurs collĂšgues et leur patron (idem pour la responsabilitĂ©). Dans un contexte historique oĂč la prise d’initiative n’Ă©tait pas encouragĂ©e (voire punie) et oĂč la recherche d’un coupable est le jeu habituel lorsque surviennent les problĂšmes, savoir prendre et construire sa libertĂ© n’est pas une Ă©vidence pour tous.

Muhammad Yunus nous montre ici une voie par le biais du micro-crĂ©dit. C’est pour moi la voie de Solution Focus, qui a fait ses preuves par ailleurs.

Si l’on peut prĂȘter de l’argent (de l’oseille, du blĂ©, du flouze, le nerf de la guerre, quoi!) Ă  des personnes qui n’en ont pas, ne peut-on rĂ©ellement envisager de prĂȘter un petit peu de confiance aux collaborateurs des entreprises ?!


@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!


Moving Motivators Free Exercise » NOOP.NL @jurgenappelo

November 20th, 2013 Posted in Change, Strength Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s a nice exercise to check how a change initiative will affect people motivation factors.

I see this as useful in the context of any project (to check and possibly amend before rolling it out), in HR to exchange with people about what motivates them and where they would be more happy & efficient (what opportunities would allow them to raise their motivation factors?). The possibilities are endless!

Moving Motivators Free Exercise » NOOP.NL.

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!

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