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#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/.

New Year Questions (#SolutionFocus #Change)

Coert Visser did a nice article about Solution Focus based questions for a new year. I’d like to build on them and propose my own, in the hope that it could positively improve any change initiative you’re a part of (or a leader).

From your customers’ point of view

  • What pleased your customers last year? What else?
  • How did you provided that to them? What else?
  • How could you make more of that?
  • What first step can you take right not to make more of that? What smaller step can you make? Even smaller?
  • Imagine your customers coming in and asked you straight what they really want. What would they ask? What else?
  • How are you going to provide it? What first step do you need to make, now, to provide it?

From your employees’ point of view

Manager to employees

  • What made your employees happy last year?
  • How could they achieve this?
  • How can you help them make more of it?
  • What are they thriving for?
  • What would make them soar?
  • What impact would them soaring could have on yourself? On your business?
  • What small step can you make right now to start building that preferred future of them?
  • What first thing will your employees notice that you changed in order to bring them more thriving opportunities in their work?
  • What strengths did you notice in each of your employees? How is s/he using them? What prevents them from using these strengths more thoroughly and more often? How could you help that? What first step do you see you doing now to help that strength liberation?

Employees to management

  • What made you happy last year?
  • How did you do it?
  • How could you make more of it?
  • What worked well in your relations with your management? How did you do it? What else? How could you do more of it?

From a process (system) point of view

  • What worked well last year? What else?
  • How did the organization make it happen?
  • How could you do more of it? What else?
  • What first step could you do right now to do more of it?

Ok, I guess you got the point. Feel free to propose more questions below!

Happy new year everyone!

#TWI used #SolutionFocus approach in “how to get continuing results”! (#Lean)

Currently re-reading TWI‘s “how to get continuing results”, I stumbled upon this paragraph:

To get appropriate action on this fundamental [Assign Responsibility for Getting Continuing Results], the TWI representative might get a decision by raising such questions as these:

 (a)  “How do you now inform your executive and supervisory organization of a new responsibility – or a new policy – or a new requirement? What change have you had recently where you had to get detailed information across to your supervisors (such as new procedures under your wage agreement, or change of manufacturing method, or change in production methods)? How did you get the results you wanted?

(b)  “Will a similar procedure be adequate to get continued results in the case of JI, JM or JR?”

The new responsibilities mentioned above are the following ones:

The sponsoring executive must make it clear to the members of the executive and supervisory staff that they are responsible for results. To get continuing results, each executive and supervisor must:

  • use the plan himself.
  • provide assistance to those who report to him.
  • require results of those who report to him.

Question (a) is clearly a “what works here?” question in a typical Solution Focus approach. Then it is inquired with question (b) whether this approach could be used for getting continuing use of the methods.

It’s marvelous that in 1944 already, TWI knew that it’s better for change management to build on current practices rather than create something new.

It’s also interesting to note that the “continuing use” of the J programs was supposed to be done through 1) coaching and 2) coaching from line management (not dedicated coaches).

How are you assuring continuing use of your Lean programs? Is it building on current managerial practices?

Don’t play with your kids’ toys, it’s bad. #Lean

December 22nd, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , ,

I’m still in awe as to how managers that want to please their people do that by solving their problems in their place. Though this is based on good intent, I’m not sure people would find it a nice thing to do to play with their toys in place of their kid?! Sure, dads love remote-controlled cars as much as kids. But the toy’s for the kid, not the dad.

Problems are toys to the mind.

And if you appeared to have bought a too complicated toy for your kid, isn’t the best thing to do to explain the kid how to use it? This is the basis of the kata (as seen in Toyota Kata by Mike Rother): coaching in order to develop people.

What presents will Santa bring to your people? Who’s gonna play with them, you or them?

Motion analysis: the Gilbreth where more detailed than #Lean

December 8th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , ,

Franck and Lilian Gilbreth were two engineers who pioneered motion analysis, one of the thing that Lean does (despite sometimes being a conflicting activity on the shop floor). I’ve already blogged about them, to show some video they did.

They predated Lean by a few decades, yet their center of interest is still historically interesting.

They devised a kind of hieroglyphic alphabet called Therbligs (their name reversed) aimed at analysing movements people do to identify whether such activity brought value or not.

Motion analysis in Lean is often done using simple forms, the simpler being the spaghetti diagram of course. Googling a bit, I find an interesting piece on Gemba Panta Rei.

Taiichi Ohno himself used to look at this and explained in his book “Workplace management” how, sometimes, he had problems explaining to people the difference between motion/activity and work, because, in some regional japanese, the oral words were the same and the written kanji only differed slightly (pages 33 and ff).

A Lean expert at Toyota TIE in Ancenis, France once explained to us how they had to work on motion analysis to reduce the length of a production line and how they were far behind what’s done in Japan. France was looking for associates in need of moving their legs 1 meter during their work, when Japan was looking at optimisation when an arm had to reach out for something: timing and magnitude is different, like Lean expertise!

So, next time when you look at a spaghetti diagram, please notice how you may be missing finer therbligs!

Besides, should you wish to know more on the Gilbreths, please have a look at the Gilbreth Network!

How come people don’t learn #Lean #management? #linkedin Answers

December 6th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I asked this question on LinkedIn some days ago and got some really good answers (well, from my point of view anyway!). I plan to do a best of by combining some of the best answers because I see links between them… some time in the future!

Here’s the question and the answers.

#SolutionFocus responses to “What You Can Say To Kill Ideas” | Productivity Improvement (#Lean)

There’s this article I’ve just read here: What You Can Say To Kill Ideas | Productivity Improvement. I haven’t been in the Lean business for long, but I feel like I’ve already encountered all of them. Sigh.

I think I can give it a try at Solution-focusing it. Let’s go!

  1. Don’t be ridiculous. So you think some of these things won’t work. What part of it can you think we can start with that will work?
  2. We tried that before. Great! What worked that we could put back in place? What have you learned so we do it differently this time?
  3. It costs too much. Of course I don’t have your expertise on the operational stuff. What part can you think could be done cheaper?
  4. It can’t be done. What part can’t be done? What part can be done? When can we start?
  5. What’s beyond our/your responsibility. What part is under your responsibility? What are the smaller parts that cna be started right now? How have you succeeded to get management approval for other things? How could we apply the same solutions here?
  6. It’s too radical a change. Agreed, you can’t make such a big leap in one time. What small part do you want to start with?
  7. We don’t have the time. What have you the time for, currently? What can we temporarily drop and replace with some small parts of this?
  8. That will make other equipment obsolete. Great, I haven’t think of this: further improvements. What other improvements do you see?
  9. We’re too small/big for it. Surely. What needs to be adapted to our size? How would you change it?
  10. That’s not our problem. Ok. Who’s problem is this? How have you succeded in the past in bringing similar problems to their knowledge and get both os us to work them out? How could we repeat the same process here?
  11. We’ve never done it before. That’s true. Let’s do it, where do you want to start?
  12. Let’s get back to reality. What part do you feel don’t fit into current reality? What could be changed to make them fit? What about other parts, can we give them a try? 
  13. Why change it; it’s still working OK. Of course things are working already (indeed, the company’s still in business). I guess there are probably part of the organization already doing this future state map. Can you see them? How can we make more of them?
  14. You’re two years ahead of your time. So are some of our competitors. What in this plan is already (maybe partly) being done that we could build on?
  15. We’re not ready for that. You’re already doing part of that. Let’s get figure and ask the people.
  16. It isn’t in the budget. That’s fine, we’re going to self-finance this anyway. Where can we start today?
  17. Can’t teach old dogs new tricks. This is not necessary. Look closer, what have you already been doing? What have you noticed in this plan that you always dreamt to be able to do? Let’s go!
  18. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. That’s my motto too and probably your people’s too. What best to they want for them, the customers and the company? What have you noticed they’re doing superbely despite current work conditions? How can we remove these barriers?
  19. Too hard to sell. What part is to hard to sell? What about cutting this in pieces and going progressively? Where do we start? Have you sold similar challenging things in the past? How did you do it? How could we adapt that here?
  20. Top management would never go for it. What are we already doing that works? Could we show that to management as a proof of concept? What small experiment can we try on our own to demonstrate it’s viable?
  21. We’ll be the laughing stock. And a model for all others. How can we present this differently, then?
  22. Let’s shelve it for the time being. I understand some of it to be too big a leap for you. What specific part can start with? Maybe cut this into smaller pieces to begin with?
  23. We did all right without it. Great! On seeing this plan, what part do you see having done already? What further improvement do you notice in the plan could further improve your already good performance?
  24. Has anyone else ever tried it? Probably, and I think the people in your department have for some part of it. Can you help us point which part is already in place (albeit maybe only partly)? For the other parts, it’s currently done in other places. Would you like me to arrange an appointment with one of our competitors to show us how they’re doing better?
  25. It won’t work in our industry. What part do you see not doable in our industry? What would make it doable?
  26. Will you guarantee it will work? I guarantee you that if we try these things, we’ll learn something that will help your people improve their process.
  27. That’s the way we’ve always done it. Fantastic! What part have you always done already? What other part can we start working on, then? What prevents you from doing it absolutely all the time with 100% success? Can we start working on providing more of this better working conditions to you and your people?
  28. What we have is good enough. What do you have? How is it good? You’re the one to decide in the end, but can we just imagine what would happen if this plan were to be implemented? How would that further improve your current situation?
  29. But we would also have to change the___________. cf. 8
  30. It’s in our future plans. Excellent! What part have you planned already? What small tasks can we do to start now?
  31. We’ll have somebody study that problem. You’re taking this very seriously, that’s great. We’ll arrange to work through it with someone of your department for the details. What parts would you like to start with? Who are we going to see?
  32. It’s against our policy. Which policy? This policy’s here for some good reasons. Glad you noticed. What part is against the policy? What other parts can we start already? What would need to change to make that part conform to the policy? Have you got policy changed in the past because they hindered change? How have you achieved it? Can we do it again for this stuff?
  33. The supplier would never do that. You’d be surprised how much they’re probably doing this already. Let’s go and see them!
  34. The customer wouldn’t accept that. I may have missed something on the customer part: can you tell me which one and what need to change? What acceptable other parts of this plan can we start working on now?
  35. When did you become the expert? I’m not: you and your people are the experts, this is just a theoretical roadmap that needs to be worked with your people. Where do we start now?

My main focus points during these rewording was to keep in mind:

  • resistance surely is because I don’t have requisite variety when proposing a plan to change: so I need to let the people / managers adapt it
  • keep being oriented toward solutions: people are very probably already doing some parts of the future state map: find out which and build on it

I assumed a top managers wanting to move fast forward, so my reframing always has been somewhat pushy. Another approach could have been to be not to push at all and let the manager whether he wants to change or not. See my Solution Focus / Motivational Interviewing Series for such an approach.

Comments welcomed!

 

 

Reblog: The change sparsity principle in #solutionfocus organizational change (also #Lean)

Here’s another excellent blog article from Coert Visser about Solution FocusDoing What Works: Forward in Solution-Focused Change: The change sparsity principle in solution-focused organizational change.

It reminds us that “continuous improvement” really must be “continuous”. Small steps, and not always big bang kaizen or kaikaku workshops!

Also, Lean already knows that: a work standard is the best way to do a job at a certain time. It’s deemed to be changed and improved as soon as someone finds a new better way (a solution!) to do it. When that’s been found, the standard is updated.

How could have we made Lean and Kaizen threatening for people (despite advocating a “respect for people”)?!

This question is deficit-based because I try to dig a problem. A better question would probably be “when had we experienced non-threatening change that was welcomed by people?

I think my experience of Lean until now may have been too fast with respect to these I was supposed to coach. Of course, I had to deal with management eager to see results. But isn’t it a situation where “to move slowly is to advance faster”?

I need to try this!

(I’m whining here, but I need to admit that I’ve already tried a coaching stance of not pushing forward, like the one in Motivational Interviewing (see my SFMI Lean series) and had quite some success).

I know from a long time that I’m the one that need to change with respect to Lean coaching. Boy is this difficult sometimes! 🙂

 

How to address Action stage of Lean change – #5 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #5 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intended to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

#3 in series helped reinforce the contemplation stage.

#4 in series is for supporting the preparation stage.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Action!

Background on Action

In the preceding stages of change, you first developed an understanding in the CEO’s mind that someone had to change and that it was him. Then you helped him (or her!) prepare for the change (see previous article on preparation). Now, the change is ongoing and you need to support the CEO during the Action stage of change.

During this stage, the role of the coach is to support the CEO in achieving whatever goal he set for him or herself by: Read more »

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