Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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#LeanIT2013 slides of @MikeOrzen #Lean leadership online

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

The closing keynote of the Lean IT Summit 2013 was just fantastic. Mike Orzen gave us a glimpse of his own experience regarding the dos and don’ts of Lean Leadership. Simple yet generative and powerful hints!


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!

Using Emergence to Scale Social Innovation

I just discovered this astounding article from Wheatley and Frieze on Using Emergence to Scale Social Innovation.

I do think the way social networking is done today is broken – or immature to say the least. How are we supposed to create working networks and provoke emergence the way Wheatley explains it, if we stick to groups of people?

What’s important in a network: the people that make it of the contributions they make?

When you look today at the way social networks work, you see communities of people, connected through people. IMHO, that’s not the way it’s supposed to work (it may be flattening to one’s ego to have loads of followers, but I challenge you to find any real usefulness in this kind of network).

Indeed, we can see people intuitively knowing this fact since they tend to agregate around dedicated web sites on specific topics. Look at Google Groups, LinkedIn groups or even Facebook groups! What connect these people are the topics around which they network. Yet, one topic alone isn’t enough. How are the topics connected?

The power isn’t in the @ (how people are now mentionned, such as @nicolasstampf for instance, but in the # (hash tag: the way topics are mentioned). Yet, today, social networks are organized around people. When you want informations about some #topic, you need to find your @people to identify when some #topic has been mentioned. Or to search a whole social network for these mentions (eg. Twitter). How inefficient is that?

#TED talk – Shawn Achor: the happy secret to better work

Here’s a very good talk on the benefits of positivity and how to change your brain to see the world differently in 21 days and refract the positive around you.

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