Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
Home » Page 39

#systemsthinking view of lack of decision making from #management

January 18th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , ,

I had a morning coffee discussion with colleagues about some lack of commonly decision taking occurring in companies. We proposed that it might be a cultural bias of people here not to easily trust people, but I feel the system at play could be the same for every country. Only if we would develop a more thorough model, with quantitative value, we could probably have different coefficient corresponding to different cultures.

Anyway, here is the systemic diagram I came to, which you are free to comment below, of course!

The explanations Read more »

Questions we should ask ourselves to raise awareness of #systemsthinking

January 14th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags:

I’ve asked this question during december 2010. People in the systems Thinking World LinkedIn group proposed questions and then voted for them at SurveyMonkey.

I’ve finally managed to collect results and sort them based on answers to the survey. Here are they. I plan to ask these questions, top to down, during the next weeks in order to try to advance the subject on the LinkedIn group.
Comments welcomed!
Questions are ordered from most preferred to less preferred. I’ve grouped them by 5 only for clarity.

Nine different #TWI summary cards available in modern format

January 12th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , ,

TWI created some pocket summary cards for all their training programs:

  • Job Instruction
  • Job Methods
  • Job Relations
  • Program Development

But there’s been some other cards as well. Thanks to Mark Warren who provided the scans, I’ve turned all those cards into modern versions (wording exactly as original, except for © that sometimes was removed due to lack of space).

All the preceding cards are available in PDF, plus some other cards too that you might not have known about:

  • Using Job Instruction (a guide for second line supervisors)
  • Management Problem Solving
  • Conference Leading: How to run a conference
  • Conference Leading: How to prepare for a conference
  • Discussion Leading

All these files are available on the TWI Yahoo Mailing list in the files section. Please note that you need to subscribe to the list in order to access the files; that’s a good thing since there are interesting discussions going on!

Don’t push #Lean onto #management: #coach them to pull it from you

Morning thought: I occurs to me that Lean consultants (whether internal or external) often try to push a Lean transformation onto management and most often (98% of the time) fail due to so called “change resistance”.

But it’s no wonder people resist when you try to force something onto them.

The paradox here lies in the fact that Lean experts have a detailed vision in mind of how to do it and what the final objective might be (Yeah, I know Lean is a trip and not a destination, but a one piece flow throughout the company makes for a kind of objective for me).

The problem for me is that Lean people try to force management into a vision that they don’t have in mind. Even when it’s an intellectually convincing vision, since it has not been grown inside management’s heads, they won’t accept it.

Aristotle said that to convince someone you need to use (in that order I think):

  • ethos: who you are and what credibility lies in you and your message
  • logos: what you’re going to say and whether it’s logicial and intellectually sound or not
  • pathos: an appeal to the audience’s emotions.

So, to convince people, you need to be credible, be clear in your explanation… and make people feel they want it. Not just need it. You need something from intellect. You want it from emotion. And what’s better than building a vision for creating emotions?

That’s probably why waste walks with a coach/senseï work so well. Or seeing a Lean place (or building a model line if you can) and, more than ever, continually:

  • going to the gemba to see what happen by yourself (second hand reports are intellectual, not emotional unless the reporter is good at storytelling);
  • looking at the process (not just wandering around);
  • talking to the people… just because emotions will come from interacting with others!

So, there’s no need to try to push the whole Lean management system onto management people. It’s complex and overwhelming. Bounded rationality will have them fly away (if not the double-bind you’re creating by doing so).

I think that proper coaching could help management emotionally connect with their people and see how they could help them fix the broken processes they’re trapped into. People love helping and teaching others. Only you need to provide them with the required skilled to do so (skill in the job and skill in teaching/coaching). TWI understood this long time ago. And it’s only when everybody’s started to take care of their work environment that I think you can teach them to connect processes to create a (one-piece) flow.


Why I feel #TWI documents are important for #Lean

January 11th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: ,

There’s a lot of excellent documents about the links between Lean and TWI archives. Probably the best of them all is “Root of Lean” from Jim Huntzinger.

We all know how it is difficult to change a company from traditional management to a Lean management organization. Unless you’re the CEO of that company, you’re doomed to fail. And even then success is never a given: it’s an ongoing struggle.

Still, not all of the people interested in Lean are CEO. Indeed, far from it. We have a whole bunch of consultants trying to Lean us and some internal people (like me) interested in Lean that see it as a clever and powerful way to improve

  • the customer experience,
  • the stakeholders’ purses
  • AND, last but not least, the employees experience.

And the magic being that it’s possible because all these three things go hand in hand. Should you see this as a zero-sum game, you’d probably fail to do Lean.

Lean is indeed a positive sum game. The more you improve one aspect of an organization, the more the other aspects should improve accordingly.

During World War II, companies needed a quick way to improve war production. That resulted in the TWI 4 programs (job instruction, job methods, job relations and program development). At the end of the war, these methods were not seen as needed as before and were somewhat forgotten (read the Roots of Lean documents to know more). Yet, they were imported to and used in Japan, especially at the young Toyota Motors company.

And that’s precisely where my personal interest in these documents is: in their status as “roots of Lean”. Because Lean evolved partly out of them, I’m interested in the learning path that may exist from TWI to Lean. For anybody that read a bit about Lean and TWI, it’s evident that TWI is simpler than Lean. And what’s fortunate for us is that they documented all their experiences and updated the different manual to reflect this.

People try to copy Toyota. It’s both a good and a bad thing because Toyota is so advanced in Lean: it’s a very good model, but also a very difficult one to replicate. By studying TWI I hope to find a maybe less sophisticated continuous improvement method but one that should be easier to start and sustain. Plus, there’s all the knowledge experience accumulated by the TWI representatives and available in the different versions of the manuals with plenty of useful dos and don’ts about setting a TWI program in a company. TWI is for me a sort of complete “how to” setup manual for improving management in companies. Upon understanding how to setup TWI programs, I hope to have an easier way to transform that into Lean.

What we have in TWI are:

  • a Management Contact Manual explaining what needs to be secured before starting anything else related to the TWI programs.
  • training manuals for trainers
  • training the trainers (“Institute”) manuals
  • reference cards
  • a method for coaching (securing training)
  • and a method explaining How to Get Continuing Results.

Plus, the results have been documented since the beginning and it worked. Moreover, it seems to be that TWI’s approach worked a lot more better than current Lean change management approaches in use today. Of course we have different conditions. But I definitively think TWI’s documents are worth studying.

Should you be interested in TWI, please join the Yahoo mailing list and the LinkedIn group.

#TWI #mindmap out of Interim TWI Report May 1945 Complete Set of Current Bulletins and Manuals

January 11th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , ,

To all people interested in TWI materials.

Searching from the SME website, I extracted the list of the Complete Set of Bulletins and Manuals from an annex and turned it to a mindmap showing all that was produced by the Training Within Industry Service during World War II. Please note that the documents went through at least 10 different versions each, so there’s indeed more behind the scene work. But I feel this list show the most important documents to know from TWI.

In other posts, I hope to comment on the documents I’ve already read for they feature lots of insighttful advices.

The mindmap is available for all to download in MindManager format from BiggerPlate.

I’ve also created an image out of it for those without MindManager (though you can download an old viewer for free from here). Please note that I’ve created the map with the same version of the writer as that of the viewer, so there should not be any problem of compatibility. The image has been uploaded onto the Yahoo TWI discussion group (“files” section).

Update on 2011/01/18: I’ve updated the mindmap and the link as well, thanks to the work of Mark Warren that corrected and completed my initial map.

Donella Meadows: #vision is a necessity before any other #systemsthinking method (sort of #AppreciativeInquiry)

Reading through the Systems Thinking World LinkedIn Group, Gene Bellinger (SystemsWiki owner and group owner) posted the link below to a video of Donella Meadows talking about Vision.

Meadows is a renowned systems thinker whose main work is the “Limits to Growth” book about how our continuing use of non renewable resources will bring a brutal stop to our growth.

In the video posted (, Meadows talks about the very importance of always having a vision in mind before trying to do something and how this helped her discover things that she thought she wouldn’t have otherwise. Read more »

Practicing the #change you’re advocating: beware of the hidden risk!

January 7th, 2011 Posted in Change Tags: ,

During a coaching session (I was the coachee), my coach someday insisted on the concept of Integrity: you shouldn’t preach something that you don’t do perfectly yourself because you’re not deeply credible. That might be on an unconscious level of yourself and others, but still, she said lip service, even unknown to others, is a sure way to fail.

I tend to agree with that, though I envision a case where, being fully convinced about something because you pratice it well, you run a high risk of creating even more resistance about that you want others to adopt: the more you push, the more they resist. That’s classical change resistance of course: people will want to show you that they know better than you think and that they can continue with their way rather than your way. Also called the NIH syndrome (Not Invented Here).

Simple exercise for you: next time you come to an elevator, please notice:

  • how you press the calling button despite it’s already lighted (you being the victim of the NIH symdrome)
  • others pressing the button you’ve just pressed before, possibly before their eyes!

So, practising what you’re advocating others to do is surely necessary, but I feel you also need to refrain yourself enough so that they come to you to pull knowledge rather than you trying to push it on to them.

Now, with this paragraph, I’m just pushing my own knowledge onto you and not practicing what I’m preaching! 🙂

Can Chris Argyris theories relate to double-bind and provoke avoiding behaviors related to #Change?

Few! What kind of title is this?

Chris Argyris is a renown expert on Organizational Learning and he developed an explanation of change resistance as a difference existing between what he calls the “espoused theories” of people and their “theory in use”. You can read more about that on

Espoused theories can be anything that got the interest of a manager (for the purpose of this post). An acknowledged need for change is a form of espoused theory. There may be different methods for conducting the change but I’m not going to talk about the ones where all the change management burden is shifted on some dedicated people, maybe external to the company (consultants). It’s known that few of them succeed at bringing the change to an end. I’m more interested in those (few) cases where a manager espoused the theory that he needs to lead the change himself. Indeed, although that looks like the best way to conduct a change, my thinking led me to discover what appears to be a risk of things not going that well (the so-called “change resistance”).

Argyris told us is that despite espoused-theories are numerous, the theory-in-use always is quite the same, of the Model I kind (see article on, which is governed by four main values:

  • Achieve the purpose as the actor defines it (ie. “stick to the letter”)
  • Win, do not lose
  • Suppress negative feelings
  • Emphasize rationality

The main consequences of these values (again, according to Argyris) are:

  • Defensive relationships
  • Low freedom of choice
  • Reduced production of valid information
  • Little public testing of ideas

(you can read all of that on the excellent page about Chris Argyris alongside with the Model II governing values that would prevent these consequences and benefit to the organization).

So, what is the point of view of the people impacted by the change (employees mainly, subordinates to the manager that espoused the change)?

Read more »

Mail List

Join the mailing list

Check your email and confirm the subscription