Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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I disagree: self-organization is NOT hard (reply to @bud_caddell)

This is a reply to Bud Caddell‘s article here.

First, I’d like to say that I agree with most of the content of the article, especially the stuff on Holacracy being complicated stuff. I come from Lean management coaching, and I can say that Lean is complex too. Indeed, we see similar problems: some companies succeed in implementing it, some don’t. Most don’t by the way. Read more »

#Permaculture and Organizational #Efficiency (#strength-based #Lean also)

Having the chance to own a house with a small garden, I recently got interested in Permaculture. Indeed, I’ve been interested in Christopher Alexander‘s pattern language already (and I blogged about his 15 principles of wholeness before).

Reading this great introduction about permaculture this morning got me thinking about how this would connect with business and organizational improvement. And, the fact is that it seems to work like a charm!

Here are the 12 principles of permaculture viewed from the perspective of organizational improvement and efficiency (with a twisted view from strength-based Lean…)

  1. OBSERVE & INTERACT – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This indeed is the first step of improvement: go to the real place (gemba, genchi gembutsu) and look at the process! Improvement is not done in an office remote from where the work or the process is done.
  2. CATCH & STORE ENERGY – “Make hay while the sun shines.” When thinking of “Lean and Green”, this would obviously make sense of course. But I like the human aspect as well where you need to feel, catch and use the energy of people: what motivates them to do what they do? What’s the purpose of the organization that drives it to deliver its services? What fuels people to work? Before you try to change the processes, you must take great care in not destroying that energy. One could also see in this point the sometimes added 8th waste of “unused employee creativity”: this too is a kind of energy which should fuel an organization.
  3. OBTAIN A YIELD – “You can’t work on an empty stomach.” Or “Produce”. The goal of an organization is to service its customers, right? So you need to ship as soon as possible. And the better the quality has to be, though we’ll come back later to this one.
  4. APPLY SELF-REGULATION & ACCEPT FEEDBACK – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation.” When you produce, you need to look at what you ship, and self-correct in case of a problem. This pertains to the final client, but of course to internal clients as well, between teams or silos (if your organization is so structured). So, regulation with the previous and later steps in the process (TAKT time, anyone?) and client feedback… I also like the saying about the seventh generation: don’t look just at the next step, for your job might have consequences far beyond further down the process (or in the Client’s life).
  5. USE & VALUE RENEWABLE RESOURCES & SERVICES – “Let nature take its course.” Again, I’m not so much interested in material resources (although they’re important of course), but in the human resources: don’t exhaust them but do care for them. Don’t use too much of it that none would be left to let it renew itself. Don’t burn them out.
  6. PRODUCE NO WASTE – “Waste not, want not. A stitch in time saves nine.” Told you it fits nicely with the efficiency improvement stuff! The link with Lean Waste (Muda) is obvious here. And before reducing waste, there is not producing it in the first place.
  7. DESIGN FROM PATTERNS TO DETAILS – “Can’t see the wood for the trees.” I read this one as not focusing on the details at the expense of forgetting the principles. The risk here is to improve locally at the expense of global efficiency (the one pertaining to performance from the client’s perspective, and the organization as a whole). So, it might mean to follow the patterns of efficiency (implement them) and then tune the details (adapt them to the local processes and activities).
  8. INTEGRATE RATHER THAN SEGREGATE – “Many hands make light work.” Back to the silos: you’d better reinforce interactions between the parts rather than growing them apart from one another. This goes also with #4 when accepting feedback from other parts of the organization.
  9. USE SMALL & SLOW SOLUTIONS – “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Small PDCA improvements. Enough said.
  10. USE & VALUE DIVERSITY – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If standardisation of parts and processes is key to efficiency, it should not from the perspective of people: valuing and leveraging diversity increases the chances of finding the best solutions. Diversity of minds in a team, and reaching beyond the limits of that team, through feedback (#4 again) from them is, again, key to improvements.
  11. USE EDGES & VALUE THE MARGINAL – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well-beaten path.” Here again, we take care of the frontiers of teams and processes and look at interactions to improve. Divergent ideas are valued as a way to further improve. Incidentally, the more your standardized, the more you’ll be able to see divergent ideas. Don’t fright on them as something to be banned, but seek what they might tell you about how to further improve.
  12. CREATIVELY USE & RESPOND TO CHANGE – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be.” And the last one: whether your processes look perfect or are still under change, keep an opened eye for forthcoming change and invite, accept it. Change is the only constant thing in the world (Heraclitus).

#Social maturity levels in connected #organizations

Cleaning up Notes, I found these I crafted some months ago. It’s about how social links are used in companies based on the maturity level of employees.

  • The Psychopath doesn’t have any social link.
  • The Bureaucrat will limit social interactions to the coffee machine
  • The Pragmatic will use them to exchange information
  • The Efficient will use them to accelerate and simplify the job by exchanging pieces of work with others in the organization, or provoke internal collaborative meetings
  • The Radical will provoke trans-organizational collaborative meetings to awake true collective intelligence
  • The Awaken will work between organizations and won’t even see the frontiers.

Where do you stand today and what can you start doing now to move on the scale? 😉


Reblog: que pensent les managers de leurs employés ?

November 26th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Article intéressant qui fait justement écho à mon coup de gueule du jour.

Par contre, dans l’article, je ne vois pas les patrons s’interroger sur la distance qu’ils ressentent entre leurs collaborateurs et eux. Une majoritĂ© de collaborateurs semblent les fuir… et ils n’ont pas la puce Ă  l’oreille ?

C’est moi ou y’a un peu plus d’eau Ă  mon moulin ?


Reblog: Book Review: Beyond Majority Rule #sociocracy

Very good review of a book about Quakers decision-making. Even the review goes to great lengths at describing the requirements of participants to successfully achieve decision-making.

This stuff is at the origin of Sociocracy, Holacracy and then Sociocracy 3.0.

Here’s the review.

ArrĂȘtez l’hypocrisie, on arrĂȘtera le cynisme ! #management #teal #entrepriselibĂ©rĂ©e

Je ne compte plus le nombre de fois oĂč j’ai entendu un manager dire “ça ne marchera pas, ils (les employĂ©s) n’accepteront jamais” ? Ou “les employĂ©s ont besoin d’un cadre pour travailler”.

Mais avez-vous seulement essayé autrechose ? Je veux dire, vraiment essayé.

Le fait est que les managers se contentent (au mieux) ou se gargarisent (au pire) des libertĂ©s qu’ils laissent aux employĂ©s. Mais ces libertĂ©s ne peuvent s’exercer que dans le cadre de pĂ©rimĂštres parfaitement dĂ©limitĂ©s par ces mĂȘmes managers. Tant que l’intelligence et la libertĂ© du collaborateur s’expriment dans ce cadre (restreint), tout va bien (pour le manager). Mais dĂšs qu’elles essayent d’en sortir elles ne sont plus reconnue comme telle : elles se transforment en prĂ©tentions mal placĂ©es ou, pire, en arrogance.

Le fait est que l’expertise peut amener Ă  tourner le miroir du cĂŽtĂ© du manager, qui n’aime alors pas ce qu’il y voit et en blĂąme le collaborateur. Lorsque cela arrive, de nouvelles rĂšgles et structures sont dĂ©finies, qui enferment les collaborateurs dans de nouvelles contraintes… lui laissant toujours une petite place pour dĂ©velopper la seule facette de son intelligence nĂ©cessaire Ă  la rĂ©alisation du travail qu’on lui demande. L’honneur et le statu quo sont saufs.

Et quand les contraintes posĂ©es autours de plein de petites boĂźtes (qu’on appelle alors “silos”) empĂȘchent l’entreprise d’avancer de maniĂšre satisfaisante, on met en place… des chefs de projets. C’est Ă  dire que le management va payer des gens Ă  forcer le travail au travers de murs qu’il a lui-mĂȘme mis en place. LĂ  est l’hypocrisie ! Et lorsque cela Ă©choue (c’est Ă  dire que dans 90% des cas, l’avancement n’est pas assez rapide et efficace), on blĂąme… les chefs de projets (lesquels blĂąment les collaborateurs, ayant bien compris qu’il n’est pas bon de critiquer le management) !

Et lorsqu’on est obligĂ© de gĂ©rer trop de projets parce qu’il y a trop de contraintes qui empĂȘchent le travail de se faire seul, on met en place… une gestion de portefeuille de projets !

Et enfin, lorsque plus rien ne fonctionne que fait-on ? On demande de l’aide Ă  des consultants, lesquels vont alors proposer des solutions que les collaborateurs avaient dĂ©jĂ  imaginĂ©es. Et lĂ , soit cela se fait (violemment et donc augmente le cynisme des collaborateurs), soit ne se fait pas parce que les managers n’aiment pas le ton des consultants (pour ceux qui osent tourner le miroir de leur cĂŽtĂ©), et le rapport finit dans un tiroir (augmentant donc ainsi Ă©galement le cynisme des collaborateurs).

Au final, les managers demandent Ă  d’autres personnes de forcer les contraintes qu’ils ont eux-mĂȘmes mises en place, situation dont ils nient la responsabilitĂ©, tout en refusant les marques d’expertises qui chercheraient Ă  dĂ©montrer l’inanitĂ© de ces contraintes et les supprimer.

Managers: arrĂȘtez de pensez que vous ĂȘtes meilleurs que vos employĂ©s pour arranger le travail. C’est rarement le cas puisque dans la majoritĂ© des situations, vous ne pratiquez plus ce travail !

Vous avez un rĂŽle Ă  jouer dans l’entreprise, et un rĂŽle important : celui de collecter une vision plus globale et systĂ©mique que celle de vos collaborateurs (occupĂ©s qu’ils sont sur leur travail), et leur en faire bĂ©nĂ©ficier, en toute transparence.

Votre rĂŽle n’est pas de mettre des frontiĂšres autour des gens pour qu’ils restent dans leurs boĂźtes et de continuer Ă  avoir une vision globale dont vous ne savez que faire parce qu’elle ne rentre Ă©videmment pas dans les boĂźtes que vous avez Ă©rigĂ©es.

Vous avez bien de la chance quand vos collaborateurs acceptent encore de travailler sous les contraintes que vous leurs imposez. Et tous vos programmes de motivation n’y changeront rien si vous ne changez pas le problĂšme de fond : votre mode de management. Au contraire : un programme de remotivation qui n’adresserait pas les causes profondes ne ferait qu’augmenter, Ă  terme, le dĂ©sengagement.

Quelle légitimité puis-je avoir à dire cela ?

Quelles solutions ? Elles sont nombreuses mais je n’en citerai que deux. Attention, c’est violent. Mais je crois que ce sont les plus valables. Plus simple et plus timide, ce ne serait que cautĂšre sur jambe de bois. Il faut ĂȘtre plus radical pour ĂȘtre efficace.

  • Lancer des transformations de l’entreprise oĂč le collaborateur et le client sont vraiment mis au centre (avec des bĂ©nĂ©fices en consĂ©quence, et non l’inverse) au travers, par exemple, de programmes Lean. Pas de fausses amĂ©liorations : par pitiĂ©, laissez faire les experts et acceptez de tester, Ă  fond, leurs prĂ©conisations, si radicales qu’elles soient (ou si proches que vous pensiez qu’elles soient de vos pratiques actuelles : vous verrez qu’en fait vous vous trompez)
  • LibĂ©rer votre entreprise en donnant vraiment les clĂ©s de l’organisation Ă  l’ensemble des collaborateurs et supprimez les postes de manager hiĂ©rarchique pour les remplacer par des managers Ă©lus d’activitĂ© prĂ©cises. Allez lire la BD sur l’Holacracy, tentez une approche plus progressive avec la Socicoracy 3.0 ou lisez le livre plus gĂ©nĂ©rique de FrĂ©dĂ©ric Laloux : Reinventing Organizations. Y’a mĂȘme un Wiki en cours d’Ă©laboration ou des vidĂ©os.

Sinon, arrĂȘtez de vous plaindre de vos entreprises qui dysfonctionnent, laissez-nous faire notre boulot, mais ne nous demandez pas le bonheur au travail, tant que vous n’aurez pas changĂ©.

Community building is (not) a tool (reblog @AxiomNews & more)

October 26th, 2015 Posted in Strength Tags: , , ,

Here’s a short but nonetheless good piece from AxiomNews (strength-based journalism).

It’s indeed paradoxical: we know that to achieve anything, a community behind your cause is a critical success factor. Yet, building it as a mean is (almost) always deemed to fail.

I think it might be useful to re-frame the issue of community building as being both a mean and an end, though this requires flexibility in whatever cause you might have had in the first place (for which you initially thought of building a community to thrust it).

By building a community as an end around a powerful cause, you might find the support you need to pursue that cause.

Stated otherwise, I’d encourage you to put the cause as the source for the community, and not its consequence, therefore building support for when you want to pursue your cause. Gathering a great community to socialize about your cause or project might get the support you personally need when facing difficulty in delivering on your cause. Be it encouragements or help, it’s still useful to feel you’re not alone on the road. People love to talk about great causes, and contributing ideas; they act less often toward that. So, leverage this natural tendency of we humans for that (and don’t get rebuffed by different opinions than your own – seek opportunities in divergences).

Building a community is no replacement for your own hard work – you can’t outsource your work to a community – but it might be a support for you doing the work. Incidentally, by showing off and walking the talk, you might get unexpected help in the end (and the more you’re loosing grip on your initial idea and let it be influenced and co-created by others, the more concrete help you might get).

  • DOESN’T WORK: Community –> Work on cause
  • WORKS: Cause –> Build community –> Support for the cause –> (Possible) help in building the cause further

So, seek to build a community around your cause for the sole purpose of getting warm support (if nothing else). And, who knows, you might get more help later but only if you don’t seek it.


Michael BallĂ©’s @TheGembaCoach Column: respect and sensei

Interesting question asked to Michael Ballé, to which I added my comments at the end (with lots of typos, sorry :-/)

Dear Gemba Coach,If lean is based on respect for people, why are sensei gemba visits reputed to be so tough?

Source: Michael BallĂ©’s Gemba Coach Column

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