Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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#StartWithWhy: for processes too?

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , ,

In the same vein as the preceding article, and because I’m definitely a How guy, I thought that Simon Sinek’s concept could as well be used when considering the creation of value.

  • the Why is the purpose of a process or an activity. It’s both the origin of it (what you come from: a problem to be solved) and the end of it (what the customer wants),
  • the How is the process itself which turns the initial problem into value for the customer,
  • and the What is value that gets created along the process.

All three aspects of value creation are necessary for it to be effective. The Why is necessary for the process to exist in the first place. The How is useful to maximize the throughput and make the most use of the energy to create the value. Leftover energy can be used for other value creation activities. And the What is the result of the process, flowing to the customer, which will pay you for that so you can live from what you do and hopefully what you love to do (the Why, that is).

Makes sense?


#StartWithWhy: Why, How, What: are we all wired the same?

May 17th, 2016 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , ,

I love Simon Sinek’s video about his theory of “Start with Why“. And I have no doubt it works.

But once you’ve sold your why-idea to someone, what happens next? I was asking myself this question when thinking about change (in general, not only in organizational context).

I suspect one could sort people out in three categories:

  • Why people are those motivated primarily about the purpose or the cause of an action or a change. They’re advocates or public relations people. They find their motivation in trying to make other people see and understand their perspective, or adhere to the same “why”.
  • How people are motivated by the process or method by which to reach the Why. If the Why triggers them into motion, the How is what drives their relentless actions: How to communicate? How to best serve the cause?
  • What people are finally those who are motivated by the doing. They want to get things done, because, in the end, it’s all that count.

If the selling of an idea “starts with why”, the realization of it clearly needs all three types.

You might know the parable of the man throwing back fishes stranded on the beach. He picks them up one after another and throws them back into the sea. Yet there are thousands left to go. Comes a passerby wondering whether this makes any difference given the huge number to go proceed, some of which will probably die anyway. The guy answers, throwing another fish in the sea: “to this one at least, it does make a difference!”.

The guy throwing fishes back into the sea is a What person. A How person would take some time devising a method to throw more back to the sea at a time and a way to preserve the ones left to throw until their time has come. And finally a Why person would beat drums to gather other people to help in throwing fishes back into the sea.

I’m clearly of the How type. What about you?

Pick a project you’re working on. Who’s in charge of the Why and is it articulated clearly enough? Have you thought of the How in order to best deliver your value or message? And who’s in charge of the doing?

Cultiver des hommes… #Lean #Permaculture #Agroécologie

M’intéressant actuellement à la permaculture (cf. ce post de janvier), je viens de réaliser un certain nombre de parallèles :

  • Le Lean dit (en japonais): “mono zukuri wa hito zukuri” soit “fabriquer des choses, c’est fabriquer des hommes”. Donc il faut fabriquer des hommes avant de pouvoir fabriquer des choses, et le Lean est un business model qui vise à développer les hommes par la résolution de problèmes
  • L’agroécologie (l’un des aspects de la permaculture), c’est faire de l’agriculture qui régénère les sols plutôt que les épuiser
  • le 8e gaspillage du Lean est souvent cité comme étant la créativité inexploitée des collaborateurs.

Je trouve le parallèle saisissant si l’on considère que les pratiques managériales actuelles tendent à désengager et déresponsabiliser les collaborateurs, ce qui les amènent à ne plus contributer d’idées et d’innovation à l’amélioration de leurs entreprises. Comme si les pratiques managériales (agricoles) avaient épuisé les sols (collaborateurs), et qu’il faille pallier avec force consultants, méthodes, et autre command & control.

Re-apprenons à travailler avec la diversité (des idées), réinvestissons une partie des gains de l’entreprise vers les collaborateurs (compostage sur place !), travaillons avec les bordures (valoriser le différent, les frontières de l’entreprise), recherchons les interactions entre plantes (collaborateurs d’expertises différentes) et nous aurons un terreau (une culture organisationnelle) à nouveau propice au développement d’idées !

Arrêtons de planter des graines qui donnent des plantes stériles [hybrides F1] (idées extérieure, gestion du changement command & control), mais valorisons les graines anciennes (idées des collaborateurs, adaptées au terrain/terreau de l’entreprise) qui poussent sans intrants chimiques (méthodes importées de l’extérieur et tuant toute créativité en interne) !

Faisons de l’agroécologie ou de la permaculture d’entreprise !


Transformational Change vs. Continuous Improvement (#Lean #change)

March 21st, 2016 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

Great article taking a different approach to what’s most often done in organization. Lean is a whole system thing. You cannot nit pick tools out of it, you have to gobble the whole thing and change everything, becasue everything in Lean works and touches every other thing in the organization.

It may sound like sacrilege to hear someone say that continuous improvement may not always be the right answer. Of course, it is the core process of lean management. But, there are times when more significant and more rapid change is required – sometimes revolution rather than evolution is called for.

Source: Transformational Change vs. Continuous Improvement

Reblog: Reimagining Money by @rushkoff

March 9th, 2016 Posted in Change, Economy Tags: , , , , , , , ,

by Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity (excerpted in…

Source: Reimagining Money — Medium

This is indeed a great article which explains rather simply the possibilities of alternative currencies.

When Henri Ford told that:

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
and after reading some stuff from Bernard Lietaer, I just can’t see how I could continue like that. Of course, I can’t afford (!) to make a revolution on my own. But I can surely investigate how to change the economic landscape around me. A bit.

Reblog: An Industrial-Age Solution To Email Overload | @FastCompany

February 9th, 2016 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a very interesting article indeed. Now, that’s not as if Lean or Agile practitioners wouldn’t shield workers and developers from incessant perturbations. We know that already, albeit we’re only practicing it for certain categories of workers (line workers or developers for instance), and not for the rest of the organization.

When you’re going for optimization, do it to the whole value chain, not just where value is added. And while you’re at it, remove that which doesn’t bring value at all. Hint: there’s a hell lot of stuff that might qualify as “work” but which is not adding value to your customers. It’s most probably bugging your employees and destroying their engagement.

A century ago, the Pullman Company came up with an ingenious solution to help brass workers do their jobs without distraction.

Source: An Industrial-Age Solution To Email Overload | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

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 majorité de collaborateurs semblent les fuir… et ils n’ont pas la puce à l’oreille ?

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


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