Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Silver Linings: #PositiveDeviance, #AppreciativeInquiry | Thunderhead Works

Dan Heath (who co-wrote “Switch: how to change things when change is hard“) talks about focusing on the positive rather than the negative here: Silver Linings: Positive Deviance, Appreciative Inquiry | Thunderhead Works.

This also is the topic of my own book “The Colors of Change” that currently under writing but for which you can download the first chapters. In it I explain why it is that we do that wrong step of digging into problems (hint: this is natural to how the brain is wired), and what should be done instead, and how.

 

Revue du livre “La pratique du #Lean Management dans l’IT”

April 5th, 2013 Posted in Change, Lean Tags: , , , ,

J’ai lu avec beaucoup d’intérêt le livre collectif “La pratique du Lean Management dans l’IT“.

Travaillant moi-même dans l’IT et le Lean, je connais plusieurs versions de ce qu’on appelle “le Lean”, et dans l’IT, tout ne se passe pas toujours très bien (ne me lancez pas sur les causes profondes de ces échecs, j’en aurai pour des heures!)

Ce livre, sans être une bible de référence sur le sujet (ce que les auteurs n’avaient je pense pas l’intention de faire), démontre comment il est :

  1. facile de faire du Lean dans l’IT ;
  2. possible d’obtenir rapidement d’impressionnants résultats ;
  3. possible de placer et conserver les gens au centre de la démarche.

En effet, beaucoup de démarches déploient une forme de Lean en mode “command & control” ce qui d’une part est une hérésie en matière de gestion du changement et d’autre part n’est tout simplement pas du Lean.

Point de tout cela ici. Le livre est très clair sur les manières de faire, limpides sur les raisons de faire ce qui a été fait, et les histoires rapportées (nombreuses et éclairantes) apportent un vrai plus.

Relativement court, le livre devrait permettre à tout bon manager IT de se décider à se lancer dans le Lean management, pour peu qu’il veuille bien aider ses collaborateurs à sortir des difficultés dans lesquelles le système les a enfermés au fil du temps…

Un must à lire !

My @leanpub book “The Colors of #Change” has started its publication! https://leanpub.com/tcoc

Details are available on the page over there: https://leanpub.com/tcoc or from here (a bit more complete).

Subtitle is “Respectful Change Management explained by Cybernetics”.

Check it out!

#Toyota, #Respect for #People (or “Humanity”) and #Lean — Lean Blog

March 5th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mark Graban did a very nice recollection of posts on Respect for People and what it means in Lean after John Seddon comment on it being ‘horse sh*t’. Here’s the article: Toyota, Respect for People (or “Humanity”) and Lean — Lean Blog.

I would add my 2 cents here by saying that respect not only is everyday showing of a nice attitude to people (also known as “politeness”), but also a longer term view of the thing where we want people to be part of a great work place (safe and interesting) and that their work has meaning.

  • So to maintain the interesting and the meaningful parts of the job, we remove waste (mura (uneveness), muda (non added value) and muri (burden)) to focus on added value.
  • And to ensure that it’s done properly (not from a manager in his ivory tower) and to develop people’s intelligence, we have the people do kaizen (continuous improvement) themselves.

Is that too difficult to understand?!

 

Stop investigate solutions, start to gather the world! #stwg #systemsthinking

Stop looking for solutions, start to gather the worldThe problem situation

I love solving problems. Moreover, I also love finding solutions and making scaffolding theories. Yet, I feel there’s a big problem behind such tendencies: the more you work at a solution on your own, the more prefect it seems to be, then the more resistance you’re probably going to generate when you go out to the world for implementing your solution. Here’s why.

On the diagram on the right, start at the “Pressing problem” part and follow the arrows.

  • First the R1 loop (for Reinforcing). This really looks like what you’re all trying to do: you have (good!) solutions, and try to make people adhere to them. I think it’s mostly doomed to fail. The problem entices you to think about a solution which you will mostly want to advocate, thereby triggering a conflict with people’s different world views (because they haven’t got a change to think to your problem themselves), which more probably will result in others rejecting the solution you pushed onto them, thereby lowering the chances that actions are taken to solve the initial problem, in the end, making the problem all the more pressing.
  • The R2 loop is similar, only that is goes through your working out the solution increasing your own conviction that it’s a good one (because you’re adapting your mind to it).
  • The R3 loop is what prevents the whole system to come to a solution that would suit each and every one of us. continuing from the conviction that your solution is a good one, you (maybe unconsciously) decrease your willingness to give time to others to contribute to your building a solution, meaning that they indeed won’t work in a commonly built solution, indeed decreasing the chances (or number) of commonly built solutions, which adds up to the lack of actions taken to solve the problem, thereby making the problem a pressing one.

How to change that situation?

My intuition is that we should redirect energy flowing from the “pressing problem” to “thinking about a solution” (dotted blue arrow) directly to “others participate in a commonly built solution” (the green dotted arrow, mostly non existent at the time, or so it seems to me?). Doing such an action would suppress R1 and R2 loops and R3 would be shortened and more importantly replaced by a Balancing loop, meaning the more you work on a commonly built solution, the less there will be pressing problems.

A global organization to support commonly built solutions

The reflection above came out of a context related to finding global solutions to world pressing problem (mostly in the SEE fields: Social, Economical and Ecological). The Commons is all but one of the concepts meant at addressing these global issues. I’m not saying Management of the Commons is a bad solution. Indeed I even think of the opposite. But I think people working on such a solution should also start worrying about how they would have their solution adopted by lay people at a global level.

Here’s one of many web pages discussing the concept of the commons: Growing the Commons as Meta-narrative?

So, how to create that green dotted arrow, for me, is through a worldwide helping/supporting organization (be it the United Nations or else) that would facilitate concrete resolution of problems locally, regionally and globally. That would necessitate some efficient and practical means of communication between all levels top down and also on horizontal levels, between different fields: for instance, you need the ecologists trying to preserve some local pond to exchange with the nearest city officials, with business shareholders that want to build their industries near the pond, some people representatives that want both a green environment and some work to live decently, etc.

Fortunately, principles on how to organize such an organization do exist in the form of the Viable System Model for organizations as presented by Stafford Beer. What’s still lacking is an efficient model of communication, though in bootstrapping such an organization, currently existing forums, Facebook pages, Wikis and syndicated blogs would probably be do the trick.

To put it shortly and bluntly: the more people will think of a solution, the less chances are that it will become a reality.
(unless you can fund and implement it without the help of others, of course, but since we’re talking of a world-wide problem, it’s just impossible).

Happiness reigns: meet Laurence Vanhée (@happy_laurence)

February 21st, 2013 Posted in Strengths Tags: , , , , , ,

Here’s a very good article on Happiness at work in Belgium. Laurence is also on Twitter.

Read the article here: Happiness reigns: meet Laurence Vanhée. I love this:

I believe in 5 dondoos to change our workplace :

  • Don’t Manage. Love
  • Don’t work. Have fun
  • Don’t think. Think green
  • Don’t complain. Innovate
  • Don’t motivate. Trust

What a program!

Why we learn more from our successes than our failures – MIT News Office

Here’s a nice paper that explains why rewarding the positive is more effective than pointing out failures: Why we learn more from our successes than our failures – MIT News Office.

So I’m now positively rewarded to continue rewarding the positive!

 

Reblog: How Do You Get Leaders to #Change? – Chief Learning Officer, Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

Here’s a nice article on How Do You Get Leaders to Change? – Chief Learning Officer, Solutions for Enterprise Productivity.

I especially like the end of the paper about coaching and asking questions.

Indeed, when we’re told something, there are high chances that it comes to collide with some of our beliefs or mental model (because we make sense of what we’re told with our own past experience, and that often means we mis-interpret what others are saying).

On the other hand, when asked question, we are forced to bridge the gap between where we stand (our current mental model) and what the other is trying to say. A question isn’t as explicit as a statement when it comes to expressing a perspective. So when asked a question, although we feel that some perspective is at play behind the question, we’re let with space which we can feel however we want, thus bridging the gap between our own mental model and that of the questioner.

Whatever your conviction when it comes to how people resist to change, I think we all admit that it’s hard to resist to a question (though, sometimes we might end up affirming that a question is meaningless. Yet, this is an opportunity for dialogue and explaining why we think so. So even in this case, the exchange and gap-bridging occurs, from the askee or asker).

No wonder Socrates asked questions! 🙂

 

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