Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Peer coaching with a 2-hour string of Liberating Structures (@KeithMcCandless)

It’s not that often that we get an article on Liberating Structures. Here’s an interesting one!

Liberating Structures are 33 easy-to-use structures for interaction in groups of any size. They enhance relational coordination and trust…

Source: Peer coaching with a 2-hour string of Liberating Structures

#Lean doesn’t scale according to @Michael_Balle. I disagree (a bit) #leanenfrance29

June 1st, 2018 Posted in Change, Lean Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today, it was (program here). Excellent conference as usual, check later for the slides on their website.

In one of his clarifications given during the conference, Michael Ballé said that “Lean doesn’t scale” despite us (consultants, whether internal or external, or CEOs) repeatedly looking for rapid scaling of the results.

It’s unusual, but today, I felt like I have to disagree. A bit.

Of course, solutions don’t scale. They’ve been grown by the people of a specific place (gemba), for that place and for that very same people. Every context is different, be it, of course, another company or another service in your own company. Taiichi Ohno himself is said to having had to struggle a lot each time he went from one line to another (we’re different, it doesn’t apply to use, it can’t work here, etc.)

So, can the Lean tools scale and replicate? Well, yes and no.

  • Can they replicate? Surely and it’s been written in numerous books. It’s probably also part of the problem why Lean struggles that much to enter in new companies: because people try to replicate the tools (for the solutions they bring) as detailed in the book. But replicating the tools doesn’t guarantee replication of the results, for you’ll surely fail to develop the people while trying to enforce the tools. It’s not about the tools (or worse, their results), it’s about the people (or better, the thinking process in the people’s heads).
  • Can they scale? Well, we’ve seen Lean tools be used in other places than the shop floor, like in offices or in the board in order to develop and follow a strategy (think Strategic A3, problem solving A3s, etc.) which can have a leveraging effect (after all, the hierarchical pyramid exists precisely for this in the first place: to leverage the impact of the (wo)man at the top). Does it mean they can replicate the results from one division to the others in a snap? Of course not. To keep with the A3 example, what’s important in the A3 is not the paper, it’s the thinking process that’s behind it. And if you can transmit information, you can’t transmit knowledge: that one has to be grown by each and every mind on its own, based on its personal experiences.

So, back to my title: does Lean scale?

If you mean swiftly replicating the tools from one place to another as if it were an identical place, hell no. No place is identical. Even two identical production lines are different, because they are operated by different people, using equipment with different levels of wearing, hence with different faults, breaks and problems (even if they’re similar).

But what you can replicate are the tools, not for the solutions they bring, but for the thinking patterns they’ve repeatedly proven to foster in those who use them properly (hint: keyword here). The trick is that, in Lean management, when the wise shows the moon, the fool looks at it! (S/he should look at the wise and understand why the moon is pointed at. Why the moon and not something else?)

So, how one does scale Lean? Obviously, by replicating the moon-pointing wise men, the senseï!

Lean is not about improving the results, nor is it about improving the process (which I thought up to recently). Lean is about improving the people that operate the process (remember the Toyota saying about “making things is making people or, in japanese, Mono tsukuri wa, hito tsukuri?). Indeed, this is what Michael reminded us about during that very conference. And probably in all previous ones as well.

And if you want to scale the “improving the people” part, you need to grow more coaches or senseïs able to foster Lean thinking in people. Which is precisely what Lean Coaching is all about (or Toyota Kata), starting at the CEO level coaching his subordinates, themselves coaching their own subordinates, up to shop floor collaborators.

So, of course, it’s a slow process. So if by “scaling Lean” you thought achieving quicker results by way of bypassing the “developing people” part (which is long), of course you can’t (well, you can on a short time frame, but as soon as the coach turns round the corner, performance withers).

But if by scaling you mean improving your impact onto the number of people you can develop in a time interval, then of course you can! But not shortly. Yet, it’s still more efficient and effective than (wrongly) replicating the tools and they quick results without having grown the accompanying mental model and having disappearing a few months or years later because nobody really understood what the real story was all about.


Création d’emploi fondée sur les forces #solutionfocus

Un article très intéressant sur des initiatives différentes en matière de création d’emploi !

On cherche les compétences et les envies des gens, et on les aide à construire un projet, presque auto-financé (en tout cas, en utilisant les aides normalement disponibles pour les chômeurs pour plutôt les aider à construire un avenir). Bravo !

À lire ici :



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 !


Michael Ballé’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 Ballé’s Gemba Coach Column

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.

How to Turn Your Weaknesses Into #Strength | @LinkedIn

March 27th, 2013 Posted in Strengths Tags: , , ,

Here’s a nice correspondence list between weaknesses and corresponding strenghs.

How to Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths | LinkedIn.

Personally, I do prefer focusing on my strengths (exemple through ViaMe), but the preceding list my come in handy when someone complains about some weaknesses and you can’t have them take a strength-test on the spot. The preceding list may be useful to wipe negativity on first sight 😉

My @leanpub book “The Colors of #Change” has started its publication!

Details are available on the page over there: or from here (a bit more complete).

Subtitle is “Respectful Change Management explained by Cybernetics”.

Check it out!

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