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Positive #GROW #coaching model? (using #solutionfocus and #appreciativeinquiry)

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” — Henri Ford

Reading some background information on the GROW coaching model, it appeared to me that it could easily be transformed into a positive change model.

GROW originally stands for:

It’s indeed a very simple and effective coaching model to be used. Yet, I feel that it can be enhanced by focusing more on the positive side and what works already for the coachee in order to bring more energy to fuel the change. Here are my thoughts on how to do it below. Read more »

How to address Preparation stage of Lean change – #4 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #4 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intended to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

#3 in series help reinforce the contemplation stage.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Contemplation.

Background on preparation

Following the preceding stages of change, if you’re reading this, it would mean that your CEO is now ready to change himself. Indeed, I remind the occasional reader that the beginning of this series was about having the CEO realize that he was the first person that needed to change. Most CEO know their organization need to change to implement Lean, but they usually don’t expect to change themselves. Yet, if they continue to do what they’ve always done, they’ll get what they always had.

So, the most critical part before being allowed to the preparation stage is that the CEO expressed Commitment to change talk, following MI questions aiming at raising DARN talk (Desire, Ability, Reasons and Need). That was the purpose of articles #2 and #3.

So, the CEO being now committed to change himself, the most important tasks during this stage for the MI coach are to:

  • build confidence in the change to come
  • talk about timing of change
  • present information, options and advice

All the while

  • resisting the urge to push by staying at the client’s place (or pace)

Lean role of CEO

This stage of change differs from preceding ones in that the CEO is expected to build an action plan for the change. There are two possibilities with that:

  1. either he knows how to “behave Lean”
  2. or he doesn’t

I have two responses to these situations, non exclusives and not related specifically to #1 or #2:

  • comfort him that he knows how to do it
  • teach him what he doesn’t know…

With that second point, it’s important to notice we’re still trying to avoid raising his resistance to the change, so any advice or teaching need either:

  • be formally requested by him
  • or gently introduced and asked for permission to tell before telling: “I know a way to achieve that. Would you like me to present it?” It’s also important to note that we’re not behaving as having a definitive knowledge or advice: we want the CEO to adapt what we say to his specific organization and make it his own.

It is now important to recall that Lean is mostly about empowering collaborators to spot problems and imagine solutions that they implement, measure and generalize (standardize in Lean terms) where appropriate, with maximum colleague implications. This is basic PDCA and scientific method.

We certainly don’t want the CEO to solve problems on behalf of employees, for that would prevent them from learning (and he doesn’t have time for that anyway).

The role of a Lean CEO is to coach, on the gemba, his middle managers into coaching, on the gemba, their employees into the scientific method (PDCA) in order to move current processes to a vision of one-piece-flow.

The purpose of this article is not to detail how to do that (they are shelves full of literature on that topic). Suffice it to say that, for instance, D. Jones and J. Womack approach is useful to keep in mind:

  1. identify value
  2. identify value-stream
  3. create flow
  4. pull
  5. aim for perfection

And the two tactics to get there are:

  1. just-in-time
  2. and jidoka (autonomation or automation with a human touch)

This is the strategy the CEO need to have in mind, down to employees and through middle management as well. Always, all the time. This is summed up as 1) continuous improvement with 2) respect for people.

Preparation

So, the main strategy of the coach will be to help the CEO identify what behavior he needs to adopt in order for his people (middle management) to do what he wants them to do in order to do Lean. The what are: continuously, improve, respect and people. The how is what works for the CEO. So, most of the following questions are Solution Focused oriented on purpose.

With this in mind, here are some tentative questions, MI-style, to ask a CEO preparing his own change for some more Lean behaviors (be reminded that it’s always possible to mentor the CEO into Lean knowledge, provided he asks for it or gives you permission to do so – what we want is genuine interest in continuous improvement: Lean tools are only shortcuts to be used where, when and if people want to use them):

  • recalling preceding transformations/projects you managed successfully, what worked well in terms of your own behaviors for having them move on?
  • how do these compare to your current management practices?
  • what first steps would you see yourself doing first? Can you make these smaller? And even smaller? And, of these last ones, what even smaller step could you start doing right now?
  • what other behavior will you start doing tomorrow? What else? 
  • what else?
  • what will you see improve as a result? What else?
  • what is the place in your organization where continuous improvement would benefit more as a starter? What’s been your behavior toward it recently? How would you go about changing it? How will you measure results?
  • suppose a miracle open overnight (without you knowing it since you were sleeping) and all middle-management would adopt Lean behaviors. How would you know in the morning that things have changed? What would you notice first? What would you do to support it?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your current management practices regarding continuous improvement? Why not a lesser number? What are you doing that makes you give this score? What else?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how important is it for you to change your own behavior? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how ready are you to starting implementing your new behaviors? Why not a lower number? What else?

Should you have comments on these questions, or other suggestions, feel free to leave a message below!

Stay tuned for #5 episode that will be about the Action phase.

How to address contemplation stage of Lean change – #3 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #3 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intend to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Contemplation.

Background on contemplation

This stage of change corresponds to a mental state of someone who is considering change, but may not know what the change corresponds to and is still undecided as to going for it or not.

For a MI coach, the most important tasks during this stage are to:

  • acknowledge ambivalence and mixed feelings about the change,
  • explore discrepancy between present behavior and personal values or goals,
  • discuss pros and cons of change,
  • talk about ways to experiment with the change.

Contemplation

Previously, the CEO did not know that he was the one that needed to change. If the coach succeeded in having him move to contemplating the change of his own behaviors, the CEO should now be more opened to changing himself. Yet, commitment still need to be gained for doing the change.

Just as previously, the coach’s role is still to increase DARN talk, but with a more pressing focus on C talk (commitment), which would signal the CEO moved to the next stage of Preparation.

With this in mind, here are some tentative questions, MI-style, to ask a CEO contemplating changing for some more Lean behaviors:

  • Tell me about your current management practices. How have them helped you achieving your goals in the past? Hindered?
  • To what extent does the organization currently mirrors your management practices?
  • When comparing your previous change successes to your current Lean initiative, what’s different? 
  • How do you relate your previous management practices to that of a Lean manager (always on gemba, challenging yet listening to collaborators, coaching rather than solving problems, etc.)?
  • How do you see your current management practices evolving to suit with a continuous improvement culture as proposed by Lean? 
  • Tell me how you feel about changing your management behaviour? What would happen if you’d stay the same? If you changed?
  • Suppose you did change your management practices to fit Lean practices, how would that help you? The organization?
  • Supposing you’d like to try some new management behaviors (but the final choice stays yours), what would the firsts of them be (with respect to Lean, of course)? Where would you like to experiment them? By when? What consequences would you expect?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is it for you to change? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how ready are you for making the change? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • What would you need to be done to move to an upper number on the readiness scale?

What needs to be kept in mind by the Lean coach is that the aim of these questions is to get the CEO moving from precontemplation stage to contemplation at which moment, he will be considering change.

The coach needs to listen carefully to the CEO talk and, through the use of Open-ended questions, Affirmations of any positive talk or behavior, Reflecting what’s been said and Summarizing, pin-point the Commitment talk of the CEO. Then it will be time, during another session, to Prepare for the change.

Stay tuned for #4 episode!


How to address precontemplation of Lean change – #2 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #2 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intend to write about. Please read it first.

This article deals with the first stage of change: that of Precontemplation.

Background on precontemplation

This stage of change corresponds to a mental state of someone who is not considering change, whether he has not thought about it yet or that he doesn’t feel like he needs to change.

For an MI coach, the most important tasks during this stage are to:

  • build rapport and trust
  • and increase problem awareness to raise a sense of importance to the change

Special note: when considering imposed change (some upper level of management imposing a change for instance), it may be first difficult to work with the client because this kind of situation just triggers resistance. What have been found useful in other contexts is, rather than work directly with the requested change, work on the constraint instead: “I understand you’re not the one that asked for that change. Yet, you now have a new workload to assume, in addition to the other ones you already had. Would it be ok for you if we look at what could be done to alleviate this constraint?”

Precontemplation

Back to a Lean starting initiative context, during this stage the CEO may not be aware that what he’s viewing on the gemba reflects his own way of thinking and that of his organizational culture.

Building rapport and increasing problem awareness are the more important tasks of the coach at this stage. But the problem has to be formulated as one of the CEO behavior, not one related to other people in the organization!

With this in mind, here are some tentative question, MI-style, to ask a CEO considering Lean:

  • Why do you want your organization to go Lean?
  • How would it be better if your organization implemented Lean management? What else?
  • How important (from 1 to 10) is it for you to move your organization to Lean management?
  • I understand you want the situation to be changed and your organization to become “leaner”. Tell me about a successful organizational change you have been leading. What made it possible? 
  • How did you manage to lead it to success? 
  • (text below deleted on 2011/09/08 and moved to Contemplation stage)
  • How is your current Lean initiative going? What works? How did you manage to achieve this? 
  • Tell me about your current management practices. What consequences have had your current management behaviour on your Lean initiative? 
  • When comparing your previous change successes to your current Lean initiative, what’s different? 
  • Suppose you did change your management practices, how would that help you? The organization?

What needs to be kept in mind by the Lean coach is that the aim of these questions is to get the CEO moving from precontemplation stage to contemplation at which moment, he will be considering change.

Stay tuned for #3 episode!

How to begin #Lean coaching using #SolutionFocus and Motivational Interviewing (#1 in Series)

This article is #1 in a Series where I investigate the use of Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their Lean initiative. Other articles will follow, feel free to comment!

2% of Lean transformation are successful. That means that 98% of Lean transformations fail (Google search).

Can you believe it? From an approach that stresses reflection (or hanseï), it’s more than surprising that almost nobody’s looking for other ways to introduce Lean. I mean something that works better!

Actually, there are some people, for instance on the Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma LinkedIn group, but we’re few.

I would like here to express my ideas about introducing Lean differently to top management (or maybe other lower management levels) using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing.

Read more »

10 questions for the #solutionfocused (#lean?) #coach

September 5th, 2011 Posted in Change, Lean, Solution Focus Tags: , , , , ,

Today seems to be under Coert Visser’s auspices. Here’s another nice blog post of him about questions to help a coach prepare himself to really listen to the coachee or client:

Doing What Works: 10 questions for the solution-focused coach.

I feel it really hard not to fall in the rhetoric trap where I know what I would like them to do (Lean management for instance) but feel listening is the way to go and so I need to ask them questions.

A coach mainly works by asking questions, but not in a rhetoric way. He must deeply want to know what is it that his coachee wants, how does he see things or how he feels about the change.

Of course, there’s no other way to do Lean management than by doing Lean management. Yet, there’s more than one path to reach that goal and it’s important to use the easiest path for the learning manager (the coachee) and help him identify what worked before in the direction of that Lean management.

For instance, if the coach identifies that creating a flow is the path to follow for now, one can go for the following kind of question:

Lean teaches us that the most efficiency is achieved in a flowing process (provide details as necessary). Tell me about a time where you have experienced work flowing? What allowed it to happen?

Then, work could focus on the current process:

In the current process, what gives you hope for increasing the flow-ness of it?

 

#Lean idea: Treating clients as cooperative, no matter how resistant they may appear (#solutionfocus)

August 29th, 2011 Posted in Change, Lean, Solution Focus Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s is a very nice blog from Coert Visser: Doing What Works: Treating clients as cooperative, no matter how resistant they may appear, is the quickest and most promising way to encourage further cooperation.

I’m now deeply convinced that it could help a lot of Lean CEO trying to “do” Lean if their senseï or Lean coach would deal with them in a solution focused way.

The traditional Lean coaching approach has traditionally been to hit the CEO on the head until they do it and get it (maybe from a cultural approach to coaching in Japan). Surely enough, Lean has to be done by oneself to be fully understood: what a one-piece flow can bring in terms of problem detection and team work is a marvellous thing that needs to be experienced to be best understood.

Few consultants that I know can run down this path: the CEO is barely available and most often nominate someone to take care of the Lean job, or worse, let the consultants manage Lean projects on their own.

Instead, if Lean coaches would deal with the CEO first, foremost and only, it might be a slower start but a better, firmer start in the end.

As Solution Focus is about what works in terms of behavior, it may help to raise awareness in the CEO that what he sees in his company is how he thinks. And that by changing his thoughts and corresponding behaviors, he might get something else that works better for the company as a whole.

I’ll post something about Motivational Interviewing as a way to approach that first meetings with the CEO… soon.

 

The magic of social constructivism (#appreciativeinquiry #solutionfocus)

I have 1 hour of commute time each morning and each evening between home and work. I invest that time in reading. Which means, at 2 hours on my hands every work day, that I read a lot!

So, reading this morning about Solution Focus, it reminded me about something I’ve read elsewhere about social constructionism and how appreciative inquiry helps you change your own world.

In fact, you can reverse the path of time and have the future influence your present.

In AI terms we say that we move in the direction of what we repeatedly ask questions about. When we build a clear and detailed vision of the future, it becomes so powerful that it influences our present and allows us to move into the direction of that (new) future. The more positive is the vision, the more forceful is the move.

Now, when combining this with Solution Focus that helps people see bits and pieces of the future already occurring now or even having occurred in the past, I can safely update the preceding quote and say that:

The future can change the past.

How is that? Well, the future we can know only in our mind. And, without any further consideration, it influences your choices in the present moving you into that direction of that future you have in mind (AI stance).

But with deliberate action, imagining a preferred future can help shed a new light on your past by  seeing how it already occurred (at least partially). Indeed, your past don’t really change, but the way you see it from now changes, which is all that counts and which will bear new consequences on your future to come.

By thus noticing that that preferred future of yours has already started to realize itself in your past, you get a further boost of energy and confidence to choose your present and follow a new path to that very future.

This is the magical power of the mind and the constructionism stance toward life.

Further, that constructionism magic is fueled by human energy that appears to behave like radioactive matter: the more you bring together, the further more energy is created in a chain reaction. It’s not just additive, it’s exponential! So is, in my mind, the power of social constructionism.

(Of course, there’s a dark side to that magic through demeaning words and behaviors: these can bring power and results in the short-term, but is self-destructive in the longer term). Positive social construction is powerful now and later.

What’s more, you don’t need 7 years in Hogwarts to learn that kind of magic! 😉

A curse anatomy: #Systems Dynamics view of Micro-management #systhnk

Systems dynamics diagram of micro-management addiction situations

Systems dynamics diagram of micro-management addiction situations

The (real) situation

A friend of mine (middle manager) himself is subjected to micro-management from it’s own manager. Given the high number of projects and subjects ongoing in his perimeter, it’s a pain for him to follow all of them at the level of details required by his own upper manager.

A tentative model

Upon analysis with a systemic diagram, I found a horrible picture where the more a manager would go into micro-management, the more it will feel the urge to go. Here’s the explanation why (click on diagram to open it in a new window to follow explanations)

At the beginning, there is a micro-management need, either from a personal inclination and/or from a high hierarchical position that naturally prevents someone from having detailed information about project.

Balancing loop B1: the manager being in micro-management need take on the micro-management of activities in need (from his point of view), which will, hopefully and again, from his point of view, fix any issues on these activities hence relieving the micro-management need.

This is the main reason which a micro-manager start micro-managing in the first place. Only that this triggers three different reinforcing loops that we will now describe, resulting in a classical “fixes that fail” systems archetype…

Reinforcing loop R1: out of that micro-management need, some activities are felt in need of being-micro-managed (because of perceived problems for instance). The more the manager thus focuses on these micro-managed activities, the less there’s a focus on other activies. As a consequence, issues on other activies start to raise (we’ll see why in the next paragraph). The more other activities have issues, the more they are felt as activities in need of micro-management, which increased the need for the manager to micro-manage activities.

Reinforcing loop R2: the more a manager increase his micro-management need, the less his direct reports are motivated. Which results in a decrease in management of their activities and further increase issues. Side note: an issue on an activity need to be considered from the point of view of the micro-managing manager. This further adds to the micro-management need in the first place.

Reinforcing loop R3: when the motivation of direct reports decreases (as seen in R2), so does the trust on the micro-manager in them, which further increases his micro-managing needs.

So, there we are in a situation where the consequences of micro-management further reinforce themselves.

The solutions?

So, where do we go from there?

Traditional way of dealing with “fixes that fail” archetypes is to try to anticipate the unexpected consequences (of micro-managing in this case). Here, that would mean informing the micro-managing manager of that systemic situation. As we’re talking of a personal inclination (whose psychologic causes may be diverse) it’s not sure that the person will change his behavior (further, pushing the model onto him may just raise it’s resistance to the much needed change, hence locking the situation even more).

It maybe the case that the current situation is one in which we’re dealing with a symptom instead of addressing the root cause. In that case, we’d be in a shifting the burden systems archetype situation with new possibilities arising. I’m for instance thinking of teaching people how to “properly” manage their activities such as not to trigger micro-management needs and teach the micro-manager that he needs to teach rather than do himself, just for his own sanity (hereby addressing the WIIFM: “what’s in it for me”).

It may be the time for some Solution Focus work with the micro-manager and/or the micro-managed people: what behavior worked for you in the past? How can you do more?

Or some coaching, maybe using Motivational Interviewing style where the micro-managed manager is brought peacefully to recognizing that he needs to change (for his own and his people sanity) and then coach him to change?

Have you ever been face with a micro-manager? How did you manage that situation without flying away?

 

#Lean quote: “The most important person who needs to learn from shop floor experiments is the top executive visiting with the sensei” Michael Ballé

August 17th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

This powerful quote I’ve just read on Michael Ballé’s Gemba Coach Column.

That few of top management goes to the shop floor, let look and learn something might be the great explanation (root cause) of Lean failures.

You can only convince a top manager with blatant results and the most convincing results are those he can see and feel for himself.

If you’re not walking the gemba with top management, you’re doing work for yourself, for your own pleasure (with some results as a side effect), but not working for the long term benefit of the organization.

Lean projects are just that: projects, with a beginning and an end. Gemba walks with top management should be transformational.

*sigh*

 

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