Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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#Lean and @simonsinek’s Golden Circle : there’s hope for you, yet…

February 24th, 2014 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I had a sort of epiphany this morning during commute.

Lean isn’t, or shouldn’t, be transmitted or taught about improving performance or best to achieve performance.

The recent history of Lean seems to me to have gone through the following steps, which, in my mind, mirror the approaching of the WHY center circle of Simon Sinek.

Whats of Lean were the first to be taught (probably because they were the easiest to spot and understand inside Toyota plants) – and is still probably the main line of teaching Lean. Incidentally, these were those Taiichi Ohno warned us against:

  • Results: is orientated toward increasing performance of the company
  • Teaching of Lean: based mostly on using tools

Hows of Lean saw the beginning of a change in how Lean is transmitted:

  • Results: are sought through people and therefore “Respect” comes again to the fore (which it should never have left anyway)
  • Teaching of Lean: centered on how you achieve results (through people), that solutions come from them, not from the sensei. I think the epitome for this is the great “Toyota Kata” approach to teach Lean from Mike Rother.

Whys of Lean is when executives understand there’s really something more to improving a company, and that “respect for people” really is meant for more than mere words:

  • Results: are about contributing to something bigger than the company
  • Teaching of Lean: Lean is about making people flourish both inside and outside the company

Funnily, the more you advance in how you see Lean (according to the preceding three steps), the less you speak about Lean stuff and more about personal and organizational purpose.

Of course, I can’t end this post without this famous quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Simon, I bow before you…

#Lean Six Sigma est mort – vive le #Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma ! | @alexis8nicolas & @davidshaked1

Alexis Nicolas teste le marché pour une formation Lean Six Sigma fondé sur les forces (strengths). Si vous êtes intéressés, allez voir là ! Lean Six Sigma est mort – vive le Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma ! | YisY.

 

Build a #school in the #cloud by @sugatam, a @TED #video

I finally took the time to view this wonderful video. Mr Mitra experimented with remote villages in India, where children don’t speak english nor are used to computers, and see what would happen in a few months. Guess what? The children were able to 1) learn english and 2) understand scientific concept far advanced for their ages. All on their own, without any kind of help at all.

His wish is thus to build a school in the cloud where children could learn on their own (he calls this SOLE: Self-Organized Learning Environments (go to that link, there’s a PDF toolkit to download for free) with the help of, for instance, remote retired teachers, through Skype.

I’m not into teaching, but I can’t help make the connection with what happens in organizations. Lean was known as TPS (Toyota Production System) in the beginning, although Taiichi Ohno insisted for it to be called Thinking Production System, meaning by this that it was meant to make people think and really learn about their organization so as to improve it. I guess the concept of a Learning Organization comes from the same desires, too.

In order to improve an organization, people need to learn and innovate in the fields of technology, facilitation, psychology (whether to convince other of the importance of their findings, or to better market whatever it is they’re selling, etc.)

Do our organizations really facilitate this learning? I’m afraid not. Mr Mitra tells us that tests and punishments are seen as threats by the brain and stop all learning and innovating activity. Only appreciation and encouragement liberate those.

Isn’t this a really good praise for Appreciative Inquiry or Solution Focus?!

I think the best way to have organizations improve is not to put up new training or innovation programs, but rather to remote all barriers to self-organization. Let people connect to one another, teach one to another, discussion, exchange and experiment! It’s not just stuff for children. Adults can benefit from it too!

Indeed, lots of companies are starting to liberate themselves in these ways. See the french companies Favi, Poult or others such as Zappos (who just announced they will get rid of all their managers and just function with their 1500 productive employees).

Have you read “Freedom, Inc” from Isaac Getz? Do it now! 🙂 I think it just the same kind of principles for a new way to organize organizations…

 

#Video about the future of #Lean: #Strength Based Lean by @DavidShaked1

David Shaked (@DavidShaked1) as authored a video promoting his book “Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma“. If you want to know more about what this beast is about, check it out below!

Also, you’re warmly invited to contribute to the LinkedIn group on the same subject!

 

Here are my @LeanIT2013 slides about #Lean and #ITIL

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

My slides have been put online by the Lean IT Summit team:

You can also see them at their web site, with others from all the exceptional speakers (there are some videos there too).

Overall, it was an exceptional moment with great speakers!

 

Reblog: #Kanban and #Lean – a challenging association (from @djaa_dja)

October 28th, 2013 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , ,

David J Anderson posted a very nice piece some months ago about the relation current “Lean Kanban” and Lean initiatives have in common (or lack thereof for some part of it).

Indeed, the reasons advanced by David are the same that launched me on a journey to find some new ways to make Lean sticks once the coach turns away from a team (as if often requested from an internal Lean Coach, which is my situation). More precisely, this might be why the best approach to Lean teaching might be to work with a Lean sensei (as advocated by, for instance, Michael Ballé [web]).

Although I totally agree with David’s reasons for being wary of the way most consulting companies introduce Lean, I would not throw the baby with the bath water. There are some people who try to promote a respectful deployment of Lean (as if “respect for people” should have gone away from Lean!). The original “Boston Lean” authors as mentioned by David are just the first of them, despite the fac that their work has too often been misunderstood and the focus on tools be the norm. Granted, at the time the initial Lean books were written, Toyota Production System knowledge outside Toyota was mostly focused on the visible parts, namely the tools. Yet the respect part of it was already there. Michael Ballé’s two (Shingo) prized books (“The Gold Mine” and “The Lean Manager“) also feature the people aspects intertwined with the tools.

Lastly, Michael’s latest book in french have a whole part dedicated to that respect for people and how Lean is supposed to turn the gemba into a thrivable environment (“Le Management Lean” with Godefroy Beauvallet).

So, should we be wary of “Boston Lean“? Definitely when it means focusing on “toolbox Lean”! But I’m not sure that creating a side track with Lean Kanban is also the thing to do, despite helping in the short-term.

A reinforcement of the respect for people part of Lean, what it can bring in the short, middle and long-term to the organization’s betterment is, to me, the definitive path to look after. It’s the duty of Lean coaches to prove that we can achieve safety, quality, delays and cost improvements all the while making employees thrive at work. Indeed, this is the only thing that works on the long-term.

 

Reblog @HarvardBiz : Can You Invent Something New If Your Words Are Old?

A nice post that makes you think: Can You Invent Something New If Your Words Are Old?

Lean is deficit-based in its language: what problem do we need to fix? What failure demand do we need to take care of? What’s the gap between where you are now (bad) and where you want to be (customer need)?

Hopefully, I see the glimpse of positive change here and there:

  • Lean Startup is gaining a lot of traction when it comes to doing just what the customer want but with a constant thrust to find more and more added value, even in the form customer didn’t know they had a need for. Lean startup is also starting to be use elsewhere, like in Lean Change for instance by Jason Little.
  • Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma by David Shaked which specifically addresses this (disclaimer: I reviewed the book). The book is due on November 4th.
  • And of course the usual positive suspects (deficit word, again!): Appreciative Inquiry, Solution Focus, Positive Deviance, and much more.

In my book (“The Colors of Change“), I make the case for strength-based change approaches and explain why we don’t use them naturally (why it’s normal to fail), what can we do instead, and list some of the change approaches that I feel are strength-based and make use of a different language to achieve different (and better!) results.

Using a different language, we can co-construct a different reality, and, experimenting it, we can confirm and reinforce our thinking that this indeed works better. It’s usually better because of the absence of so-called “resistance to change”, learning step, etc.

Don’t try to match reality to your dreams (it will just reinforce the gap).

Don’t try to force your dreams onto reality (you’ll find resistance).

Instead, do search for your dreams in reality. I bet you’ll find them!

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