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#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.


Reblog: 10 Ways to Accelerate the Peer-to-Peer and Commons Economy (via @Shareable)

Excellent blog post by Michel Bauwens co-founder of the P2P Foundation.

Every day, a P2P society makes itself more desirable.

Capitalism might be seen as the evil here, but, if we take a perspective of ecological successions, we can see it like a (somehow) deliberate burning of a place: everything disappears in the end, but this releases fertilizers in the ashes for something new to grow.

Do it too often and you spoil the soil.

Do it properly, and you can intervene on the pioneer plants to build something better and more sustainable.

If we see capitalism as a burning of what could have been precious resources, then we might as well consider what could grow on the ashes of the leftovers. We are already seeing these pioneering sprouts in P2P, collaboration, sharing economy. Of course some of the pioneers are just seeds of the previous world (Uber, AirBnb, etc.), but they’re just preparing the soil for the next round of more robust plants/initiatives that will truly change the landscape.

I’m eager to garden in the future!

Synthèse des définitions de la #permaculture

Je ne peux ne pas citer ce site que je viens de découvrir avec cette excellente vision systémique (!) de la permaculture comme approche de changement de la société. Lisez toute la page ci-dessous !

Synthèse des définitions de la permaculture | Permaculture sans frontières – Reforestation sans frontières

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

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 »

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

Reblog: MOOC 4.0: The Next Revolution in Learning & Leadership | @ottoscharmer1 

May 11th, 2015 Posted in Change, Labso Tags: , , , , , ,

Really interesting post from Otto Scharmer about the next next generation of MOOCs! I’m seeing connections with our co-creation open-source #Labso (…

Last month my colleagues and I completed a pilot of what well may be the most interesting project of my life. It was the pilot of a new type of MOOC that pushes the MOOC design envelope by blending a globally transformative platform with an eco-system of deep personal, locally grounded learning communities.

Source: MOOC 4.0: The Next Revolution in Learning & Leadership | Otto Scharmer

Christopher Alexander Fifteen Properties of #Wholeness applied to Mental Models #systemsthinking

It’s been a while since I’ve been pondering the fifteen properties of wholeness as expressed by Christopher Alexander. Although I have yet to read one of his book, his work has transpired up to me already through the well know pattern languages.

Being found of Systems Thinking and the transdiscplinarity this permits, I couldn’t help but wonder how these 15 properties could apply to mind and mental models as well, and how it could inform our feeling of wholeness or explain when we feel like being one and belonging to a bigger, encompassing one as well. Sounds like spirituality to me, although I consider myself an atheist!

Of course, feeling also attracted to radical constructivism and social constructionism, I can safely affirm that you both are influenced by what you distinguish in the world around you and that you construct what you’re looking for. So, I hope the interpretation I give below (which is purely empirical… or my own construct) may be useful both as a way to construct that feeling of wholeness than as a way to find where it may exist when you didn’t feel it in the first place. Now, back to constructivism: where’s the difference between building and finding-and-constructing at the same time?

Here is my inner travel through the fifteen properties of wholeness. Fancy a trip with me? Here we go… Read more »

#Labso leaflet available in english!

It’s with great pleasure that I propose below the first translation of our french leaflet regarding the #labso. That will be the base for the translation of the official website ( once we find the time to do so.

The source document will be uploaded to some shared repository as soon as possible as well. Meanwhile, feel free to drop us a note if you have comments, requests or else @nicolasstampf or @alexis8nicolas.

Enjoy: QUAD LabSoTech v1.2 EN


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