Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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#Lean #coaching without resistance: the paper! (#solutionfocus and #motivationalinterviewing)

I finally assembled my blog posts regarding my applying of Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to the process of coaching an CEO to some Lean management behaviors, while trying to avoid any change resistance that might occur.

The result is the attached PDF document that I release below. Enjoy and leave me comments!

Also available from here: Lean Coaching without Resistance EN v1.0

Brief coaching: a #solutionfocus-ed approach (PDF)

May 22nd, 2012 Posted in Change, Solution Focus Tags: , , , , ,

Building on what works in pure Solution Focus way, I found the following PDF article explaining what SF-based coaching is.

The paper is co-authored by BRIEF people in UK and is available from the Publication section (direct link here, quote: Iveson. C., George, E., Ratner, H.  (2012)  Brief Coaching: a solution focused approach In Coaching Today April 2012  17 – 20)


Memento Appreciative Inquiry en français (in french) (#ai #pdf #free)

(the english version of this post & document has been published earlier here)

J’ai réalisé il y a un certain temps maintenant le petit memento qui suit concernant les principes et le déroulé d’une initiative Appreciative Inquiry. Vous pouvez le télécharger et le diffuser (en laissant l’attribution SVP 🙂

Bonne lecture!

Commentaires les bienvenus!

TRI Appreciative Inquiry v2.3 FR (mise à jour du 12/07/2012)


Tentative Strength-Based A3 template (#strength #lean)

October 12th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , ,

I had this in mind since quite some time: a revamped A3 template for Lean problem solving, only it is strength-based in that it help its holder discover how to do more of what works.

What do you think of it? Does it work for you? Have you some improvements to propose (other things that work for you that you’re willing to share?)

The file’s under Creative Commons license by-nc-sa/3.0: Attribution, Non-Commercial, Same Alike sharing.

Download it from here: STD SB-A3 v1.0 EN → See new post with latest version here.

Nobody Ever Gets Credit for Fixing Problems that Never Happened (Creating & Sustaining Process Improvement) #Lean paper #stwg

Here’s a fundamental paper that explains some of the difficulties of introducing and sustaining Lean in companies, from a Systems Thinking (Systems Dynamics to be more precise) point of view.

The paper has been authored by John Sterman and Nelson Repenning and is available here.

The paper’s very didactic and takes the reader by the hand into building the diagram step by step.

A #systemsthinking explanation of lack of respect for people (fundamental #lean pillar)

I have recently finished reading this excellent paper from Raul Espejo regarding the law of requisite variety: “Giving Requisite Variety to Strategic and Implementation Processes: Theory and Practice“. Espejo is a person to read if you’re interested in the Viable System Model (see corresponding articles on this blog and my delicious bookmarks on VSM) as created by Stafford Beer.

In this paper, Espejo make the stunning comment that (I quote, emphasis mine, excerpted from page 3):

“[…] many organisations are still driven by the hierarchical paradigm that assumes the distinctions made at the top are the only relevant ones, which implies that people at lower levels are there only to implement them, but not to make distinctions of their own. Therefore the assumption is that the complexity of a senior manager is much greater than that of a professional in the production line. Somehow it is assumed that people at the top have much bigger brains than those working at ‘lower’ levels. Since they don’t, the space of creative action at ‘lower levels has had to be reduced. The assumption becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. This becomes manifest when power is exercised by enforcing distinctions made at corporate levels to construct a limited context of action for the majority in the organisation.”

The last emphasized sentence is insightful for me: “The assumption becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy”. What is meant is that with top management having a mental model of having bigger brains than people at lower hierarchical levels, they take on more decisions than people below them. This mental model then hinders learning from the very people that top management would probably want to have bigger brain but that they prevent them from developing… Management complains about employees being cogs in the machine, but, because they think they are, they remove every opportunity for them to turn back to being human and use their brain, which makes them further into cogs.

Another case of espoused-theory vs. theory-in-use, I guess.

In Lean, we say that management should act as coaches to their reporting collaborators and don’t give them answers (we even encourage management to let their employees fail in order to learn). It may be slower on the short-term, but probably the best way to grow them and increase productivity and morale in the longer term.

How many times today have you solved someone else’s problem?

I hope you’ll solve less tomorrow…

Can #Lean be helped by Self-Determination Theory and #SolutionFocus? (a @doingwhatworks paper)

From that very interesting (as is most often the case from Coert Visser!) paper here, I derive the following insights:

Lean on the motivation continuum

Self -Determination Theory (SDT) has is that motivation can be expressed on a continuum from “amotivation” to “intrinsic motivation” with three basic human needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness (all things that are also found in Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs and the notion of Flow from Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi).

Lean appears to be well on these three pillars of motivation:

  • autonomy is high in an environment where management does not solve the problem of their collaborators, but instead coach them to resolution.
  • this coaching leads to increased competence on the work and on the process of continuous improvement itself, along with a better knowledge of how the organization works (through A3 problem solving for instance which fosters nemawashi – japanese term for: go see all stakeholders and work with them)
  • by doing nemawashi with all stakeholders, people get their relatedness level increased!

On motivating people to do Lean

Visser’s paper continues, on page 13, on the way Motivational Interviewing can help a professionnal helper (!) with their client, as would be the case of a Lean coach in any organization (please bear in mind that I talk of a coach, not a consultant whose approach is different). In this regard, MI is based on 4 general principles:

  • the expression of empathy
  • the development of discrepancy
  • rolling with resistance and
  • support for self-efficacy

Considering what I often saw in organizations with respect to Change and Lean more specifically, I’d say that:

  • Lean change approaches are often law on empathy: “all your problems are belong to us, we’ll you help solve them”,
  • with a development of discrepancy that more than often consist in management or co-called coaches finger pointing faults in those running the processes,
  • a rolling with resistance that consists of stomping it for it’s the proof of ignorance in Lean matters and that so-called Lean coaches and experts know better (which is indeed true as for Lean things, but blatantly false  with respect to people’s own Gemba),
  • and support of efficacy is most of the time seen as Lean consultants (whoops I should have said ‘coaches’ 😉 doing most of the job themselves (deciding on what the Future State Map for instance should look like) with only partial accounting for people’s ideas.

What I described above, though caricatural (or is it?) is still what’s even been given a name: L.A.M.E. (Lean As Misguidedly Executed).

The paper goes on starting from page 14 on some suggested questions to addresse the four principles above to move someone in the needed change direction, but with proper respect for their motivation and of them as people, by helping find how they could be engaged with the change initiative.

Reflection questions:

  • As a CEO, how engaged are your collaborators in the Lean initiative? What have you done to motivate them and engage them, as persons, in it?
  • As a Lean coach, how have you addressed management’s willing to do Lean? What questions did you asked them as for their own needed change with respect to Lean (that is, Lean should be done by management with collaborators, not to collaborators)?

#Changement, #Lean et #systémique: Les comportements d’évitement comme résultat d’une double contrainte

Pour une fois, je me permets un article en français. J’aimerai rappeler cet excellent papier portant sur la théorie de la communicationde l’école de Palo Alto (qui a appliqué la systémique à la communication). Il y est question de la possibilité que certains comportements d’évitement soient le résultat de l’existence d’une double contrainte.

La théorie de la double contrainte a été proposée par l’école de Palo Alto et notamment Gregory Bateson.

L’article joint ci-dessous explique comment ce comportement d’évitement peut être émergent à une situation de double contrainte. Le résultat, vu de l’extérieur, est ce que l’on appellerait de la “résistance au changement”.

Je ne vais pas répliquer le papier dans ce post mais je vous invite à le lire (c’est en français pour une fois !) et à voir comment cette situation ne pourrait pas être une explication au manque de résultat en matière de changement Lean (par exemple).

Le papier a été écrit par Olivier Millet d’Interaction et ChangementsLes comportements d’évitement – opportunité ou fléau.

The Macroscope by Joël de Rosnay : a book about #systemsthinking

May 18th, 2011 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , ,

The Macroscope, written by Joël de Rosnay is a high level introduction to Systems Thinking. It can be read in english on the Principia Cybernetica web site in HTML version.

As this was not convenient for me, I copied everything in Word and then converted it to PDF for better offline reading (should work in any ebook reader). Here is the link to the file: The Macroscope by Joël de Rosnay.


How mass production and work was revived through planned obsolescence (somewhat #Lean #history)

March 7th, 2011 Posted in Lean Tags: , , ,

Planned obsolescence (see PDF article near the end of the wikipedia article) was proposed in 1932 as a way to relaunch economy and give back work to citizens.

The proposed means were somewhat extreme, yet it’s well known that today defects are embedded in most appliances (which are built to be non-fixable) to force people to buy a new equipement on a regular basis.

How we would fit this with “Total Productive Maintenance” is not clear to me yet 😉


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