Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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How to break the first rule of #systemsthinking via thinkpurpose

Here’s a nice blog post about the Vanguard Method (it calls itself “systems thinking” which I don’t quite agree, but hell, the result’s good, so who really cares? Besides, nobody really knows or can define what ST *is*)

How to break the first rule of systems thinking | thinkpurpose.

Next time people in your organization complains about a lack of time, have them count the marbles!


Are You a Sheet or Shelf Thinker? #Lean and #Vanguard

Here is a nice article from Quality Digest author Tripp Babbitt: Are You a Sheet or Shelf Thinker?

I’m not an expert in the Vanguard method, though I recognize it’s an interesting approach and one that focuses on the real place (gemba).

What Tripp mentions in his article is that people trying to improve  should first go and see the place first before trying to do something. And most of all, not blindcopying tools used elsewhere.

What would be the consequences of using tools? Well, pick in the following list, but chances are that all apply:

  • the tool might not be adapted to the actual situation under consideration (from a systems thinking point of view, we would say it does not have “requisite variety”)
  • the tool didn’t grow out of the people’s mind in the actual place. As a consequence, their mind is not acquainted to it: this is how we tag people as being “change resistant”, when the change agent is in fact “people resistant” (or a tool head)
  • applying the tool steal the thinking and the corresponding learning of their own place of the people whom you’re about to subdue with it. What kind of respect in this?
  • trying to apply a tool to a situation which you’re not an expert of (because this actual situation is as different as the other one where you took the tool from just because people are different, along with the environment, organization, etc. Different variety, that is) will make you look arrogant and pretending you have the requisite variety (false, of course). Moreover, who said you had requisite variety with respect to the place you took the tool from? Where you an expert there anyway? If yes, you’re not an expert here. If no, that doesn’t make you an expert here and now either.

The Lean coach should make his own this quote from Socrates: “I know that I know nothing“.

Do you?


The difference between lean and systems thinking

November 9th, 2010 Posted in Lean, Systems Thinking Tags:

Here is a short article from John Seddon about The difference between lean and systems thinking.

I think the article falls short of explaining that very difference. Yet, John makes a point against “lean tool heads”, which is a good thing IMHO. But not all Lean consultants/senseïs are tool heads.

Even if TPS is well known as “Toyota Production System”, Taiichi Ohno (the one that brought this management system altogether) kept calling it “Thinking Production system”, because it is a management system intended to make people think.

Tools are not more than ways of discovering problems, which people have to solve to make things better. And the tools mainly do that by making the processes always more sensitive to problems.

Of course, should management feel they have enough problems (but are they the most urgent problems to solve?) they won’t want more of them. It’s a pity since people usually love to solve problems and improve things (especially if it’s interesting for them, the customers and make their bosses happier!).

But do we still have managers interested in their people?

Back to the Vanguard method: a very good introduction (148p) is available here

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