In the KaiZone Friday Favorites, I present my top ten favorite articles from the last two weeks in the world of Lean, continuous improvement and beyond. With leading content from the world’s foremost improvement authors and future lean leaders, I do the research so you don’t have to!
I have teamed up with a few of my fellow students of TPS from True North Thinking in observance of Movember. All month, we will be demonstrating our commitment to changing the face of men’s health by sporting some sweet ‘staches.
This year, I am participating in memory of my late grandfather and to make a difference for my son. One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their life time. My grandfather was one of the unlucky ones. I don’t want my own son to face the same fate, and so I am doing my part.
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The Top 10 Lean Blog Posts for November 7th, 2014
10. Do As I Say, Not As I Do by Erin Urban. “We must be self-aware. This is more challenging than it sounds. If we are to be the change we wish to see and model the behavior we teach, we must be cognizant that we are not sending the wrong message by our actions. We may define ourselves by our intentions, but others define us by our actions. The change agent being resistant to change is ironic, but it’s a serious thing as it can be detrimental in the long-term. For me, this brings to mind the words of Andy Andrews: ‘While it is true that most people never see or understand the difference they make, or sometimes only imagine their actions having a tiny effect, every single action a person takes has far-reaching consequences.'”
9. How to Get Out of the Habit of Telling by Katie Anderson. “I’m continually trying to develop as a coach – to be better at asking my clients questions to develop their thinking and capability, not just telling them what I (in the role of “expert”) think might be useful. I try to lead with open-ended questions of pure, humble inquiry (as defined by Edgar Schein) – questions to which I don’t have the answer. For example, “How are you thinking about this issue today?” or another “How/Why/What?” question that is relevant to the discussion at hand. I encourage them to be just as intentional about developing their own team members through coaching.”
8. A3: An Antidote to the Drama Triangle by Bill Kirkwood. “Recently, I observed an A3 training session comprised of front line managers from several ambulatory clinics. The participants were asked to break into small groups and identify an issue they were having in preparation for practicing A3 problem solving. As each group shared their issue it became apparent that the entire group had an “issue” with the IT department. . . By the end of the sharing the entire group was sufficiently worked up. The simple exercise of identifying an issue applicable to A3 problem solving had become a considerable gripe session. What had just happened? The group unknowingly chose to entire the Drama Triangle, a phenomenon identified by Stephen Karpman. The Drama Triangle is a place where individuals and/or groups choose to relinquish their ability to solve a problem by blaming someone else for their “misfortune.”
7. Lean Lite versus. Lean Deep: Interview with Michel Baudin by Pete Abilla. “There are plenty of reasons not use an explicit reference to Toyota when applying the Toyota Production System (TPS) in other organizations. . . But what is a good name? Consultants tried several. “JIT” was used in the early 80s, but it is does not encompass the whole of TPS. . . In 1989, John Krafcik came up with “Lean.” As it caught on, however, it was gradually drained of its TPS content and replaced with VSMs and “Kaizen events,” while implementers continued to believe that it was fundamentally TPS, with improvements. . . The most popular “Chinese” dish in the US is General Tso’s chicken, which is unknown in China. It is reasonably harmless for cuisine, but the problem with Lean is these watered-down and distorted implementations failed to deliver the expected improvements.
6. No More Management by Tradeoffs by Bill Waddell. “In a nutshell, traditional accounting presents management with tradeoffs: Which will it be? A or B? You can have high cost or poor quality; you can have lots of inventory or long customer lead times; pay people well or have high profits … pick one or the other but you can’t have both. Lean thinking is really just a rejection of accounting trade off thinking. We want both – and we know how to have both.”
5. Kaizen: Throat Scopes and Applesauce by Mark Graban. “A common theme across the departments we visited was that managers rarely say no to ideas. Saying no discourages people. Possible improvements are proven out (or disproven) through testing and practice (following the PDSA cycle of Plan, Do, Study, Adjust). Managers do occasionally say “no” if an idea would violate regulations or other guidelines. But, they then work together to find a different idea that would solve their problem.”
4. Three Challenges for Lean Management: The Role of Creativity, The Removal of Silos, and a Better Understanding of the Voice of Customer by Daniel Jones. “I am impressed by the progress lean has made over the past couple of decades: not only has it taught us what respect for people means and given us the tools to improve our processes; it has also helped us to understand what the role of leadership should be in a company that aspires to change. . . But there is much more to do, and lots of questions that remain unanswered. With this in mind, I would like to discuss three pressing challenges that the lean community must address:”
3. NVLLIVS IN VERBA by Bruce Hamilton. “In many cases, we have led the horse to water but he is still thirsting for the truth. The idea of direct observation continues to be foreign to many managers who feel that division of labor dictates they get their information second hand, massaged, summarized and homogenized. Change leaders would do well to remind managers of the motto of the Royal Society, the seat of modern science and philosophy: “Nullius in verba” – a Latin expression meaning “take nobody’s word for it.” This gold standard of objectivity encouraged scientific thinkers not to let status quo politics and prevailing beliefs affect their thinking. If we are truly seeking a culture change to our organizations we need to encourage the same thinking from our leaders.”
2. Cars, CT Scans and Cashiers: The Failure of Lean by Matt Elson. “Over and over again, we see the over-reliance on tools and events not only as ways to teach, but to “accelerate” making improvements. Both are highly doubtful. People don’t learn things from listening to a speaker or reading a reference book or watching a PowerPoint presentation. And things are certainly not improved in these theoretical environments. At the very best, participants should expect to walk out with more questions than before! Why? These kinds of discreet events, books, tools are easily “saleable” by the lean consulting industry. 5S event? No problem! Value Stream Mapping event? Yup, do that too. Lean certification? Absolutely…what belt colour would you like?”
Please do take the time to read this week’s Friday Favorites in its entirety. We should realize that we are all leaders of the Lean movement, and we all play a very important part in maintaining integrity to the core values of “real lean”. I urge everyone involved in the practice of lean or TPS to commit to the policy statement outlined in the following article . . . or better yet, create one of your own to set the lean efforts of your organization on a foundation of ‘Respect for People’. We can do better!
1. Leading without Respect by Bob Emiliani. “Whatever has been done by leaders of the Lean movement to denounce Fake Lean has not been nearly enough. There is a long, long history of managers laying off workers as a result of continuous improvement. This is not a secret. It is the normal outcome. Over the last 25 years, Fake Lean has likely displaced a million or so workers in the United States, and more globally. That’s not the reward employees expect for their hard work. The inability of the leading figures in the Lean community to powerfully support this fundamental improvement over conventional management, from the very start, is pitiful.”
Have a good weekend, friends!