I chatted with Rick recently to discuss his assertion that sustained Lean success is driven by a handful of critical behaviors by managers at every level of the organization. Here are some of his comments:
Unlike so many management fads (reengineering, quality circles, etc.) that have come and gone over the decades, Lean owes its endurance to the fact that it benefits all stakeholders -- customers, owners/funders, and employees. Waste doesn’t help anyone. Unfortunately, I believe a lot of organizations embark on a Lean expedition underestimating the behavior changes required of managers at every level.
Although important, the ultimate measure of success for any Lean expedition is not how many kaizen events are completed, but rather how many improvements occur outside of formal events. The latter ultimately comes down to creating a place where employees care, where they are willing to expend discretionary effort, and feel competent solving problems and removing waste. Creating that place is almost totally reliant on the behaviors they observe from their leaders day in, day out to ensure:
- Everyone understands the relevance of their work.
- Employees feel appreciated for who they are as well as what they do.
- Pathways for growth are evident.
- Successes (and efforts) are regularly recognized.
- A fair and responsive system exists for dealing with performance issues when they occur.
My goal for the book Working Great! is to provide a simple and useful resource for leader-managers, regardless of their level or experience. I hope to take the mystery out of culture by tying it to the behaviors to which they can hold themselves, and each other, accountable.
What do you think of Richard's points? Does the behavior of leadership at your organization reflect the true goal of the Lean initiative?
Just back from a splendid week in hot, sticky & smart Singapore and the FinTech Festival.
Despite the jet lag, I thought I’d send out a quick note, with more to follow (when I’m vertical again.)
I took in as many Innovation Labs as I could, talked to umpteen start-ups and met splendid developers. I saw the Eight Essential Technologies* in action & gained some sense of what’s here and what’s coming.
The Festival was focused on banking and insurance, but it’s clear that “analogue” industries will be changed at least as much as “digital” industries. (The line between them has been erased, no?)
Consider the TUAS expansion project, which will triple Port of Singapore’s size – (it’s already one of the world’s biggest and best.)
The new port will be a ‘Smart’ port, with digital technology, sensors, automated cranes, driverless vehicles, drones to inspect equipment, and a smart grid. The goal is seamless and efficient port clearance and a 50% cut in turnaround times – (already best in class).
Meanwhile, Maersk and other shipping companies are using Blockchain to create seamless and efficient flow of goods around the world. One focus area is Trade Finance.
The goal is to make a complex, wasteful, error-laden process involving multiple actors (buyer, seller, intermediaries, multiple banks, regulators and insurers) – virtually instantaneous.
FinTech’s effect on people will likely be even more profound.
Prime Minister Modi’s simple and powerful address summarized the effect to date India to date:
- One billion identity cards – which allow people to open bank accounts, and qualify for government services
- One billion new bank accounts – and all that implies (e.g. savings accounts, credit cards, micro-loans, insurance etc.)
- 200 million new micro-loans…
The numbers and implications are awe-inspiring: innumerable people in innumerable small villages across a vast sub-continent will have better lives.
Now they can get paid directly, securely grow their savings, qualify for small loans, insurance and healthcare.
Less waste and hassle; more dignity and choice.
Here’s a deep bow to all the fine people I’ve met. Looking forward to getting to know you all better! Bravo Singapore!
All for now,
What are you doing six months from today? I’ll be kicking off the next installment of the KBJ Anderson Japan Lean Study Trip! Come join me and other passionate lean thinkers from around the world for an amazing week of learning and fun. KBJ Anderson Japan Lean Study Trip – May 12-18, 2019 If you […]
Highlights from the Netherlands with Isao Yoshino A month ago I had fabulous opportunity to go back to the Netherlands for two different events, along Isao Yoshino – my friend, mentor, and now partner in book writing (!) – and now learning trips to Japan (join us in May 2019!) It was a intense and […]
I recently spoke with Brian Kennedy about the book and asked him: “What are reusable visual models and why do they make a difference?” Here is his complete answer:
Each of those three words “reusable visual models" pack a fair bit of meaning. As “models," they are representing knowledge about the real world. They are capturing what we know how to do, what we know is possible, what physics allows. In addition, they are capturing what we are trying to achieve or what value we are trying to deliver. And then they are capturing the cause-and-effect relationships between what we know and what we want.
In complex situations where we must engage people with expertise in different areas to make decisions, having models is helpful, but only if all the stakeholders can understand those models. That’s where the “visual” comes in. We need those models to be visually understandable to people without needing to know specialized notations or languages that are only understood by people in certain fields. It is not good enough to just explain what you put in your model… you need those experts in different areas to really understand the model such that they can critique it and find the holes in it or the bad assumptions in it based on their own area of expertise. Finally, to maximize the benefits of such models, it is obviously best if they are “reusable” in similar situations in the future. For many that means capturing them in a known place that can be searched. Most companies, however, have “lessons learned," “best practices," and other such databases… but they experience very little actual “reuse.”
The first key requirement for “reusability” is that it was useful in the first place -- that your team of collaborating experts was able to use it to make the decisions they needed to make. If the knowledge you capture does not change the decisions you make in the future, then it has no value. So, when you make similar decisions in the future, you should be able to use those models to better make those decisions. That’s where the “set-based” aspect of those models becomes important: the models must be designed to capture the design space not a particular design (a particular point in that design space). It is hard to reuse a design to make the right decisions on a different design trying to satisfy different requirements. But knowledge about the design space -- knowledge about how what you know impacts what you want to achieve that is easily reused when making different decisions about different designs trying to satisfy different requirements -- is what we mean by “reusable." And just to stress that point, note that building “reusable" visual models is not just of value to future projects… it is hugely valuable on THIS project. Because invariably we will learn things over the course of the project -- and requirements and conditions may change -- and thus the decisions may need to change or be re-made. When you re-make those decisions, you want to make them considering all the knowledge you used before PLUS the new knowledge (the changes). That is done most effectively and efficiently with “reusable visual models.”
What do you think of Brian's explanation of these models and how they should be used? Are reusable visual models part of your product development team's process? More information about this technique and the book can be found here: SuccessIsAssured.com
Okay… it’s taken me something like 20 years but I’ve finally connected some dots. Lean thinking works, lean thinking is hard. Here’s why. One of the main themes of my doctoral research, in the previous century, was the “law of […]
I remember when I became a leader and professional supervisor for the first time. I was unsure of what I was really doing, did not have a supervision framework to call on and probably used the "wing it" model for quite a while before I developed the necessary skills, knowledge, and attributes to be a great supervisor and leader. Since then, thank goodness, I have a clear leadership and supervision framework and model that is highly effective.
I think most new supervisors are faced with either nervousness or trepidation when they move into the role of a supervisor or leader. Often, supervisors are not adequately trained for the role or they find themselves in a supervisory role because it is an expectation of the role description. Then, there are those professionals who step into a supervisory or leadership role for the very first time. So, what are the most common mistakes that new supervisors often make?
New supervisors do not often have effective supervision and mentoring themselves. It is crucial to have an experienced professional who has been a leader or who is in a leadership role to guide and develop you as a new supervisor.
Another common mistake that new supervisors make is that they do not attend supervision or leadership training when they commence in the role or throughout their leadership career. Find quality training can set you on the right path of what supervisory skills and knowledge base you need to provide effective supervision.
In addition, new supervisors often mistake what management and supervision is all about. It is crucial to know the difference between what line management and professionally supervising staff is for high performance outcomes. Using the PASE model of supervision (based on integrating the style and role of the supervisor, different questioning frameworks, and functional analysis, as well as ensuring that staff feels supported in the workplace) provides leaders and supervisors with a clear understanding of the difference and supports supervisors in their dual role of line manager and supervisor.
Finally, new supervisors do not engage an effective process and framework in which to lead and supervise staff. Understanding the benefits and purpose of supervision, defining the boundaries and understanding what outcomes are required are all important aspects of being an effective supervisor.
Being clear on your intention and purpose as a new supervisor will set you on the path for being a great supervisor and your will achieve great results and be well respected in your role.
What do you think of Tracey's points? Are the mistakes she details common to the new supervisors in your organization?