July 29, 2014

So what if it’s important?

office_work_by_linni_fight
Share via email

I wish I had a nickel for every time some new initiative was rolled out, sometimes with mandatory attendance at grandiose presentations proclaiming the utter importance of the initiative to the future survival of the company. If I did have a nickel for every one of those, I’m certain to have a whole lot of nickels.

Unfortunately, asserting that the reason for change is important violates the Fat Smoker principle, as I like to call it, which was a term coined by David Maister. Essentially, it is the awareness that although we know what the problem is, we rarely address it, no because we don’t know what the right thing to do is, but because in order to get to something good we must first go through something difficult. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Beware the surge

Storm Surge by jedidogbert
Share via email

I have witnessed or been a part of multiple process improvement efforts – whether they are small in nature and affect only a few people, or large, transformational endeavors designed to reshape the culture of an organization, if not its entire business model. Some of them succeed, some of them fail, all of them go through a period of a quick, immediate up-tick in performance that looks and feels like success. A while later, however, there is a let-down.

I suspect, however, that the problem when it comes to facilitating adoption isn’t so much one of driving people to the intended outcome, but in allowing people to change the outcome. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Do you ever just get tired of it all?

burned out
Share via email

Article upon article, book upon book, for somewhere around 30 years or more, telling us how to make the workplace……better. Still, the consultants and gurus keep pumping out information, more and more effort comes around to create change in the hearts and minds of business leaders, and still we’re stuck in the quagmire.

Yes, I realize that I am one of those who keep pumping out thoughts on how to change things in my own little corner of the blogosphere. Which is why I have to ask – of anyone who has ever endeavored to change anything – do you ever just plain feel like you’re banging your head against the wall? [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Wiggle room – The no-panic guide to staff development

tight spot
Share via email

If you do know what can hurt and what can’t, then you know you can give your people interesting projects that will help to benefit the business, but not destroy it as they struggle.

It’s as simple as having extra capacity on a bottle neck or schedule slack in your project – you have wiggle room…always. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

What if what’s in their best interest……doesn’t interest them?

salad
Share via email

A very good post appeared on the FastCompany site yesterday, in which author Ginny Whitelaw declared, “Empathy is the most powerful leadership tool.”

There’s not a lot to disagree with in the article. It is, essentially, about Covey’s “seek first to understand” and represents both a practical, and I would say moralistic, way to approach your interactions with others. Seeing things from their point of view is a good thing, of course. It helps you to understand the other person better, so that you can align your message with their concerns. It’s a practical exercise for influencing others in any walks of life where negotiation, compromise, and change are necessary. It also indicates that you have a measure of respect for the other person’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs and opinions.

Unfortunately, there are times when people simply don’t act in a way that is consistent with what is in their best interests. Especially not in the long term. It’s as simple as David Meister’s Fat Smoker principle – you have to go through something difficult to get to something good, so change is hard and rarely happens. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Management Innovation Exchange, and the weekly rewind

Think Differently
Share via email

I’m not certain how many of the usual readers of this blog are aware of the Management Innovation Exchange. According to their site:

What is the MIX?

An open innovation project…

The Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) is an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century. The premise: while “modern” management is one of humankind’s most important inventions, it is now a mature technology that must be reinvented for a new age.

The spur for a revolution in management… [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Unlimited vacation, unlimited responsibility….for management

working outdoors
Share via email

The true burden for making unlimited vacation work rests not on the workers for knowing what’s coming down the pipe and, therefore, which days they can take off. The burden rests on low-level managers who are aware of not just the workflow – but also have an emotional connection to the individuals placed within their area of control. The role of management in an environment that supports unlimited vacation is a crucial one. It necessitates that managers have a handle on the value stream and the ability to establish multiple workaround paths and redundancies to ensure work continues no matter who is in the office or on the shop floor. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

More on kids and the wisdom gained from teaching baseball

Share via email

So, it struck me, that when we interview candidates or assign people to tasks based on what they tell us about themselves, we are really only going on that person’s interpretation – which may be very different from our own. Different professions have attempted to make the understanding of the job standardized by instituting certifications and licenses, however, there is still a great deal of variation in the ability to understand and implement those standards. There is still one universal truth – the definition of what constitutes “good” is often developed after the fact and is done so according to subjective interpretations by someone with a need to save face. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

An All or Nothing Attitude Usually Gets You Nothing

Share via email

TweetA big trap in leading major improvements is to set massive and sweeping goals with no intermediate steps or sub-goals along the way. Here’s the trap. Because these goals are so massive, it ends up taking forever to just get it started or to generate any measurable results. Consequently, people see little or no progress, they get [...]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

How do you go to the Gemba when the Gemba is anywhere and everywhere?

Share via email

I have a dilemma. Since I have been blogging about ROWE and contemplating the virtual workspace, it is at odds with my affinity for Lean Thinking and, especially, the concepts of going to Gemba and Leader Standard Work. If process excellence is facilitated by having Leaders go to where the work takes place, how can this same process excellence be gained when workers are at home in their pajamas, banging away on laptops?
[Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner