Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Aikido & Lean – It’s All the Same

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Great to be practicing Aikido again. After a class, I’m exhausted and often aching, but full of energy.

The Japanese call it Ki, which very roughly means life force, spirit, energy, motivation, and ‘spirit of movement’.

“When your body makes good movements, you feel good!” Kawahara-sensei used to say.

KI is close to the Western concept of Flow, which means complete absorption, and energised focus and enjoyment in the process of what you’re doing.

At times I’m so engrossed in the technique, I lose myself. Mushin, the Japanese call it - ‘no mind’.

Flow was one of our core goals at our old Toyota factory (TMMC). Flow of automobiles, materials, people, and information. In fact, TMMC had Seven Flows, which our senseis helped us understand and improve.

(They didn’t use such words, of course.)

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work in many industries including auto manufacturing, consumer goods, healthcare, software development, financial services, construction, and universities.

Each industry has characteristic flows. It’s the sensei’s job to help our colleagues see them, so we can fix them.

The great martial arts masters describe how the arts converge. There is an underlying unity of thought in Karate, Judo, Taiichi, Jujitsu, Aikido, Taekwondo…

Similarly, there’s an underlying unity in management, which the great senseis uncover and teach.

Each of the industries noted above look very different on the surface. But over time, you’ll begin to notice the same patterns.

If I may mix metaphors, the same chess positions arise. The pieces and board may look different, but it’s all the same.

Our job is to recognize the different positions, and to help our colleagues make good moves in our (ceaseless) pursuit of Purpose.

Best regards,

Pascal



In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

The Power of Purpose
Why is laughter important in business?
Target, Actual, Please Explain
Success is the Enemy of Future Success


Monday, June 24, 2024

The Power of Purpose

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you know why." Craig Forman

Great piece on the Power of Purpose.

Nothing beats it - not talent, courage or luck.

Talent & courage, exercised in the wrong direction, are aimless.

(At worst, they can be destructive. Who needs a talented, courageous terrorist?)

And Luck generally evens out in the long term.

But Purpose is Polaris, the star by which we navigate, which forever pulls us forward.

Some people are lucky enough to know their life's purpose very young.

(My late father-on-law, the great Dr. Robert Guselle, knew at the age of five that he'd be a physician.)

Others have happy epiphanies, like Starbuck's CEO, Howard Shultz. "I'm going to bring European coffee culture to the world!"

Most of us struggle though, and when we figure it out, it's a happy day indeed.

The same applies, of course, to organizations.

Defining Purpose remains the senior leader's Job One, (followed by "What do we believe in?").

What's your Organization's Purpose?

Best regards,

Pascal



In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

Why is laughter important in business?
Target, Actual, Please Explain
Success is the Enemy of Future Success
There is No Right Answer in Strategy


Monday, June 10, 2024

Why is laughter important in business?

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Because it makes things small and personal -- and thereby helps to dispel Big Company Disease.

Big companies take themselves seriously. Laughter punctures the balloon and drenches things in the light of sanity.

For organizations big & small, I'd say "embrace your inner smallness".

I give a talk called "Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Greek Restaurant"

People seem to like it.

Greek restaurants are the epitome of small, fast and funny.

Small and fast always beats big and slow.

That's it.

Pascal



In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

Target, Actual, Please Explain
Success is the Enemy of Future Success
There is No Right Answer in Strategy
Content Follows Form or Acting Your Way to New Thinking


Monday, May 27, 2024

Target, Actual, Please Explain

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Are We Ahead or Behind? And if so, why?

Perhaps the most basic Lean questions & an important test in any gemba.

Can the zone leader articulate the production/provision target & actual, and explain any gaps?


Or does she equivocate, and say, "Well, it's in the computer."

If the latter, Job One is to clear the anaesthetizing fog using production analysis boards and other forms of visual management.

It's surprising how often the computer is wrong.

And writing the hour's target & actual and the reason for shortfalls brings unexpected benefits.

Such hand-written boards are human, and therefore engaging.

Computer screens, despite often impressive graphics, tend to put people to sleep. (Just more TV...)

So practice the above mantra in your gemba walks.

Be brief, be clear & be honest.

Best,

Pascal



In case you missed our last few blogs... please feel free to have another look…

Success is the Enemy of Future Success
There is No Right Answer in Strategy
Content Follows Form or Acting Your Way to New Thinking
Value & Waste at the Imperial Grill