Monday, February 7, 2011

Lean helping people stay connected

By Pascal Dennis,

Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment has a few parts to it that aren’t well known. One of them is to tell the strategy as a story. Not just a bland story but as an interesting, compelling, persuasive story. Storytelling is a great method for teaching and for engaging employees. Imagine people sitting on the edge of their seats leaning forward listening intently to the story of a company’s strategy. Contrast that with the image of an endless series of PowerPoint slides that go on and on with people talking blah-blah-blah. True PowerPoint junk.

Storytelling forces dialogue and creates an emotional connection between storyteller and receiver. That connection enables people to take on challenges more willingly and more rapidly. Employees will also take on more risk since they had a part in developing the strategy.

It’s key that the story reveal the essence of the strategy and reinforce the values and brand of the organization. Another tip is to avoid talking too long and rambling on. The story should be told in less than 10 minutes. Less is more! Avoid painting too rosy a picture in the story. Employees will see through it and the story will lose credibility.

It’s incredible to watch teams deploy strategy in a series of stories followed by an intense dialogue on the merits of the various parts of the story. All of which occurs in less than half an hour. Talk about a Lean process.

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