Monday, July 13, 2020

Beware INITIATIVES

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Like most people, I went to business and engineering school with the best intentions - get a better job, learn interesting stuff, become a better manager and so on.

But we pick up more than we bargain for - including dysfunctional mental models, which I've written about at length.

We begin to believe that, because we are so smart and well-educated, we can manage from a distance.

And the corollaries:
  1. What can front line workers possible teach us?

  2. Improvement means head office INITIATIVES dreamed up by people -- just like us!

Result?

Endless INITIATIVES stream out of head office.

They crowd out real work and often crush our managers and team members.

Everywhere, I see good people struggling under the weight of actual work plus the funny work head office insists on.

Executives are like crows - they like shiny things.


Here's some advice:
  1. Resist the temptation

  2. Put the shiny things on a wall in the Executive metrics room

  3. Look at them occasionally, but don't do anything

  4. When the organization has some "white space", pull one off the wall and look at it

Then put it back and forget about it.

Here's a reflection point:

At our old Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant - we never had INITIATIVES

We had tough performance targets set through Strategy Deployment, and the expectation that we'd figure out root causes & countermeasures.

Result: we focused entirely on making the day's production and improving our management system.

We were free to balance continuous improvement with breakthrough.

We owned our management system.

Best,

Pascal


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

Point, Flow & System Improvement
Andon – Putting Quality at the Forefront
Lean Outside the Factory - Reverse Magic!
The Beauty of Making Things



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