The New Manager – Leading People, Teams and Processes New manager training is a challenge for every company. I have just completed and published a new course to fulfill the need of training new managers (or those hoping to be) in the essential people and team management skills. It is based on principles and practices of lean culture. A lot of the material in this course is similar to my Team Leadership course, however, every lecture is new and hopefully […]
For the past several months I have been focused on completing two related projects. Both focused on the development of coaching skills and your capacity to provide coaching to every leader and team. One is the publication of a book, The Lean Coach. The second is the launch of a new online course, Coaching Leaders for Success. To change the culture of an organization you must change the habits of leaders and teams. Habits rarely change without the assistance of a coach. The Necessity of Coaching Most […]
We live in a world of standardization. Lean manufacturing or Toyota Production System is necessarily based on standardization, repeatable processes, identical parts, designed for ease of installation and reliability. But, what if every automobile was not the same as every other one and had its own story to tell? What if every car had a completely unique history and no two cars had the same parts? What if there were no replacement parts – no Autozone or NAPA, or dealership parts department? Welcome to Cuba!
Many organizations are not gaining the potential benefits of teams in the workplace due to misunderstandings about team autonomy and self-control. This is a critical issue in organization design and leadership today. Let’s clarify both the benefits and the determinants of team autonomy.
If you go through my Team Leadership (Team Kata) course you will quickly be confronted with the strong suggestion that every manager and every team have a coach to lead them through the steps of lean implementation and to provide feedback to the leader and team. But, you ask, where are we going to get all these coaches? Here is a clear answer.
The world of corporate training and development has yet to fully embrace the new reality of technology, online resources, and the need to integrate learning into the daily habits of all managers and team members. This requires a deliberate map of the learning process, eliminating waste, and breaking down silos.
Implementing lean management, or any other change in the culture of organizations, requires a zoom lens to see the different levels of complexity required. Toyota Kata, lean tools, and other methods operate at some focal lengths and not at others. The well informed manager will have the ability to understand complexity and to use simple methods when appropriate. If you are photographer with only a 300mm lens you will miss a lot of great photos.
Neuroscience now confirms why both learning and motivation on the part of employees is optimized when the ratio of positive to negative interactions with managers lean toward four positives to one negative. Higher rates of negative interactions reduce learning, increase fear, increase avoidance behavior, rather than problem-solving and experimentation.
I developed my Team Kata Udemy.com training course to provide a solution to training a large number of people, self-paced and over an extended period of time. But, coaching is essential to the learning process. Here are examples of the coaching kata that follow well proven methods of behavior based training.
The problem for most organizations developing lean management is two fold: first, how to change the culture in a significant way, in a reasonable period of time; and second, how to provide the needed training to a large number of people in a consistent and quality manner. Team Kata is an effort to solve both of those problems.
One aspect of lean that has not been given enough attention, in my opinion, is how lean is an organization wide system of motivation that creates a high performance culture. Too many lean implementations suffer from a focus on problem solving skills, but a failure to attend to the system or culture of motivation. Too many rely on the “they oughtta wanna” assumption which usually results in disappointment.
A highly motivated work force is not an accident. It is not the result of being in one part of the country or another, have having a union or non-union. It is the result of systematic efforts on the part of management to design and improve a system of motivation. The most effective systems optimize both an ennobling purpose, the social bonds of strong teamwork, and the availability of individual incentives. They all contribute unique elements to a holistic system of motivation.
Healthy families in which there is high trust result in high academic performance. This is “family social capital.” Similarly, the team at the first level is the foundation of social capital in the organization. This social capital is a key factor in generating continuous improvement and achieving high job satisfaction and retention of employees.
As companies implement lean management the responsibility of leaders is critical to successful change management. All significant change in the culture of the organization requires strong and dynamic leadership and this must come from not only the single leader, but the leadership team as a cohesive model for the organization.
When we think of lean our mind first goes to the workings of the Toyota factory. However, the principles of eliminating waste and achieving interruption free flow may be found at an even more profound level in the design of Apple’s breakthrough products and the intuition of Steve Jobs. Reading Walter Isaacson’s recent and excellent biography of Jobs I am struck by the intuitive sense of lean, of flow, of simplicity, that he demanded from both the aesthetics and the technical workings of every product. You would be hard pressed to find an executive with a better sense of the interaction between the social and the technical.
Many leaders worry that their lean implementation efforts are not sustainable and they are too often right! Twenty years ago I worked with the Merck Cherokee Pharmaceuticals plant to design a team based organization. It has sustained over the past twenty years. Of course, it has been modified and evolved. But it has sustained. I know of dozens of cases of significant and positive change that have been sustained. I also know of dozens of cases in which they have not been sustained. The reasons are not complicated.