Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency

Peer coaching with a 2-hour string of Liberating Structures (@KeithMcCandless)

It’s not that often that we get an article on Liberating Structures. Here’s an interesting one!

Liberating Structures are 33 easy-to-use structures for interaction in groups of any size. They enhance relational coordination and trust…

Source: Peer coaching with a 2-hour string of Liberating Structures

#Lean doesn’t scale according to @Michael_Balle. I disagree (a bit) #leanenfrance29

June 1st, 2018 Posted in Change, Lean Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today, it was (program here). Excellent conference as usual, check later for the slides on their website.

In one of his clarifications given during the conference, Michael Ballé said that “Lean doesn’t scale” despite us (consultants, whether internal or external, or CEOs) repeatedly looking for rapid scaling of the results.

It’s unusual, but today, I felt like I have to disagree. A bit.

Of course, solutions don’t scale. They’ve been grown by the people of a specific place (gemba), for that place and for that very same people. Every context is different, be it, of course, another company or another service in your own company. Taiichi Ohno himself is said to having had to struggle a lot each time he went from one line to another (we’re different, it doesn’t apply to use, it can’t work here, etc.)

So, can the Lean tools scale and replicate? Well, yes and no.

  • Can they replicate? Surely and it’s been written in numerous books. It’s probably also part of the problem why Lean struggles that much to enter in new companies: because people try to replicate the tools (for the solutions they bring) as detailed in the book. But replicating the tools doesn’t guarantee replication of the results, for you’ll surely fail to develop the people while trying to enforce the tools. It’s not about the tools (or worse, their results), it’s about the people (or better, the thinking process in the people’s heads).
  • Can they scale? Well, we’ve seen Lean tools be used in other places than the shop floor, like in offices or in the board in order to develop and follow a strategy (think Strategic A3, problem solving A3s, etc.) which can have a leveraging effect (after all, the hierarchical pyramid exists precisely for this in the first place: to leverage the impact of the (wo)man at the top). Does it mean they can replicate the results from one division to the others in a snap? Of course not. To keep with the A3 example, what’s important in the A3 is not the paper, it’s the thinking process that’s behind it. And if you can transmit information, you can’t transmit knowledge: that one has to be grown by each and every mind on its own, based on its personal experiences.

So, back to my title: does Lean scale?

If you mean swiftly replicating the tools from one place to another as if it were an identical place, hell no. No place is identical. Even two identical production lines are different, because they are operated by different people, using equipment with different levels of wearing, hence with different faults, breaks and problems (even if they’re similar).

But what you can replicate are the tools, not for the solutions they bring, but for the thinking patterns they’ve repeatedly proven to foster in those who use them properly (hint: keyword here). The trick is that, in Lean management, when the wise shows the moon, the fool looks at it! (S/he should look at the wise and understand why the moon is pointed at. Why the moon and not something else?)

So, how one does scale Lean? Obviously, by replicating the moon-pointing wise men, the senseï!

Lean is not about improving the results, nor is it about improving the process (which I thought up to recently). Lean is about improving the people that operate the process (remember the Toyota saying about “making things is making people or, in japanese, Mono tsukuri wa, hito tsukuri?). Indeed, this is what Michael reminded us about during that very conference. And probably in all previous ones as well.

And if you want to scale the “improving the people” part, you need to grow more coaches or senseïs able to foster Lean thinking in people. Which is precisely what Lean Coaching is all about (or Toyota Kata), starting at the CEO level coaching his subordinates, themselves coaching their own subordinates, up to shop floor collaborators.

So, of course, it’s a slow process. So if by “scaling Lean” you thought achieving quicker results by way of bypassing the “developing people” part (which is long), of course you can’t (well, you can on a short time frame, but as soon as the coach turns round the corner, performance withers).

But if by scaling you mean improving your impact onto the number of people you can develop in a time interval, then of course you can! But not shortly. Yet, it’s still more efficient and effective than (wrongly) replicating the tools and they quick results without having grown the accompanying mental model and having disappearing a few months or years later because nobody really understood what the real story was all about.


There are only 2 possible causes for #RootCauseAnalysis and it’s very close to #TWI from #Lean

May 3rd, 2018 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A friend of mine just reported a very interesting insight from a meeting he had with the japanese man (sorry didn’t took note of his name) who invented QRQC or Quality Circles. I’m posting this here as the guy doesn’t have a blog of his own.

The two possible root causes are:

  • failure to instruct properly, which is what TWI Job Instruction is about
  • failure to setup your process properly, which at first the japanese man presented as a bad FMEA.

And what’s in a FMEA? 1) Overall steps of a process 2) Key points and 3) risk analysis

Can you see how close this is to a TWI Job Breakdown Sheet with the 1) steps 2) key points and 3) justifications of the key points (where the justification is a risk mitigation technique in itself to ensure memorization of the key points)?

So basically, you end up with the only two possible root causes of any problem :

  • bad Job Breakdown Sheet (description and organization of the job)
  • bad Job Instruction (instruction of that job)



Réflexion sur les monnaies complémentaires et le lien avec la Nature

October 4th, 2017 Posted in P2P, Permaculture Tags: , , , , , ,

Je viens de lire un article intéressant (en anglais) sur l’initiative Hullcoins (Hull est une ville d’Angleterre).

En y réfléchissant, je m’interrogeai sur quoi faire d’une monnaie locale s’il n’y a pas de possibilité de passerelle vers les monnaies habituelles (euros, etc.). Or on sait qu’à un moment, les besoins de base (nourriture, logement, habillement…) sont aujourd’hui achetés par ces €uros. Donc, la seule possibilité d’en être indépendant me semble de produire sa propre nourriture (la Terre ne demande pas de paiement en retour, encore qu’au vu du dérèglement climatique en cours, on se dit qu’on devrait payer en retour, au moins avec du EarthCare) ou fabriquer ses propres objets… à partir de la Nature également – c’est à dire sans dépendre d’une personne qui attend un paiement en euros.

Finalement, ces monnaies, pour être totalement indépendantes, semble ne pouvoir fonctionner qu’adossées à quelque chose d’abondant (la Nature peut produire bien plus que ce qu’on lui donne (en permaculture, vous plantez une graine, vous en retirez plein de nourriture et des centaines, voire des milliers, d’autres graines)).

De plus et de manière assez intéressante, plus vous tripatouillez la Nature (avec force tracteurs, bêchages, etc.) plus vous dégradez cette abondance. De la même manière, si vous ne mettez pas en place des boucles de feedback, vous détruisez également l’abondance (compostage, toilettes sèches / retour des déchets à la Nature…)

Par ailleurs, un circuit court plus proche de l’auto-fabrication et du DIY permet de mieux cerner l’exploitation des ressources et de s’intéresser à leur renouvelabilité (donc d’éviter leur disparition).

C’est amusant car cela milite pour les petits communautés auto-suffisantes autant que possible, les grands Communs étant gérés par des regroupements de petits communautés afin de réduire les coûts. Ca rejoint donc les travaux de p.m. détaillés dans Bolo’bolo et Voisinages et communs. Ou les sujets d’intérêts de la P2P Foundation et les Communs.

Article on the 12 principles of #permaculture and how #sociocracy enhances them

It’s a nice read over there:

I’ve written on how to combine Sociocracy with Permaculture’s 7 levels, zones and design method (OBREDIM) here, although it’s in french only for now: GDP · GitBook (GDP is french for Dynamic Governance based on Permaculture).


#Permaculture as a form of #governance: initial ideas

I’ve been circling (!) into governance ideas (Holacracy, Sociocracy and Sociocracy 3.0) and Permaculture, recently. My takes on these are:

  • Holacracy is well structured but quite complicated to implement
  • Sociocracy is way simpler but leaves initial practitioner with a blank page syndrom making them needing to reinvent most of their work
  • Sociocracy 3.0 is modulable but complex to start with

And then I pondered recently on permaculture and management, and then onto governance and sociocracy, and discovered that you could use permaculture for governance (with bits of consent and circles inside, and double-linking and elections without candidates being nice additions). I still haven’t had the time to detail my ideas, but it mostly goes like this:

  • planning could use the OBREDIM (observation, borders, resources, evaluation, design, implementation, maintenance) permaculture design approach to structure issues
  • the circles (and sub-circles) are thought along the line of permaculture zoning like below. This also goes for analyzing issues and ensuring they’re properly contributing to the organizational ecosystem they belong to:

    • 0 = you,
    • 1 = the circle
    • 2 = the community/organization
    • 3 = the wider environment/ecosystem/bioregion where the organization resides
    • 4 = the nation
    • 5 = the world/Earth
  • governance could benefit from the seven levels, with the following correspondance :
    1. canopy: strategy definition
    2. low trees: roadmaps, tactics, policies
    3. shrubs: operational stuff: projects and actions
    4. herbaceous: nutrients: what are the recurring resources that will feed the circle?
    5. rhizosphere (roots): digestion: how can learning be reinjected into the organizational culture?
    6. soil surface (ground cover): protection: how can we maintain and preserve our culture (all the while nourishing it)?
    7. vertical layer (vines): interconnections with other levels and circles
  • and synchronization meetings (triage in Holacracy) or action planning benefit from the 12 principles to ensure the actions contribute the most effectively to the organization (do you create no waste? do you tap into renewable energy from people (ie in their strengths, not aside from then, etc. See my other posts on that)

That’s mostly it! When decisions need to be taken, you resort to consent after having clarified the issue using OBREDIM at all relevant levels (plants don’t achieve consensus, their behaviors mostly resemble consent to me). Elections are without candidates (plants don’t propose themselves, they each interact and structural coupling make some stand up given the local conditions). Circles are double-linked because it increases the communication channel variety through which complexity can express itself (the complexity is at most that of the communication channel). And of course a circle is the local ecosystem around a specific topic.

That way of organizing stuff also embeds elements from Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. But I’ll let that proof as an exercise for the reader 😉

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