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Finding local roots for #Lean – Everywhere (@mbaudin reblog): What about here and there too? #solutionfocus

I found this nice piece of Michel Baudin regarding finding local roots for Lean to improve acceptance of Lean: Finding local roots for Lean – Everywhere | Michel Baudin’s Blog.

But then I wondered about having people “discover” that they already invented some Lean principles themselves? Maybe they just didn’t noticed or maintained them consistently over time?

This is what the Strengh-based approach to Lean is (well, at least using the Solution Focused way).

  • When have you seen this process improving? What did you do that contributed to that improvement? (finding improvements actions that work for the people here; the improvement part of “continuout improvement”)
  • How do you manage actions that you must do repeatedly? (finding ways to remember to to actions all the time; the continuous part of “continuous improvement”)
  • When have your work been easier to do? More interesting? What did you do to help create these conditions? (findings ways to improve the work that work for the people doing it)
  • Tell me about a time where your customers where satisfied with the product or services you delivered. What was it? How did you do it? (same kind of question, but for quality)
  • etc.

 

#Lean #coaching without resistance: the paper! (#solutionfocus and #motivationalinterviewing)

I finally assembled my blog posts regarding my applying of Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to the process of coaching an CEO to some Lean management behaviors, while trying to avoid any change resistance that might occur.

The result is the attached PDF document that I release below. Enjoy and leave me comments!

Also available from here: Lean Coaching without Resistance EN v1.0

How to address Maintenance & Relapse stages of Lean change – #6 (and last) in SFMI #Lean series

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Photo Credit: U.S. Army via Compfight

This article is #6 and last in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intended to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

#3 in series helped reinforce the contemplation stage.

#4 in series was about supporting the preparation stage.

#5 in series dealt with the action stage.

This article deals with the two last stages of change: that of Maintenance and Relapse!

Background on Maintenance and Relapse

During the last episode, we’ve seen how to help the CEO sustain his Action stage mainly by making him reflect on the results he got and on how he planned to continue to improve.

Or course, Lean is a journey, not an end in itself. So there’s no final learning on the part of the CEO. Yet, when it comes to his behavior, there are some new ones that must be put in place and maintained once he found that they worked (meaning they induced continuous improvement initiatives and thriving from the employees). Occasionally, the manager could fall back into relapse. The coach must then know how to help him get back on track to what worked well. Here’s how.

During this stage, the role of the coach is to support the CEO in maintaining his own successful behaviors by:

  • supporting and encouraging the behavior changes already done
  • talking about possible trouble spots and developing plans to manage relapse triggers

Of course, in case of relapse (falling back in command & control mode, telling what to do (giving solutions), forgetting to following-through with improvements, etc.), the coach has a clear role to play as well:

  • addressing the relapse, but without adding to the feeling of shame that could exist
  • assessing and discussing what went wrong and remembering what worked well instead, to reuse that

Maintenance

By now, the CEO should have clearly identified what works for him in modelling Lean behaviors that foster employee thriving and continuous improvement. So, what’s important is that the coach supports him and help him put in place triggers to detect relapse and take action should this occur. I propose some questions below in the Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focus way used in the preceding posts of the series.

  • Things seem to be running almost by themselves now. What are you doing that allows that? What else?
  • How did you manage to get there (show the current successful behaviors) despite the rest of the organization not initially being supportive? [develop his sense of autonomy]
  • What have you learn about yourself? What else? [develop his sense of competence]
  • What do your current behaviors bring to management and to the employees? What pleases them? What else?
  • What are the results from the customers points of view? From the stakeholders?
  • How did you manage to achieve all of these? What else? What else?
  • How do you feel?

Preparing for relapse:

  • Old habits die hard: have you witnessed yourself falling back already? How did you noticed? How did you felt about it? How did you manage to get back on the train? How did you felt then? 
  • What else?
  • What positive effect had your getting back on track with Lean behaviors on the employees? How did they helped/supported you? What else?
  • On a scale from 0 (no confidence) to 10 (totally confident), how do you rate your confidence in maintaining your effective Lean behaviors in the future? How come such a number? Why not a lower number? What strengths do you have that support your maintaining your Lean behaviors? What small step do you see yourself doing tomorrow to start moving to the next level on the scale? What else?

As usual with Motivational Interviewing, practice OARSOpen-ended questionsAffirm positive talk & behaviors (these are already embedded in the proposed questions above), Reflect what’s said (emphasizing success) and Summarize often.

Relapse

First of all, it’s important to stress that relapse is unavoidable. It happens, this is normal, and things can be done. During the maintenance dialogues above, some tokens were identified that support the CEO into his Lean behaviors and to get back on track should he had fallen off the train. Still, the CEO may wish to see the coach because some things aren’t going as expected, or the coach may witness some regress during one of the visit.

Motivational Interviewing addresses these situations by digging into the problem and trying to understand it. Since we’re trying to make use of Solution Focus at the same time, we’re introducing a twist here by building again a platform and helping the CEO re-imagine his Future Perfect, then help him identify what works that he can re-use to get back on the Lean train.

Here are some proposal questions:

  • I noticed that some things weren’t as your showed them to me last time. What happened? how do you link the situation to your own behavior?
  • What would you want the situation to be instead? What would that mean for your corresponding behaviors?
  • How did you managed to demonstrate these behaviors in the past? What worked in the past to sustain the behaviors despite the environment?
  • Aide from the current problem, what’s working? What’s giving you hope for the future? How do you manage to sustain these other aspects? How could that help you get back to your preferred future as far as the problem is concerned?
  • On a scale from 0 (inappropriate Lean behavior) to 10 (ideal Lean behavior you’d like to demonstrate with respect to the current relapse), where are you now? What helped you not fall down a lower number?  What else? What small step will you make tomorrow to start moving to N+1? What else?
  • How will you see you’re back on train?

Conclusion

Here we are. In this series of articles I tried to address the necessary change of behavior a CEO should demonstrate to move from his current behaviors (at the source of the current situation of his organization) to Lean behaviors more appropriate for an organization embodying Lean:

  • thriving management and employees,
  • exhilarating service to customers,
  • and delighted stakeholders.

I proposed to introduce the necessary changes by making use of:

  • Motivational Interviewing: a way to dialogue with someone to as to make him or her move through some stages of change without any raising of habitual “change resistance”. This is done by raising awareness in the coachee that he is autonomous in his decision to change or not, he is indeed competent in doing the change and by installing a sense of relatedness between the coach and the coachee where the coach models prosocial behaviors and embodies a posture (behaviors) that can be replicated by the CEO toward his employees. Five strategies are used for that purpose: 1) expressing empathy, 2) developing discrepancy between what the CEO wants and where he is, 3) avoiding any argumentation and 4) rolling with resistance and finally 5) supporting self-efficacy of the CEO.
  • Solution Focus: a change approach that builds a platform out of a problematic situation, based on what works nonetheless. Then the coachees is encouraged to envision a Preferred Future. Then, the coach helps the coachee identify tokens that support his already working behaviors and the smallest possible steps that could be taken immediately to improve the situation toward the vision.

I hope I have been clear enough in my description of this endeavor. Any experiment you might make with this proposed approach, I’d be delighted to know what happened and what worked. Feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below or through any of my social entry points at my Google Profile.

How to address Action stage of Lean change – #5 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #5 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intended to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

#3 in series helped reinforce the contemplation stage.

#4 in series is for supporting the preparation stage.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Action!

Background on Action

In the preceding stages of change, you first developed an understanding in the CEO’s mind that someone had to change and that it was him. Then you helped him (or her!) prepare for the change (see previous article on preparation). Now, the change is ongoing and you need to support the CEO during the Action stage of change.

During this stage, the role of the coach is to support the CEO in achieving whatever goal he set for him or herself by: Read more »

How to address Preparation stage of Lean change – #4 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #4 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intended to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

#3 in series help reinforce the contemplation stage.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Contemplation.

Background on preparation

Following the preceding stages of change, if you’re reading this, it would mean that your CEO is now ready to change himself. Indeed, I remind the occasional reader that the beginning of this series was about having the CEO realize that he was the first person that needed to change. Most CEO know their organization need to change to implement Lean, but they usually don’t expect to change themselves. Yet, if they continue to do what they’ve always done, they’ll get what they always had.

So, the most critical part before being allowed to the preparation stage is that the CEO expressed Commitment to change talk, following MI questions aiming at raising DARN talk (Desire, Ability, Reasons and Need). That was the purpose of articles #2 and #3.

So, the CEO being now committed to change himself, the most important tasks during this stage for the MI coach are to:

  • build confidence in the change to come
  • talk about timing of change
  • present information, options and advice

All the while

  • resisting the urge to push by staying at the client’s place (or pace)

Lean role of CEO

This stage of change differs from preceding ones in that the CEO is expected to build an action plan for the change. There are two possibilities with that:

  1. either he knows how to “behave Lean”
  2. or he doesn’t

I have two responses to these situations, non exclusives and not related specifically to #1 or #2:

  • comfort him that he knows how to do it
  • teach him what he doesn’t know…

With that second point, it’s important to notice we’re still trying to avoid raising his resistance to the change, so any advice or teaching need either:

  • be formally requested by him
  • or gently introduced and asked for permission to tell before telling: “I know a way to achieve that. Would you like me to present it?” It’s also important to note that we’re not behaving as having a definitive knowledge or advice: we want the CEO to adapt what we say to his specific organization and make it his own.

It is now important to recall that Lean is mostly about empowering collaborators to spot problems and imagine solutions that they implement, measure and generalize (standardize in Lean terms) where appropriate, with maximum colleague implications. This is basic PDCA and scientific method.

We certainly don’t want the CEO to solve problems on behalf of employees, for that would prevent them from learning (and he doesn’t have time for that anyway).

The role of a Lean CEO is to coach, on the gemba, his middle managers into coaching, on the gemba, their employees into the scientific method (PDCA) in order to move current processes to a vision of one-piece-flow.

The purpose of this article is not to detail how to do that (they are shelves full of literature on that topic). Suffice it to say that, for instance, D. Jones and J. Womack approach is useful to keep in mind:

  1. identify value
  2. identify value-stream
  3. create flow
  4. pull
  5. aim for perfection

And the two tactics to get there are:

  1. just-in-time
  2. and jidoka (autonomation or automation with a human touch)

This is the strategy the CEO need to have in mind, down to employees and through middle management as well. Always, all the time. This is summed up as 1) continuous improvement with 2) respect for people.

Preparation

So, the main strategy of the coach will be to help the CEO identify what behavior he needs to adopt in order for his people (middle management) to do what he wants them to do in order to do Lean. The what are: continuously, improve, respect and people. The how is what works for the CEO. So, most of the following questions are Solution Focused oriented on purpose.

With this in mind, here are some tentative questions, MI-style, to ask a CEO preparing his own change for some more Lean behaviors (be reminded that it’s always possible to mentor the CEO into Lean knowledge, provided he asks for it or gives you permission to do so – what we want is genuine interest in continuous improvement: Lean tools are only shortcuts to be used where, when and if people want to use them):

  • recalling preceding transformations/projects you managed successfully, what worked well in terms of your own behaviors for having them move on?
  • how do these compare to your current management practices?
  • what first steps would you see yourself doing first? Can you make these smaller? And even smaller? And, of these last ones, what even smaller step could you start doing right now?
  • what other behavior will you start doing tomorrow? What else? 
  • what else?
  • what will you see improve as a result? What else?
  • what is the place in your organization where continuous improvement would benefit more as a starter? What’s been your behavior toward it recently? How would you go about changing it? How will you measure results?
  • suppose a miracle open overnight (without you knowing it since you were sleeping) and all middle-management would adopt Lean behaviors. How would you know in the morning that things have changed? What would you notice first? What would you do to support it?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your current management practices regarding continuous improvement? Why not a lesser number? What are you doing that makes you give this score? What else?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how important is it for you to change your own behavior? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • on a scale from 1 to 10, how ready are you to starting implementing your new behaviors? Why not a lower number? What else?

Should you have comments on these questions, or other suggestions, feel free to leave a message below!

Stay tuned for #5 episode that will be about the Action phase.

How to address contemplation stage of Lean change – #3 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #3 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intend to write about. Please read it first.

#2 in series addressed the precontemplation stage of change.

This article deals with the next stage of change: that of Contemplation.

Background on contemplation

This stage of change corresponds to a mental state of someone who is considering change, but may not know what the change corresponds to and is still undecided as to going for it or not.

For a MI coach, the most important tasks during this stage are to:

  • acknowledge ambivalence and mixed feelings about the change,
  • explore discrepancy between present behavior and personal values or goals,
  • discuss pros and cons of change,
  • talk about ways to experiment with the change.

Contemplation

Previously, the CEO did not know that he was the one that needed to change. If the coach succeeded in having him move to contemplating the change of his own behaviors, the CEO should now be more opened to changing himself. Yet, commitment still need to be gained for doing the change.

Just as previously, the coach’s role is still to increase DARN talk, but with a more pressing focus on C talk (commitment), which would signal the CEO moved to the next stage of Preparation.

With this in mind, here are some tentative questions, MI-style, to ask a CEO contemplating changing for some more Lean behaviors:

  • Tell me about your current management practices. How have them helped you achieving your goals in the past? Hindered?
  • To what extent does the organization currently mirrors your management practices?
  • When comparing your previous change successes to your current Lean initiative, what’s different? 
  • How do you relate your previous management practices to that of a Lean manager (always on gemba, challenging yet listening to collaborators, coaching rather than solving problems, etc.)?
  • How do you see your current management practices evolving to suit with a continuous improvement culture as proposed by Lean? 
  • Tell me how you feel about changing your management behaviour? What would happen if you’d stay the same? If you changed?
  • Suppose you did change your management practices to fit Lean practices, how would that help you? The organization?
  • Supposing you’d like to try some new management behaviors (but the final choice stays yours), what would the firsts of them be (with respect to Lean, of course)? Where would you like to experiment them? By when? What consequences would you expect?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is it for you to change? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how ready are you for making the change? Why not a lower number? What else?
  • What would you need to be done to move to an upper number on the readiness scale?

What needs to be kept in mind by the Lean coach is that the aim of these questions is to get the CEO moving from precontemplation stage to contemplation at which moment, he will be considering change.

The coach needs to listen carefully to the CEO talk and, through the use of Open-ended questions, Affirmations of any positive talk or behavior, Reflecting what’s been said and Summarizing, pin-point the Commitment talk of the CEO. Then it will be time, during another session, to Prepare for the change.

Stay tuned for #4 episode!


How to address precontemplation of Lean change – #2 in SFMI #Lean series

This article is #2 in a Series about using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their own Lean journey.

#1 in series gave a broad-brush view of what I intend to write about. Please read it first.

This article deals with the first stage of change: that of Precontemplation.

Background on precontemplation

This stage of change corresponds to a mental state of someone who is not considering change, whether he has not thought about it yet or that he doesn’t feel like he needs to change.

For an MI coach, the most important tasks during this stage are to:

  • build rapport and trust
  • and increase problem awareness to raise a sense of importance to the change

Special note: when considering imposed change (some upper level of management imposing a change for instance), it may be first difficult to work with the client because this kind of situation just triggers resistance. What have been found useful in other contexts is, rather than work directly with the requested change, work on the constraint instead: “I understand you’re not the one that asked for that change. Yet, you now have a new workload to assume, in addition to the other ones you already had. Would it be ok for you if we look at what could be done to alleviate this constraint?”

Precontemplation

Back to a Lean starting initiative context, during this stage the CEO may not be aware that what he’s viewing on the gemba reflects his own way of thinking and that of his organizational culture.

Building rapport and increasing problem awareness are the more important tasks of the coach at this stage. But the problem has to be formulated as one of the CEO behavior, not one related to other people in the organization!

With this in mind, here are some tentative question, MI-style, to ask a CEO considering Lean:

  • Why do you want your organization to go Lean?
  • How would it be better if your organization implemented Lean management? What else?
  • How important (from 1 to 10) is it for you to move your organization to Lean management?
  • I understand you want the situation to be changed and your organization to become “leaner”. Tell me about a successful organizational change you have been leading. What made it possible? 
  • How did you manage to lead it to success? 
  • (text below deleted on 2011/09/08 and moved to Contemplation stage)
  • How is your current Lean initiative going? What works? How did you manage to achieve this? 
  • Tell me about your current management practices. What consequences have had your current management behaviour on your Lean initiative? 
  • When comparing your previous change successes to your current Lean initiative, what’s different? 
  • Suppose you did change your management practices, how would that help you? The organization?

What needs to be kept in mind by the Lean coach is that the aim of these questions is to get the CEO moving from precontemplation stage to contemplation at which moment, he will be considering change.

Stay tuned for #3 episode!

How to begin #Lean coaching using #SolutionFocus and Motivational Interviewing (#1 in Series)

This article is #1 in a Series where I investigate the use of Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing to coach CEOs into starting their Lean initiative. Other articles will follow, feel free to comment!

2% of Lean transformation are successful. That means that 98% of Lean transformations fail (Google search).

Can you believe it? From an approach that stresses reflection (or hanseï), it’s more than surprising that almost nobody’s looking for other ways to introduce Lean. I mean something that works better!

Actually, there are some people, for instance on the Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma LinkedIn group, but we’re few.

I would like here to express my ideas about introducing Lean differently to top management (or maybe other lower management levels) using Solution Focus and Motivational Interviewing.

Read more »

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