I base my Lean Thinking on 3 principles. Standardization, Improvement, and Exploration. The little “i” of innovation is provided through SDCA and PDCA. Standard Work (SDCA) creates a can-do attitude and frees up time for problem-solving. Applying PDCA, allows you to “see” opportunities for improvement and leverages the resources in your environment. I like to use the term EDCA learned from Graham Hill to designate the Explore aspect of Lean. I view it as more of Design Type thinking content that allows for that collaborative learning cycle with a customer.
Companies need innovative practices. It is where development and the Big I of innovation (EDCA) occur. Companies need all three. These components along with your attitude influences and defines the Lean culture. PDCA is the glue. Without that mindset- it is difficult to traverse between the 3 and I think all successful companies have a mixture of all three. Some may be more innovative, some may be more standard, but having a practice in place for each, is what makes Lean successful (IMHO).
I was in a discussion the other night with Mike Rother on the adoption of Toyota Kata thinking in the Lean community. He asked me if I had viewed the Clayton Christensen video on YouTube where Mike had commented, “Professor Christensen explains why just pursuing efficiency is not enough, which is an important message for the next generation of Lean thinkers.” After viewing the video, my thoughts, drifted back to how well the Gateway of SDCA-PDCA-EDCA applied to this Christensen presentation.
Scaling Edges, the third book in the series, provides leaders with a methodology for creating change by staying on the edge of an organization, avoiding conflict with the core while building momentum for transformation, and ultimately overcoming the resistance from the core and emerging as a successful agent of change.
Institutional Innovation, the second book in the series, explains how leaders can fundamentally improve the bringing together of talent, knowledge and capital to learn faster, problem-solve faster, and break free from “the way we’ve always done it.” This is a guidebook for embracing the opportunity of change.
Shift Happens, the first book in the series, explores the underlying forces driving the Big Shift and what actions companies and leaders can take. It addresses the fundamental changes affecting the world today, helping readers navigate the short-term challenges while taking steps to capture the long-term opportunities.
Peter Drucker had a catchy statement: “Efficiency is doing things right: effectiveness is doing the right thing.’ If you have enough foresight to know with certainty what the “right thing’ is in advance, then efficiency is a fitting substitution for effectiveness. In the world of Sales and Marketing, however, the correlation between efficiency and effectiveness breaks down. Linear thinking, prescriptive processes and practices are becoming less successful in today’s world.
Many visualize the marketing cycle through the use of funnel thinking on how it narrows down to the actual purchase of the product. A linear approach to predict, plan, and proceed is a dangerous way to advance. This approach prematurely foresees a solution for the customer without ever understanding their needs. As we work our way down the funnel, it is just as likely evidence will mount that the proposed solution is wrong. However, we have so much invested we attempt to sway the course of action in our favor. Linear planning actually increases the risk for a customer to engage in an inappropriate course of action. Funnels are useful tools to have a conversation about but the truth is that more and more sales processes customers are unique. This approach was popularized when we had something we called Demand. Related posts on this subject: Shaping your Customers Vision and Kill the Sales and Marketing Funnel.
In General McChrystal’s book Team of Teams he talks about the task force in Iran. The greatest army in the world with the most sophisticated weaponry and data available could not keep up. The model and leader development process were sorely out of date. He said,
“We often demand unrealistic levels of knowledge in leaders and force them into ineffective attempts to micromanage. The temptation to lead as a chess master, controlling each move of the organization, must give way to an approach as a gardener, enabling rather than directing. A gardening approach to leadership is anything but passive. The leader acts as an “Eyes-On, Hands-Off’ enabler who creates and maintains an ecosystem in which the organization operates.”
When we think of Lean and how we empower a line worker… are we doing the same for a sales person? Do we trust them with an Andon? Or are we asking them to follow a prescription? Are we showing the same respect…with a Eyes-On, Hands-Off approach?
Jon M. Quigley PMP CTFL is a principal and founding member of Value Transformation, a product development training and cost improvement organization established in 2009. He has nearly twenty five years of product development experience, ranging from embedded hardware and software through verification and project management.
Jon has won awards such as the Volvo-3P Technical Award in 2005 going on to win the 2006 Volvo Technology Award. Jon has secured seven US patents and a number of international patents. These patents range from human machine interfaces to telemetry systems and drivers aides. Jon is on the Western Carolina University Masters of Project Management Advisory Board as well as Forsyth Technical Community College Advisory Board. Jon also teaches Project Management classes at City University of Seattle via distance learning. Jon also is an expert at ITMPI (IT Metrics and Productivity Institute) giving webinars on numerous product development topics. Jon’s latest book is Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application.