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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Stop Rewarding Firefighting!

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

One way to support a “opportunity culture” is to stop rewarding
firefighting.  Instead of performance reviews discussing specific objectives
and challenges overcome, target more on lack of crisis and even flow.  I
remember discussing with a manager the performance review of a cell leader
that described him as not being “action oriented” and “lacking leadership
skills.”  I had actually managed this person before and it did not fit with
my experience.  What we determined was the new manager was expecting to see
more heroics and had not really thought about the fact that the cell under
this leader’s guidance had steadily improved all the key metrics and had
developed several people in his team to be more oriented to the lean
enterprise.  This is one of the reasons that it is so important for the
people in the function of HR to be part of the lean transformation. Not
everyone will “see” lean at the same rate; we have to help each other.  It
takes every part of the company to really build a lean enterprise.

To take this a step further, I have found kaizen events to be the best way
to assist with organizational development.  In this environment it is quite
easy to see who the great peer leaders are; who are energized by lean
thinking, and those willing to take rational risks.  Most frequently the
person who is good at telling their own story, is not necessarily the true
organizational leader in the lean enterprise!

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