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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Lean methods make gaps visible

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Lean methods make gaps visible — in particular, the gap between

What Should Be Happening & What’s Actually Happening.

These gaps fall under the categories Steve Spear described: a) Target vs.
Actual, b) Target vs. future or anticipated actual, and c) Target vs. Ideal

Moreover, gaps may comprise end-of-pipe results, as well as, the process by
which the end of the pipe result was achieved

In fact, in Strategy Deployment, one of the most worrisome scenarios
entails: Great end-of-pipe results — lousy process!

(I call this “The Gods have smiled upon us…”)

In any event, Lean methods make many gaps visible — but how do we decide
what gaps to focus on?

Strategy Deployment, and in particular, True North, our strategic and
philosophical purpose, helps us decide.

True North comprises

a) hard goal — usually financial (e.g. Revenue, Margin, EBIT etc), and

b) broad-brush goal (hoshin in Japanese)

Skilfully chosen, True North helps leaders at all levels do triage — and
filter goals & activities down to the critical few.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing…”

Another question, and arguably one of the most difficult to answer: How do
we motivate people to want to improve?

Selecting, communicating and reinforcing our broad-brush goal is especially
important in this regard, as is the ethical quality of our leaders.

Human motivation, we’re finding, is much more complex that the old carrot &
stick model, especially for creative work, which in the end, is what Lean

improvement is about.

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