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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Sit down with resisters and ask “Why?”

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Sunday, August 3, 2014 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

I’m with Orry re: the “mandate Lean” message. And I’ve never seen a large-scale transformation where one of the senior leaders simply couldn’t get on the bus and needed to find a new home. However, there are all types of resistance for all types of reasons. And “mandating” can be done with finesse, reason, data, etc. or it can be heavy-handed, command-and-control, etc. So I’d need more details to understand the nature of the resistance and what led to it before I could answer any more specifically.
BTW, for what it’s worth, I always sit down with the perceived resisters and ask simply “why?” It’s amazing what you hear when you establish a safe environment for the resister to be candid. Perhaps this CEO should do this — and be prepared to handle potentially harsh feedback with humility if that’s what he or she receives. We don’t know if we don’t ask.
One final thing, I think we have to be careful about how we use the term “coach.” It’s often tossed about in business today as a corrective action tool when someone hasn’t performed to standards or expectations. “He needs to be coached.”  I believe it’s use in Lean should be rather limited to coaching to deepen problem-solving skills vs. being used to get someone to do what we want them to. J

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