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Peter Handlinger

Peter Handlinger: Warm heart, cool mind

By Peter Handlinger, - Last updated: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

The previous posts have clearly given a good framework around which to establish a basic set of competencies. I would like to add that any person moving into a ‘facilitating’ role needs to exhibit what I call a ‘warm heart, cool mind’ behavioural pattern. The reasoning for this is simply that the overriding mission/purpose for anyone in a Kaizen Promotion Office is to develop people (as opposed to showing off their technical proficiency at problem solving). And to develop people you need a warm heart to establish the rapport so that learning and transfer of skills can take place. Technical proficiency is a given since this will set up the credibility (although, as Karen points out, this needs to be tested and demonstrated).

Allied to the above is the role of the KPO (cf a discussion on this forum in January 2013). During my time at Toyota we did not have a ‘KPO’ (we did have a TPS office which organised the training on TPS and Quality Circles) – it was my job as GM (no, much more than that, my duty / legacy) to coach my people. Fortunately to help me with this TMC assigned co-ordinators to us. My co-ordinator, Kato-san and later Ninoyu-san, in effect became my sensei’s. The learning was steep and continuous – but all done with a warm heart, cool mind (although there were times when I doubted this …). The point of this is that I learned, daily – and this learning has stayed with me and motivated me to continue the journey.

Outside of Toyota I rarely see this practice. What I do see is lots of bright young things with pointy shoes filling up wall space with gorgeous looking bell curves whilst scrap is still being churned out on the shopfloor and staff looking at all of this with bemusement. This gives Lean a bad name and I share Karen and Mark’s frustration in this regard. Where we have had the best success is through a continuous involvement on a daily basis over a period of at least 12 – 18 months. Therefore, anyone involved in coaching (if needs be through a KPO) must understand the balance between the long view and also the need to perform on a daily basis. Heroes need not apply ….

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