When facing a choice, get clarity with the change matrix

The change matrix is primarily a tool to explain why people seem to resist change, but it can be used to make a decision when the appeal of the proposed change is facing some doubts about losing more than gaining. Doing the exercise of filling the matrix should help getting clarity about the plusses and … Continue reading When facing a choice, get clarity with the change matrix


Autonomy, accountability and tunnel effect

One young employee told me “I don't like my manager to ask me over and over again about the progress of my work. I like to get my objective and then be let on my own to achieve it, I’ll report when I’m done”. Well I thought, you have never been project manager nor in … Continue reading Autonomy, accountability and tunnel effect

Yeah, problem solving

Most people love to solve problems and feel the satisfaction of getting rid of some nasty tricky problem. It’s an outdated but still lasting belief that management is about problem solving. Problem solving turned in some cases into the managers’ and engineers’ holly mission and in some minds, the more problems the manager/engineer solves, the … Continue reading Yeah, problem solving

The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1

Yes, Lean initiatives can be started bottom-up, but I doubt they’ll get very far and last for long. Here is why. Bottom-up Lean initiatives, e.i. improvements, are opportunities for improvement found by shopfloor people, line leaders or shop management. “Improvement” is most often understood in a broad meaning and bring up suggestions ranging from make … Continue reading The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1

From Obeya to wallpaper show room

When visual management turns into useless wallpaper Having an Obeya is the latest - fashionable - sign an organization takes Lean seriously. The name itself sounds performing as is it is so strongly related to Lean. Obeya may sound both exotic and performing, but is nothing more than a “big room”. (I assume the perplexed … Continue reading From Obeya to wallpaper show room

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

This quote, often falsely attributed to Theodore Roosevelt (see Sue Brewton's blog), is an excellent mantra for both personal and management use. Too often when facing a problem or a challenge, individuals tend to push it to others, to complain about their insufficient resources and have great ideas for others instead. Think about the latest … Continue reading Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

The man-machine system performance

When looking for performance improvement of a man-machine system, too often management puts emphasis onto machine or technology at large, ignoring the fact that humans associated with equipment, machines or technology form an interrelated system and consequently humans are the discriminating factor. The fallacy of trusting the latest technology There is a strong belief, backed … Continue reading The man-machine system performance

Redefining “problem” (with Goal in mind)

In problem solving or continuous improvement workshops a problem is usually defined as a gap between the actual situation and the desired situation, and thus a problem causes an unsatisfactory situation or an UnDesirable Effect (UDE). This definition, while true, is somewhat too vague to be useful when working on solving problems and continuous improvement. … Continue reading Redefining “problem” (with Goal in mind)

Respect for people starts with saying hello

Lean respect for people principle is somewhat difficult to grasp in first place. While some gurus say it is not (only) about saying hello, I do think respect for people definitely starts with the basics of politeness, especially saying hello. Respect or signs of reverence have long been unidirectional, from the lower ranking to the … Continue reading Respect for people starts with saying hello