By Pascal Dennis on Lean Pathways Article
“Like most people, I went to business and engineering school with the best intentions – get a better job, learn interesting stuff, become a better manager and so on. But we pick up more than we bargain for – including dysfunctional mental models, which I’ve written about at length. We begin to believe that, because we are so smart and well-educated, we can manage from a distance. And the corollaries:
- What can front line workers possible teach us?
- Improvement means head office INITIATIVES dreamed up by people — just like us!
Result? Endless INITIATIVES stream out of head office. They crowd out real work and often crush our managers and team members. Everywhere, I see good people struggling under the weight of actual work plus the funny work head office insists on. Executives are like crows – they like shiny things. …
At our old Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant – we never had INITIATIVES. We had tough performance targets set through Strategy Deployment, and the expectation that we’d figure out root causes & countermeasures. Result: we focused entirely on making the day’s production and improving our management system. We were free to balance continuous improvement with breakthrough. We owned our management system.”