Today is a favorite holiday for me, full of make-believe supernatural and candy, and unencumbered for the most part by significance. For this Halloween, I’m recalling a few spirits from the past, links to earlier O.L.D. posts that may bring a smile to your face. Some deal with the effects of management’s horrific misconceptions of about humanity and humility, and others with a too-often shallow approach to Lean tools. A couple more focus on management myopia, and finally one or two question the infallibility of Lean consultants like me. For one night only, please join me in the Haunted House of TPS.
Hollow Lean is like Halloween, in that grown-up children dress up their organizations and pretend to change. Looking good is important. Risking change, not so much. Hollow Lean is that time when Lean Wizards wind their spells to lure unsuspecting customers to the dark side; to a place where respect of people implicitly means respect for some people. The Gemba is invisible.
Sometimes managers are so fixed in their beliefs that the can’t see what is right in front of them, yet they are quick to adopt more traditional academic schemes to optimize inventories or reduce FTE’s or avoid costs. They chop heads for short-term gain, rather than commit to fundamental long-term change. Their traditional remedies lack the common sense and vision necessary for good decision-making, but they are comfortable choices for managers that seeking paths of less resistance.
Finally, beware the polished pitches of Lean Gurus, glib PowerPoint presenters, and motivational spellbinders. Content actually matters. Ultimately, it’s what you, the customers, understand that’s critical; not us sensei-omatic subject matter experts. Still, I enjoy sharing; it keeps me sane. If you have a few minutes tonight for some lighthearted Lean laughs while you’re doling out candy to the neighborhood goblins, then read away. Trick or treat!
P.S. I’m really looking forward to teaching the Shingo Institute’s “Continuous Improvement” Workshop on November 15-17 and there are still a few seats available. Learn about our terrific host site O.C. Tanner here and learn more about the workshop and register here.