Learn Lean by doing? not if its swimming.

I was recently delivering a seminar on creating a lean climate, and telling people that trying to intellectualize the various lean components in order to understand and appreciate adaptive-lean was futile, it was like learning to swim without water.

I have used this analogy for many years. So you can expect my surprise when a student from Denmark shouted out – ‘But you can learn to swim without water, well at least that’s what they were teaching pupils in Scandinavia!’

There followed a brief conversation of disbelief on my part and then I asked him to prove it… so we googled it and sure enough he was right…..  See what you think, please share your views……

Here is the article in full.

Students must learn to swim far from the water

School swimming lessons have been cut for 20% of the country and in other areas replaced by tørsvømning in the classroom. Danish Sports Association fear it will mean more drowning’s.

Breaststroke is trained on the tables in the classrooms. Or on the floor.

Tørsvømning is beiswimmingng given to school children in 20% of the municipalities where it has ditched the traditional swimming lessons, according to a study by University of Southern Denmark.

Tørsvømning is the only option some schools have to teach swimming where the school does not have a swimming pool or where the school has no money to spend on bus transportation. “But we live in a country with 7.500 km coastline. It is basically very important that we learn to swim”says Pia Holm Christensen, director of the Danish Swimming Federation.

She believes that education and safety precautions can easily be taught in the classroom, but swimming skills are impossible without going into the water.

The Danish Sports Federation expressed the same concern. “To learn to swim without water is like trying to learn to ride a bike by reading about it in a book. It cannot be done. We fear that the cuts will mean that we will see more drowning accidents in the future, when the Danes do not have basic swimming skills in place, “says Steen Dahl Petersen from the Danish Sports Federation.

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Rescue and Lifesaving a Critical Education Goal.

Though schools in a fifth of the municipalities cannot find the resources to send students to traditional swimming lessons, they must continue to teach swimming. The ministry’s so-called ‘Shared Goal’ for primary schools is that children should learn rescue and lifesaving. And so now they teach tørsvømning. “Of course they cannot learn how to rescue or to save lives. You can talk to them about common sense and precautions when on the beach” says Pia Holm Christensen.

“We probably would reintroduce swimming lessons starting next school year. We are working on the on-going budget negotiations. It was a bad decision to cut swimming lessons away in his time, “says Haderslev Socialist mayor Jens Christian Gjesing.



Stephen Parry Speaking at Digital Conference: Lincolnshire Launches Super Fast Broadband Network

In the press: Stephen Parry

Digital Expertise Offer at #godigital2013 Conference

Posted on 01 February 2013.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel LincolnThe first ever onlincolnshire Digital Conference will be held at the DoubleTree – Hilton Lincoln on 13th March 2013

Experts on the internet, social media, newspapers and business development will speak at an event in March aimed at encouraging businesses to ‘go digital’ in 2013.

Organisers of the onlincolnshire Digital Conference have lined up international speaker Stephen Parry from Lloyd Parry, who has won awards for his creative business methods, along with Trefor Davies from Timico Technology Group, Jonathan Fitzgerald from Lincolnshire County Council’s communications team and Richard Duxbury from Lincolnshire Media, which publishes the Lincolnshire Echo.

The idea behind the event is to inform, engage and connect Lincolnshire businesses so they don’t get left behind the rest of the UK when superfast broadband arrives. It will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Lincoln on 13th March 2013.

Stephen, whose firm helps businesses across the globe embrace new technology and change the way they work to fully take advantage of it, will explain how companies can encourage their employees to be more creative and innovative.

“Super connectivity is the digital equivalent of the railway coming to town, providing new opportunities, new types of work and access to new markets,” said Stephen, who has received awards from the European Service Industry for the Best People Development Programme and a personal award for innovation and creativity.

“A new mind set and skill set is needed to ensure the technology works for the people and not the other way around.”

Richard’s talk is set to explain how the media industry has embraced the digital age to continue to be able to provide news and information to the local community.

He added: “Faced with significant challenges associated with how people are now accessing information, our multimedia approach really is growing our audience. The unrivalled reach of local people is only possible by constantly evolving the business and embracing new technologies.”

Trefor Davies is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Timico Technology Group. His blog trefor.net is one of the most widely read in the UK telecommunications industry and is often referenced by the UK media including the BBC, Telegraph and Guardian. Radio appearances include the BBC Radio4 Today Programme, 5 Live Breakfast and a number of BBC local radio stations. His talk will look at the technologies available and offer examples of how some Lincoln-based businesses have benefited from new digital services.

The council’s Strategic Communications and Digital Engagement Officer, Jonathan Fitzgerald, meanwhile will demonstrate the power of social media. He said: “Lincolnshire County Council has connected with its audiences using the power of different facets of social media. This talk won’t just be about how local government uses social media, but how any brand or business can make creative use of it.”

Delegates will get a chance to take part in a question and answer session with all the speakers.

Details of the keynote speaker have not yet been announced.


Lincolnshire County Councillor Kelly Smith, Executive Member for Finance and HR, said: “The county council will soon be rolling out first-class broadband across Lincolnshire. This conference will be a chance for businesses to find out more about the opportunities this will bring for them.

“Many businesses aren’t aware yet of how to take advantage of the digital services that come with better broadband, and the many commercial opportunities through improved efficiency, connection with customers and exposure to an expanding global market. Our aim with the conference is to change that.”

The conference is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and organised by digital specialists CDI Alliance on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council.

Selected suppliers and Digital Business Cluster members will be invited to showcase and demonstrate their online and digital products and services to the delegates, highlighting the local knowledge, skill and expertise available within the county.

Further details about the conference, including the name of the keynote speaker, will be announced in the coming weeks, but people can keep up to date by visiting www.onlincolnshire.org, following @onlincolnshire and #godigital2013 on Twitter or by joining the onlincolnshire Business Support group on Linkedin.

Important Lean Mis-Conceptions Busted

Important Lean Mis-Conceptions Busted.

Lean Myths and Realities

1. You won’t find Lean in the tools and methods.

Lean benefits are not found in the tools, although you will use tools to help you on your lean transformation.  There are thousands of lean tools, because each problem requires its own unique tool to help solve it.  You won’t really be able to do lean with generic tools, you’ll have to devise and adapt your own tools – for that you need scientific and critical thinking skills coupled with an understanding of Lean principles. Basically you have to learn to THINK differently and see your customers and business differently, that’s people development, not tools development.

2. Lean is not about optimising waste is about optimising value.

This is one of the hardest things about getting started with Lean.  Lean will require you to take a radically different view of the work you are doing. Almost certainly, much of what you are doing now is not really work, it’s waste. Processing the waste faster, or more effectively isn’t  Lean. All you get with that is Cheaper, Neater Faster, Waste. = Madness.  Your current thinking prevents you from seeing the high levels of real waste, which is caused the way you  previously designed the work.

3. Lean is not about managers fixing everything it’s about the staff owning and solving problems.

As a manager in a lean organisation, your role will be very different from one in a more traditional organisation.  Your job is not to know the answers.  Your job will be one of supporting the people who are doing the work to gather information about what is really going on.  You’ll also need to know how to look for what’s really there, and present this information without varnish to other managers and staff.  You may have to build a very different culture for your organisation.

4. Lean is not only about processes it’s about the whole service model.

Processes link the systems, performance and structure of your organisation.  Process improvement is a good thing, but not the whole story.  Companies often use processes to ‘wire-up’ their organisation like the wiring in an automobile, but hasn’t the time has come to trade in your old Model T Ford? it will not go any faster even with new wiring. Making improvements to processes alone will not yield the fundamental transformation that Lean can deliver.

Implementing lean

5. Lean not about efficiency at all costs it’s about effectiveness at the right cost.

This is one of the biggest myths that  Lean needs to overcome.  Lean isn’t about cutting costs and doing things faster, although cost reductions and service improvements will result from a Lean transformation. Lean focuses on  the customers purpose. In a Lean organisation you won’t be focused exclusively on measures like first time fix, or time average resolution time or whatever.  You’ll know what the customer values, and you will be looking at the evidence that shows you how you are helping your customer achieve their goals.

These notes are from a recent Sense and Respond Lean in IT workshop in London with Stephen Parry.

The Art of Possibility by Ben Zander. Book Review by Stephen Parry

There is no change without leadership at all levels. This book is a good introduction into the principles of transformational leadership. Creating Possibilities for others such that they are touched moved and inspired. The leadership theory is based on leading oneself not others and focuses on who you are being not what you are doing. This is not a book about manipulative Machiavellian techniques rather it’s about creating free choice for others where they are inspired by the possibility you have created.

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Reinspiring the Corporation by Mark C. Scott. Book Review by Stephen Parry

Reinspire book

This review is for: Reinspiring the Corporation: The Seven Seminal Paths to Corporate Greatness [Hardcover]

It is clear that Mark Scott is passionate about people, this book contains a framework intended to put people back at the heart of the organisation.

If you were to take Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y model, this is clearly a Theory Y Book, in that he believes people are the lifeblood of the organisation and you need to create social systems that treat them as people and not as mere parts of a big machine.


It is a Hearts and Minds approach and one that I subscribe to wholeheartedly, the difficulty lies in bringing these ideas home to the Theory X people. This book brings hope to many people who yearn for greater workplace autonomy, creativity, innovation, leadership and empowerment.


Sense and Respond further study section

Sense and Respond Book





This post is in response to a request for further reading to support the Sense and Respond approach. Listed here are the books contained in the further reading section of the Sense and Respond book organized into the four transformation sections of:

Re-View (Analyze the customer needs and end-to-end organizational response from a different perspective)

Re-Mind (Apply a new theory of management to that of industrialization and mass-production)

Re-Inspire (A different form of leadership and behavior for a new type of organization)

Re-Create (Strategy formulation, governance, policy deployment and organizational development)

Our Sense and Respond book has tried to explain a very large breadth of subject matter in a small amount of space. Readers who wish to explore particular topics in greater detail may find the following books and articles of interest. The subjects range from popular business literature to technical research. The books have been grouped to match the four phases of the Journey to Customer Purpose. Many of these texts have been used in our own research and some have influenced our thinking over some time. The list also acknowledges the contribution of earlier thinkers to the body of knowledge contained in Systems Thinking, Lean Thinking, Leadership, Analytical Management Tools, and change.

I have highlighted some of my personal favorites.

Implementing lean

Beer, Stafford: Diagnosing the System: for Organisations (Wiley, 1994).

Bicheno, John: The Lean Toolbox (Picsie, 2000).

de Bono, Edward: Lateral Thinking for Management (McGraw Hill, 1971).

Kume, Hitoshi: Statistical Methods for Quality Improvement (Gilmour
Drummond, 1987).

Lareau,William: Office Kaizen (American Society for Quality, 2003).

Oakland, John S.: Total Quality Management ([Heinemann Professional],

Ross, Phillip J.: Taguchi Techniques for Quality Engineering (McGraw
Hill, 1995).

Seddon, John: I Want You to Cheat: The Unreasonable Guide to Service
and Quality Organisations (Vanguard, 1992).

Senge, Peter, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Rick Ross and Bryan
Smith: The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (Nicholas Brealey, 1994).

Shewhart,Walter A.: Statistical Method: From the Viewpoint of Quality
Control (Dover, 1986).

Wheeler, Donald J.: Understanding Variation: the Key to Managing
Chaos (SPC Press, 2000).

Beer, Stafford: The Brain of the Firm: Managerial Cybernetics of
Organization (Lane, 1972).

Checkland, Peter: Systems Thinking, Systems Practice (Wiley, 1998).
Edwards Deming, W.: Out of the Crisis (1982: reprinted MIT Press,

Gleick, James: Chaos: The Amazing Science of the Unpredictable
(Vintage, 1996).

Johnson, H. Thomas and Anders Bröms: Profit Beyond Measure
(Nicholas Brealey, 2000).

Liker, Jeffrey: The Toyota Way: Fourteen Management Principles from
the World’s Greatest Manufacturer (McGraw-Hill, 2003).

Ohno, Taiichi: The Toyota Production System (Productivity Press, 1978).

Womack, James P. and Daniel T. Jones: Lean Thinking: Banish Waste
and Create Wealth in Your Corporation (Simon & Schuster, 1996).

Womack, James P., Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos: The Machine that
Changed the World (Rawson Associates, 1990).

Fromm, Erich: Man for Himself: an Enquiry into the Psychology of
Ethics (Routledge, 2002 [based on a publication from 1950]).

Maslow, Abraham: Maslow on Management (Wiley, 1998).

Zander, Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander: The Art of Possibility
(Harvard Business School, 2000).

Cummings, Thomas and Christopher Worley: Organization Development
and Change (West, 1997).

Daum, Juergen H.: Intangible Assets and Value Creation (Wiley, 2003).

Gharajedaghi, Jamshid: Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and
Complexity (Butterworth Heinemann, 1999).

Haeckel, Stephan H.: Adaptive Enterprise: Creating and Leading Sense
and Respond Organizations (Harvard Business School, 1999).

Handy, Charles B.: Understanding Organisations (Penguin Books, 1993).

Henderson, Bruce A. and Jorge L. Larco: Lean Transformation (Oaklea
Press, 2002).

Hofstede, Geert: Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind –
Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival (McGraw
Hill, 1996).

Holweg, Matthias and Frits K. Pil: The Second Century: Reconnecting
Customer and Value Chain through Build-to-Order (MIT Press, 2004)

Jackson, Michael C.: Systems Approaches to Management (Kluwer
Academic/Plenum Publisher, 2000).

Jonker, Jan: Toolbook For Organizational Change: A Practical
Approach for Managers (Van Gorcum, 1995).

Kotter, John P.: Leading Change (Harvard Business School, 1996).

Mintzburg, Henry: The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning (Prentice
Hall, 1985).

Lusk-Brook, Kathleen, John Bray and George Litwin: Mobilizing the
Organisation: Bringing Strategy to Life (Prentice Hall, 1995).

Murman, Earll M., Tom Allen and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld: Lean
Enterprise Value: Insights from MIT’s Lean Aerospace Initiative
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

Porter, Michael E.: Competitive Advantage (Free Press, 1985).

Porter, Michael E.: Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing
Industries and Competitors (Simon & Schuster, 1998).

Scott, Mark C.: Reinspiring the Corporation (Wiley, 2000).

Shinkle, George and Mike Smith: Transforming Strategy into Success:
How to Implement a Lean Management System (Productive Publications,

Calvert, Natalie (ed.): Gower Handbook of Call and Contact Centre
Management (Gower, 2004).

Camrass, Roger and Martin Francombe: Atomic: Reforming the Business
Landscape into the New Structures of Tomorrow (Capstone, 2003).

Einstein Network: The Business Channel (Programme 1290, 2004).

Goodwin, Brian: ‘All for one … one for all’, in New Scientist, vol. 2138
(June 1998).

Jones, Daniel T. and James P. Womack: ‘Lean Consumption’, in
Harvard Business Review (March 2005).

Lacey, Robert: Ford (Heinemann, 1986).

Landmark Education: www.landmarkforum.com (workshops on personal

Marr, Bernard: Performance Measurement and Management: Public
and Private Sector (Cranfield School of Management, July 2004).

Marr, B. and A. Neely: Managing and Measuring for Value: the Case
of Call Centre Performance (Cranfield School of Management,
July 2004).

Morita, Akio: Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony (Collins, 1987).