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The “why” behind a career in adaptability and change

I was asked by someone recently about what it takes to have a career in organisational change.

The question challenged me a little because it made me think about my own reasons for choosing to work in this area. Adaptability and change is a very ambitious, complex and demanding path to follow.

And anyone who chooses this line of work has to be prepared for rapid learning and study. It requires patience and a the ability to look behind the surface behaviours of those individuals and organisations you are trying to help.

One has to intuitively know when strategies have to shift in response to unexpected obstacles, opinions and behaviours. Add to this a combination of diplomacy and honesty that is necessary to forge productive working relationships and alliances.

Many times it feels like you are jumping from the plane without a parachute. So you have to be courageous because you leading from a position of literally no power other than your expertise and reputation.

I’ll say it now, you can’t truly manage change. The only change you have any power over is in how you respond to situations. And sometimes that means being brave enough to change your mind  – even if it means losing face.

Change is overcoming your fears using new knowledge and experimentation. If others are not changing then we must change ourselves to create opportunities and set examples for them to follow. When you lead from within you touch, move and inspire others to be courageous and make their own choices, choices you have made clear to them through your own leadership.

I can’t say that what I told the person who asked the question helped them make a decision about getting into the field. But I reminded them to keep asking questions. Because those lead to better questions and yes, better answers as well.

To talk to me about making your organisation adaptable and profitable, please get in touch.

Collection of A3 thinking related tweets from Stephen Parry

I was recently preparing course material for an executive coaching program to develop A3 thinking within the management team. I found it difficult to put over very quickly the different behaviors and thinking Adaptive Lean and particularly the A3 thinking process brings about. Then I hit upon the idea of going back through all my tweets and collecting those related to the A3 thinking process. Feedback from the management team was positive and the collection brought greater insight to the coaching they received.  In the interest of sharing and promoting better management thinking here is the list. Please add your own as well.

 

 

thinking and feeling

A3 Thinking related tweets from Stephen Parry.

Trying to understand adaptive service from its parts is like trying to comprehend cakes from studying eggs, flour, sugar and fan assisted ovens.

There is a world of difference between helping people to see and telling them they are blind.

A3 Thinking is ALL about developing intelligence, not processes, methods or even solving problems.

You do not need eyes to see you need vision. Anon

Not having time for improvement is the biggest business case you can make for improvement. So stop using it as an excuse not to improve.

If you don’t have time for improvement it’s because you did not spend any time on improvement.

Thinking you can learn A3 thinking from a book is like thinking you can learn to drive by reading the Highway Code.

Define problems in the terms of the problem, NOT in terms of the solution.

At work, everyone thinks they know what the problems are, few know the causes fewer know how to solve them and fewer have the courage to try.

Transformation program’s that start with a solution, usually justify and define the problem through the lense of the solution

In companies, most people can tell you what’s wrong, fewer people can say why it’s wrong and even fewer know how to right the wrong

Bad management, competition without cooperation. Getting a bigger slice of the pie, but not making the pie bigger!

Management by walking around is not the same as going to gemba, you need to know what questions to ask, and stay long enough for an answer.

Your low hanging fruit has been taken by your competition a long time ago, you just haven’t noticed

We are being ruined by best efforts directed the wrong way. We need efforts directed by a theory of management. Deming

Zero defects and meeting specifications are not good enough, it’s how the system works overall that matters. Deming

If you can’t change the people change the system.

In today’s world you not only have to think outside your box but you must work outside your box

There has to be a clear line of sight between ALL the work you do and customer value

you can’t map the value stream unless you first know what value looks like from the customers perspective. 1st principle

Cherry picking always leaves you with sticky fingers!

90% of the Value Stream Maps show just the local departmental processes. You then optimise locally and make the value stream WORSE

If you measure your customer experience using averages don’t be surprised to find yourself delivering an average customer experience

Evolution is to blame, human mind wired to see patterns where there are none and favour correlations and false positives.

When a wise man points to the stars only a fool would look at his fingers. Anon

Consensus often creates a false sense of security and is no guarantee of being correct.

Creating choice, freedom and the power to do what matters creates change, nothing else.

Do not desire the wish to believe, rather foster the will to find out. Anon.

Sometimes the best you can hope for is lighting a small candle in the darkness, so others have the choice to stay or move forward.

Acceptable ideas are no longer competent and competent ideas are not yet acceptable. Stafford Beer

Even a fool knows more about his own house than the wise man who has never visited.

First you must open minds before you can open eyes.

Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Anon

Those who complain about reductionism don’t really know what it means. -its to simplify theory to what works as a predictor and not beyond –

You can’t predict the action of water by studying its molecules, to do that we need another order of analysis that is fluid dynamics.

Often with patience, you can prise open closed minds to a new reality, but only if the mind is not welded shut by self-delusion.

Driven by open-minded curiosity, exploration, the joy of understanding, and the wonder and mystery about what we don’t yet know.

There is a world of difference between systems-thinking and building a Thinking-system.

Systems-thinking problem solving and building a thinking-system require very different levels of knowledge.

Implementing lean

Problems start when open mindedness slips into empty mindedness.

Sure sign of management failure is reorganising management structures around themselves instead of reorganising the work around the customer.

People don’t join up the dots? Well sometimes they are just dots, don’t fool yourself into thinking the dots are joined up.

True, Science does not know everything, that’s why we have science, and it knows an awful lot more than anything else on the planet.

Try to argue as if you think you are right, not know you are right.

‘It is not that there are no certainties, it is that it is an absolute certainty that there are no certainties’ Hitch 22

Finish starting and start finishing.

Lean-six sigma is the very worst of both worlds.

‘what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence’

Changing the system is like changing transport, don’t ask a train driver to think like he driving an aeroplane and expect him to take off.

Progress is better than perfection.

Perfection is the perfect lie.

Perfection can only be measured against purpose, which can gradually change. So cut out perfection and always strive to stay on purpose.

Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

How to lose your best knowledge workers: ensure the org is not committed to learning. No time to read, learn, share, discuss, improve.

The fuel of the adaptive  lean enterprise is trust, transparency and integrity.

Education is as much about revealing your level of ignorance as the acquisition of knowledge.

Data and facts from the customers perspective puts everyone at the same level on the org chart

When in power its easy to exercise power, but it takes real power to admit weakness.

Often people resist change because it robs them of something to complain about.

It is profoundly illogical to think you can change your organisational culture using your current organisational culture!

Silo thinking is an OUTCOME of someone designing silo organisations measurements, targets and budgets. Fire the designer. Don’t blame the staff.

When you have mastered the real A3 thinking process, you have one of the best Baloney detectors man can devise.

Management focuses on what they can control leaders focus on what needs to be influenced.

‘Science is like a blabber mouth who ruins a movie by telling you how it ends’ Ned Flanders, The Simpsons

Leadership is the art of creating possibilities in the face of reality. Quote Sense and Respond Book

 

 

 

 

Do we need an Ethical Framework in the Software Development and IT Business?

Stephen Parry 1st Grant Rule Talk Transcript

 

The Grant Talks

Even though many of us work in a world of analysis, data and detailed measurements, Grant never forgot what it was all for, he challenged everyone to help people do better work, improve themselves along with their companies and societies, to realise their human potential to create possibilities for a better life.

So how do we respond to his challenge? How can we influence companies who are simply concerned with shareholder capital without respect for human capital starting with the software development business?

The Grant Rule Trust. The Trust will be seeking to promulgate the insights into effective business practice discovered or inspired by Grant through a series of “Grant Talks” www.grantrule.org

    

 By Stephen Parry

Author of Sense and Respond

Grant Rule Memorial Talk Number One    

UK Software Metrics Association 23rd Annual Conference: 21st Century Metrics

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Do we need an Ethical Framework in the Software Development and IT Business?

Social Capital

I want to make this notion of ‘social capital’ and changing the lives of people by changing the work environment, particularly software development and IT environments, the main theme for today.

When discussing software development, Grant talked about issues like technical debt, he worked very hard to reduce it by creating and teaching methods to produce software products that worked with little or no rework, that meet the needs of customers and the business.  When he did so, he kept stressing that the work climate needed to foster respect for people, create a blame-free approach and even eradicate fear in the workplace.  This way, software developers could become creative, innovative and adaptive.

Purposeful measurement

Unfortunately, software and IT measurement and development methods in the hands of a particular management style and approach, ones that tend to treat knowledge work as if it were a commodity, is sadly all too common.  Often there are well-intentioned managers who use software and IT measures for the wrong purposes, applying them in order to create work intensification, to assign blame and target under-performing staff.  The wrong measurement applied for the wrong reasons in the wrong way often results in the wrong people being placed in the wrong……. read more….

Download the full transcription here.Stephen Parry 1st Grant Rule Talk transcript