The competition was fierce at this year’s UK Business Awards, and I would like to say huge congratulations to the winners of gold, silver and bronze and to all businesses that made it to the finals. I had the honour of being Chair of Judges for the Best Place to Work category.
Most traditional improvement tools and strategies are frequently ineffective and in many cases are applied for the wrong reasons. This isn't to say, however, that you have to reinvent the wheel in order to be adaptive. Many tools, when used in an adaptive business strategy - such as Business Agility, Lean, and Agile, can help you unlock entirely new capabilities and equip your workforce with the abilities it needs to face new demands, head-on. You must diagnose your business, make a prognosis, and create a work-climate that quickly adapts if your business is going to thrive.
One frustrated and frightened change-team leader attempting to use Agile and other change methods to create Business Agility recently said to me, “I feel like Victor Frankenstein. I think we’ve created something awful, combing all of these different tools; it’s not what we intended. We’re now being confronted by the monster and I fear our business isn’t going to survive.”
I was extremely excited to attend the 1st Global Lean Learning Summit in Chester on the 24th and 25th of October. The thrust of the conference was, "What can Lean manufacturing and services learn from educational institutions that have applied Lean?" One of the many highlights was spending a morning at the Toyota UK Engine Plant.
I'm honoured to be judging and serving as the chair for my panel at this year's UK Business Awards on the 8th of November in London. Now in its fourth year, the UK Business Awards recognises individuals and organisations that have demonstrated exceptional business performance.
The Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) was established in 2012 and is a meet up group for Agile practitioners in the greater London area, and it features some of the best and most creative speakers, thinkers and doers the community offers. Stephen is delighted to be speaking to the group on Wednesday, the 23rd of October, in London. Creating organisations that work for Lean and Agile thinking people is the theme of his talk.
It is amusing that numerous Lean experts cite the McDonald's fast-food system as a Lean system when in fact it is an excellent mass-production system. It does not even qualify as fake Lean, because it is not trying to pass itself off as Lean. Rather, it is the confusion in the minds of the so-called Lean experts. So, what are they getting confused about? Most likely it is about the concept of on-demand, flow and standardisation.
Traditionally, technologists sat behind an organisation’s IT department walls. When they delivered technology to the designated specification, they considered their job done. Lean, in its pure form, changed this entirely, and its legacy, can be felt in current change methods that recognise the importance of front-line staff and their engagement with customers.
It is easy to point out that changing technologies, revised business models and increased competition demand an agile and adaptive response from businesses so that they can survive. While many companies seek to use these technologies to understand customers and create evermore elaborate marketing strategies, applying the technologies to redesign organisations and the world of work are less understood. Most companies simply design the people roles to serve the technologies and then the technology becomes the master.
Blame is an interesting area of psychology, a legally authorised social mechanism, and a fairly baffling human quirk. Philosophers and theorists have competing ideas about what constitutes blame and its underpinning mechanisms. However, the philosopher Tognazzini (2014) says that blame “is a negative evaluative judgement that implies responsibility.” This is a good generalisation of what blame involves, and the keyword here is negative.