The Fundamental Problem with Business Process

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing. ~ W. Edwards Deming A bad system will beat a good person every time. ~ W. Edwards Deming Drive fear from the workplace. ~ W. Edwards Deming Let’s take a second to emphasize who is important in these quotes. Well, by golly, … Read More

Jim BensonThe Fundamental Problem with Business Process

On Vulnerability, Visualization, and Problem Solving – An Interview with Deb McGee at Lean Enterprise Institute

Deb is a Modus client with a high-demand job. She handles all of the requests for information, content, or support for the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Every day, she receives calls from people who almost know what the want, she guides them to what they need. Each call is an opportunity to further LEI’s mission, to help someone … Read More

Jim BensonOn Vulnerability, Visualization, and Problem Solving – An Interview with Deb McGee at Lean Enterprise Institute

Prioritization is a Symptom

“How do we prioritize all this work?” “What are mechanisms you use to prioritize?” “What if I have a lot of options that are all equal?” These are all valid questions and prioritization is an important function of both home and professional work. However, we find most often that prioritization issues, like trust issues, are a symptom of deeper problems. … Read More

Jim BensonPrioritization is a Symptom

The Lean Brain, Post 5: Improvement is Not an Option

Lean says: Seek Perfection What your brain says: This is the way we’ve always done things around here. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s not “my job” to improve. What’s at play here: Status quo bias. Zero-risk bias. Resistance to Change. Learned helplessness. While Lean’s focus on respect for people endows the worker with the ability to implement … Read More

TonianneThe Lean Brain, Post 5: Improvement is Not an Option

The Lean Brain, Post 3: Flow – You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice

Lean says: Manage Flow Your brain says: My work isn’t linear. My day is filled with interruptions and so I don’t have the “luxury” of flow. What’s at play here: Functional Fixedness. If there is one area where there’s not an obvious transfer of Lean principles from manufacturing to knowledge work, it’s understanding how flow can in fact be achieved … Read More

TonianneThe Lean Brain, Post 3: Flow – You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice

The Lean Brain, Post 2: Visualization Begets Alignment

Lean says: Map the Value Stream Your brain says: I’ve been doing this so long, it’s become second nature to me. The steps are right here – in my head. What’s at play here: Illusion of Transparency. Curse of Knowledge/Information Imbalance. Status Quo Thinking. Groupthink/False Consensus Effect. Availability Bias. It was day four of the value stream mapping exercise and … Read More

TonianneThe Lean Brain, Post 2: Visualization Begets Alignment

The Lean Brain, Post 4: Push is Blind. Pull is Informed. See Beyond the Silo

Lean says: Establish Pull Your brain says: I work best under stress! Chaos motivates me! What’s at play here: Brain on Stress. Learned Helplessness. Most of us have seen the iconic “Job Switching” episode of I Love Lucy, where the titular character and her BFF Ethel find themselves doing a stint as line workers at Kramer’s Candy Kitchen. Subjected to … Read More

TonianneThe Lean Brain, Post 4: Push is Blind. Pull is Informed. See Beyond the Silo

The Lean Brain, Post 1: Value is a Conversation

  Lean says: Define Customer Value Your brain says: I’ve seen this countless times before – I know what my customer needs better than they do. What’s at play here: Expertise bias. Overconfidence effect. Ivory tower syndrome. Ego. There’s an old story about a man standing along a riverbank. He doesn’t see a bridge, but he does see someone on the opposite bank fishing. “Hey!” he … Read More

TonianneThe Lean Brain, Post 1: Value is a Conversation

Introducing The Lean Brain Series by Tonianne DeMaria

While heading to a session at the most recent Lean Transformation Summit, I found myself confronted with signage that posed the following open-ended question: “All problem solvers must…” Given how the work we do at Modus Cooperandi focuses largely on the nexus between Lean for knowledge work, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and the teachings of W. Edwards Deming, one response in … Read More

TonianneIntroducing The Lean Brain Series by Tonianne DeMaria

Business Starts with Social and Succeeds with Respect

If you are reading this, you are likely human. Congratulations, I’m human too. Everyday we all wake up and wonder what the day will bring.  We wonder who we will meet, what conversations we have, and what we will do. We all want to do things. In business we have processes, we have bureaucracies, we have rules. We also have hopes, … Read More

Jim BensonBusiness Starts with Social and Succeeds with Respect