The Lean Insider

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The Lean Insider

A blog of news, research, and trends on operational excellence and Lean enterprise

10.25.2021 Developing Lean Processes -- What are the Common Mistakes?

Just this month,Matthew J. Zayko and Eric M. Ethington published about Lean process development entitled The Power of Process: A Story of Innovative Lean Process Development, which explores Lean Process Creation and teaches the specific frames -- the 6CON model -- to look through to properly design any new process while optimizing the value-creating resources. The framing is applicable to create any process that involves people, technology, or equipmentwhether the application is in manufacturing, healthcare, services, retail, or other industries. The result is 30% to 50% improvement in first-time quality, customer lead time, capital efficiency, labor productivity, and floorspace that could add up to millions of dollars saved per year.

When I spoke with both authors earlier in the month, I asked them: "What are the common mistakes made when developing Lean processes?" Here is their full response:

Although every situation is unique, the three lean process development mistakes we see most often are:

Confusing Tools with Goals --This is often rooted in not understanding the true purpose of the many Lean tools at ones disposal, coupled with a poor grasp of the current state of the existing processes. This results in a patchwork of Lean stuff stitched together a veritable Frankenstein of a process. First, understand your situation (CONtext) and then apply the right tools at the right time to learn what you need to know.

Losing Sight of Targets --New projects most likely have a business case. Done properly, this business case is based on assumptions that have been documented. These might include a particular margin level, production rates, volumes and the list goes on. Likewise, these assumptions are calculated from a variety of other expectations such as cycle times, process uptime, projected yields, and material costs. Once the money is approved, progress towards some of the high-level metrics is sometimes tracked, but often the more basic expectations that fed the calculations get lost. Additionally, these assumptions are rarely translated into metrics that make sense to the project teams earlier and earlier in the development process. End-state targets need to be translated backward to meaningful targets at key points, earlier and earlier, in the development process. What does a final target of 15% margin look like to someone who is developing early process concepts?

Treating Development as an Event instead of a Process -- It is amazing what a properly selected and inspired team can accomplish. Just think about the impact a 3-day kaizen event can have. Yet, the organizations that really excel with lean have figured out how to make improvement part of everyones daily work. The same thinking applies to process development. It is okay to start your journey to better process development with a great, focused team. But make certain to capture lessons learned along the way to incorporate into your process of process development.

What do you think of Matt and Eric's perspective on mistakes regarding Lean process development? Have you experienced the same problems in your company during your Lean initiative and process creation?

For more information about the6Con Model and Mat and Eric's book, please visit:

No comments: 9.27.2021 An Enduring Business versus a Successful Business -- What are the Misconceptions?

At the beginning of this month, Rebecca Morgan published an interesting book for manufacturers entitled Manufacturing Mastery: The Path to Building Successful and Enduring Manufacturing Businesses. This bookis a dynamic guide for manufacturing leaders who want to develop a realistic, progressive, and responsive thinking process that enables success. It provides a business operating system framework that is the foundation for connecting the many pieces of a manufacturing business into an effective, profitable operation. Rebecca walks through the elements, relationships, capabilities, and mutability 21st-century manufacturing requires.

When I spoke with Rebecca recently, I asked her: "What are leaders biggest misconceptions about an enduring business versus a successful business?" Here is her complete answer:

Most of us consider a business successful if it is profitable. And if its profitable over several years, it must be enduring. But endurance isnt simply a run of profitable years. It is the result of intention and commitment.

Businesses that endure focus on a mission that matters, not on building a bigger today. Perhaps that distinction is why so few manufacturing businesses stand the test of time.

Of course, an enduring business earns profits to fund its future but distinguishes accounting profits from strategic profits. They focus not on maximizing profits, but on leveraging profits in alignment with core values to accomplish the mission. Earning, saving, and investing strategic profits facilitate forever. Maximizing todays profits does not.

Endurance requires growth. Not the financial growth that many view as success. Growth for the leader and every employee. Relationship growth with all five constituencies. Growth in value provided. Growth of capabilities, of thinking, and sometimes into a more evolved mission.

Successful companies are profitable today; businesses that last are continually perceived as integral to a healthy future. That confidence does not reflect technical capabilities, but rather attitude, exploration, and sharing, and true partnering to develop expertise in anticipating and addressing opportunities.

A significant distinction is the commitment to serve the mission by always preparing the organization for passing the company baton to the next generation of leaders. Dont drop the baton is very different thinking from if it hits the ground, well just run a different race.

That commitment is an eternal challenge for the enduring business. It relies on developing strong leaders with an unwavering focus on mission and core values, never forgetting that baton. It can all be ended by one poorly prepared or chosen leader not quickly addressed. The mission is bigger than any one person.

What do you think of Rebecca's perspective? Does your company leverage profits in alignment with core values?

No comments: 8.26.2021 What is the Main Purpose for Combining and Implementing the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma?

Back in May, Bob Sproull and Matt Hutcheson published a book entitled The New Beginning: A Business Novel on How to Successfully Implement the Combination of The Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma to Drive Profit Margins.Essentially, this book teaches the reader how to successfully combine and implement the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma to produce results that many companies only dream of having. It covers a variety of different company types including manufacturing and healthcare.

When I spoke with Bob in July, I asked him: "What is the main purpose for combining and implementing the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma?" Here is his full answer:

The main purpose for combining and implementing the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma is quite simply to maximize a companys profitability. Each of the three individual components serves a completely different purpose, but it all starts with the Theory of Constraints. The Theory of Constraints provides the needed focus and leverage point, meaning that the primary reason many improvement initiatives fail to deliver hoped-for profit levels is that many times they are focused on the wrong area of the system. It matters not whether the system is a manufacturing or service system, because each type of system has a constraining factor that encumbers the output of the system. While the Theory of Constraints locates the correct focal point for improvement, Lean works to reduce waste, while Six Sigma reduces and controls variation. Both waste and variation encumber systems and therefore reduce the system output, which translates into less than desired profitability. By combining the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma, maximum profitability will be achieved.

The Theory of Constraints offers so many different tools and techniques that are completely different from many continuous improvement professionals utilize. In the book The New Beginning, I insert these tools as part of the business novel format. One of the tools is a different form of accounting known as Throughput Accounting. Its not a replacement for traditional Cost Accounting, but it is used throughout The New Beginning, as a way to make better financial decisions. When I learned this form of accounting, it changed my entire approach to maximizing profitability. While traditional Cost Accounting emphasizes that the key to profitability is through how much money can be saved, Throughput Accounting teaches the reader that the real key to improving profits is through how much money can be made. The difference between saving money and making money is profoundly different. In The New Beginning, I use numerous examples of how to use Throughput Accounting to drive profit margins upward.

Another valuable addition that can be realized by using the Theory of Constraints is the method used to order parts and raw materials. While most companies use something referred to as the Min/Max System, the Theory of Constraints utilizes something referred to as the TOC Replenishment Method, and the results are dramatically different! In The New Beginning, I go to great lengths to explain this methodology and the results are dramatically different when compared to the Min/Max System. By using the TOC Replenishment Method, companies can reduce their inventory by about fifty percent while virtually eliminating stock-outs! Imagine a company being able to reduce their on-hand inventory by fifty percent and not worrying about stock-outs of needed parts and/or raw materials. Think about what that would do to a companys profitability!

Another Theory of Constraints tool brought forth in The New Beginning is a logic tool known as The Goal Tree. The Goal Tree is an important tool that can be used to develop a companys improvement plan. In The New Beginning, I have provided examples from two distinctly different companies. One company is a manufacturing company while the other one is oriented in healthcare. That is a series of completely different hospital types. It matters not what type of company attempts to use The Goal Tree, because of the logical method it uses to construct it. The method developed in this book is first, the creation of The Goal Tree which has an overall Goal at the top, followed by critical success factors need to achieve the companys goal, and finally necessary conditions needed to achieve each of the critical success factors. When the Goal Tree is completed, it can then be used to assess the status of each of the Goal Tree entities. When the assessment is complete, The Goal Tree is then used to develop an improvement plan. As is demonstrated in The New Beginning, The Goal Tree is an important tool used to develop a companys improvement plan.

The New Beginning was written as a sequel to another business novel I wrote entitled The Secret to Maximizing Profitability and both have been well received by the readers. The good news is, both books are centered on completely different company types, but in both books, I go into great detail on how to combine the three initiatives, namely Theory of Constraint, Lean, and Six Sigma. It is my hope that both books will be enjoyed by all readers, but not only enjoyed, but also used to maximize your companys profitability. I co-authored this book with Matt Hutcheson who is such a valuable contributor to the books success!

What do you think of Bob's perspective? Have you tried to combineTheory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma in your organization? If so, what results did you expect and what did you receive?

No comments: 7.27.2021 How Does Communication Influence Success?

In June, Matthew L. Mosely --a communication strategist, author, speaker, andworld-record adventure swimmer -- published a highly important book entitledIgnition:Superior Communication Strategies for Creating Stronger Connections. Essentially, this book is a collection ofdispatches from the frontlines of communication strategy, and the author investigates the link between success and effective communication.

When I spoke with Matt this past week, I asked him a series of questions about his book and the topic covered. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Tell us how you came to write a book on communications?

Throughout a life spent moving from one organizational challenge to another, Ive noticed that one thread has woven the whole experience together: The unbridled power of effective communication and storytelling in successful people.

But one question persists: If communication is so important, and we are more interconnected than ever before, then why are most managers and leaders so bad at it?

In business, or in any relationship, communication is everything with team members, investors, customers, vendors, and everyone in between. Ineffective communication results in lost moments and squandered opportunities.

Why is this important? Why now?

Our ability to develop complex languages and thoughts and relationships is our secret sauce. This capacity to think outside ourselves, to create businesses, constitutions, stories, myths and art is our most cherished gift. This ability paved the way for humans to organize into large groups and connect by way of a common purpose and meaning. Because we could collaborate for the greater good, we could survive.

This skill is in greater demand more than ever if we are to survive thrive on this planet.

Communication is how we relate to our world to build common connections and manage the environment around us. However, as we know from our experience, the art of communication is many times lost.

You write a lot about the importance of being proactive having a plan. Tell us more?

Ive found that working with CEOs, senators and in everyday personal relationships there are three simple questions to ask yourself before blurting something out.

Strategies for Communication Planning:

What are you saying? Messaging. All of our context and history.

Who are you saying it to? Targeting audiences. What do people expect of us?

How are you saying it? Tactics. Of all the myriad ways to send a communiqué, what is the best?

Now you have a Communications Plan. Even if it is on the back of the napkin, its much better than none at all.

What do you think of Matt's points? Have you experienced a lost business opportunity because of ineffective communication?No comments: 6.28.2021 Those Who Facilitate Improvement Workshops... and the Mistakes They Make.

During this past May, Sheilah O'Brien published a very useful and practical book entitled Facilitating Rapid Process Improvement Workshops: The Self-Study Guide for Lean Leaders. The intent of the book is to help professionals who feel they are not truly gaining the full results of improvement initiatives and kaizen events. In the book, Sheilahspeaks to the facilitator through coaching notes and actual workshop documents and techniques so the reader can fully understand how greater results are achieved.

When I spoke with Sheilah last week about her book, I asked her: "What are the common mistakes facilitators make when overseeing rapid process improvement (RPI) workshops?" Here is her complete answer:

The common mistakes of facilitators of RPI workshops are:

1. Not understanding the facilitator role before you start. The RPI team is made up of workers who know about the problem to be analyzed. They are dedicated. Facilitate with respect and inclusion. By passing on lessons and what you know to the team, you are working your way out of a job.

Team, please look at this flipchart. Do any of you want to change or add to them? Does everyone agree?

The facilitator's role should be to get the exercise started. Once it gets going, the volunteer facilitator (from the team) can carry it to its fruition.

The facilitator lets the RPI team have their lead. The team knew what to do next.

2. Not assuring that there is a monitoring system in place after the RPI ends:

The end of the RPI means a shift in roles. You, as the facilitator, no longer facilitate the workshop. Now you take on an advisory role to the process sponsor and responsible managers on how to track the implementation of improvements.

3. Not knowing that you need to keep two steps ahead of the team:

The facilitator, proud of the development of an improved process with all its steps, forgets about all the process supports (to those steps) that need to be improved too, such as forms, materials for the job, etc.

The facilitator gets midway into the workshop and realizes he/she does not have a mechanism to pull it all together-- the risk is the teams good work can go missing.

4. The facilitator hasnt considered the what ifs?:

What if the organization doesnt have data available?

What if no one is available to take the team through the workplace (i.e., GEMBA)?

What if you discover there is a backlog?

What if there are many "products" that come out of the process? There isnt time to flowchart them all.

What do you think about Sheilah's perspective on common mistakes facilitators make? Do you see these same mistakes in your organization? Are there others that are not listed here that you feel are common?No comments: 5.26.2021 Startups and the Problems They Face

Just this month, Orly Zeewy, published a very practical book entitledReady, Launch, Brand:The Lean Marketing Guide for Startupsthat shows youhow to close the marketing gaps that can slow down sales and make it harder to scale your business. When I spoke with Orly this past week, I asked her: "What are the greatest obstacles that startupsface when trying to scale their businesses?" Here is her response:

To quote author Seth Godin, "Inacrowdedmarketingplace,fittinginisafailure. In abusy marketplace,notstandingoutisthesameasbeinginvisible.

Startups typicallythink of scalingas something that will happen magically if only they work hard enough and do great work. But scaling yourbusiness has less to do with magic and more to do with following the threepillars of brand building.

1. Who Are You? If you cant answer thisquestion, no one else can. Founders have a unique opportunity at the start of their company to get clear on theirbrands value propositionthe onething they offer that no one else can. But when asked about their company, theytypically talk about what they do butalmost never about why they do it. According to author Simon Sinek,customers buy based on the why, not the what.Its the reasonthat Apple is still a leader in computer sales.Think different is notjust a tagline, its the reason they exist.

2.Do YouHave The Right Team? Building a team is key to scaling because no foundercan scale on their own. If you dont have a clear vision, buildingyour team becomes a game of chancethat youll findthe right people. A clear vision helps you identify people who not only getit but who are passionate about yourstartup. They believe what you believe and thats a powerful incentiveto join. It also turns out that having the wrong team is the #3 reason that startupsfail.

3. Are You Attracting The Right Customers? Thiscritical pillar of brand building is a hard one for many founders to commit to. In the early days of their startup, they are focusedon keeping the lightson so any customer is the right one. So, instead of scaling with idealcustomers who will refer other idealcustomers, youre trying to build brand loyalty with customers who are not invested in what you offer. Its hard toscale when youre not clear on who your ideal customer is and why you matterto them.

What do you think of Orly's perspective on brand building? Have you tried scaling a small business? What were the main problems that you experienced?

No comments: 4.27.2021 The Import and Export of Services -- Their Role in Driving a Significant Portion of International Trade

Just this month, Sarita Jackson published a book -- entitledInternational Trade in Services:Effective Practice and Policy --thatprovides a simple, yet thorough, introduction on how to export a service to an overseas market and guides its audience with a step-by-step process on exporting a service from research to strategy to implementation.

When I spoke with Sarita recently, I asked her, "Although export and importof services drive a significant portion of international trade, why isattention to this area so minimal?" Here is her complete answer:

As someone whose first practical encounter in internationaltrade entailed exporting consulting services throughout Southern Africa and theEastern Caribbean, this is a question that served as the impetus for the book.

Economists paid less attention to the services sectorbecause they did not consider services, which are intangible, as tradablecommodities.

Furthermore, policymakers have focused less on the servicessector because its trade surplus does not create a sense of concern andurgency, especially among voters during an election cycle. On the other hand,the high trade deficit in the manufacturing sector, along with the loss of jobspartly due to the significant increase in less expensive imports from overseas,explains why there is a greater focus on increasing manufacturing exports.

For example, United States trade policy discussions duringthe 2016 presidential election cycle focused on the $800 billion dollar tradedeficit in the manufacturing sector in which goods purchased from overseas faroutweigh those sold to consumers in other countries.

At the same time, the United States had close to a $300billion trade surplus in which its exports surpassed its imports thus creatingadditional job opportunities.

Due to the lower levels of attention to the services sector, my workshops and business courses have provided research and practical tips pertaining to the import and export of a service. The request for in-depth, practical information from workshop attendees and students with a services-based business or an interest in providing a service overseas demonstrated that this part of the international trade community continues to expand.

My book International Trade in Services: Effective Practiceand Policy now provides insight and answers regarding a continuously growingand important sector in international trade.

What do you think of Sarita's perspective? What has yourexperience been exporting a service to an overseas market?

No comments: 3.26.2021 The Shingo Model -- Will it Work in Your Organization?In February, Gerhard Plenert published a book entitledDriving the Enterprise to Sustainable Excellence:A Shingo Process Overview. Essentially,his book presents a big-picture overview of the entire Shingo improvement process. It fully discusses the needs and benefits of the Shingo process, and what is required if you seek to execute the Shingo Model in your enterprise and focuses on creating an enduring organization-wide continuous improvement process.
When I spoke with Gerhard this month, I asked him: "What does your bookprovide that readers cannot get from the Shingo-Modelcourse materials?" Here is his complete answer:
Countless organizations have, at one time or another, began a Lean journey or they have implemented a continuous improvement initiative of some sort. At the foundation of these initiatives is a plethora of tools that seem to promise exciting new results. While many organizations may initially see significant improvements, far too many of these initiatives meet disappointing ends. Leaders quickly find that Lean tools such as Six Sigma, judoka, SMED, 5S, JIT, quality circles, etc. are not independently capable of effecting lasting change. There is an integrated synergy that occurs between these various tools built upon a set of eternal principles, that creates an environment of lasting change. That is the topic of this book -- How to create a sustainable culture of continuous improvement.

Years ago, the Shingo Institute set out on an extended studyto determine the difference between short-lived successes and sustainableresults. Over time, the Institute noticed a common theme: the differencebetween successful and unsuccessful effort is centered on the ability of anorganization to ingrain into its culture timeless and universal principles ratherthan rely on the superficial implementation of tools and programs. Thesefindings are confirmed time and again by nearly three decades of assessingorganizational culture and performance as part of the Shingo Prize process.Since 1988, Shingo examiners have witnessed first-hand how quickly tool-basedorganizations decline in their ability to sustain results. On the other hand,organizations that anchor their improvement initiatives to principlesexperience significantly different results. This is because principles helppeople understand the why behind the how and the what.

To best illustrate these findings, the Shingo Institutedeveloped the Shingo Model (see Chart 0.1),the accompanying Shingo Guiding Principles, and the Three Insights ofEnterprise Excellence. The Shingo Institute offers a series of sixworkshops designed to help participants understand these principles andinsights and to help them strive for excellence within their respectiveorganizations.

My book is not a detailed review or a replacement of any of the Shingo workshops that teach in-depth the Shingo methodology far beyond what this book is capable of doing. This book is an overview of the entire Shingo process, starting with a discussion of the challenges that many of todays enterprises are experiencing. I, in my role as a Ph.D. in economics, have studied industries and has worked closely with many of them, attempting to understand their weaknesses. I has found that this is the only methodology that encompasses the Toyota Production System (TPS) principles at a depth and level that just studying the TPS tools can never accomplish.

Next, this book builds upon an understanding of these weaknesses. The book discusses how the overall Shingo methodology fits into these organizations and highlights the benefits. The next step is then to discuss what requirements are necessary for an organization to get ready for a Shingo transformation. What are the steps that the organization needs to go through, and when will it know that it is ready to begin?

This book briefly reviews the Shingo Insights and Principles and explains how the Shingo courses should be best utilized to facilitate the desired transformation. It suggests some alternative plans for over-all implementation based on the current state of the enterprise. It explains why there is no one way for successful implementation and how the implementation sequence needs to be customized to fit the requirements of each enterprise. It also discusses the length of time needed for success and how this differs depending on the current enterprise environment.

Lastly, the book explains how the implementation of a continuous improvement methodology and Shingo training for any enterprise is never finished. It is an on-going process and success is defined by internal improvements, not by some arbitrary external benchmark.

The book is intended to be educational, thought-provoking, entertaining in its stories and examples, and a guideline towards the development of a plan for continuous improvement. This book is filled with stories and examples, showing successful and not-so-successful implementations. The stories are used to highlight many of the pitfalls that have arisen and may arise for you and which can be avoided if the reader is aware of them and knows how to watch for them.

The Shingo methodology, which is recognized as the world standard for developing enterprise excellence, offers access to a large volume of specialized information on how to achieve a sustainable environment of continuous improvement. However, before this book, there wasn't a high-level overview of the entire Shingo methodology. That is what this book offers. It offers a high-level review of all the elements of the Shingo methodology and is an excellent introduction for anyone looking for an overall vision of what a Shingo implementation means to themselves and to their organization.

This book is filled with ideas intended to help the perspective Shingo implementor achieve success. Lets make you, the reader, successful.

What is your experience with the Shingo Model? Have you used it in your organization?Do you feel Gerhard's book is an asset to those organizations seeking to builda sustainable culture of organizational excellence?No comments: 2.25.2021 Are Evolving Stakeholder Expectations Affecting Your Business, Its Products, and Its Leadership?

In January,Raj Aseervatham published a thought-provoking book entitledLeading Tomorrow:How Effective Leaders Change Paradigms, Build Responsible Brands, and Transform Employees, which addresses the evolving expectations of the stakeholders -- such as,customers, investors, society, governments, and employees -- regarding businesses and their products and how leadership must respond.These stakeholders are increasingly making choices about if or how they support businesses through the purchase of their products and services, shareholdings and financing, regulatory approvals, and even experiences working for them based on not just what a business does, but how it does it.

Raj's book considers how the emerging generation of leaders must change paradigms and transform their employees to do more than just operate a business. It examines how to effect culture shifts that are necessary to innovate businesses so that they simultaneously meet market needs while meeting stakeholder expectations on concerns as varied as ethical business conduct, labor practices, climate change, responsible use of diminishing natural resources, and contribution to socio-economic challenges in their market catchments.

When I spoke with Raj this month, I asked him: "How arestakeholder expectations changing regarding supporting businesses? Whatparadigms must leaders change to meet these new expectations?"

Here is his complete answer:

The three most significant support groupsfor successful businesses are customers, investors, and employees. Thesestakeholder groups are part of a larger ecosystem; our increasinglyinterconnected, increasingly knowledgeable society, and the communities of whichwe are a part.

Societal awareness of the environmental,social and governance (ESG) problems that society faces grows daily. As theworlds population increases, these problems grow and exacerbate each other.Climate change, ecological breakdown, water contamination, air pollution,pandemics, corruption, infractions of human rights in the supply chain, genderand cultural discrimination, and many others take a compounding toll on society.

Unsurprisingly, an increasing proportion ofstakeholders demand to know what businesses are doing to diminish theseproblems. They disassociate from those businesses that worsen the problems andmigrate to better-performing competitors. Their insights improve continually. Greenwashingand PR are more easily seen through.

As this awareness extends across anddeepens within society, customers, investors and employees are making moreinformed choices about who they will buy from, who they will invest in, and whothey will purposefully work for. These trends amplify as older generations giveway to younger generations and new values supersede old ones. Commoditymarkets, money markets, and human resource markets adapt to these inexorabletrends.

Business leaders are seeing these ESGissues as the new frontier of strategic management. Responsible businesses aremore likely to sustainably prosper.

Leaders must now understand the myriadissues and own the most important ones in the context of their businessstakeholders and business strategy. Then they must authentically lead theiremployees to meet or exceed rapidly changing stakeholder expectations ofresponsible business practice. Growing and harnessing such societally attunedbusiness cultures will increasingly define successful business leaders.

Like any journey of authentic andtransformative leadership, the first steps are taken within the leader. Thisbook provides illumination to guide those first critical steps to leadingtomorrow.

What do you think of Raj's perspective? Have you seen a shift in your customers' and stakeholders' expectations? What steps are you taking to address these new expectations?

No comments: 1.26.2021 Does Your Organization Suffer from Leadership Without Leaders?

In December, John Varney published an important book entitledLeadership as Meaning-MakingTake the Hero's Journey to Transformation, whichtakes a fresh look at leadership as a systemic sharedphenomenon. It is one aspect of the evolutionary principle of bringing people to maturityas human beings transforming the immature through purposeful adventure.

I spoke with John this month and asked him:What are the most common misconceptions about leadership and its meaning? Here is his complete answer:

Leadership without leaders.

We areconditioned to think of leadership as what leaders do and hence to lookaround for leaders to help solve the great issues of the day. But this isleadership only as it manifests through control and command hierarchies ofpower. Such leadership consigns the rest of us to be followers subservientand powerless. Followers are there only to do the work and sustain the statusof those who presume to lead. Followership is disempowering and oftendemeaning. As a follower, you do what is expected of you (your so-called "duty") andtake the blame for any shortfall.

This kindof leadership sustains a whole industry of leadership training and development.This, we might cynically observe, teaches managers the manipulative techniquesthat get the followers to do their bidding, willingly and unquestioningly.Leaders are sometimes popular because they do our thinking for us and absolveus of feelings of responsibility.

A verydifferent kind of leadership is latent in the relationships between us andcomes to the fore when we come together in common cause. This is leadership asa flow of energy and resources directed by our sense of purpose. It engages allof us and all our talents and potential. It is leadership in which allparticipate, stepping into and out of the flow of energy and resources (thevalue-adding stream) as we intuitively respond to our calling.

Both modesof leadership have their place and their value but only one leads to freedomand wholeness. In self-organising communities of practice, individuals growinwardly as they realise their potential in service to their elective mission.Nobody is pulling their strings as they discover and pursue their freely chosenpurpose in life. This is leadership as meaning-making. As I say in the book, Perhapsthe hiatus of the pandemic will enable us to show that a more organic andholistic way of being is not only possible but is more wholesome andfulfilling."

How do you define "leadership" in your organization? How has it affected workplace culture? Has it evolved past "command and control"?

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About The AuthorsMichael Sinocchi

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