Monday, November 5, 2012

Freudian Gaps (The Softer Side of Lean)

The fundamental talent of a lean coach is to get a team to see the difference between the ideal state and the current state, but in a way that does not alienate team members or cause inadequate solution selection.  In other words, in pointing out the gap, we can't just come out and say what the gap is.  People in our culture equate identifying a gap with assigning blame for a gap; we're not great at separating problems from personalities.  So, don't be blaming, i.e. don't be pointing out gaps.

Instead, help the team gradually come to gap realization in a methodical way that decouples gap existence from gap culpability by means of an almost subconscious circumvention of the blame-game gag reflex.  Before the team members even realize who is "guilty," they will have been introduced to the gap in an impartial manner.  This impartiality helps drive more nuanced understanding of the problem, and thus, better interventions that more directly address root causes.  So in other words, ask questions; be a coach.