Get Free Access to Mark Warren's translation of the original Japanese TPS manual here https://duxacademy.duxinaroe.com/courses/tps-handbook-1973
The Dux Introduction (Extract)
... I firmly believe the failure to embed a culture that continuously improves is a 'human factors' issue, more than it is an issue related to the technical understanding of tools and techniques.
We've done a good job of understanding the technicalities ... applying tools and improving performance ... but more often than not, companies do not become 'Lean', that is, they do not manage to replicate the performance standards which have been reported by Toyota and other Japanese companies for the last 40+ years... there is something else going on.
Following >25 years of direct involvement in WCM & Lean initiatives around Europe, I believe the failure to replicate the system in the West comes down to just a few things...
Until recently, issues like 'A sense of Psychological Safety', have been relegated to the 'Intangible' (Soft and fluffy) camp ... however, through 'Big Data' it has recently been shown (by Google) that Psychological safety is THE 'key factor' behind their highest performing teams.
Now we're starting to be able to use data to demonstrate soft skill benefits, the world of change is starting to take some notice.
[a] I include 'national levels' as politicians behaviours and beliefs influence banking, business, health services and education sectors nationally and internationally with similar levels of thinking / understanding about Learning and development as we see in industry.
Same coin - two faces
Accepting Hard and Soft Skills are two sides of the same coin when introducing change to an organisation, and speaking in general terms, we can say that the Western Hemisphere has only focused on the logical introduction of 'Hard skills' (e.g. training tools / skills) for the last 40 years and, has failed to make the connection between the successful introduction of those tools and the intrinsic issues which comprise 'Culture', including beliefs, style of approach etc. ... i.e. how people in positions of authority are being and why they are being that way.
It turns out, HOW we approach change, often has a much greater effect on performance improvement in our organisations than WHAT we do practically to change things (like process).
In other words, you can teach someone about Kanban or SMED, but if you're an arsehole while you're teaching it, the people you are teaching will reject the principles. How you make people feel, irrespective of the benefit the new process might deliver, will determine the results you achieve.
To prove the principle, listen to a school child talking about the lessons they love and do well in, compared to the lessons they hate .. then ask them, "who is your favourite teacher?" Without fail, the subjects they are good at have a direct correlation to the emotional response provoked by the teacher ... how the teacher makes the child feel ... how the teacher relates to the child ... if the child feels valued.
(I'm nearly 50 and I still remember Ms Lima taking me and my class of 4 and 5 year olds to have our story, milk, biscuit and afternoon nap under the trees outside the classroom in the summer sun of 1974. I felt like she loved me in that moment and it created a life-long memory of fondness. It's fair to say, I was a bit of a handful as a kid, but I was a very good boy for Ms. Lima).
It's the same in a Factory, Bank or any business. Performance is a result of Human Relations and how leaders make their people feel, as much as it's a result of defined controlled processes.
The language becomes incredibly important. Just consider the difference between Human Relations and Human Resources ... both HR ... but the first is the term coined by George Elton Mayo (Harvard Professor and Industrial Psychologist behind the Hawthorne Effect and the development of TWI) ...the second is the slippage of language from that starting point over time, which allows us to think of and, treat people, like a commodity.
Given that, I'd like to highlight;
Get Free Access to the new translation of the original Japanese TPS manual, presented as a Duxinaroe short course, here https://duxacademy.duxinaroe.com/courses/tps-handbook-1973
A brief introduction to a few 'Human Factors'
Such conditions are all a result of 'How leaders think'... how 'in-tune', leaders are with the idea of 'thinking' (their own and others) and what they 'believe' to be 'good' (for themselves, others and the business).
Lets face it, Process and performance are proxy terms for brain activity. .. because you can't even say thanks for a coffee and drink it without your brain... it's root cause of everything everyone does!
As we will see in Taiichi Ohno's words, throughout this 1973 manual, challenging the way we 'think', is key to making the kind of progress Toyota has been able to make and sustain for many decades.
I accept my opinion is just one view of the world that won't be right for everyone... but if you can keep an open mind and work with me for now, we can say root-cause of thinking (and thus 'performance' / action / reaction / assumptions / bias / behaviour) is our beliefs.
For clarity, I'm considering the word 'Belief' as that wiring and firing construct that is imprinted into our brains through life experience ... It's this realisation that has sat at the centre of my world view for many years, apparent in my BTFA model... a short explanation is beneath the image;
BTFA - Anti-clockwise:
Acting in the world causes our brain to adapt in response to sensory stimulus. The mix of chemicals in our brain (often referred to as emotions) and our inner-voice, both act as a filter. Our brain adapts to these 'filtered' inputs, forming new wiring and firing patterns. We often consider this process 'Learning'.
BTFA - Clockwise:
The established wiring and firing pattern in our brain (belief) is necessarily at root of our thinking patterns and related emotional responses.
Our actions (reactions, choices, assumptions etc.) are an outward expression of the workings of our brain, i.e. our 'beliefs' thoughts and feelings.
The key 'take-away'
for 'Change Agents' (Investors, Chairperson's, CEO's, SLT's, MBB's, Professors and anyone involved with 'Change') is this;
Human beings change their behaviour [performance] when they change their belief in what good looks like.
'That means "Me" as well as "Them"'
The way to change belief is through education delivered formally and informally. i.e. through training and exposure to language and attitudes in social situations... like those provided by a factory floor or office space.
If we advance the definition of 'Good' held 'in-mind' by leaders, then a change in attitude / action necessarily has to follow.
The best solution is to combine these aspects and train, such that language, attitudes and actions, tools etc., compliment the development of a CI culture. (Teaching someone to weld forms new neural networks in the brain ... but the social conditions that brain finds itself in will determine if the welder 'wants' to contribute to the department and organisational goals).
ALL information which comes into us through our senses, imprints upon our brains. Leaders lead a 'change of mind' and action through the words and deeds they perform as a result of their own brain wiring ... Leaders 'Lead', if they mean to or not ... Leadership teams can leave this to chance, or choose to address these issues openly.
In the main, it's left to chance in the hope 'tools application' will imprint upon brains and improve culture... a tall order for an exercise that doesn't 'touch' the leaders or shift their fundamental beliefs.
If we change our language, we change our world
It follows; that to understand more about the 'Thinking' that sits behind the formation of beliefs, attitudes and actions, from top-floor to shop-floor, we must utilise language about the act of 'thinking' (from the worlds of psychology and neuroscience).
Relying on lean language alone, will develop 'Process' ... 'skills' ... and may, over time, have an effect on thinking... BUT ... As you will see in Taiichi Ohno's commentary, we must Think, Think and Think again .. about others, ourselves and about 'thinking' itself ...
If we are to develop people first as Toyota does, our leadership team has to 'Believe' that this is the best thing to focus on to achieve business results. They must also have a belief in 'How' they go about developing people ... and ask, if consuming a training budget to educate about the technicalities of TPS tools, is enough.
Advocates of the 'Tools introduction' approach will of course gravitate to the view that people 'Learn by doing'. And of course, they are right (BTFA - Anticlockwise). Brains do re-wire (learn) in response to sensory stimulus ... but we can't be selective and stop our understanding there ... we have to accept brains respond to ALL sensory stimulus and work top-down, bottom-up, outside-in & inside-out all at the same time ... all of the time... making the emotional effect upon the process of 'learning-by-doing' just as important, if not more important, as the 'doing' itself.
We have to accept, that what we say and how we say it (to ourselves [self-talk] and others [talking]) is all part of 'Doing' (our thoughts, words and actions all send signals to brains - our own and others).
If 'HOW' we introduce tools, alienates others, the result will be an increased 'Resistance' to the change we want to see.
Without the right language (people-centric rather than process-centric), it's highly likely leaders will continue to lead with a firm belief in the 'Command and Control' method which leads to fear, blame and the lack of psychological safety behind decades of failed projects (IT, M&A, Lean etc.).
Leaders who don't inspire followers naturally, need to know more about brains and minds if they are to change their own belief in what 'Good' looks like.
Thats where we can help with our Leadership development courses and support programmes, dedicated to advancing knowledge around such issues for leaders at all levels.
If you're interested in addressing change with a depth and rigour, why not pop along to our masterclasses being hosted in the UK and Holland at the end of October and early November 2018.
Inclusive Hoshin Kanri
Yoji Akao's 'Hoshin Kanri' method was adopted by Toyota in 1958. Hoshin Kanri was a product of Akao's exposure to the cultural belief in 'a respect for humanity'.
Hoshin Kanri is premised on a sense of 'inclusion' in which peoples opinions about targets are valued and contribute to the annual and 3-5 year plans.
This intuitive part of the overall approach, that came so naturally to Akao and Ohno, was turned into a 'Process' in the west, called 'Catchball'. The name reflects the idea that a proposed goal could be 'thrown back 'n' forth' between people to assess it, like tossing a ball back and forth in a game of catch.
There is a point of concern to raise here ... If leaders test their assumptions with their employees via 'Catchball', because the project-plan needs a box ticked... that doesn't mean the project manager is open to the feedback the catchball exercise might produce ... it doesn't mean the PM isn't sub-consciously preparing an argument to demonstrate why his / her way is best and why the alternative views held by those on the front-line are wrong ... basically, there is significant potential for 'intent' between different parties to be mis-aligned and for the psychological issues at play to undermine progress, irrespective of a process being in place.
The process of catchball has the potential to make people feel like their opinion is valued, but with the wrong intent in the leaders of the process ... it has just as much potential to make people feel that they are not valued! i.e. if the attitude and intent in the PM or other leaders is focused on 'project delivery time-lines' (usually to qualify for a bonus payment for hitting targets), rather than being based on a genuine world view of inclusion and respect for people, the most robust process can deliver the wrong results.
The answer is not to dictate goals and objectives to avoid catchball, the answer is to genuinely care for the opinions of others (believe inclusion is 'good') and allow the opinions of the extended team to structure the forward motion of the organisation... so those involved feel 'heard', 'valued' and 'part of the company'.
We quite often hear, "We are in business, we are not running a bloody counselling service' ... but that's an emotional reaction to something 'New' (ironic huh?). It's a binary view of the world that doesn't stand up to even the slightest scrutiny through a psychological lens.
People performance is part of the process.
Denying this, because it's not comfortable is like denying gravity.
You can step off a building having presented a good argument, but you will still crash to the ground.
I'm not saying all leaders need to be therapists, far from it.
What i'm saying is we need to recognise how our strategy deployment methods and change implementation methods affect feelings and thus performance.
Adopting the premise and structure of Hoshin Kanri helps here too.
The assumption in the West seems to have been that this performance was attained through the application of the tangible tools and processes described in the TPS Manual, rather than through the personal discipline and collaborative attitudes (respect / inclusion) that accompanied the national world view (a love for the country - Japan) and the leadership approach and passion that emerged from this culturally imprinted belief system.
It is such beliefs that we see demonstrated by Taiichi Ohno in this manual ... and in those who followed him. e.g. Hitoshi Yamada, which make the difference between a process-centric and people-centric organisation capable of incredible, sustainable performance.
To close some of the gaps left open by recent historical translation and the various iterations and spin off topics which often distract western leaders from Hansei (self-reflection and improvement), I'm always keen to get back to analysis of source materials wherever possible... to get back to basics .. or at least, to consider what sits at base of problems and possibilities.
That is why I was delighted to bump into Mark and get his approval for the manual to be presented on-line via The Dux Academy.
In the hope I can add a little value to this already excellent work I've added a few quizzes and posed a few questions in various places...
Beyond the provision of this manual, our intention (Emiel Van Est and I, see leanleadership.eu) is to host regular webinars and address some of these questions and other observations presented throughout the manual ... and maybe have a few guests here and there.
I've also added a 'Disqus' section at the end of each chapter so those signing up to read the manual can exchange ideas in stages.
We'll be very interested to read your comments.
As Mark describes in the introduction, this manual was constructed at the end of Ohno's own 'Development years' by the Toyota Production Research Division (Later renamed Operations Management Consulting Division – OMCD) and great effort was put into the construction of the content to help Toyota replicate their success on a broader scale.
The nuances of Japanese culture weren't entirely captured when this manual was originally translated for mass consumption in the west, largely because of what Mark calls 'machine translation'. I assume, there were no translation machines back then, so Mark may mean a 'Mechanical approach to translation'?
To address the Japanese-English translation challenge, Mark and those who have helped him construct this version of the manual have undertaken an amazing exercise!
Not only have they dug into the language, they have 'lived and breathed' the application of the principles and practices, by working with a number of organisations over a number of years.
This version of the TPS manual is therefore a result of their own first hand 'EXPERIENCE'.
On this quest for 'understanding' they have been able to include the notes which explore the deeper meanings inherent to Japanese language and Culture... and will be publishing their results and findings in due course.
We hope you find this new translation of the Manual as fascinating as we did.