If you wish your corporation
become a learning organization, you should align the goals of your employees
towards a common vision. The book 8th
Habit, by Stephen Covey, is about this issue. We need to create milestones
and tools to check whether our corporation is on the right track.
Mike Rother is his last book Toyota Kata,
the difference between Toyota and the rest of worldwide companies is the behavior
and conduct of their employees. Kata
in Japanese has the meaning of a routine. You can read an essay written by
Rother and Liker entitled “Why Lean Programs fail” in the articles link.
require motivation, discipline and willpower. Everyone has to wonder if the
goals set by your superior are in line with your character and talents. If the
answer is negative, then willpower will be sacrifice. There are two different
approaches to this topic: the Japanese term munozukory
(trusting in people and their capacity to achieve excellence) and Jim Collins´
approach (the right people in the right seat).
The following aphorism remind
us the importance of failing to learn: “It is only from the experience of
challenging ourselves that we learn and grow, and we often develop and mature
much more from our failures than from our successes. Moreover, when we put
ourselves on the line, when we fall down and get up again, we become stronger
and more resilient” Tal Ben-Shahar, Harvard professor of Positive Psychology,
one of the most popular classes in the history of university. In summary, what
matters is the attitude after a failure. Collins would say that you need
‘winners’ in your company, people with trust and self-esteem.
2. Apply PDCA
developed the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act) cycle. The concept is similar to
the scientific method of Francis Bacon. Sometimes you know the goals, but you
don’t know how to achieve them. It might be useful to think first how to do the
checking and next to begin doing. An example to apply this is to write an
essay. (In this case writing = doing)
There is a quote of Covey and others writers widely- used in Lean approaches ‘Learning
by doing’. It´s the essence of Deming´s Cycle.
Mistakes are to
learn and seek solutions. They are opportunities to improve, but many times we
waste time and energy blaming ourselves or others. Humility is also important-
to recognize our faults and be aware that our actions sometimes create
problems. This attitude is called hansei
(reflection) in Japanese.
If you consider
that it is difficult to see the glass
half full, don´t worry; you can develop cognitive skills and you will learn to
be optimistic and change will be permanent. It´s the field of Positive Psychology.
Automatic responses in front of events should be questioned and
new interpretations should be created. Change your thoughts and you will
have new emotions.
In summary, when
something bad happens; you must develop optimism to focus in solutions, skills
to find them, and willpower to achieve them.
4. Writing your daily life
Writing questions promotes
that unconscious mind seeks answers. A piece of paper and a pen or a smartphone
are very useful.
A consequence of kaizen behavior is flexibility. We should be
resilient enough to rebound quickly from our mistakes and setbacks. In
addition, the world is changing fast and we should move with it. This idea is
not only applied to human beings, but to corporations, too. Both are systems.
You cannot go fast and survive without flexibility in the long run. In the
manufacturing sector, Autonomous Work
Groups are good instances of being flexible. A good foreman will be surrounded
by a similar team with experience with formworks, rebars and other tasks so as to
resolve the daily setbacks on site.
A good start
to become a learning corporation is to begin with a little group. Later, you
can spread it to the rest of the company and suppliers. In the construction
industry, a project would be a good beginning: site contractor staff, and later,
workers and subcontractors. Last Planner System is a good tool to create the
right environment to develop a kaizen culture.
Next figure is a neuron and it
will serve to explain the concept of myelin and its influence in learning,
according to the research of the neurologist Bartzokis. Myelin acts as an
insulation electrochemical. It´s produced by Schwann cells and is responsible
for the transmission of nerve impulses.The Nodes of Ranvier are non-myelinated
areas and allow the leaps of the nerve impulse.
produces the inflammation of the axon terminal, Schwann cells generate myelin
and swell up until they come across to the Ranvier node. In that moment, a
nerve impulse occurs and the same story is repeated, jumping from one cell to
another up to reach the core. This process is called myelinization. A question
occurs: what are the factors that have more influence in the transmission of
the information - that is to say, in the speed of myelinization?
They are two
or three depending on your point of view: need and frequency. Our behaviors are
conditioned by two basics needs: survive and pleasure. According to the theory
of Palo Alto, pleasure is often satisfied with happiness. In summary, if we
wish to be skilled at something, the three ingredients are: need, emotion and frequency. (For more
details, please consult the book by Dan Coyle, The Talent Code).
"When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people" Chinese Proverb
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