I’m going to break a rule of blogging and acknowledge I’ve been pretty much offline for quite a while since the last post. But I also want to push through what I started because this all leads to more.
My next pages of notes I took at Menlo were about crafting a message for a Kata Geek audience – what is it about Menlo’s process and culture that is relevant to them (you?).
Again, I am going to pretty much transcribe my notes, though I am going to edit a bit as I wrote them in first person as though I was Rich, and I am not going to do that here. In the end, these became a foundation for the keynote I ended up giving following his.
Key Point: These words are mine, and no one else’s. I do not pretend to speak for Rich or anyone else, I was simply consolidating my own thoughts by using a possible talk as a vehicle for myself.
Theme: The Improvement Kata: Experimenting to create a deliberate culture.
(Scene 1: Exposition)
We are probably all after the same thing: To create a workplace where people are excited to come to work every day.
That experience has little to do with the work itself. It emerges when we can create a culture where:
- Fear has been extracted.
- Ambiguity (that causes fear) has been eliminated.
- Relationships are strengthened every day.
I believe Menlo has created that culture. What I want to do today is discuss how you can use what you are learning with Toyota Kata to create these things in your own organization… Even (especially!) if you are not in charge
(Note – this part may be a little confrontational)
If you are in charge, there is nothing and no one stopping you. It is a matter of knowing what you really want, and being accountable to yourself and your team to create it.
Joy is very different from happiness. Joy is what we experience with the release of creative tension (figuring it out).
- Success vs a challenge
- Winning a game against a tough opponent.
- That feeling we get when “it works!”
We can also experience joy with relief or resolution from psychological or physical danger – the same brain chemicals are at work – but this is DRAMA, not creative attention. We don’t want this, because it is relief from FEAR, not a sense of accomplishment.
(Scene II – “The Call”)
To create joy in others, you must fist look at yourself.
- Cross the bridge
- Be fearless
- Take a step
- Give yourself permission to NOT get everything right the first time – EXPERIMENT
“The most dangerous thing you can do is try to pretend you know when you don’t” – leads to paralysis by fear of discovery.
Until you can comfortably say “I don’t know” to yourself, you will be unable to learn.
“Find a a coach / be a coach” with whom you can create a bubble of safety to explore your own threshold of knowledge as a change agent. Arm yourself with allies.
(Scene III – “Walk into Mordor”)
In a large organization, middle management sets the tone.
This is the end of the notes I was taking, but these themes get explored more deeply as I continued this journey.