Lean Love Advice: Part 4 of 4

By Mike Lopez

I’ve written about the four rules of Lean before. I have been thinking about how they apply to marriage. To refresh those of you who have not read the Harvard Business Review article by Steve Spear and H. Kent Bowen, I will restate the rules here and share how I see them apply to relationships. This is the fourth in a four part series to apply each of the four rules.

Other posts in the Series:

  1. Lean Love Advice: Part 1
  2. Lean Love Advice: Part 2
  3. Lean Love Advice: Part 3
  4. Lean Love Advice: Part 4 – This Post

Welcome now to Lean Love Advice: Part 4

Rule 4: Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method, under the guidance of a teacher, at the lowest possible level in the organization.

The basic advice of Rule 4 is that improvement to the relationship is achieved through a partnership between the members. In a marriage or partnership, the couple is the lowest possible level in the organization. This pretty much says that appeals to parents or friends to help intervene are not going to be as effective as working with your partner directly. How true. The rule also talks about the scientific method. What is the scientific method? According to Wikipedia, the scientific method is explained in the following scheme:

    1. Define the question
    2. Gather information and resources
    3. Form hypothesis
    4. Perform experiment and collect data
    5. Analyze data
    6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses
    7. Publish results

An important point to make about the scientific method is that it is a predictive process. In love, it means that we become amateur behavioral psychologists. Perhaps I find out that my wife likes roses. I make a hypothesis that buying her roses will result in positive reinforcement from her. I test this hypothesis by buying roses. What was the reaction? She got hives and tossed them in the trash. Interpreting this data, I realize that she is allergic to roses. I revise my hypothesis to say that she likes to LOOK at roses. If I buy her a rosebush and plant it near the end of the property, she will be able to see many roses without getting hives. I do this and analyze the data. I receive praise for the solution and she very much enjoys her new rosebush. Then, the most important part is to make sure everyone knows that you planted a rosebush for your wife. You got to publish those results.

The main point of the scientific method is to make sense out of your actions and develop behaviors that lead to more love. I think it is safe to say that couples that fall out of love have not observed and reflected on the consequences of their actions. This is something that is required by the scientific method.

Thanks for reading this series about Lean Love Advice. I hope that it has helped paint a new light on Lean and shows that it is not just applicable to making cars and cutting metal. The rules and principles of Lean can apply to all aspects of life if you let them. Lean is not a panacea, but it is an effective framework with which to solve problems of all types.

With that final statement, I open up an experiment to you. With only the rules and tools of Lean as our guide, let us all attempt to answer Lean Love Advice.

Submit your questions to Dear Lean Love at .

All inquiries will be treated as anonymous unless otherwise specified. Replies will be placed on this blog or another blog depending on the quantity of questions. Do you think Lean can guide your relationship? I’m interested to find out.

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

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