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30 responses

  1. Mark Graban
    February 26, 2013

    Comments from LinkedIn:

    Jim Haugen: Great post Mark – A big Respect challenge in healthcare is getting doctors to accept and expect – even demand – that they be challenged by their support staff. Challenging the doctor when a nurse, PA or even another doctor has a question, doubt or concern should be viewed as a show of ultimate respect – respecting the doctor’s knowledge, experience and maturity enough to know that the doctor understands that she/he is not infallible, and that they have learned from their work with the doctor that the patient is always the first concern

    John W. Kennedy, Ph.D.: Great stuff, Mark, as people make things go, and respect is a key to all things in life. I am glad to read this about Toyota, as earlier trips I made to Japan on business did not support this view. Change is good, and positive change is great. JK
    Mark Graban recently posted..Japan Trip: Going to Gemba and Seeing 5S at a Japanese HospitalMy Profile

    • Mark Graban
      February 26, 2013

      Yes, Jim — doctors and surgeons should respect their support staff. When staff want to speak up, they are showing respect for their patients… and MDs have to help create an environment where everybody is respected for the role they play, regardless of their education level and the letters after their name (or lack thereof). This is a key point from “Crew Resource Management,” as adapted from aviation into healthcare.

  2. Rob van Stekelenborg
    February 26, 2013

    Ha, “a certain British rabble rouser”… Well who would that be (knowing past discussions) ;-)

    Thanks for this good post and all the good quotes to illustrate the concept.

    Despite my disagreement with some of the rabble rouser writings and definitely also the way he puts thing forward, I do agree with one point: I also don’t think standalone programs make sense. Still, more and more often I notice, Lean is attempted primarily as a leadership and a formalized (thru methods), bottom-up continual improvement effort without much attention for the strong industrial engineering roots it also has.

    Furthermore, I think Lean culture is so intertwined with its methods and techniques that they tend to reinforce eachother both ways. For me, Lean has always been a lot better at developing concrete leadership behavior than all (in- and external) leadership trainings I particpated in. And I think it is primarily due to its strong interconnection with “standardized” rituals, specific language and symbols that are also part of a strong Lean culture. I have also written abut this problem of separating “hard” and “soft” aspects in a previous post: http://www.dumontis.com/en/lean-culture

    Another thing I always notice about the theme “respect” is that it is always used in relation to the company’s associates.

    In my past experience working for and with Lean companies, “respect” also related to many other elements. Think about respect for (internal) clients and suppliers, respect for the company’s standards, respect for products (think about how we store and handle them after we’ve put them together with much care), etc. For me “respect” goes a lot further than just respecting people (see also: http://www.dumontis.com/en/blog/lean-organization-respect).

    Kind regards, Rob

    • Mark Graban
      February 26, 2013

      Thanks, Rob.

      Toyota also defines “respect” very broadly – to suppliers, customers, community, environment, etc.

    • Dhruv Shukla
      February 26, 2013

      ” Respect ” is very unique and very precious word while observing how it works. It is not simply a word, its a way of thinking…way of looking at the situation. It is one of the most important pillar of The Toyota Way and Continuous Improvement ( by jeffrey K Liker ) It also explains about Lean Leadership, Developing Lean Leader, Spreading Learning and Accelerate Lean Transformation but RESPECT is the pillar of all these ..Take anything as an example, with respect it becomes more EASY, FRIENDLY, ILLUSTRATIVE, APPROACHABLE, PRODUCTIVE, QUALITY & MEANINGFUL!
      Good article

  3. Bob Emiliani
    February 26, 2013

    RP has always been important in the history of progressive management because it is what enables CI. Without RP, CI fall flat or quickly dies, and you get Fake Lean/LAME. The two principles are connected http://www.bobemiliani.com/oddsnends/cirp_matrix.pdf

    The major distinguishing features between progressive management and traditional management is the use of the scientific method and the RP principle. To ignore RP is to not be fact-based; a nutter as it were.

    I gave a presentation about RP in 2007 and was followed by the tosser Brit in question who, immediately upon taking the podium – the very first thing he did – was criticize my presentation as codswallop. Such brazen willy-waving!

    I don’t know what motivates this type of narrow mindedness and willful desire to ignore history. Perhaps it does not serve one’s needs, or simply a perpetual ring-sting. Regardless, we have had to deal with nobbers, pillocks, and ruffians in the past will certainly have to do so in the future.

    1920s British flow production pioneer Frank Woollard characterised the RP principle in his day as “Benefit for All,” and has this to say about it: “This principle of ‘benefit for all’ is not based on altruistic ideals – much as these are to be admired – but upon the hard facts of business efficiency.”

    The brave people who have actually achieved flow in practice know this.

    • Mark Graban
      February 26, 2013

      Thanks, Bob. I especially appreciate the Wollard quote. When you look at Toyota’s practices – developing people, engaging them, not laying them off when sales drop – I don’t think they are being altruistic or charitable. They are just making good long-term decisions for the long-term sake of their business. Smart.
      Mark Graban recently posted..My Two Upcoming Webinars – on Waste and Kaizen in HealthcareMy Profile

  4. Michel Baudin
    February 26, 2013

    Great post, Mark. In concrete terms, I have found disrespect easier to explain than respect.

    For example, giving a person a job that requires doing nothing 50% of the time is saying “your time is worthless,” and therefore “you are worthless.” Many managers do not realize how disrespectful this attitude is, particularly where labor is cheap.
    Ignoring complaints about minor safety issues, like sharp edges on a cart, is also showing disrespect.

    There are many such aspects that are prerequisites to asking people to participate in improvement and contribute ideas.

    The Frank Woollard quote in Bob Emiliani’s comment explains why you should pay respect to your people. It’s not about being nice. In the long run, you cannot compete unless your organization fires on all intellectual cylinders.

  5. Mark Graban
    February 26, 2013

    One additional thought… I *do* believe that choosing to respect people and treat people more respectfully can be a choice (or an “intervention” if you will) for an organization.

    This probably isn’t easy. Leaders need to understand what behaviors and mindsets are DIS-respectful (ala Michel’s point).. what are the underlying assumptions behind those behaviors? What mindsets do we need and what behaviors will demonstrate those?

    What you think becomes what you do.
    What you do becomes who you are.

    I believe people can change. They have to want to change. They have to see a gap between their current level of respect and a more respectful state.

    But, I wholly agree doing nothing but increasing “respect for people” is not a replacement for kaizen and wholesale system redesign as we often see in the Lean world.

    Even incorporating RFP with just the use of “lean tools” would be better than just using a tool… even if that’s not as good as more systematic approaches.

    But, again, I see people incorporate RFP into Lean more than I’ve ever seen people somehow just focusing on “respect”. The Brit in question was creating (as he tends to do) a straw man argument… talking about something that hardly any body does as a way of somehow indicting the whole Lean community (which he has distanced himself from).

  6. Bob Emiliani
    February 26, 2013

    To Michel Baudin’s point…

    Our friend unfortunately possesses a low-grade understanding of the Lean management system. He does not understand it as a solution for information flow problems. If he did, the requirement for the RP principle would be self-evident.

    For example, it took Woollard 2 years to achieve flow in the engine shop, but it took Ohno 5 years do the same. Could having poor people skills, as Ohno was well known to have (and Woollard not), contribute to that outcome? What our friend ignores, as most people do, is TIME.

  7. Dimitri Stamatiadis
    February 26, 2013

    Great post and great comments. But why is it even being discussed? Morons can say anything they like. Is there, has there ever been, a doubt that people do the job? and that respecting them will result in a better job?

    Even if we forget the people and talk of machines, cells, plants, whatever you can think of that has been put to work. If you don’t respect them (oil the engine, water the plant, feed the cells the right stuff…give them what THEY need, not what you think they should have) the job will not be done or not done right.

    Mark is right. It is not about being nice (although being nice is a nice way of doing it), it is about understanding what can help people improve, thrive, feel good about going to work and feel proud for their achievements.

    Show me one successful company that declares they don’t care about their people…

    • Mark Graban
      February 26, 2013

      I would be careful about calling anybody a “moron.” There’s a difference between a “lack of understanding” (as Bob E. put it) and being dumb.

      Great points otherwise.

      I think nearly every company CLAIMS employees are their greatest asset and they talk the happy talk… but the walk doesn’t match the talk. Lots of failed companies claim (often laughably) that they respect and care about their people.

      That’s why companies like that are so noteworthy and so rare… Southwest Airlines, In N Out Burger, Nick’s Pizza & Pub, Zingerman’s… links on Nick’s and Zingerman’s:

      Podcast with Nick

      Blog post about Zingerman’s

      Leaders who demonstrate their respect and caring through the development of their employees get my highest respect.

  8. John Hunter
    February 26, 2013

    “Respect for People” is a great short hand statement. There is a great deal of complexity packed into those words, as the links above show. The details discussed in those quotes and links, and more, are necessary to have a decent appreciation for “respect for people” in the lean context.

    At the simplest level respect for people requires systems that are designed with people in mind – systems are not designed as though robots were doing what people did. Then those systems also must be built in a way that respects the inherent value of people.

    And the idea builds beyond that and grows into an understanding that in order for human systems to be most effective they must engage people. There are significant limits to how effective systems with people can be if you act as though people are just robots to implement the instructions given by some boss. Respect for people moves from being about just the inherent value of people themselves to a principle to allow organizations to be most effective.

    Within these principles are all sorts of shades of grey where the principles shed light on ideas to consider but it becomes challenging to know what the specific situation calls for.

    Things also get complicated with the way English works. There is another aspect to respect that has to do with having confidence in someone’s ability or maturity.

    You don’t show more “respect for people” by overestimating them. If someone does not have the statistical skills to do a task it isn’t a failure of “respect for people” to acknowledge that.

    I find myself making decisions on how to treat people differently based on what can be seen as different “respect” (in the respect = confidence in their capabilities and their self-confidence). With some people I can simple say, no you are wrong in this case it is best to do x, y, z. I find this is what I can do with those I have the most of the “respect” for.

    For people that have a tendency to take things personally instead of simply understanding we are debating an idea if my statement is wrong and you disagree with me that isn’t a sign of disrespect it is just a disagreement.

    I think there is often a misunderstanding by some that think “respect for people” means not making anyone uncomfortable, which is a flawed view, in my opinion. They sometimes view being challenged as not “respecting their view.”

    I discuss various aspects of respect for people on my blog frequently http://management.curiouscatblog.net/tag/respect-for-people/

  9. Dimitri Stamatiadis
    February 27, 2013

    I meant no offense. I do not know the gentleman who made the statement and could not make a judgement. What I meant to say was “people say things to draw attention”. I was probably carried away…

  10. Doc
    February 27, 2013

    Enjoyed the blog and comments Mark, thanks. Liker’s and Rother’s lines struck home-challenging and training.

    It seems the presentation of ‘Lean’ often goes first, concretely, to elimination of waste (or continuous improvement) because it may be easier to explain, measure, and define ROI. The 8 wastes are specific.

    Respect is less tangible, certainly the other tandem key. Respect has to be deeply embedded into that CI foundation. Respect of the customer, respect for the work, self-respect & respect to those doing the work. Gaps in any of those four and over the long term you lose.

    • Mark Graban
      February 27, 2013

      Doc – thanks for your comment. You’re right that leaders usually get excited about “waste reduction” because they then think “cost reduction” and ROI. There’s so much more to continuous improvement than cost cutting, of course.

      On respect, I had a chance to tour the Toyota plant in my new hometown of San Antonio. In the visitor center, the VERY FIRST WORDS you see are “Respect for People.”

      It says, “Respect for people and the need to modernize inspires continuous improvement.”

      Respect for people leads to continuous improvement which leads to benefits, including safety, quality, and cost.

      “Respect” isn’t just a consequence. To use our British friend’s example, Taiichi Ohno didn’t have great people skills but people respected him because he did brilliant work. OK, fair enough. But, arguable, Ohno pushed people to improve because he respected them and acted accordingly to help them get the most out of their abilities… he maybe didn’t do it in a way we would have done (he was nicknamed “Mr. Oh No!” for a reason).

      Respect is a principle can can take action on… it’s not just a result, it’s a principle that leads to our action each and every day. The Toyota tour guide (a production associate) talked a lot about the “voice of the team member” and how that was listened to so often and how it led to so many great improvements. That’s exactly the “intervention” (to use the Brit’s word) that so many organizations need.
      Mark Graban recently posted..Podcast #166 – Julie Bartels, Healthcare Clinical Business Intelligence NetworkMy Profile

  11. anonymous
    February 27, 2013

    I was an presentation at a 1997 SAE conference in Long Beach when a young Toyota Engineer defined one of the four principles of Lean being respect for humanity which includes customer, employees, and suppliers. So the term has been floating around for a while at least internal to Toyota.

  12. anonymous
    February 28, 2013

    The reason respect for employees is so critical is that without it there is no inclination to develop people and without this desire there is no inclination for self-learning by leaders, no effort to go to Gemba, and a blame the tools that work for me mentality. Opposite of respect is the “hold them accountable” mentality which cannot exist in a Lean transition for the reasons mentioned. A key behavior of a leader’s ability to lead Lean is how much personal time is spent developing subordinates compared to holding them accountable. If your leader isn’t spending time developing subordinates after establishing the need to do so in a Lean transition then it is probably game over.

    • Mark Graban
      February 28, 2013

      I wonder how many organizations measure that on an annual basis – the amount of time leaders are developing people. If not the amount of time, is the result or impact of this measured in some way or at least gauged in a qualitative way?

      The Western business bias is toward grading managers on their RESULTS, not their process. We need to focus on both, I think.
      Mark Graban recently posted..Japan Trip: Going to Gemba and Seeing 5S at a Japanese HospitalMy Profile

      • Rob van Stekelenborg
        March 2, 2013

        Interesting comment. I have always seen this balance between the “what” (ambitions on outcome indicators or control items to follow up) and the “how” (initiatives to deploy/improve standards with check items to follow up) one of the key elements in hoshin kanri.

  13. anonymous
    February 28, 2013

    In a recent presentation by Roger Gerard (ThedaCare) he said one of his big regrets was not doing a readiness assessment, or something like that, when ThedaCare started on Lean. The assessment would have to be behavioral based as no senior leader would say they don’t develop people. I’ve been mulling around in my mind what such an assessment would look like. I have a few thoughts. It might make an interest topic.

    • Mark Graban
      February 28, 2013

      I’m going to see Roger present at the Society for Health Systems conference Saturday in New Orleans. I will ask him about this and “respect for people” as a conscious mindset and action for leaders at ThedaCare.

      Such an assessment WOULD be very interesting…
      Mark Graban recently posted..See You in New Orleans This Weekend? (Society for Health Systems / HIMSS)My Profile

  14. Cheryl Ragsdale
    August 27, 2013

    After reading the article and the comments, I’m struck by
    the connection between self-respect and having respect for others.
    One goes in hand with the other. This comment really stood out for
    me, “A key behavior of a leader’s ability to lead Lean is how much
    personal time is spent developing subordinates compared to holding
    them accountable.” One is warm, working with others to help them
    improve and the other is cold, holding them accountable. This feels
    like being kept at a distance, removed from and separate. That
    doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be held to high standards. I
    prefer warmer relationships. I will grow and get better. Cold
    relationships make it really difficult to move forward. My respect
    goes to warm connections, not cold ones.

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