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"Sheepwalking"

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Seth's Blog: Sheepwalking

Excellent reading from Seth Godin. If we're a lean organization, we don't want a bunch of “Sheepwalkers” hanging around.

Seth defines it as:

I define “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.

Yesterday, I was talking to managers about implementing standard work and how that shouldn't make robots out of people. There's a strange balance between having to 1) follow standard work and also 2) giving ideas to improve standard work. Sheepwalkers won't do this. Sheepwalkers will just “go along” with things, to the detriment of the organization.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. David says

    An interesting post with which I mostly agree. I think his comments about education, though, are off the mark:

    “Teaching to the test, ensuring compliant behavior and using fear as a motivator are the easiest and fastest ways to get a kid through school. So why does it surprise us that we graduate so many sheep?”

    This has little to do with the real issues in K-12 education today. The problem isn’t “compliant behavior”; in many schools, it’s such complete lack of behavioral standards that learning is impossible for everybody. The problem isn’t “teaching to the test”; it’s been such a complete lack of disinterest in the transmission of knowledge that basics like reading and arithmetic are not being learned.

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