Jeff Liker on "Happy Cows"

1 / Business Life – In pursuit of happiness:

Interesting quote from Jeff Liker in the Financial Times about TPS and an example of a hospital in the UK:

“”There is no evidence that happy cows make better milk, and there never will be,” says Jeffrey Liker, professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan. However, fresh from making a study of “talent development” by Japanese company Toyota, he argues that the Toyota philosophy that no one comes to work to do a job, they come to work to learn how to do the job better, satisfies all theories of human motivation (rewards, feedback, recognition, opportunity to learn, sense of autonomy etc).

One organisation trying to apply such lean methods is Bolton NHS Trust in the UK. We are trying to redesign the work we do back from our [patients] rather than forwards from our staff,” says David Fillingham, chief executive. Staff are happier for it, he insists. “Reducing paperwork for staff in the stroke unit by 42 per cent makes their job easier, so they're happier.” They are also happier when they see patients getting a better service. And they're more motivated if they have been involved in redesigning the process.””

As managers and leaders, we so often forget the innate desire that most people have to do a good job. We so often strip that intrinsic motivation away and replace it extrinsic motivations, such as rewards, bonuses, raises, and other purely financial incentives.

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1 Comment
  1. Rob says

    Mark – nice post. This reminds me of Herzbergs model which identified that true motivators were:

    * achievement
    * recognition
    * work itself
    * responsibility
    * advancement
    * personal growth

    I’m not sure if he studied cows though! Get more into from:


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