Psychological Safety in Lean Leadership: Insights from Mike Hoseus and Toyota’s Culture

791
2

Scroll down for how to subscribe, transcript, and more


My guest for Episode #508 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Mike Hoseus, Executive Director of the Center for Quality People and Organizations and President of Lean Culture Enterprises.

He supports organizations in their lean journey, focusing on leadership and cultural aspects of the lean transformation. He is an adjunct professor with the University of Kentucky's Center for Manufacturing.

Michael Hoseus developed his TPS skills at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, where he worked at the General Manager level in both Production and Human Resources, being mentored by his Japanese sensei. His Toyota process experience includes production, engineering, maintenance, safety, personnel, employee relations, benefits/payroll, and training and development.

He learned firsthand how Toyota's success hinges on integrating its production and human systems to create the Toyota Way. 

He's co-author, with Jeff Liker, of Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way — which received the Shingo Publication Award in 2009

In this episode, Mike shares his extensive experience with Toyota, where he developed his TPS skills at TMMK in Georgetown, Kentucky. We take a deep dive into key topics such as the importance of psychological safety in lean leadership, the origins of the andon cord, and how to build a high-performance culture.

Mike discusses his journey from Toyota to helping other organizations with lean transformation, emphasizing the critical role of leadership in fostering a culture of continuous improvement. He shares insights on problem identification and problem-solving, the significance of respect and trust, and the intentional development of a lean culture.

Join us for this engaging conversation with valuable lessons and stories from Mike's career. Don't miss out on the chance to learn from one of the leading experts in lean culture and transformation.

Mike is also organizing a Kentucky learning tour, “High-Performance Culture and Lean Leadership,” from October 15 to 17… I'll be there and am very much looking forward to it. Use code GRABAN to save $500.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • Did people use the phrase “psychological safety” at Toyota, or was it more implicit?
  • Was it a shock to the system leaving Toyota and working elsewhere?
  • How do you teach Toyota's systems and culture to other organizations?
  • How do you filter and find clients or leaders willing to learn and apply these principles?
  • How can you ensure leaders are engaged in the cultural transformation process?
  • Was there a specific origin of the first andon cord, and what was its purpose?
  • Article about NOT pulling the andon cord at Ford
  • Did the physical motion of pulling the cord make it easier for Japanese team members to accept than speaking up?
  • How do you handle problem identification and problem-solving in other organizations?
  • What are the key leadership behaviors to reinforce psychological safety and problem-solving?
  • How do you ensure leadership engagement in continuous improvement and cultural transformation?
  • What are some of your early reflections on helping other organizations with lean transformation?
  • How do you build a culture of psychological safety and problem-solving in non-Toyota organizations?

The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network



Full Video of the Episode:


Clip About the Inspiration and Origin for Andon Cords


Thanks for listening or watching!

This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network — check it out!


Quotes:


Episode Summary & Article

Exploring the Essence of Lean Culture and Leadership in Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing principles have dramatically transformed how industries operate, emphasizing efficiency, continuous improvement, and, most importantly, the value of people in the production process. At the heart of this transformative approach is the cultivation of a leadership and culture supportive of these principles. Individuals like Mike Hoseus, with his rich background at Toyota and as an executive director and president of organizations emphasizing lean culture, play a pivotal role in disseminating these practices.

Cultivating Leadership and Organizational Culture in Lean Manufacturing

The journey towards embedding lean principles within an organization's fabric significantly hinges on leadership and the overarching organizational culture. Leadership in a lean context does not merely direct but actively participates in and facilitates the continuous improvement process. It requires a shift away from traditional command-and-control paradigms to one where leaders are coaches and mentors. Hoseus's experience at Toyota exemplifies this through his exposure to TPS (Toyota Production System) and his evolution under the mentorship of both Japanese sensei and American leaders who embraced Toyota's ethos.

A lean culture is inherently people-centric. It emphasizes respect, continuous improvement, and problem-solving at every level of the organization. This cultural pivot is not instantaneous but gradually cultivates over time, fundamentally impacting how decisions are made, how employees interact, and how challenges are approached. Hoseus's anecdotes reveal the depth of this cultural shift, emphasizing the empowerment and development of individuals as the linchpin of organizational progress.

Learning from Toyota: A Benchmark for Lean Culture

Toyota's approach to manufacturing and its organizational ethos serve as a benchmark for lean practices worldwide. Hoseus's experiences, from his initiation into Toyota devoid of any manufacturing background to his ascent through its ranks, underscore the company's dedication to cultivating talent and embracing a culture of continuous improvement. Toyota's practice of assigning a personal coach to every supervisor and above, as detailed by Hoseus, highlights the deep-rooted commitment to developing a profound understanding of lean principles among its workforce.

Moreover, Hoseus elucidates the significance of Gemba walks and firsthand observation within the Toyota context. These practices are not just about identifying issues but understanding the processes intimately, recognizing the challenges employees face, and fostering an environment where solutions are collaboratively sought and implemented. This hands-on leadership approach encourages a culture of openness, where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities rather than failures to be penalized.

The Lean Journey: Continuous Improvement and Cultural Shifts

The transformation towards a lean manufacturing system is both a journey of organizational change and personal development. Hoseus's transition from Toys R Us to becoming a lean advocate exemplifies the potential for individuals to grow and contribute significantly to their organizations, regardless of their initial expertise or industry. The stories of his early days at Toyota, grappling with and overcoming the challenges of adapting to a new manufacturing and cultural environment, illuminate the personal dimension of lean transformation.

Lean leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin; one cannot exist without the other. Effective lean leaders model the behavior they expect to see, creating a culture that embraces change, values learning from mistakes, and continuously seeks ways to eliminate waste and improve processes. This leadership style, coupled with a supportive culture, is critical for sustaining lean initiatives and driving organizational success.

The lessons from Hoseus's journey and the broader Toyota experience offer invaluable insights into the importance of leadership and culture in the lean manufacturing paradigm. As companies endeavor to implement lean principles, the focus must remain on nurturing leaders who embody these values and fostering a culture that celebrates continuous improvement, teamwork, and respect for every individual in the organization.

Embracing Problem Identification and Solutions

In the realm of lean manufacturing, the power of the Andon cord demonstrates a profound reflection of culture and safety within the workplace. Emphasizing the importance of every individual's role in the continuous improvement processes ensures that mistakes are not just identified but systematically addressed to prevent recurrence. This approach fosters an environment where employees are not only encouraged but expected to speak up about discrepancies, no matter how minor they may seem.

The Paradigm Shift in Problem-Solving

Problem-solving within a lean culture transcends the traditional approach of assigning blame. Instead, it seeks to understand the root cause of an issue and implement strategic measures to eliminate similar future occurrences. This paradigm shift is critical for cultivating a culture of trust and respect, where the focus is squarely on improvement rather than punishment.

  • Creating a Safe Space for Communication: The immediate reaction to pulling the Andon cord–a symbol of encountering a problem–is not reprimand but support and teamwork. This reaction underscores the organization's commitment to overcoming challenges collectively and constructively.
  • Systemic Fixes over Band-Aid Solutions: Identifying a problem is merely the first step. Lean culture demands systemic fixes that are integrated into the standard operating procedures, ensuring the same mistake does not happen again. This may involve modifications in training, adjustments in processes, or even redesigning of tools to better suit the employees' needs.

Training and Standard Work Integration

The transition from identification to solution is seamless when effective training and standard work practices are in place. Through comprehensive training sessions that incorporate lean principals, employees are equipped not just with the skills for their specific roles but also with an understanding of the broader production ecosystem.

  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Learning is an ongoing process in lean manufacturing environments. Regularly updated training sessions ensure that all employees are aware of the best practices and are equipped to adapt to changes efficiently.
  • Integration into Standard Work: Lessons learned from problems and the corresponding solutions are integrated into the standard work definitions. This practice not only helps in avoiding repetition of mistakes but also in elevating the overall work standard, making improvement a constant in the organizational culture.

Fostering a Culture of Respect and Trust

At the core of lean manufacturing is a culture that respects every individual's contribution and trusts them to act in the best interests of the organization. This culture is evident in the way problems are approached–not as failures of individuals, but as opportunities for growth and learning.

  • Respect for People: Acknowledging that mistakes are part of the learning process and treating them as opportunities to improve further demonstrates respect for the employees' efforts and dedication.
  • Trust in the Process: The belief that every problem has a solution that can be systematically derived fosters a deep sense of trust in the lean process. Employees, knowing that their contributions are valued and their voices are heard, are more likely to engage proactively in problem-solving activities.

Summary

The integration of problem identification and solving into the DNA of lean manufacturing is a testament to the philosophy's holistic approach to quality and efficiency. By creating an environment where speaking up is encouraged, where systemic fixes are preferred over temporary solutions, and where continuous improvement is part of the everyday lexicon, organizations can sustain an ever-evolving culture of excellence. As lean principles continue to emphasize the value of people and the power of collective effort, the journey toward perfection, though endless, is marked by notable milestones of achievement and innovation.

Psychological Safety in Lean Cultures

The evolution of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement (CI) principles is deeply connected with fostering psychological safety within organizations. The success stories of facilities improving their operational metrics, such as significantly increasing run ratios, underscore the transformative power of a culture that prioritizes psychological safety alongside systematic problem-solving and mistake-proofing.

Psychological Safety: The Foundation of Continuous Improvement

Psychological safety, a term popularized by academic research, is implicitly woven into the fabric of lean methodologies. It represents a shift from traditional, punitive approaches to error management towards creating an environment where team members feel safe to raise concerns, highlight errors, and suggest improvements without fear of retribution.

  • Cultivating an Environment of Trust and Openness: For lean practices to thrive, creating an environment where individuals can freely speak up about challenges is crucial. This openness is not just about identifying problems but also about collectively working towards innovative solutions.
  • Encouraging Ownership and Participation: When employees feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and participate in CI activities. This creates a dynamic where improvements are driven not just by top management but at all levels of the organization.
  • From Fear to Opportunity: In organizations that have successfully integrated these principles, the shift from fear-based to opportunity-based responses to problems is stark. Instead of concealing issues, employees proactively engage with them, viewing each challenge as a chance to improve.

Implementing Psychological Safety in Lean Contexts

The journey to embedding psychological safety within the lean manufacturing environment involves more than just encouraging team members to “pull the cord”; it requires a deep-seated commitment from leadership at all levels to change the organizational culture fundamentally.

  • Leadership Behavior and Reinforcement: Leadership must model the behaviors they wish to see, treating every problem raised as an opportunity to learn and improve, rather than an occasion for blame.
  • Creating Mechanisms for Safe Communication: Just as the Andon cord provides a physical mechanism for alerting to problems, organizations must develop both formal and informal channels that encourage and facilitate secure and open communication.
  • Education and Empowerment: Employees should be educated about the principles of psychological safety and empowered to act within those parameters. This includes training on how to effectively communicate challenges and participate in problem-solving.

Shifting the Perspective on Productivity and Quality

The narrative that psychological safety enhances both productivity and quality is strongly supported by evidence from numerous organizations. By prioritizing quality over productivity in the short term, companies often find that as problem-solving improves, productivity naturally follows suit without compromising quality standards. This reiterates that a culture of safety and openness directly contributes to the twin goals of increasing efficiency and maintaining high-quality outputs.

  • A Balanced Approach to Productivity: By placing a priority on quality and identifying issues, companies encourage a more thoughtful pace of work that, paradoxically, leads to greater long-term productivity.
  • Quality as a Continuous Pursuit: The emphasis on continuous improvement means that quality is always in focus, and as systems and processes improve, the quality of output naturally increases.

Conclusion

As the conversation around psychological safety continues to evolve within the context of lean manufacturing, the evidence becomes clear: organizations that successfully integrate psychological safety into their culture see remarkable improvements not only in their operational metrics but also in employee engagement, innovation, and satisfaction. The journey toward creating such an environment is complex and requires a consistent commitment from all levels of the organization. However, the benefits of such a culture, where problems are seen as opportunities for growth and learning, are immeasurable and serve as a competitive advantage in today's rapidly changing business landscape.

Emphasizing Behavioral Standards in Lean Transformation

The role of behavioral standards in sustaining a lean culture cannot be overstated. Much like standard work ensures consistency in operations, clear behavioral expectations form the bedrock of a psychologically safe and improvement-driven workplace. This approach to defining and reinforcing desired behaviors is essential for driving the cultural shift necessary for successful lean transformation.

  • Setting Clear Expectations: Establishing unambiguous behavioral standards is crucial. These standards guide how employees engage with one another, approach problems, and contribute to continuous improvement efforts. It's not just about what work gets done, but also how it is accomplished.
  • Aligning Behaviors with Organizational Goals: The behaviors emphasized should directly support the organization's continuous improvement and psychological safety objectives. This alignment ensures that the culture evolves in a direction that furthers operational excellence and employee empowerment.

The Crucial Role of Leadership in Cultural Transformation

The transformational journey towards a lean culture profoundly depends on leadership engagement. Leaders must not only endorse these changes but must actively participate in and lead the transformation. Their involvement signals to the entire organization the critical importance of the cultural shift and provides a model for how to engage in the new behaviors.

  • Modeling Desired Behaviors: Leaders play a pivotal role in embedding psychological safety and lean principles within the organization by demonstrating the desired behaviors themselves. This includes showing vulnerability, admitting to mistakes, and treating every problem as a learning opportunity.
  • Facilitating Leadership Involvement: Genuine leadership engagement in cultural transformation goes beyond mere sponsorship or verbal support. Leaders need to be deeply involved, showing a willingness to learn and change themselves, which, in turn, inspires the entire organization.

Identifying and Developing Potential in Individuals and Leaders

The success of lean and continuous improvement efforts is amplified when individuals and leaders who possess or demonstrate the potential for development are identified and nurtured. This process is integral in cultivating a workforce that is not just capable of performing tasks but is also committed to ongoing learning and improvement.

  • Recognizing Potential for Development: Identifying team members who show promise in adopting and spreading lean culture is key. These individuals often display a natural curiosity, a willingness to learn and adapt, and the capacity to lead by example.
  • Investing in Continuous Learning: Continuous education and the development of potential leaders are vital. Organizations must commit to providing opportunities for growth, including training in lean principles, psychological safety, and leadership skills. This ensures the sustenance of the cultural transformation.

Conclusion

The journey towards embedding a lean culture enriched with psychological safety and continuous improvement is multifaceted, involving the establishment of behavioral standards, active leadership engagement, and the development of individuals' potential. By focusing on these elements, organizations can create a robust foundation for operational excellence, innovation, and employee engagement. As leaders and employees alike embrace these principles, the organization is well-positioned to achieve remarkable gains in productivity, quality, and overall performance.


Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)

Mark Graban:
Hi, welcome to lean blog interviews. I'm your host, Mark Graban, and we're joined today. Our guest is Mike Hosaias. He is the executive director of the Center for Quality People and Organizations and president of Lean Culture Enterprises. He supports organizations in their lean journey, focusing on leadership and cultural aspects of the lean transformation.

Mark Graban:
Mike is an adjunct professor with the University of Kentucky's center for Manufacturing. Mike developed his TPS skills at Toyota at TMMK in Georgetown, Kentucky, where he worked at the general manager level in both production and human resources, being mentored by his Japanese sensei. He's the co-author with Jeff Liker, who's been on this podcast a number of times of the book Toyota Culture, the heart and soul of the Toyota way. It's a great book. It received the Shingo Publication Award in 2009.

Mark Graban:
So, Mike, thank you for being here on the podcast. How are you?

Mike Hoseus:
Pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me, Mark.

Mark Graban:
I feel like it's long overdue. I have no good reason why I didn't. I think it's my lack of invitation, even though I've been a big fan of your work and we've crossed paths before, really, I'm thankful we can have a good conversation today.

Mike Hoseus:
I'm likewise.

Mark Graban:
One thing I want to mention and something Mike and I had talked about recently, he can fill in some details on this. We'll put a link in the show notes. But Mike has been organizing a learning tour, a study tour to Kentucky, taking advantage of the opportunity to visit Toyota in his backyard. And kind of my backyard, it's labeled a high performance culture and lean leadership tour or trip. It's October 15 to 17th.

Mark Graban:
I'm going to be there. Thanks to Mike for that. I'm really looking forward to it. Mike, before we get into other topics, can you tell the listener more about this tour?

Mike Hoseus:
It's a great opportunity because mixing a couple things, the discussion and content on culture, but then the Gemba and including Toyota, I talked about the book and I appreciate you mentioning that. You know, talked the book to several organizations around the world and the country and always talk about Toyota. It's like, but you need to come look. So organize it where we can go and see. And so it's set up with those three days.

Mike Hoseus:
We have a half day, you know, of discussion and exercises and things in the room, and then we go to the Toyota Gemba first day. And then we go to a couple other area manufacturers who are on their lean journey the next two days. And those we get good feedback on both. Of course, it's good to see the Toyota in kind of the ideal state, but that blows away a lot of people and overwhelms them. And then to go to a smaller organization and get to talk to the management team and share the struggles that we're all going through on this journey is a lot more relatable and helpful to people.

Mike Hoseus:
So it's the combination of both.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
Found to be helpful.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. I mean, it's great to be able to go to the Gemba related to a learning event. It's no substitute for that. I've done the Toyota Georgetown tour and the tour in San Antonio where, you know, you're driven through on a tram and you hear some things and you can get a sense of a place like what have been in Japan. As an industrial engineer, I geek out over actually being able to stand in a catwalk, right, on a walking tour and actually watch five or ten repeated job cycles.

Mark Graban:
You see the standard work, the choreography, if you will, you see the things that happen that lead to an and on chord pole. That's a great opportunity. So this tour is maybe a chance to see more detail than being driven through.

Mike Hoseus:
Exactly. And then again, that, that discussion with the leadership teams from the other companies of what's been, again, helpful to the group that comes. And then we do take a side trip. Fun tour to a distillery each time.

Mark Graban:
Yes. I am not opposed to that. Mine as well. When you're there in Toyota's backyard. That's right.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And it's funny you talk about, you know, seeing different types of factories. I've been on a number of tours, whether it was in Japan or in Texas, healthcare people, and seeing that Toyota plant was literally the first factory they had ever set foot in. It's just kind of an interesting. It's not their fault, but, like, lack of context of what bad looks like and what bad feels like and not that Toyota is perfect.

Mark Graban:
Nobody's perfect. But it's. It's just interesting to hear what people see and reflect on without that context or the scars or wounds that come from working in a factory with a lot of problems.

Mike Hoseus:
Right, right. So I'm glad you were able to mention it, and I hope we can get some folks to join us in Kentucky.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And there's a discount code available. Thanks to Mike for that. It's just my last name, GRABAN. Right.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah. So I guess, like you said, if you could put it in the notes, it's focusinleadership.com, and then look for the Kentucky event. But if we can get that in the notes. That would be helpful, I think, to people.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, yeah. I'll make sure there's a link in the notes for that. So, you know, Mike, I've read Toyota Culture, some of your stories in there in particular, about mistakes and a culture that values learning from mistakes and improvement. And we might get to hear. There's one story in particular I might prompt you to try to tell.

Mike Hoseus:
I know which one it is. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
But before we dive into that, I mean, I like to ask guests on the podcast here if I have a standard question. It's to learn about someone's lean origin story, if you will. I'd love to hear about some of your early days or what you recall from getting started in Toyota and being exposed to TPS, you know, there in Kentucky.

Mike Hoseus:
Well, I mean, like you said in the intro I had, it was really once in a lifetime experience. You know, the plant in Kentucky was the first wholly owned Toyota plant outside of Japan. So they sent, you know, you said, sensei. I've had sensei. So there was last count, I heard, you know, 400 Japanese trainers helped start-up that plant, and one of them had a role in the plant, and that was the president.

Mike Hoseus:
All the rest of them were our coaches. So every supervisor and above had a personal coach. So I was a group leader supervisor, and so I had a shadow, a personal coach, teaching me the Toyota production system. And more importantly, these Toyota Way things, we didn't call it at that time, but, yeah, cultural things. And so, I mean, my goodness, what a.

Mike Hoseus:
What an opportunity. And then each, each promotion I got, I had a new trainer and then coordinators at the manager level teaching me the same things. And so it was phenomenal. And again, they took people without auto experience. You know, I always tell a story.

Mike Hoseus:
I had, I worked at Toys R Us before that.

Mark Graban:
Oh, so this Toyota was your first manufacturing?

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah. And I'll tell that story quickly because it's funny, you know, my wife was my current wife of 2037 years. You know, we were married about three months before I even went to Toyota. But anyway, she was transferred down to a hotel in Lexington, and it was the residence inn where the Japanese were staying.

Mark Graban:
Oh.

Mike Hoseus:
And they, they said, you know, they met her and, of course, and said, have your fiance, me, put in an application. I said, like, no, that's not a good idea. I don't know anything about manufacturing. I know I've never been in a plant, and I don't even like to change my own oil, by the way, so. So not a good fit.

Mike Hoseus:
So she comes back the next weekend, and we're talking, and she said, I talked to them again, and they said, you're exactly the type of person that they're looking for. And I said, you told them everything I know nothing about. Yes. And they said, you're exactly the type of person they're looking for. I'm like, okay, well, then I'll have to check that out.

Mike Hoseus:
So my point was, like, I had a blank slate. Literally, like, I was a sponge. I just wanted to learn. And of course, they were there to teach.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And so it was a good match.

Mark Graban:
And so had you been in a management role then at Toys R us?

Mike Hoseus:
I was in the management role.

Mark Graban:
Toys R Us, some leadership experience. And, yeah, they interviewed for.

Mike Hoseus:
It's funny because they interviewed for. And those are those competencies again, these are these things I learned once I got there and then got to HR. But they were interviewing for the competencies, again, of teamwork, you know, that respect those values, and then problem identification and problem solving.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
Again, how apt are you to, like, admit those problems and identify those problems and then solve them? So I gave them, you know, my toys r us examples of that and obviously passed the test.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, but realizing that they were going to coach and develop you along the way.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. Which was their point. Like, you will teach, you know, to build a car and that type of thing. We can't teach, you know, some of these other values and things and. But these other competencies, again, of problem identification and problem solving, we can develop.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. And improve capability. And so that was my memories. I was just, like, totally soaking in. And then the other one, again, this, you know, I know, we'll talk about this.

Mike Hoseus:
This kind of freedom of. That mistakes are okay in identifying the problems. Like, like those were. The stories are right. That those.

Mike Hoseus:
Because those were contrary to our human nature thinking. And then the other thing I remember is that they were always working to simplify, you know, and I had. I was a couple years out of college where, you know, when, you know, you're writing your term papers in college, you know, trying to do the opposite, and. And then they're making it, like, how to make it simple. How to make it simple.

Mike Hoseus:
And so those were some of those early memories.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, I remember, you know, the former Toyota people I've talked to, David Meier, co author with Jeff Liker of the Toyota Way Fieldbook and Toyota Talent.

Mike Hoseus:
Right, right. Yep.

Mark Graban:
That David had previous manufacturing experience, and we've talked on this podcast of he had to unlearn some habits, and that was part of the challenge for him.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, yeah. And those we had. We had, I think. I think the agreement with the governor or something was 5% auto experience and 95% Kentuckians. And so there.

Mike Hoseus:
There were stories about those 5% the same way with Dave that having to unlearn. And I think that was why they wanted 95% with the blank slate.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Now, I, you know, as you were saying, you didn't think it was a good idea at first because you didn't have direct, relevant experience. But, I mean, from. From early days. Did it.

Mark Graban:
Did it grow on you quickly of like, oh, okay, I see what they were looking for. This is an interesting challenge. This could be really good.

Mike Hoseus:
You know, probably first couple months, years, I think, because, again, I was just a sponge. And just the other, the other dynamic there that I, you know, learned is I was doing them. I was doing what they were telling me. You know, unlike some of those experienced people who were questioning it, I knew I didn't know enough to question it. I just did it.

Mike Hoseus:
And then I ended up being one of the first two group leaders who were promoted. So that's when it dawned on me. It's like, oh, I must be doing the right thing. And again, I was only doing what they were teaching.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So that worked out well that way.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. I mean, you know, having a coach by your side, I imagine you a shadow, as you were saying. You. You build a good relationship. I mean, I'm at.

Mark Graban:
I would hope or think part of coaching is allowing the student to push back or challenge things, and maybe you might get a good answer back of why you're wrong or kind of helping you think things through.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, that came a little later. Honestly, those first coaches, again at the floor level, didn't speak English. So those team leader trainers. Group leader trainers were team leaders and group leaders from Japan. No English.

Mike Hoseus:
So we drew a lot of pictures, and we had translators that would float around, you know, helping us all.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So did a little bit of kind of questioning on that and some examples, again with a translator. More of that dynamic was later with the. We called the coordinators, and those were engineers and managers who did speak English, so we could have that more than that, if that makes sense.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And, you know, I've heard maybe this is a good time to ask you about, you know, you mentioned freedom, that mistakes were okay. I've heard David Meyer's story, Isao Yoshino have told similar stories about the reaction they got to a mistake. You tell a story, I've heard you tell it at a conference, and it's in the book Toyota culture. I cited it, a brief version of it, in the mistakes that make us, you know, hoping people would go pick up Toyota culture for a deeper dive.

Mark Graban:
But could you tell that story and. Yeah, did it become a nickname or.

Mike Hoseus:
Just, yeah, the scratchy story, I think, is the story and I told because it was true. And, you know, it really made an impact on me. And then, you know, then I would tell it in my conferences and things, and I was like, I felt kind of almost guilty, like, repeating it over and over. And so then one time I didn't say it because I was like, I'm not going to keep saying a story. And, like, a group comes up to me afterwards and, like, why didn't you tell the scratchy story?

Mark Graban:
It's a great story.

Mike Hoseus:
Like, because I tell all the time. I brought four people here to hear that story. So anyway, I didn't want to build it up too much, but it was the true story. Again, they sent us to the line as group leaders. We were said, hey, we were told, you're not going to be working online.

Mike Hoseus:
That's not your role. But we want you to have respect and empathy for those folks who are. And it's a hard job and to be on a line 8 hours, we build a car a minute, and so we want you to get a feel for that. And like you said, learn the standard work, you know, learn the, and on and et cetera. So, and then again, remember them saying on the way over, now don't, at the end of four weeks, you won't be building every car, so don't worry about it.

Mike Hoseus:
And on you we go. And so I tell people, I'm sitting on the airplane, I'm thinking, how will I not be able to do a 62nd job after four weeks? Like, they must not know us Americans very well. You know, I'm, you know, I'm 25 years old, athletic. I'm like, I'll show them.

Mike Hoseus:
I'll be the first one who does it. And so I always tell people they were right. I couldn't do every car after four weeks, but I was dying trying. So they literally give us 15 seconds worth of work each week. They teach us the first 15 seconds work.

Mike Hoseus:
But you know how long it took me to do that? Way, way more than a minute, you know, that first week. And then I knew I was getting good or better at the end of the first week because I could do 15 seconds worth of work in less than a minute.

Mark Graban:
And so, and the regular team member was doing the other 45 seconds right.

Mike Hoseus:
Right down the line somewhere. So. But when I got to that 15 2nd in less than a minute, I felt good because the trainer could kind of come and go and I would be on, I could be on my own. So then I literally scratched one of the cars. And I'm, you know, working under body chassis, putting in a fender liner, and I scratched a car.

Mike Hoseus:
I'm like, oh, my gosh. And I look around and there's nobody seeing me.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And so that was my kind of moment of truth. And again, I talk about, you know, what should be happening, right. And what should be happening is I should pull the Anton.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
But I tell them, nothing in me, nothing in me wanted to pull that hand on again. Human nature, pride. They were telling me, good job. I was doing well. Like, who wants to say?

Mike Hoseus:
I might just screwed up, right? I mean.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And so I look at the scratches like it's a small scratch. It's under the fender. Like, who's gonna see that? I don't think it's that bad of a scratch. I think I'm gonna let it go.

Mike Hoseus:
And so doing the rest of the car, you go rest, you know, 30 seconds more work or whatever. And again, my conscience getting me, well, they told me that pole don't. And then I know right before I left, I'm, like, getting paranoid, thinking maybe they have hidden cameras around here or.

Mark Graban:
Something, like, it's a test.

Mike Hoseus:
And now, though, that's a test. And am I gonna fail the test? Like, to tell. So I pulled the end on, and of course, the team leader did the repair, but then he hung out with me for three, four or five cars, and he gave me a long term countermeasure to brace it with my other hand there or whatever. So I'm thinking it's done.

Mike Hoseus:
All right. And then I also explained to people, you know, the, the huddle meetings, and not a lot of companies, you know, shut the line down for operators to talk.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And so Toyota does it twice a day. And so, you know, 2 hours after startup, the team meets with their four or five folks and talking about safety and other problems. And in the afternoon, it's four or five teams together. So 2025 people and the group leader facilitating quality discussion, and then they have a problem. So it's the afternoon again, I don't understand Japanese, so I didn't, I didn't partake in any of the meetings, so I just listened to them and jabber Japanese, and on we go.

Mike Hoseus:
So they're jabbering Japanese that same way that afternoon. And all of a sudden, I hear them say, mike, son. And that's what they call me. And I'm looking like, okay. And then I realize they're not talking to me.

Mike Hoseus:
They're talking about me. So listening a little closer than I hear them say, scratchy. So that translated pretty clearly. And I tell people I got upset. I'm like, I cannot believe the team leader is ratting me out in front of 25 people.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, like, that is not a leadership concept. Like, you're not supposed to tell people about the guy screwing up in front of everybody.

Mark Graban:
Sounds like he's making. Sound like he's making funny.

Mike Hoseus:
Exactly, like, making fun. But just tell them. Tell them I screwed up. Like, thanks a lot. Like, you know, I pulled the.

Mike Hoseus:
And on. We handled the problem. You fixed it. You repaired it. So why are you telling everybody?

Mike Hoseus:
So then I'm like, what? What's going on? So then the bells and whistles go off again. There's no translation. I don't know.

Mike Hoseus:
And so they all start streaming back to the line, but they're coming right past me, shaking my hand and patting me on the back, and I'm like, are they telling me goodbye? What are they doing? So I pulled out my request for translator card, and so the guys let me take my place, and then I see her talking to the team, the group leader. And then she goes to talk to the team leader. Then she comes over to me, she says, mike, suddenly want to thank you.

Mike Hoseus:
And I'm like, for scratching the car? No, no, no. For telling them she scratched the car. For pulling the and on. Oh.

Mike Hoseus:
She says, yeah, it was like they said it was a small scratch under the fender. It could have got all the way past inspection. More likely, they would have found it, and they would have had to waste time and effort tracking it back to root cause by you telling them neither of those happened, and that's why they're thanking you. Oh, that's a different story.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
Right now, I'm happy with that. Team leaders recognized my good behavior in front of the whole group, right?

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So. So that was my. That was my introduction to problem identification. And mistakes are okay, but again, we have to talk more because you can't just stop there. But.

Mark Graban:
Right. Yeah. If the story ended with, oh, mistakes are okay. I mean, they're not saying, who cares? It's like, well, I've heard people say sometimes, like, well, you know, there's humans involved.

Mark Graban:
There's always going to be human error. So what can we do. And I'm like, well, answer that question.

Mike Hoseus:
Right, right.

Mark Graban:
What can we do? Like, did they help put some sort of, was there a systemic fix that could be put in place to prevent that type of scratch?

Mike Hoseus:
Well, so there's not a Pokemon, but people ask me that back here. They're like, well, wasn't that part of the standard work for putting your other hand there, embracing that? And I said, well, they didn't train me on that initially, and then I wasn't close enough to where I would learn that. But I can tell you when I went back to Kentucky, I was on that process because that was my part back home that was in the standard work, in the training. Right.

Mike Hoseus:
To put that other hand there. So, so I'm assuming they made that part of the system going forward. But I don't know. But I did.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's a lesson learned. And, you know, just think of workplaces where people are the right to fear speaking up or they, they've experienced, you know, punishment or shame or negative consequences for pointing out an issue. People learn quickly not to do that.

Mark Graban:
I don't know if you've, if you've met anybody who left Toyota and went to go work for a different automaker. I mean, you know, you talk about, you know, the culture being the heart and soul of the Toyota way or TPS. Like, I have this thought experiment. It's probably happened to somebody. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Mark Graban:
Let's say somebody has any length of experience at Toyota and it's ingrained. And they have the habit of pulling the and on cord and they go to a different automaker where maybe there is no and on cord, or they get a completely different reaction to pulling the and on cord. Like I saw at General Motors 1995, we didn't have and on cords in engine parts machining. But if there had been an and on cord, people would have gotten yelled at because people did get yelled at for doing things that slowed production because that was sadly the primary function. So, like, you know, I mean, I think people, a Toyota person through no fault of themselves, would learn very quickly in a different culture to not pull the core.

Mark Graban:
Right?

Mike Hoseus:
No doubt. Like you said, the leadership sets the culture. And, you know, I think, well, the, and on the, and on, of course, that's the, you know, the groundbreaker. That and that and on, I love, because it's, it's a, you know, it's a tool, but it's also this cultural driver. Right.

Mike Hoseus:
It's also a system. And, you know, I always ask new ir's how many times a day you think the. And on Polkas, you know, I got, as a manager, I got an hour with them that first week. And of course I didn't want them to be scared pulling the and on like I did. So that was one of my first messages to them was making it, making sure they knew it was safe.

Mike Hoseus:
But I would, I would get their attention by, you know, having them guess how many times a day the Andons pulled. And I do that in my classes still and say, okay, I got 500 people day shift out there in assembly and 500 people night shift. So this is, you know, one 8th of the 8000. Take a guess how many times. And so I just did it last week.

Mike Hoseus:
And, you know, they start out, you know, 100 or 200. I'm like, no, you're too low. You're too low. And I'm telling you, Mark, when I. We counted it, but not, not, we didn't post it.

Mike Hoseus:
We didn't. We just wanted to get a feel. It was like an unwritten KPI. And it was 12,000 a day. 12,000.

Mark Graban:
How many seconds are in a day times how many jobs?

Mike Hoseus:
Right. Well, then you make it. When I put it back to, they say that's for two shifts, I'm like a thousand people. So it's basically, you know, twelve per person per day.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And it might be a ten hour day. You might be a, you know, hour or two over time, whatever.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
But, you know, so it's, it's not that many, but it's a lot. And, and I always ask, is that okay or no good? Because again, the japanese, you know, very clear on setting the standards for both. You know, the process, the product and the people. Right.

Mike Hoseus:
And the culture. And so is that okay or no good? And most time people get it, like, that's good.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And that's the right answer. And why is it good? Because we're identifying problems.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And you talk about, I love the way you kind of break up problem identification and problem solving. We can't solve problems that aren't identified, but there's some workplaces where they've done a good job of helping people feel safe to identify problems. But if there's not good problem solving, people stop speaking up because, well, like nothing's happened. There's a professor, Ut Austin, who I cite a lot, Ethan Buress, who says that's futility.

Mark Graban:
If you've eliminated fear, you don't want to replace it with futility. Where people say, yeah, I don't get in trouble. But why? I pointed out that problem a dozen times and nothing changes. So I've given up.

Mike Hoseus:
Well, what, that. What I've learned is, yeah, it's definitely futility. And they're giving up identifying a problem. What I, what I've learned is then they do workarounds.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And they come up with the workaround and they, you know, they solve it themselves. So, so you're right. That, that that's no good. And, you know, and that separating problem id from problem solving, that was, that wasn't me. That was the Japanese.

Mike Hoseus:
And. Sure, and I questioned that at first. It was like, why isn't that the same thing? And then I learned, to your point, it's not. Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So that's the deal. And I want to make sure we finish that thing on because again, the. It's okay to have that problem identified. Yeah. But we got, you know, that's where Toyota would put the member, you know, the two pillars of Toyota way or respect and trust, you know, and then CI.

Mike Hoseus:
And so our behaviors are always, should be reflecting those, both of those. And, and so I had one trainer say, you know, one mistake. Okay, Mike, so, you know, two mistakes, no good, right. For the same thing. So the point is, you know, how are we going to keep it from happening again?

Mike Hoseus:
That's, that's where the CI comes in.

Mark Graban:
Right.

Mike Hoseus:
And we were talking two questions, and, and so I listened to. So I want to plug your book, too, because you sent. So I got to listen to your book. It's a great book.

Mark Graban:
No, thank you.

Mike Hoseus:
And it intertwined a lot with, again, my learnings at Toyota and the two that I, that we were taught. I don't know if this was like the literature or that you getting it from the Toyota people, but we were literally taught explicitly to ask the two questions, you know, what have we learned from this and how are we going to keep it from happening again? That, like. Yeah, like, that was part of our leader standard work. And I got stories in the book on that with, you know, even down Don Jackson in Texas and, you know, multimillion dollar problems and big, big mistakes.

Mike Hoseus:
A lot bigger than my little scratch.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
On the fender. And, you know, and Don was a good, you know, again, that's in the book, you know, so I can quote it again, you know. Cause he was from Volkswagen, I think, and maybe prior to that, either one of the big three. And so he was, he was going at it, you know, with his, his general Motors training and then hit. And then he said, he told the story that as he ready to talk, he remembered his trainer telling him, oh, what have we learned from this and how are we going to keep it from happening?

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, he's biting his tongue. Right. So, so two awesome questions.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. I've heard a lot of people from Toyota talk about the, what have we learned from this? David Meyer talked about that. I think when Fujio Cho was the plant president, he was the one who.

Mike Hoseus:
Had the job.

Mark Graban:
And eventually became CEO and chairman or chairman.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, both. Yeah. He was global president and CEO, then chairman of the board. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So the world's best was our, was our teacher.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And, you know, so I've heard that a lot. And I mean, I think the other question, how can, can we keep it from happening again? You know, I think that's part of, to me, a mistake proofing mindset where we're learning. And, you know, there are some organizations I've seen sometimes in healthcare where they, leaders react well to the problem identification, but the problem solving is not as good where they can.

Mark Graban:
There's too much reliance on, okay, well, don't do it again. Be careful. You're aware of it now. Don't do it again. I'm like, well, you could try that, but I don't believe the hypothesis that telling someone to be careful is really going to be effective because I don't think the root of it is not being careful.

Mark Graban:
It's a process problem.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. Yeah. And it's a, it's a process problem whether it be with the part or with the, you know, the training methodology. I just, I'm another story, you know, because we always, because we know the other thing at Twitter. Like, we had these checks and balances with, with HR.

Mike Hoseus:
So even as a manager, I couldn't hire anybody or promote anybody or fire anybody because they wanted to check and balance to the culture values. And, and so the one on mine, you know, I, I had a person putting in a wrong glove box door, and I was imagining a group leader saying, what should we do? And he was keeping his documentation. He had his meeting. So he's like, well, I was like, I'll meet with him.

Mike Hoseus:
And I, and I just, I just did your quote. Like, you know, I asked him, you know, anything going on, you can leave. He's like, no. I'm like, well, you got to be more careful. Like, this really important, like, don't do it again.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And sure enough, next week they, you know, tell me he did it again. You know, I'm like, yeah, I told him not to. I told him we were going to recommend termination if we. If he. If we did.

Mike Hoseus:
If he did. And so I guess we're gonna have to. So we did. Hr comes, you know, again as part of their job, you know, tell me what's going on. Like, here's all the documentation, here's the numbers, you know, da da da.

Mike Hoseus:
Every couple weeks, he gets the same thing over and over. And does anybody got into a specialist or a check? I'm like, well, he said his general physical like everybody else. Nothing's shown up. Well, can we send him to some specialist?

Mike Hoseus:
Oh, okay. Comes back with a red blind. Red brown. Color blindness. He didn't know he had.

Mike Hoseus:
Not from the glove box. Color for the color on the manifest. It tells him what color.

Mark Graban:
Oh, my God.

Mike Hoseus:
It's a. It's a right hand drive to the middle east, which is a very low runner. He's only on it 2 hours out of the day because of rotation. And so whenever that car comes, when he's on the job, guess what part he puts on.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And because of my lack of problem solving, I'm recommending the guy for termination. So that was another lesson.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
Of, again, problem. It's not the person, it's the problem. It's the process. And that might. Process might be part of the person, but you get the point.

Mike Hoseus:
It's not because they're going to make a defect.

Mark Graban:
Right. Right. And imagine the countermeasures can include making a change to the manifest format.

Mike Hoseus:
Sure. Or is eyesight or whatever. With glasses, whatever. But. And then also putting in some color blindness check as part of our, part of our physical, you know, into.

Mike Hoseus:
Into assembly. Yeah, but that. That's, again, that's problem solving. So I appreciate your point on the. Even when we get the thing where we get the problems identified, now, we got to have the culture of getting the root cause because we can't mistake proof everything.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And, you know, I had a little. Anyway, I had a quick little side note on that one last week. I had somebody say, well, folk didn't Toyota fool full foolproof it. I'm like, oh, they changed that name. Right.

Mark Graban:
Right.

Mike Hoseus:
Out of respect, we're not calling anybody fools. We're. We're trying to get their input on how to mistake, proof it. Anyway, so I thought that was an interesting little.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, well, there's, there's. I was going back through one of Shigeo Shingo's books, and he. He recounts that story of Toyota using the phrase baka yoke. Now of a friend who speaks Japanese, and he's like, yeah, baka means idiot. It's pretty direct translation, not a lot of nuance.

Mark Graban:
And, you know, Shigeoshingo tells the story of somebody getting upset about being called an idiot or a fool and they changed it to poke yoke. And, you know, you hear it in English, you know, dummy proofing, foolproofing, idiot proofing. And or, you know, there's this kind of nasty expression of like, you know, you try to idiot proof a process and you can always find a bigger idiot or something. It's not. Yeah, no, it's not.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, but that was a long time ago. You know, I think when that story happened and so, you know, it comes back to culture and respect. One thing I just wanted to take a quick detour back to before moving forward on respect and feeling safe to speak up. When you talk about the 12,000 and on cord polls every day, there's I think a common misperception. I'll hear people say and they're being complimentary, like, oh, everyone's empowered to pull the cord and the line stops.

Mark Graban:
But like what percentage of the time does the problem get addressed before the line would?

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, that's a great point. Cause that always comes up. That's a great point. So two points on that. So the line doesn't stop when the end on pull, like you said, and I learned later again from my hrs, like we wouldn't want to put that pressure on the member, right?

Mike Hoseus:
So that the members role is to fall standard. We're gonna pull it. If they not able to fall standard work, then that sends a signal to the team leader, group leader, they make the decision whether they need to let the line stop or can they maintain safety, quality, productivity, cost and morale without letting it stop. So I tell people now, when we were doing 12,000 polls and those were major model changes, lots of problems, we were probably running an 85% run ratio. So 15% of the time the line was down through the day and now we've gotten better.

Mike Hoseus:
So again with that CI, what are we turning out? We get around again. When I called back for the book, you know, like you said, zero eight or nine or whatever, I think they said it was about cut in half at that .5 or 6000. And then we take our groups through, you know, Toyota plant and I'm watching and listening, I'm estimating maybe two or 3000. So it has gotten better again because a result of the problem solving and continuous improvement and the mistake proofing, right?

Mike Hoseus:
So, so anyway, so, and now they're running 97, 98%, run ratio. So maybe two or 3% of the time the line would be down.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. So that's such a great illustration of, you know, there's a default or a norm or a standard of speak up, pull the cord, and then with problem solving, the need for the polls goes down.

Mike Hoseus:
Right.

Mark Graban:
There are a lot of organizations, I visited a hospital in Japan. They had a chart, and I've seen similar charts in the US where basically, like the incident reports was increasing because they were at the stage of building psychological safety. That was not yet the cultural norm or the default. There's a us organization I saw that had the perfect pairing, though. If you see the time when the incident reports is going up.

Mark Graban:
Cause it's being encouraged, punished, they're building that. And then not too long after. Cause they were doing a good enough job in problem solving. A different chart showing the rates of patient harm was going down significantly. It was no longer fluctuating.

Mark Graban:
It was going down. That's the beautiful combination of problem identification and problem solving.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, yeah. That's great. Cause I tell people just like that on the run ratio, you know, 85%. So the quality is not suffering, though, because the quality is improving. So you always maintain those quality standards.

Mike Hoseus:
And then through the problem solving. Now we're getting, like you said, the. Now the productivity is coming as well.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
If we're using that and on again. And if quality has priority over productivity, which is another cultural leadership having a challenge. Right?

Mark Graban:
Yes, a very, very serious one. So let's talk more directly about psychological safety as a phrase, as a concept, as a set of practices, because I was going through and doing research for the mistakes that make us. And the one thing that's great about Kindle versions of a book, I've got a lot of my TPS and lean library in Kindle where that phrase psychological safety might not have made the index, but you can search for the phrase. You can actually search the whole book.

Mike Hoseus:
Wow.

Mark Graban:
And the book you did with Jeff Leicher, Toyota culture, was the only. And even doing a lot of googling, I couldn't find that direct phrase. So I'm going to read back two short excerpts from Toyota culture that I've shared with people. So the first quote is, without trust in their employers, employees are reluctant to admit to the existence of problems and learn that it's safest to hide them. Right.

Mark Graban:
So we've been talking about that. And then the second excerpt, not too far from it, says, Toyota believes people must feel psychologically and physically safe. They must believe that any concerns they have will be taken very seriously. So, I mean, there's, there's, there's, we've been touching on the concepts and the leadership behaviors, but the first direct question I asked you was like, did people use that phrase psychological safety, or was it more implicit?

Mike Hoseus:
It was implicit, yeah.

Mark Graban:
Okay.

Mike Hoseus:
And I don't remember, you know, again, like, her and I did it together. And so. Yeah, but I was a psychology major in college, so I might have thrown it in there. But I don't think, to answer your question, though, it was. That wasn't the term.

Mike Hoseus:
We used it at Toyota. So not explicit.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So anyway, but, but whether you call it whatever you call it. Right. Getting hit calls or getting the behavior is what we're shooting for. Right. And your points were well taken on the excerpts.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah. Because that was very explicit, just like, you know, again, that was the first week on the, on the job, and they were very explicit on. And almost overboard. Right. On making that a recognizable, reinforcing behavior.

Mike Hoseus:
Right.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
I mean, so they had to, like, they. That was, there was. That had to be intentional.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And whether the Japanese called psychological safety or not, that's what they were doing. Right.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And I'd be curious over time now, as you know, the work of Amy Edmondson and others has really helped popularize the term psychological safety. And, you know, I'll go back to. I think it's kind of an amalgamation of definitions from Edmondson and others that. Yeah, because I think that phrase gets misunderstood.

Mark Graban:
Like, and on. Could get misunderstood or a lot of things be misunderstood. Psychological safety doesn't mean not being held accountable, not being challenged. Psychological safety means you feel safe to speak up.

Mike Hoseus:
That's it. You know, I was thinking about this webinar. I want to make sure I got this point in because, because it literally, it was safe. And I was taught that early on. And I tell people in reflection, like, it was so refreshing because.

Mike Hoseus:
Because we, we spent the time on the problem, on, like you said, getting the root cause and taking it, and everybody just knew, like, you weren't going to spend time on smoke screens and deflecting blame and all the, all the nonsense, which is not efficient.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So again, it's not respectful and it's not effective or efficient on the CI pillar. And so it was so refreshing. It's like, just identified a problem. Now we can spend time getting that root cause and solving it. And again, it was, like, magical from that of you, but, but, but not intentional.

Mike Hoseus:
Very accidental. And I remember even I was, I was on a Kentucky tour and I don't know how many years ago it was. And that, you know, they would do have these tour guides and they've changed them now since, but it was like retired people from the community or something. And, and they would, you know, give the talks and things. And I'm here with these people and we're, and we just talking about this topic, you know, and then we take them in and I forget which problem it was.

Mike Hoseus:
I don't know, it was the recall or the attendance celebrate one of the big problems that was in the news. And so here's this tour guide, you know, retired guy said, well, they're having big problems. And, you know, I'm sure heads are rolling right now or something. What? No, no, no, no.

Mike Hoseus:
I couldn't, I didn't say that back at the glass was like, no, no, no, heads aren't rolling. Like point. Yeah, like another organization, you're finding that heads are war. That's not how Toyota does it. And so again, I tell people, like, on this culture thing, like, you have to be intentional on your culture.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And, and, you know, in Shingo or whatever, I don't have time to get into all that, but, but leaders need to be intentional on their culture. And so I would recommend again, per this discussion, like psychological safety or way you're going to word it needs to be part of that intentional culture.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, yeah. Now, you know, there's organizational culture, and you can think of roots in Japan. I'm not an expert. I've gone on five different study trips. I'm a recreational Toyota student of going and visiting, and I've even asked Masaaki Imai daughter, who was working with him before he passed, and she went and passed this question along to Mister Imai.

Mark Graban:
But I'm trying to, nobody can tell me or hasn't been on earth. There must have been literally somewhere the first and on chord system or the first physical andon chord. And was it a function of, well, factories can be loud, so if you try to speak up, someone might not hear you. We're going to put in this cord that sets off lights and chimes or music or how much of it is a function of japanese culture where I've heard people explain as much as you can generalize. Well, there's this strong norm for harmony.

Mark Graban:
The expression of, like, the tall piece of grass gets cut down. Was the. And on cord, like, was the physical motion easier for japanese team members to accept than speaking up? Or I could be completely off base.

Mike Hoseus:
But the story I heard on and on, and this is probably a culmination of a couple of different stories. But, you know, without getting too far off on the whole loom. And, you know, the judoka built into the loom. Right. Where, you know, if a thread breaks, other ones kept going.

Mike Hoseus:
This they put in the level, right. That stopped. So it was quality built in, but.

Mark Graban:
Somebody didn't have to speak up. That was like, mechanical.

Mike Hoseus:
That was mechanical. But then, so then when they sold that to Pratt Whitney and all that got the money. So then the other guy takes the profits and goes. Builds cars, then they go into that, into the big three or whatever Ford plants and see the assembly line. But the assembly line was similar to the loom without the jidoka, where if there was a problem, it kept going.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. And so then the andon was the jidoka to put in the assembly line. Right. To take place. Like you said, you couldn't have a mechanical thing on each process.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So. And then I also heard that, you know, one of their trips to the US, they went through San Francisco and rode on the cable car. And unlike a train that had scheduled stops, anybody could pull that cable and get off whenever they wanted to.

Mark Graban:
Yes.

Mike Hoseus:
And so that was, I was told, the origin of the cord, the rope or whatever put on there so that anybody could do it at any time and not have to wait for the scheduled stop.

Mark Graban:
Ah, that makes. That makes complete sense because you look, it's tacked up at certain points and it hangs down.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, yeah. It's like, like, so that's like, that was what I was heard. But again, you know, it's this cultural leadership, because I've had lots of places put in ropes or put in buttons, but if the leadership is that, is that top down or whatever, then it's not. If her heads are gonna roll, then I'm not pulling.

Mark Graban:
Right. So I'm guessing the. So, yeah, the judoka concept was already there. So I'm guessing there was this cultural intention that led to the court. Like, this cord is going to be the manifestation of how we have people point out problems.

Mark Graban:
And if it comes to it, the.

Mike Hoseus:
Line stops for the assembly line.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, for assembly, yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
You know, and there's lots of writing right up new me. And that whole thing with that. Andon was the difference maker.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
Right.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And you're talking about, you know, thousands of times a day. There's a new story. I'll put a link in the show notes. It was from the BBC, but they were writing about a Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, about 2000.

Mark Graban:
It was about 15 years ago. And the story talks about how, like, they had copied the tool, they had all the equipment, and you buy it from a vendor. You install all the and on cords. And the article talked about, compared to Toyota, the cord was being pulled a couple times a week.

Mike Hoseus:
A couple times a week.

Mark Graban:
And I'm guessing that was, like, maintenance testing. They had a checklist. They had standard work of go and test the and on cord, but it wasn't being pulled. And. And there was no implication in the article, thankfully, that the Ford employees didn't care as much as the Toyota employees.

Mark Graban:
That was part of Ford's cultural journey.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah. And it's the leadership behaviors.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
You know, I had another story with, up in Canada. I visited this furniture company, office furniture, and. And they had a lean, like a servant leader. He wasn't, he didn't even know about Toyota TPS. And we were telling him, and his, his message was, raise your hand.

Mike Hoseus:
That was, that was his standard, raise your hand. And so then I go back a quarter later, whatever. They show me all this improvement in productivity, drops of defects, and he's. We're looking out the second floor window there, and you're, like, seeing they're raising their hand. I'm like, I can't believe this.

Mike Hoseus:
I want to go talk to somebody on the floor. So I picked this toughest looking dude I could find, and it was French, Quebec. And I'm like, tell me about this. Pulling the cord. And the translator said, you know, he thought it was a bunch of expletives, you know, or, you know, b's or whatever, and.

Mike Hoseus:
But he said, then somebody pulled it, and they showed up, and they were, they were there asking, how can I help you? And asking, and then working on the problem. And so more of us started pulling it, and then there was more polls than the leadership. So then, you know what they did? He says, they brought the CI team down to the floor, and then the CI team would be out there when we raised our hand, also helping.

Mike Hoseus:
And, you know, then we even had more people raising their hand. Then they brought the engineers down to the floor. They would jump in when they got that. And then Patrick was the lead guy. Patrick's down here.

Mike Hoseus:
Patrick's in. On a Saturday. When we're raising our hand, he's there answering and seeing how he can help. I'm like, man, that's impressive. I've said.

Mike Hoseus:
But I just saw the productivity graph where you're building, like, three times the amount of cabinets. And these are union guys, by the way, as well, you're building three times the amount of cabinet you were six months ago or whatever. Tell me about that.

Mark Graban:
Wow.

Mike Hoseus:
You liking that? And he said, we love it. He said, we're kicking the tails off of the other plants.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And we, and he's getting, using the term we. Yeah, we're, we're loving this. We're kicking their butts. And I'm like, I'm like, I wish I had, I wish I'd been taping you on this one.

Mark Graban:
Right.

Mike Hoseus:
But there's, it's not the equipment, it's not the bell, the whistle, it's the leadership behavior. Right.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. But I love hearing the we and the team.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. Right.

Mark Graban:
Mindset there. And it's so powerful. And I've been involved in, you know, some hospital improvement efforts where, you know, laboratory productivity was doubled. And people almost like the people working in that laboratory didn't even realize it until they saw the data. And they weren't upset because we had replaced all of the B's and the workarounding that they were forced into doing.

Mark Graban:
You only have 60 minutes an hour. You can only move so much. But that movement and thinking was applied to value added work.

Mike Hoseus:
Exactly.

Mark Graban:
They weren't mad about that. They were serving patients.

Mike Hoseus:
And the Japanese say it's more respectful even.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
So good stuff.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And even, you know, I think adjacent to the worlds we work in, you know, people in Eric Reese, who's considered the leader of the lean startup movement, you know, who studied Toyota really deeply, he really emphasizes that, that it's not respectful to waste people's time. And that could be like, don't waste a software developer's time having them spend a year building software that no customers willing to.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah. Not only inefficient, not respectful.

Mark Graban:
It's interesting to frame it that way. So, boy, this is, I appreciate the stories and the things you're bringing up here. Maybe we can do another episode someday. I don't want to monopolize your whole early evening. This is so fun to talk about.

Mark Graban:
And we can continue the conversation and things like this or continue my learning at this trip in Kentucky in October. We'll recap that again at the end. But I wanted to ask you maybe a different origin story because I don't know the answer to the question of what year did you leave Toyota and go start helping other organizations?

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, it was one, right about 2000. It was like end of 99 or whatever is when. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. So I'd be curious to hear some of your early reflections of being in the Toyota fishbowl for so long and now being anywhere else, like I'm sure that was, that was, was that shock to the system.

Mike Hoseus:
Certainly, yeah. And because again, you don't have the, you don't have the whole systemic support right of it. But you know, I've learned a lot over it and again, how to teach it and the shingle models help to teaching it with, you know, again, these systems are what's driving behavior. So work on the system, you know, not being in the system and being intentional about the culture, which, you know, all these things I learned at Toyota. But how do you teach it to other people?

Mike Hoseus:
Because, yeah, in the fishbowl it's a little bit more difficult. But then going out to be more explicit to your, to your earlier point is, was some of the biggest. Aha. And again, making it, making it a standard. And because, you know, we learned that basically, you know, whether it be on five s or like on a bay, a leadership behavior, like that's, that's important and that's an intentional culture.

Mike Hoseus:
And just like the psychological safety to, you know, to make the leadership behavior when somebody brings you a problem to say thank you and to say what have we learned and how are we going to keep it from happening again, like those are standards that are important. And again, and so if you don't make it, if you don't make it a standard for your organization, then leaders can be handling it different ways and it's not a problem by definition. Right. It's just their, their way. But if you make standard that no, our way is this, then if Mark's out there saying, you idiot, why are you, haven't you been in this area for ten years and you're just now bringing it to me or those types of comments, then, then we can say no good to that behavior because it's not to standard.

Mark Graban:
Right.

Mike Hoseus:
So that's what a lot of the teaching I do too is like when you make clear behavior standards as well as your standard work standards, then you can build these cultures of behaviors to hit your intention.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Yeah. So maybe one final, final question because you're making me think tying it back to your origin story of getting hired into Toyota, they saw in you and others people who could be developed in their system. Is there a process that you go through at all as a consultant or an advisor to kind of try to filter through and find clients or leaders who have similar potential, that they're willing and able to learn and apply these things more than others?

Mike Hoseus:
Well, it's the ones that so the answer is yes. I mean, I don't know if I have a process other than if the leaders are, if the leaders are involved, because again, if they're working on this transformation or journey again, of culture, then I'm in. And if we got the leadership engagement into that now, because again, if it's, they're more working on tools and process and then you're working with the CI team or whatever, then that's not changing any culture. That's, that's getting efficiency out of some processes or something. And that's not, that's not how I want to spend my time.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
You know, and so, so if we've got the, again, we've got the engagement of the top leadership and the vision for this cultural transformation, then that's, then I'm in.

Mark Graban:
Yeah.

Mike Hoseus:
And again, some of that, then some of that may be learning on their part that, oh, I didn't understand that, how much I had to change or this or that, but that's different than again, you got their buy in initially.

Mark Graban:
So, yeah, I've heard a lot of leaders say they couldn't have possibly known when they started it how much they were going to have to change.

Mike Hoseus:
Right.

Mark Graban:
Or else some of those leaders where the transformation, if you will, started with them. And I think the word involved is different than saying like, well, I'm sponsoring this or I'm supporting it.

Mike Hoseus:
Right. Yeah, there's big difference leading it.

Mark Graban:
Right. Well, this has been great, Mike. Mike Hosaias again has been our guest today. I do encourage people. The book Toyota culture is great.

Mark Graban:
If it's not already part of your lean TPS literature, I think it should be. You know, you read these different books and you get different perspectives on new ideas. So definitely recommend that book again, recipient of the Shingo Publication Award in 2009 and I hope some of you listening or watching will come join Mike and others. I'll be there on this Kentucky learning tour October 15 to 17th. Look for links in the show notes.

Mark Graban:
You can register using the code Graben. Mike, thank you for that gift to the audience. And please remind it'll be in the show notes, but remind everybody of the website for both the tour and if they want to learn more about the work that you and others are doing.

Mike Hoseus:
Yeah, the focus in, focus in leadership.com, all one word obviously. And then there'll be an event page and then you'll see that Kentucky tour that mark just talked about. So hope to see you in Kentucky.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Not focus on, but focus in. There you go. Be careful.

Mike Hoseus:
Don't make that mistake.

Mark Graban:
We don't know what that other website might be, but. But, Mike, this. This has been a real treat. Thank you for being a guest and for sharing so much today. Really?

Mark Graban:
Yeah.


What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.


Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleJoin Me at the Michigan Lean Consortium Annual Conference in August!
Next articleAsk Us Anything! With the KaiNexus Lean Strategy Team – Watch Now!
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I really enjoyed this episode. I even recommended it to some of my coworkers. I am leading a book club, and we are reading “Wiring the Winning Organization” and discussed Amplification last week. There was a story from one of the attendees about a production release going wrong. His manager asked why he didn’t say no about releasing and his response was that he didn’t get the mandate. I believe that’s already management going wrong, they should have an andon cord (figuratively) or even have Gemba walks. Your podcast helped me formulate my ideas better. Thanks!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.