When you can see it, you can talk about it! If you can’t see it, you don’t talk about it and nothing changes
Until we can see the work, (where it is and why it isn’t flowing) we talk about what we think is happening – not what actually is happening. We end up in passionate conversations about who is right (or wrong) and have little to no ‘fact’ to support viewpoints and actions.
It is our belief that Visualising the work is the foundation on which lean transformation hangs. Visualisation alone isn’t enough, which is why you need to combine it with daily accountability sessions where team’s create powerful learning spaces in which they talk about what isn’t working, why and how they can change that.
It is this combination of visualisation and conversation that enables team’s to become self-learners and lean transformation to become sustainable
Are you visualising work ? What are you visualising and how is it supporting new ways of work and Lean thinking ? What is your team talking about ? What can’t they see ?
Blog Posts On Visualisation
The abstract that has been accepted as a presentation at the Lean Summit in Cape Town on 19, 21 October! Super excited to share the lessons learnt.
This paper presents the lessons learnt when changing our lean implementation strategy from a pure consulting model based on a project-based approach driving cost savings to an experiential learning model built on coaching, visualisation and daily accountability meetings.
I am spending time at the moment as a Team coach (yes, am still facilitating Leadership Labs but am balancing the two ) and have noticed a trend in the area I work where teams have their work on a wall, but never refer to the wall! So I have been coming up with ideas to bring the visualization of work and flow back into the heart of what the team does. Here are my thoughts! What ideas have you used in the past ?
I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps not! When I think about visualisation, I think about turning data into something that can be translated (without thought) into meaning! I think about thermometers and colour and images that convey meaning. I see my cars petrol gauge, rather than a digital number.
When I engage with individuals and teams what we end up talking about is numbers and words – all of which require the brain to ‘think’ about the information and interpret it. The problem here is that numbers mean different things to different people. I have 20l left in my petrol tank – is that good or is that bad ? How far can I get ?
Often when teams start visualising they start with low level tasks. Very quickly these either overwhelm the team or it works, tasks get completed but nothing really has changed – work still gets lost, fires still break out and quite quickly the team just stops updating the space and gathering.
A powerful visual space often has the following characteristics:
Key Visualisation Elements
If your visualisation is made up of text and line graphs you may want to think about adding some images and colour into the mix. Think a car dashboard – you don’t get told there are 20l left in your petrol tank, you get a gauge that shows, full, half, empty – you know where you are within seconds.
And that is the trick- images and colours tell stories fast!
The one visual feature that we have found that can change a team’s effectiveness is the introduction of a simple, generic Kanban card. This shifts teams from writing everything onto their wall and creates a possibility for:
- consistent information to be gathered about work
- movement of work into different spaces and so the ability to start to create heat maps of where things are stuck
How are you using Kanban cards ? What information is a must have ?
For some ideas on Kanban cards, click here
5 seconds to see what isn’t going according to plan, 10 seconds to find out what the blocker/ issue is and 10 seconds to see what is being done about it!
Can your visualisation do this ? In even 5 minutes ? If not, shouldn’t it ? Imagine if you could walk to any space and see just that… in 25s ?