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The Culture Experiment Continued - Culture and Values

When your team understands what your organization’s values mean, how they connect to the values and how they can observe values in action, research tells us that they are 51 timesmore likely to be actively engaged employees.   


So where do values fit into culture?


Culture is behaviour that is supported, expected, reinforced & valued by a group of people over a long period of time. Culture is typically based on an unwritten set of rules.  Values are an attempt to establish the rules of culture.


Values are typically defined by organization’s senior management group.   The values are communicated to employees and then senior management will sit back and wait for the magic to happen (which rarely ever does).  


In order for values to impact culture, we must have a deliberate approach and follow our PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Adjust) model.


For example, one of the 8 traits of culture is ORDER.   ORDER is having a respectful workplace, having a structured workplace that allows teams to function well and having shared norms or values.   One of the values that supports ORDER is accountability.  Accountability is a very broad term and has a different definition for most people.   One option is to get your team to define what accountability means to them. One definition could be people say what they are going to do and actually do it.   This is better but may not be observable.   To make accountability observable, the team can define the value as an observable behaviour, such as team commitment to updating their visual performance white boards on a daily basis.   


What is observable can now be measured.   At HPS Consortium, we have been using the 28-day experiment to measure behaviours.   If a task is completed 28 times in a row, it will typically will become a habit or permanent behaviour.   In this case, we would use a calendar to measure the update of the boards 28 days in a row (observed is a green check, non-observed is a red check and red check means start over at day one).   


The value of accountability is now connected to ORDER as the team supporting an element of a structured workplace.


Remember, you have to be deliberate to enhance your culture and once you start, you need to pay attention to the results.    

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What HPS Consortium is Reading this Summer

I have been inspired by the number of summer reading lists that have come out in the last couple of weeks, so I thought I would add to the noise by adding my own books.  


The following have been used as part of my consortium development work and as you read them, you will see some of the concepts that we have been applying. 


If you click the titles, it would provide the details for the books .. and I do not get commission from chapters….


Please let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions.







Creating Great Choices –  I have incorporated Roger Martin’s  integrative problem solving and design thinking  model in the problem solving models used by the consortium . I have also incorporated the thinking in our approach to culture change.  The conflict model has been very helpful with our Lean Thinking for Knowledge Work ( Advanced Value Stream Mapping Facilitator ) training.


The Achievement Habit – My first introduction to Design Thinking.  This is a read for those that want to ‘do’ rather than just ‘plan to do’.  It also has my all-time favourite title to a chapter … Reason are Bulls**t .. something to live by.


Team of Teams – Teams work is how our organization’s excel.  The author is a retired US Army General who lead an engagement team in Iraq.   Through stories, he walks through how he changed how US agencies work together to become more agile and effective. It has some excellent examples of how we can build the same thinking in our own organizations.   Fans of Taylorism beware. If you are a keener, you can read the follow-up book One Mission as it provides more details on deployment of the thinking.  


Mindset  – This one could be a game changer for some of us.  It explores the concept of Close vs. Open Mindset.   I had a few personal revelations when I read it.


Creating a Lean Culture – A classic and a fundamental read on Management Systems.  Thanks to David for providing the core thinking that we used to build our Organizational System Thinking Model

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Solving our Problem - Knowledge Worker Capacity

Our big problem - Increasing the capacity of our knowledge workers - this is how the HPC Consortium members are solving the problem.   







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When Forrest Stops Running - So Does Everyone Else

What we learned in 2017 is when Forrest stops running, so does everyone else (thank you to L3 Wescam for the inspiration). From the iconic movie, after Forrest stops running, so do his followers and then lost, they ask 'what do we do now'?


Our HPS Consortium members continue to embrace Organizational Systems Thinking and are realizing strong improvements in performance. It is critical to have a strong and effective Management System that aligns to your Production (Product, Patient, Client, Consumer, Customer Flow) and your Human System.


With OST, you also need strong Transformational Leadership to support our system through Vision and Strategy Deployment. You need leadership at every level to demand transparency and support our humans to develop the thinking required for success.


Organizational System Thinking enables growth and discipline, Transformational Leadership demands and supports it.


The HPS Consortiums are keeping Forrest running through the 28 Day Leadership Challenge. What do you need to do to keep Forrest running strong in 2018?

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The 28 Day Personal Leadership Challenge

Three words that are misused and misunderstood - Leader, Problem Solver and Team. Just because someone is a manager does not mean they are a leader, just because someone fixes things does not mean they are a problem solver and just because humans work together, does not make them a team.


A successful Organizational System Thinking approach depends on competence in all three Human Skills.


To continue with skill development in our Consortium Community, we have launched the 28 Day Personal Leadership Challenge. The challenge focuses on using the 4 principles of Transformational Leadership to build strong leadership habits. The 4 principles are 1) Set the example 2) Holds yourself at a higher standard 3) Show discipline and control 4) Get your team to focus on the positive.


The challenge starts with a self assessment. For each principle, participants provide an example of how you demonstrate the principle and how your team would observe the principle. The reflection with help provide you with a current state view of your transformation leadership impact.


The next step in the challenge is for one of the principles develop a plan on how to improve your skill - what action you are going to take and how will that be observable for your team. For the next 28 days (it takes 28 repetitions to form a habit) journal the results - check and adjust.  


Once you complete the firsrt challenge, repeat until you become an exceptional Transformational Leader.  


Remember, every High Performance Team has Transformational Leadership at its core.


Let me know if you are up for a challenge and we can get you started on your journey.

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CI Consortium Events - Fall 2017

We have an excellent schedule of events for the HPS Consortiums this fall.   


Please feel free to connect with me if you have any questions - ssmith@hpsinc.ca


Shared Consortium Events

August 16 - Lean Board of Directors Workshop - St. Mary's General Hospital

August 23 – Lean Safety SIG – Precision Resource - Cambridge

August 24 – 5S Auditor Exchange – Stackpole – Ancaster

September 19 – Maintenance Leadership – Tremco – Toronto

September 25 – Front Line Leadership – Fall 2017 Launch – Milton

September 28 – Continuous Improvement Leadership SIG – Baylis Medical - Mississauga

November 2 - 5S Auditor Exchange – Liburdi Turbine – Dundas

November 7 – Lean Safety SIG – Share Showcase – Rockwell Automation – Cambridge

November 16 – Share Showcase 2017 - Milton

November 22 – Continuous Improvement Leadership SIG

November 29 – Maintenance Leadership – Cardinal Meats – Mississauga


HPM Consortium Events

September 26 – HPM Board Meeting – Rockwell Automation – Cambridge

October 24 – HPM Board Meeting – Tremco – Toronto 

December 5 – HPM Strategic Planning 2018


AfEE Consortium Board Meeting / Leader Exchanges

September 7– AfEE Board Meeting – Cimco

October 12 – AfEE Board Meeting – Transcontinental

December 7 – AfEE Strategic Planning 2018


CIA Consortium Events

September 21 – CIA Leader Exchange – Scarborough Rouge Valley Hospital

October 19 – CIA Leader Exchange – Wescam

November 30 –CIA Strategic Planning 2018


CCC Consortium Events

September 27 – CCC Leader Exchange - Greenway Chaplin Community Centre – Cambridge

October 26 – CCC Leader Exchange - Community Support Connections – Kitchener

December 6 – CCC Strategic Planning 2018


WWIC Consortium Events

September 12 – WWIC Leader Exchange - Volunteer Action Centre - Guelph

October 10 – WWIC Leader Exchange – United Way - Cambridge

November 21 – WWIC Strategic Planning 2018

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Is your organization getting any smarter?

We are all busy and 'working hard'. Work is more demanding and there just does not seem to be enough time to get everything done.


Organizations love to create work. We push our people and resources to create short term capacity, but at what cost? If we continue to create work and push our resources to 'work harder' our organizations actually get less smart. We tend to do the same things over and over and spend all of our time working on 'stuff'. We spend a limited amount of time focusing on why we have problems and implementing solutions to improve capacity. We stop learning and our capabilities decrease. We get tired and frustrated and our long term capacity decreases.

So what do we do?


Create some 'productive slack'. Current data tells us that most people spend at least one day a week in meetings and another day answering the emails they get when they were in the meetings. This accounts for 40% of the work week. While we need to meet as teams need to have effective communication but real work does not get done in meetings (and most meetings create more work that we do not have time do).


A number of our consortium members have utilized their management system to reduce the time spent in meetings and are getting smarter by engaging their teams in problem solving. As a next step, try the following experiment. Before your team starts their day and their work, meet for 10 minutes to discuss what they are going to do today, what is important and what help is needed. At the end of the day, meet again for 10 minutes and discuss if they had a good day and accomplished what they set out to do. If they did not, ask why, what can we do to make tomorrow a better day and implement the changes. This is extremely effective if you utilize your visual production / project / patient flow boards to conduct your morning meeting and your performance control boards to conduct your afternoon meeting.


And the result ..... at lot less time spent in unnecessary meetings, 30% reduction in emails (we actually talk instead), 50% improvement in execution of our work (we focus on working on the right things) and we get smarter as we are learning and solving problems.

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Your current Management System may be limiting your success

We all know that Lean and Continuous Improvement implementations have a very low chance of being successful over a long period of time. What many organizations don't know is why.


Working with our Continuous Improvement Consortium members we have found that those Organizations that have the right Management System are the ones that have success. In short, your Management System may be your limiting factor.

So what is the right Management System?


First of all, your management system is in place to make sure we are dong the right things for our customers (or clients or patients). It does this by providing alignment to our Vision, Strategy and Outcome Measures. It connects everyone in the organization right down to the daily work to allow them to understand how they can impact our vision. It helps our people to make really good decisions. It also provides alignment to our other two systems - the Production System (how we delivery value) and the Human System (the Right People, in the Right Place with the Right Skills and the Right Effort and Attitude).


The right Management System products the integrity of our Production System through providing stability and consistency of purpose.


Finally, it is very good at identifying and solving problems at all levels of our organizations.


The concept of how to develop the right management system is elegantly simple and is driven by the daily connections we make with our people.


What to learn more or understand how good your current Management System is? Let me know and I would be happy to come in for a Management System walk.


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Best Practice Roundtable - Effective Use of Data to Make Good Decisions - April 18 - L3 Wescam


World Class Organizations depend on their people to make really good decisions. To make good decisions, we must provide all our people with the ability to understand and use data to solve problems.


This Best Practice Roundtable will focus on the development of the Human System Element – Problem Solving.  It will help us understand the following questions   

Why we need data
When should data be used for decision making
What is good data
What is the best way to collect data
How to use data to make good decisions



Improve our organizations ability to become better problem solvers through the Effective Use of Data to Make Good Decisions



1.       Introduction and Objectives

2.       Learning – Critical Thinking and Data

3.       Best Practice Presentations – How we use data (please come prepared to make an informal presentation on your best practice)

4.       Apply – Development of Organization specific improvement plans for data use to make decisions

5.       Wrap up and Next Steps



April 18, 2017, 8am to 12:30pm



L3 Wescam - Burlington.


Action Required 

Space is limited for this Roundtable so please let me know if you would like to send some one from your team - ssmith@hpsinc.ca 


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Providing Effective Feedback - Eliminate the 'but' by using I Like, I Wish, How Could

Providing feedback is a critical component of positive development of our employees and team members.    

To give effective feedback, we need to get rid of the 'but'.  For example, if you approach an employee and say "You did a good job gathering data from your team for this problem, but I think you need to focus more on getting data from other teams", the only thing your employees hears is what is said after the but and the positive is negated.   Instead of 'but' we need to focus on the 'and'

A technique that I have tried that works great is using I Like, I Wish, How Could / What If.


I like that you got your team together for a discussion on your problems.

I like that you gathered data from your team to better understand the problem.

I wish we could have more data from other teams to make sure we understand the full impact of the problem.

How could we do that?


By doing this, you have acknowledged the good work and used the ‘and’ to build upon that work and suggest a refinement to their approach in a positive way.  The How Could engages everyone to work together on a possible solution.  

If you feel it would be better to provide a bit of coaching to the employee, you can use ‘What if” instead of How Could.  For example, you could finish with “What if you got the other teams together for a similar discussion”


Next time you give feedback, try it out and let me know the results – two I likes, a brief pause, an I wish and a How Could or What If. 

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Scott Smith
July 23, 2018
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