I had a chance to read the book Salvation : The Bungsu story by Marcus Hammarberg few weeks back.
This is a true story of transformation in an Indonesian hospital using Agile and Lean principles and practices. What struck me is that how simple practices could create bigger impact leading to an amazing and inspiring story. This without uttering the word agile, lean, transformation during the whole journey.
Without giving away too much on the story (recommend you read and feel it for yourself), here is my take and key points from the book.
- Focusing on the problem not the person
In a typical hierarchical organization, people tend to look to blame others for untoward situation. In one of the situations, Marcus used a practice called “Not- list”. After introducing this tool, he put the topic “Who is to blame for this” under “Not-list”. This helped in removing the elephant from the room and helping the people to focus on the underlying reason for the problem.
2. Surfacing the Problem
Initially the management did not understand the gravitas and urgency of the situation. Surfacing the bigger issues/challenges in a brainstorming session and listing them in a white board had a profound effect and there was a sudden awareness of the situation as well as the urgency to fix it.
3. Transparency & Decision making
To enlist the support of the entire hospital and have systemic solutions, Marcus and his team introduced 2 practices — 1. Sharing the actual current state of the situation hospital staff daily. 2) Daily management catch up in the morning to discuss the progress and list the priority.
4. Power of visualization
By making the progress as well as the task visible, the team were able to discuss, brainstorm the next steps, remove any blockers which helped them to move forward.
5. Limiting work in progress
To focus on priority work and diminishes the workload and avoid multi-tasking, the team introduced Limiting work in progress. This in turn resulted in driving innovation and improvement.
6. Move authority to the information
As in a typical hierarchical organization, decisions in the hospital were all centralized with a top-down approach. Sometimes this results in changing priorities and leading to people in most departments getting over worked. To fix this issue, Marcus in his capacity of helping the management and people suggested instead of management, that the people of those departments take control of their tasks and schedule. This has two-fold impact — 1. the management team could focus on the real problem and opportunities in the hospital. 2. Trusting and empowering the people to plan for their work and schedule.
7. Fostering positive impact
One of the things which was introduced was celebrating collective success to foster positive impact and motivation.
Well the learning are many and in fact while I was reading the book, I could sense that there are many golden nuggets which I could take away and try immediately with the teams and in the organization.
For me one of the biggest takes away has been that, to create a lasting and sustainable impact, take a systemic approach to dig deeper and understand the real challenges which gives a better chance to solve the problem.
For me as a coach, the biggest take away was that simple practices like gaining trust, visualizing, limiting WIP and making the people believe that it is them who have done the work helps in motivating and creating a bigger impact.
As a coach, we should be aware of when to step in and when to take a back seat and let the people drive.
Key message is trust the process, trust the people and be the enabler to show the way forward and that will unlock the potential of the entire workforce.