A Broadening Perspective of Strength Based Principles


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I have always viewed Lean as a knowledge building exercise versus one of a problem solving method. I believe that is what has attracted to me via Appreciative Inquiry to the Strength-Based approach. It was what I was doing with better definition.

I could be wrong in this statement, but I find European “Lean” more attuned to Strength-Based Lean and Service-Dominant Logic type thinking. U.S. Lean is still based primarily on Goods-Dominant Logic type thinking, and I always felt limited itself. Even, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (Build/Measure/Learn) movement was fueled by a reduction of waste but has matured into a Customer Development process. You find little in the way of Reflect/Discover/Create within most organizations. I have been blogging about CAP-Do (PDCA) and EDCA (Explore – introduced to me by @GrahamHill via Toyota) as a method of moving “traditional” Lean Thinking in the U.S. to one of Reflect/Discover/Create.

What I have found out applying strength based principles to Lean is that it was always there. It just required a deeper understanding (at least for me) of Lean. I re-read Dr. Deming, Peter Scholtes and Brian Joiner, my original entry point twenty years ago to Lean. The CAP-Do cycle was originally introduced to me by Terninko for product development but was enhanced in my recent readings by Brian Joiner (Dr. Deming Protege) and Yoji Akao (my favorite book on Hoshin Kanri).

I also believe there is a great deal of support in the Lean Software world most specifically the Kanban enthusiasts, for strength-based Lean thinking. The Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life book by Benson and Barry just won a Shingo Prize. Though PK can be looked at as only a Time Management tool, there is a deeper meaning. It is way of pulling work based more on what you want and can do versus pushing work. I think the award may greatly assist in a broadening perspective of strength-based principles.

The Deming Management Method
The Leader’s Handbook: Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done
The Team Handbook Third Edition
Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business
Run Grow Transform: Integrating Business and Lean IT
Step-by-Step QFD: Customer-Driven Product Design, Second Edition
Hoshin Kanri: Policy Deployment for Successful TQM.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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