KAPOW! A lesson on change management from Batman?
There is a line in the movie Batman Begins that reminds me a lesson we teach in lean quite often. When Bruce Wayne returns and is planning his new role as Batman, he tells his butler and confident Alfred “people need dramatic example to shake them out of apathy.”
While lean is usually not being used to fight crime, I agree.
The scene from Batman Begins:
There is a formula we use to teach lean that goes as follows:
H x V x F > R
H is for a hatred of the current reality. V is a vision of the ideal state. F is the First steps of action, and the courage required to take them. And R stands for the natural resistance that exists in any organization, including Gotham.
The key is, the greater the resistance to change, then you need to develop stronger hatred of the current state, a more powerful vision, or bolder action. You need the dramatic example that Bruce Wayne referred to.
Some of you will remember that one of my co-founders of the Lean Learning Center was Denny Pawley, who was Executive VP of Manufacturing and Labor Relations at Chrysler during the transformation of the organization into the most profitable in the industry.
In shake people out of apathy, in the middle of one of the toughest times in the industry, Denny created a dramatic example. He had a sheet of paper that was sitting on his desk every morning that showed the performance of all of his 36 factories from around the world. And if your plant was red, he went into problem solving mode. He was a master technical problem solving, and could literally solve many problems from a state or continent away. However, he knew he needed change beyond that.
He said that he didn’t want to see that sheet of paper again. Why? It drove him into reactive problem solving mode. He made clear not to misread the change: two bad days in a row was not an acceptable situation. But, he wasn’t going to just run around trying to fight fires on the way to spectacular performance. He needed to spend his time differently – and he spent it teaching and coaching to transform how the organization worked.
Leadership is a stage. What dramatic examples can you create on your state to shake people out of apathy, and move the organization closer towards that elusive ideal state.
And there you have it – KAPOW! Change management, Batman-style!