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The Importance of Language

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 05-24-10

This is the next video in the Cultural Transformation Series. The language you choose to use, and the meaning it conveys, can have a great impact on your culture when done consistently. I explain that point in this video, The Importance of Language.

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How have you used language to help your transformation efforts?

Comments

  • Not only is it good to use language that helps to establish what you are trying to do (great example with the value stream map vs value stream improvement), but also to not scare people that another change is coming. One example, a plant I was working in had PEPSIs (Program for EmPloyee Safety Improvements) established and instead of trying to introduce Kaizen events, we just expanded the PEPSI format beyond just safety. It was a safe and easy way to introduce man other lean concepts and improvements without making the employees think we were trying to get eliminate what they had and “replace” it with lean. This was a good way to show how lean and what they had been doing work hand in hand.

    Matt Wrye May 24, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Not only is it good to use language that helps to establish what you are trying to do (great example with the value stream map vs value stream improvement), but also to not scare people that another change is coming. One example, a plant I was working in had PEPSIs (Program for EmPloyee Safety Improvements) established and instead of trying to introduce Kaizen events, we just expanded the PEPSI format beyond just safety. It was a safe and easy way to introduce man other lean concepts and improvements without making the employees think we were trying to get eliminate what they had and “replace” it with lean. This was a good way to show how lean and what they had been doing work hand in hand.

    Matt Wrye May 24, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Not only is it good to use language that helps to establish what you are trying to do (great example with the value stream map vs value stream improvement), but also to not scare people that another change is coming. One example, a plant I was working in had PEPSIs (Program for EmPloyee Safety Improvements) established and instead of trying to introduce Kaizen events, we just expanded the PEPSI format beyond just safety. It was a safe and easy way to introduce man other lean concepts and improvements without making the employees think we were trying to get eliminate what they had and “replace” it with lean. This was a good way to show how lean and what they had been doing work hand in hand.

    Matt Wrye May 24, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Nice to feel some positive vibes…too much negative going around.

    Positive feedback when exploring moonshine ideas is critical. One great way to keep the moonshine team motivated during feedback sessions: for every ONE thing someone mentions that they DON’T like about a prototype, they have to mention TWO things that they DO like.

    The change in thinking is incredible. It’s too easy to find the faults, and most times the team is already aware of it. Mentioning faults is a waste of time. Let the team focus on improving the positive aspects of their efforts. When they do…good things happen.

    Steve Martin May 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm
  • Nice to feel some positive vibes…too much negative going around.

    Positive feedback when exploring moonshine ideas is critical. One great way to keep the moonshine team motivated during feedback sessions: for every ONE thing someone mentions that they DON’T like about a prototype, they have to mention TWO things that they DO like.

    The change in thinking is incredible. It’s too easy to find the faults, and most times the team is already aware of it. Mentioning faults is a waste of time. Let the team focus on improving the positive aspects of their efforts. When they do…good things happen.

    Steve Martin May 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm
  • Nice to feel some positive vibes…too much negative going around.

    Positive feedback when exploring moonshine ideas is critical. One great way to keep the moonshine team motivated during feedback sessions: for every ONE thing someone mentions that they DON’T like about a prototype, they have to mention TWO things that they DO like.

    The change in thinking is incredible. It’s too easy to find the faults, and most times the team is already aware of it. Mentioning faults is a waste of time. Let the team focus on improving the positive aspects of their efforts. When they do…good things happen.

    Steve Martin May 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm
  • Jamie: Great video. You’re so right. Language affects what we notice and focus on, and determines our experiences as much as our direct sensory inputs do.

    By the way, it is for the very reasons given in your video that instead of using the words Plan-Do-CHECK-Act, I use Deming’s Plan-Do-STUDY-Act. There is a big difference in my mind between checking our results and studying our results (as well as the process used to obtain them). For one thing, it makes a confirmation bias less likely, and encourages reflection and learning. I think making that subtle change in the teaching of lean could have a very powerful impact–as much as teaching value stream improvement instead of value stream mapping. Something, perhaps, for influential and respected lean teachers such as you to consider…

    Simon Ellberger May 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm
  • Jamie: Great video. You’re so right. Language affects what we notice and focus on, and determines our experiences as much as our direct sensory inputs do.

    By the way, it is for the very reasons given in your video that instead of using the words Plan-Do-CHECK-Act, I use Deming’s Plan-Do-STUDY-Act. There is a big difference in my mind between checking our results and studying our results (as well as the process used to obtain them). For one thing, it makes a confirmation bias less likely, and encourages reflection and learning. I think making that subtle change in the teaching of lean could have a very powerful impact–as much as teaching value stream improvement instead of value stream mapping. Something, perhaps, for influential and respected lean teachers such as you to consider…

    Simon Ellberger May 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm
  • Jamie: Great video. You’re so right. Language affects what we notice and focus on, and determines our experiences as much as our direct sensory inputs do.

    By the way, it is for the very reasons given in your video that instead of using the words Plan-Do-CHECK-Act, I use Deming’s Plan-Do-STUDY-Act. There is a big difference in my mind between checking our results and studying our results (as well as the process used to obtain them). For one thing, it makes a confirmation bias less likely, and encourages reflection and learning. I think making that subtle change in the teaching of lean could have a very powerful impact–as much as teaching value stream improvement instead of value stream mapping. Something, perhaps, for influential and respected lean teachers such as you to consider…

    Simon Ellberger May 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm
  • Simon, I like that language as well. I think study better describes what you are really doing. I end up using PDCA because of it’s familiarity for people, and focus on helping people understand the true meaning behind it, but PDSA is perhaps more descriptive. With Check, it is easy for people to say “I did what I was supposed to do” instead of “I got what I was supposed to get.”

    Jamie Flinchbaugh May 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm
  • Simon, I like that language as well. I think study better describes what you are really doing. I end up using PDCA because of it’s familiarity for people, and focus on helping people understand the true meaning behind it, but PDSA is perhaps more descriptive. With Check, it is easy for people to say “I did what I was supposed to do” instead of “I got what I was supposed to get.”

    Jamie Flinchbaugh May 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm
  • Simon, I like that language as well. I think study better describes what you are really doing. I end up using PDCA because of it’s familiarity for people, and focus on helping people understand the true meaning behind it, but PDSA is perhaps more descriptive. With Check, it is easy for people to say “I did what I was supposed to do” instead of “I got what I was supposed to get.”

    Jamie Flinchbaugh May 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm