Oh what would you do
if your heart was torn in two,
between systems and lean
when on both you are quite keen?

they both can’t mentally co-exist
both the top of your internal list
they’d fight and cuss and rudely swear
without caring if it was fair

You’d toss and turn at night
thinking which one was more right
but there’s only room for one
when all is said and done

but both have a secret shame
they’re both the same! both to blame!
both things people do and think
when they try and make waste shrink

all wars are civil wars, at heart
like close family torn apart
it would be sad if it weren’t funny,
lots of consultants, loadsamoney

Six sigma is still shit though

A few months ago some man I was speaking with said if he was reading a blog or something and came across anything in it trying to distinguish between or  put down either lean or systems thinking, trying to work out which one is best, he would immediately switch it off and go somewhere else. He had no time for that. I was impressed but disturbed, as I quite like putting the boot into lean myself.

To recompense, here is my poem about lean/systems thinking using Daleks and Cybermen. It’s a metaphor.

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12 Responses to Cool-v-Awesome

  1. Lean is about making processes in command and control organisations more efficient. So, as a customer, you get the same turd-like service faster. Not very cool.

    Systems thinking is about doing the right thing. Definitely awesome.

    That’s a MASSIVE difference if you are vulnerable and need a service to meet your needs. I can see it’s not such a big difference if you are a systems junkie in an organisation looking out.

    For example, you are taken into custody and are processed really quickly (thanks to lean!) when you shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Or, you get help for your mental health problems and do not get taken into custody at all (thanks to systems thinking!). Big difference is that’s YOUR ACTUAL LIFE. You don’t need to know or care about the difference between lean and systems thinking. But the managers of that service need to know the difference between polishing a turd and doing the right thing.

    Please will you now rename your post, Turd Polishing versus Awesome.


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      No change to poem title. Do your own poem.

      I refer readers to point 3 of your post at below link. Have you changed your mind? It’s allowed.

      Seriously though, thanks for the comment.


      • James says:

        Isn’t Systemsthinkingforgirls’ point 3 ‘Good Stuff still gets done’ (paraphrase – follow the link above for the whole thing) more about winning hearts and minds, as opposed to being right but not listened to?

        It makes me think about the implications of that Ackoff quote about “doing the wrong thing righter.”

        Organisations who are not doing the right thing are often not doing the wrong thing either. They are doing something adjacent to the right thing, and not realising the subtle difference or assuming that it doesn’t matter.


  2. calchaspss says:

    I agree that the conflict between lean and systems thinking may ‘turn people off’.

    But it is an important debate because it isn’t just a Dalek shouting exterminate and a Cyberman shouting delete.

    Just look at HMRC to see work carried out in the name of lean. 6 years ago, Lean was routinely an inactive banana or 5s in the office. This caused real damage in organisations and needless suffering for staff.

    Why do we hear less of this now? …. It was sharply criticised.


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      Yes, it is an important debate, but who with? I don’t think you can talk anybody into ST or out of lean. It’s about normative learning and that, apparently.
      The point about that poem can be any point you choose, but one thing to take from it is to an outsider we all look the same. No amount of artificial category boundaries will help someone see it.
      Like with any civil war, it’s always between people who look to an outsider to be identical in every way.
      And the solution to civil wars is NEVER to win them.
      Apart from the US civil war perhaps.


  3. ThinkPurpose says:

    Feathers! Ruffled!

    Next post would have been a Limerick starting “there once was an tall man called Seddon” if only his name rhymed with anything.
    I think it’s important to be provocative and not self congratulate, and a love-fest could ensue if we all read each others blogs and “like” them. That would turn them into Facebook.


  4. calchaspss says:

    Or Libya.

    … ‘who always had a bedhead on’


  5. Armageddon. And I’m sorry to hear about your feathers, TP.


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      No, not my feathers. Mine are smooth.

      “There once was a tall man called John Seddon
      when rising each morn had bed-head on
      He swore at his hair
      Cos it wouldn’t sit there
      Til the end of days-that’s armageddon”

      Better than a Deming haiku anyway.


  6. Ruined by best efforts. There’s a Deming *joke* for you. One Seddon limerick and one Deming joke down. The Deming Haiku pending. What a day!


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