Thursday, July 09, 2009

Excellent MIT Sloan Management Review Article Explaining A3 Management Methods


The author, Michael S. Hopkins, bases the article content on John Shook's book Managing to Learn. I highly recommend the article - "Problem Solving by Design". (You may have to sign up with MIT Sloan but it is quick, easy and worth the effort.)

I was pleased to notice how consistently the article implies improvement is about building a more effective process, not finding fault with people. The article communicates through an example the underlying assumption of A3 Management - "people are smart and want to do good work", and the fundamental directive that follows - "let's work together to find the best way to get the job done".

The article includes a priceless quote from John Shook's book where early in his career his Toyota mentor told him,

"John, you must use the organization. It is there for you. Use the organization as if it were a tool to wield, an instrument to play ..."

The statement indicates high respect for the organization's capability. And, for those of you who like to take analogies a little further - if you think of the musical instrument comparison more deeply, you realize his mentor is also saying - there is a right way to play the instrument- if you learn the right way you will reveal the true, natural capability of the organization to solve problems and make improvements.

I recommend John Shook's blog as well. You can visit his blog using the following link: John Shook's Lean Management Column

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