Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Start with Why

See the Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action TED talk for an interesting view on modern leadership. Simon argues that the leading companies answer the question Why? before they attempt to tackle the How? and the What?. By presenting a message in the order Why?, How?, What?, leaders can forge an emotional connection with their people and clients. Jean Tabaka just hosted a nice session in Wellington following this very concept, applied to the use of Agile methods.

This is not to be construed as being in conflict with John Shook's advice about the order of asking questions when doing a Gemba walk: "First ask what, then why, then what if ... and, finally, why not." Notice that this order checks for the standard work that should be the What?, then verifies that the Why? is understood, and then explores improvement opportunities.

Both views are harmonious. A healthy value stream or network needs a clear Why? It drives the value being created for clients, and guides the improvement efforts of the workers, for both work products (What?) and work processes (How?).

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