Apr 17, 2011

70-20-10 Learning - an Aussie ASQ Global Influential Voice for Quality Shares on Making a Difference

Lifelong Learning & 70:20:10 rule of learning = Informal on the Job:Coaching:Formal Classroom Llessons  ? Making a Difference Globally ?

I am a great fan of Harold Jarche & John Tropea with their strong focus on informal learning including the 70-20-10 rule of learning. Likewise I am a strong proponent of Quality in our daily lives, and so was intrigued by ASQ's head Paul Borawski's recent post "Quality Tools and Education : Making a Difference on a Global Scale."

Of course, learning & knowledge management are key components of continual improvement in Resource Management in Quality - as reflected in even the previous edition of ISO 9004. In our world Education is not just what you do at school, college or university - we have to keep re-learning in such a rapidly changing world. And we need confidence in the quality of the resources we use, as we continually learn & re-learn.

Nearly 10 years ago I encountered the Learning Cities & Communities movement - centred around Lifelong Learning - a key to resilience of communities in change and adversity. The initiative was largely appropriated by the Community College movement aka Adult Education Associations in Australia. Yet I always believed that it couldn't be monopolised by this sector alone - not everyone is in a position to attend formal face to face classroom lessons.

In Sydney, Australia we had an insightful article by Louise Williams in this weekend's edition of our local Sydney Morning Herald "The Slow Collapse of the Ivory Tower". Ms Williams wrote of how learning is changing from face to face classrooms in an internet world and how this threatens the traditional university or college monopoly on higher learning. She also spoke of how increasing numbers of students are not attending lectures, choosing to source their required information in alternative ways. Curious as I had observed lecturers at my local uni lamenting the same when I attended a prize giving event last November.

And yet it's not new - when I served for 12 years on the Governing Council of the University of Wollongong (located south of Sydney), I found that UOW was already moving into on-line blended E-learning years ago. However there are advantages of face to face learning - the serendipity & synergy of bouncing ideas off each other.

Likewise there are emerging challenges to the traditional "peer reviewed paper" in an academic journal on which academics' ranking is based - enabling them to compete for research funding & attract students. I recall attending a conference across the other side of Australia about 5 years ago, where attendees were denied timely access to copies of the conference papers because the organisers wanted to publish them to increase the rankings of academics who had presented at the conference. It was "all driven by the rankings cycle" as I subsequently found out - and I finally received the conference papers 9 months after the conference! The freshness and impact of the presenters' work in my mind was lost - I'd wanted to share new insights with my professional colleagues - but all I had were my scribbled handwritten notes.

No wonder that with this time delay paradigm, the proliferation and the increasing cost of academic journals, that the peer reviewed paper model is now being seriously challenged by the immediacy of online collaboration. And yet we need to ensure that there is confidence in the quality of online E-learning & web posts. It is also important that "Digital Native" students can discriminate between accurate & erroneous information in a web based & increasingly social media dominated world.

Not to mention the tipping point as we see the rapidly disappearing print book market and the exploding E-book market - with its flow-on impact on Public & Academic Librarians. Librarians are recognising that they must participate in the debate around these changes rather than take the high moral ground and shun it. At a Library Conference in Brisbane Australia last year, one presenter spoke of the advantages of E-Readers for students in the Pacific Islands where high humidity can destroy the traditional printed book based library collections.

Unfortunately some Baby Boomer Managers are still dismissive of Web 2.0 and Social Media tools in Technology & Quality worlds. Yet ISO, the OECD & WTO, for instance, have embraced social media approaches (eg Youtube, Facebook & Twitter)  in trying to reach a wider global audience. Admittedly, it can seem haphazard sometimes especially with social media tools like Paper.li Dailies (eg mine-KerrieAnne paper.li).

However as a Baby Boomer techo manager, I've had to reinvent myself several times over the last 5 years - 1st as a Quality Manager and then during the GFC with a zero training budget, to become an International Trade backroom boffin -  specialising in how standards & conformity apply in Technical (Non Tariff) Barriers to Trade (TBT's). I've used tools like Sharepoint's Wiki to capture my evolving WTO TBT knowledge, sharing it both locally and globally across my organization - to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

So it is great to see how organizations like ASQ are embracing online E-learning & social media tools to address the 70:20:10 approaches to learning. ASQ is bringing a quality approach to these new technologies - setting a standard on how they can be applied for younger and older "students" alike - regardless of whether they are formally enrolled in courses or learning informally. As an Australian based member of ASQ, and one of its International Global Influential Voices for Quality, I am sharing & learning from my fellow Global Influential Voices - a fantastic initiative.

 (Please note I do receive a variety of quality resources as an honorarium in exchange for my commitment to the ASQ Global Influential Voices for Quality program. However the thoughts & opinions that I express here in my blog are my own!).

Apr 16, 2011

Zenjidoka - the Power of Self Reliance vs Jidoka

I found a post by Norman Bodek on Zenjidoka in the context of Organizational Resilience from the Kaizen Continous Improvement Forum on LinkedIn & also in the Quality Magazine very interesting - see extracts below.
Coincidentally another post on Resilence by David Snowden :
 "resilience requires not just a prepared mind, but also a prepared organisation. That means building network connectivity and cross silo deployment capability before it is needed not during the event. Creating mass employee engagement requires familiarization with the process before it is needed in a crisis... when you are in disaster recovery what you need is the pragmatic narratives of people who have lived through similar (or even different) situations before, not some distilled best practice."
It also seems to have resonated with Harold Jarche :
"The problem is we build on the assumption that we should not fail, not the assumption that we are bound to fail, but with early detection and fast recovery/exploitation we can turn the situation to our advantage. That means organisational structures that are agile before the crisis, not bureaucratic. It means network connections built and sustained in advance, the ability to delegate power when needed without complex process."
More shared from Harold Jarche :
The Power of Conversations by @charlesjennings We rarely, if ever, work and learn alone. We reach our goals and contribute to our organisations’ objectives in a social context. In the maelstrom of our digital communications age the need to think ‘socially’ is more important than ever."
So it interesting to see how some bloggers like Jane Hart are viewing collaboration compared with traditional hierarchical models , citing  "Enterprise collaboration requires critical new skills, from Deb Lavoy, CMS Wire, 8 March 2011 'The way we currently think of working was formed by a command and control, industrial age of process, manufacturing and efficiencies of scale. Collaboration is a different model. It depends on people, not process'."
And from Rosabeth Moss Kanter who has some great insights on leaders, resilience & their teams/networks ...
" Resilience is not simply an individual characteristic or a psychological phenomenon. It is helped or hindered by the surrounding system. Teams that are immersed in a culture of accountability, collaboration, and initiative are more likely to believe that they can weather any storm. Self-confidence, combined with confidence in one another and in the organization, motivates winners to make the extra push that can provide the margin of victory.
The lesson for leaders is clear: Build the cornerstones of confidence—accountability, collaboration, and initiative—when times are good and achievement comes easily. Maintain a culture of confidence as insurance against the inevitable downturns. And while no one should deliberately seek failure, remember that performance under pressure—the ability to stay calm, learn, adapt, and keep on going—separates winners from losers."

In a practical application, last week, I & members of my team undertook DEC training - Department Emergency Controller training - where we learnt of emergency event preparation and an understanding of the linchpin role of the DEC as conductor and interface with Site Emergency Response Teams. We had a real 'event" at our workplace several days before our scheduled training, so the lessons in the course were very real to us. 

It was a serendipity of timing of  the post by David Snowden, the ideas shared by Harold Jarche, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Jane Hart & Deb Lavoy, as well as Norman Bodek's Zenjidoka post with the extracts below, seeming to resonate with a focus on interdependency rather than individudals being independent.
 "Jidoka is one of the core principles of the Toyota Production System, one that empowers production line workers to take immediate action the moment a defect is detected. The worker who discovers the defect pulls a red cord and the entire assembly line stops. Co-workers and the supervisor rush over to that worker forming an ad hoc problem solving team. The team, led by the worker who pulled the cord, quickly works to resolve the problem to prevent any defects from reaching the next operation. Using Jidoka and other tools Toyota became the quality leader in the automotive industry, admired and respected by customers, competitors and the media. Unfortunately Toyota's reputation for quality has become tarnished due to the well-publicized sudden unintended acceleration problem and the associated recall since October of 2009 of over 10 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles...
Toyota needed something more than Jidoka.
Zenjidoka is a new word meaning "Total Jidoka." Instead of confining Jidoka to the factory floor, Zenjidoka extends Jidoka to every employee who has any contact with the customer. When an employee hears directly or indirectly about a customer problem, that employee is empowered to use their knowledge, skills and judgment to immediately take action, even if that action means going against company policy or procedure. With Zenjidoka employees thousands of miles away from corporate headquarters have the trust of management to make timely and necessary decisions to solve customer problems. This unprecedented level of management respect has two powerful effects:
1. The immediate attention to a customer's problem by the first person contacted becomes a competitive advantage, building long-term customer loyalty, and creating a word-of-mouth grapevine that's more effective at winning new customers than any marketing, advertising or incentive campaign.
2. This unprecedented level of management respect for the skills and judgment of the customer-facing workforce builds employee self-confidence, loyalty, and most importantly, self-reliance.
This analysis by Norman Bodek is extremely interesting and is an indication that it is possible to get bogged down with procedures & policies. And it is why it reminds me of David Snowden's Cynefin model, especially in the context of complexity & chaos - ie where it is virtually impossible to document a procedure or process for every imaginable possibility. We also need to train people to be able to step up and function where there is complexity & chaos : where the rules may have been blown away - viz the Queensland Floods or the Earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand & Japan.
Norman Bodek then goes on to suggest that :
"Self-reliance might seem like an old-fashioned concept in this age of Google, where help is a click away. It might bring to mind a pioneer or explorer who is hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from any help and must confidently rely on their knowledge, skill and self-confidence to overcome a life-threatening situation. In the context of Zenjidoka the danger is not to the individual, but to the company...
I can't count the number of times over the course of my lifetime that I've experienced a problem with a company's product or service, reported that problem, and heard one or more of the following:
  • We've had no reports of that from other customers.
  • You must be mistaken.
  • You'll have to call.....
  • Are you sure you didn't.....?
  • You'll have to speak to a supervisor.
  • I'm not authorized to help you with that.
  • I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do.
How can we address this absence of self-reliance, and make customer service a competitive advantage?..

Imagine an automobile owner who goes to the service desk at the dealership and reports a problem, describing the symptoms in detail to the customer service representative. If the service desk employee sees the same or similar symptoms in the dealer's or the manufacturer's database, the representative knows what to tell the customer and what to do to get the problem solved. But if the symptoms were not in the database, the customer service representative would take responsibility for the customer's problem. The representative would be the key point person for this set of symptoms, and would be able to call on other technical, safety and quality resources within the company to verify and solve the customer's problem. The representative would not immediately defend the company but would be on the customer's side and enter the symptoms and raise a red flag in the database. This process becomes the Zenjidoka equivalent of pulling the red cord, the service worker relying on a combination of procedure and self-reliance to find the best approach to solve the customer's problem.

I like Bodek's story about the dealership - recently a work colleague complained of his vehicle making a noise after a recent service which the service centre tried to play down. Sometime later while driving to work my colleague's vehicle went bang! Without acknowledging liability the service centre have fixed the vehicle at no charge to my colleague. How different the outcome could have been with the Zenjidoka approach suggested by Bodek ?

Bodek argues that
"Zenjidoka is not an approval system. The customer service worker is drawing on other resources to help solve the problem. The idea is to bring in others with different perspectives, different skill sets, to help find new ways to solve problems. No one, even the most experienced manager or executive, has all the answers. In this way Zenjidoka removes the fear from asking the questions, and the "ego" that drives some managers and executives with the need to be "right".
The self-reliance of Zenjidoka is the knowledge, skill and self-confidence to make the right decision to help the customer with their problem. But Zenjidoka is also "selfless-reliance," the reliance on others to help solve that problem."
In some ways it seemed to me that this is also part of the essence of knowledge sharing - communities of practice - expertise locators and organizational networks analysis.
But in utilising Zenjidoka there seems to be also a strong element of not only team or organizational preparation & discipline, but also at the individual level  - as Bodek then asks:
"How do we get people to be self-reliant? Earlier in this article I mentioned Takashi Harada, the genius who has been helping Japanese Corporations answer this question.
 Mr. Harada was a track and field coach in perhaps the worst middle school in Osaka, Japan. He felt that most of the students were despondent, not having much hope for their future and not believing they could achieve athletic success. 
He was troubled by the lack of enthusiasm and absence of motivation of his students and decided to impose some discipline, insisting that the students come to class on time, practice as he directed, and do their homework every night. The students complained that too much were being asked of them. The parents agreed and scheduled a meeting with the school principal and Mr. Harada. 
The parents confronted Mr. Harada during the meeting; he told them that to be successful in life, their children must learn discipline. He went on to tell them that if they gave him three years, the parents would see the school's athletic program go from the worst to the best in the city. He concluded, "If I don't succeed then fire me, but at least give your children a chance to succeed."
Mr. Harada had noticed that there were schools with coaches that were able to succeed year after year and with that awareness he felt it was the coach, not the students that determined the school's success. He felt that with the right method, he could bring out the very best from the students. The principal and parents agreed to give him the three years to see if his method would work.
As promised, three years later, his school went from the worst to the best - that was out of 380 schools, and stayed the best for the next six years. It was an amazing feat for Mr. Harada to see how inspired the students could become and to watch them put in the necessary effort top succeed. 
And, thirteen of his students won gold medals in their track and field discipline. The gold medal represented the best student at his/her age level in all of Japan. It was like the students had won an Olympic medal.
Each student was taken through the Harada Method to become self-reliant, and taught to work out his and her own personal plan for success. They were taught how to be self-reliant. Not only was the school rated highest athletically but also the entire school was lifted academically. The children learned to establish their own goals, to work out their own plans to attain their own goals, to evaluate their own progress towards those goals, and to do the necessary work to develop themselves to achieve those goals. It is an amazing story and I am dedicated to teaching the Harada Method to the West."
It was very helpful to read these posts on Resilience as I faced a few challenges professionally & with some family members' health. I am very greatful to Norman Bodek, David Snowdon, Harold Jarche, Jane Hart, Deb Lavoy & Rosabeth Kanter for their insights on Resilience & interdependency.

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