- Published: Tuesday, 27 June 2017 12:00
You may not know that Ozgene is a family business. I recently attended the State Conference of Family Business Australia here in Perth. One of the conference themes was succession planning and it felt like people were looking for the next commander-in-chief. This prompted me to ask the questions… What is my role as the CEO? What is my role as a leader?
As discussed in my previous blogs, organisations are not command and control based systems. They are complex adaptive systems (CAS), comparable to the weather, the immune system or termite colonies. CAS run on algorithms that operate between independent agents. Meaning, a leader supports - not controls - the investigation, design, execution and analysis of these algorithms. The leader is the system’s architect, builder, coach and guardian. The leader takes responsibility for the system and the teams are accountable for maintaining and operating the system. The leader needs to be humble and respectful to build confidence and trust in the people and the system.
Let’s look at our Lean transformation. We have built a system of algorithms by integrating teams and team members that allows the organisation to run without the need for command and control. All teams are aligned under our Vision - the Why - ‘to advance humanity – inspire curiosity’, followed by our mission ‘to be the most capable R&D organisation’.
What do we do to achieve this Mission? We…
- develop: people - because a high performance technical system relies on a high performance human system
- minimise: lead time - adding value to our clients
- pursue: zero defect - getting it right the first time, a basic Toyota principle
- minimise: cost - reinvesting into the future of our business
How do we do this? We…
- humanise - separate: people & process. Our Step-by-Step (SBS) software is used to record and continuously improve Standard Work for everything and everyone; marketing & sales, laboratory work, accounting, human resources, software development etc. Issues are due to process failure, not people failure. We blame the process and not the people.
- stabilise – same input – leads to same output – in the same time. Our work schedules highlight process issues as they occur. Daily run charts allow team members to see if they are ‘winning or losing’. Our CNS (Corporate Notification System) tracks all processes in a project specific manner, creating internal to-do lists as well as updating our clients externally.
- harmonise - reduce work variation between team members. We do not enforce a new standard onto any team. The team harmonises their processes to create a work standard.
- improve – using appropriate Lean tools as required. These tools are not complex. Our daily huddle boards involve organising improvement initiatives using post-it notes. Our CSPT (concept – structure – process – task) brainstorming and conceptualisation tool simply uses the outline functionality in Office Word. For our eIDEA (investigate – design – execute – analyse), we developed a software tool to capture all ideas and the time spent on them.
- innovate – explore the blue sky…
Everything above is supported by our Culture Coach and Process Coach with regular Gemba walks, daily huddles and gap map analysis. They also run weeklong Jishuken workshops and organise cross training for team members.
So why am I telling this story? Well, it seems like our Lean systems are in place and working just fine. Which means that I can take a couple of weeks of vacation and enjoy sand, surf, sushi and scuba in Maui. Aloha!
- Frank, CEO -