rysunekAs soon as possible… how does it look like in the long run?

The goal is to do tasks immediately. Unfortunately in most cases tasks cannot be separated. When we build a house we start from foundations. We have to be sure that everything is good enough to start building a walls. Otherwise, after some period of time our house will be turned into a piles of rubble. Can we enjoy fast results if we will be forced to repeat everything? Sometimes we are doing our tasks ASAP, but like a hamster in a spinning-wheel we are stuck in the same place. What do you think about that?

Gemba walk


Are you responsible for communicating the problems and solutions?
Yes, I am.

Is your manager responsible for observing your work and improve your working environment?
–  I don’t know… I have never seen this.

Do you like to talk about your problems?
– I fell like in front of the court, but what else can I do? Unfortunately, it is often impossible to change anything.

– What do you do?
I feel like I should pretend that everything is fine… but it is hard to change your values.

The key to any process improvement is to question everything; not just accept the status quo.



Keep calm and develop yourself

Last week I’ve finished reading a book: The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership. Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development. It made a great impression on me. The Toyota Way changes the thinking about the business.

How to develop yourself to be in accordance with the Toyota Way? The answer is Shu Ha Ri. It is a Japanese martial art concept, and describes the stages of learning to masteryContinue reading

Brainstorming.Works or not?


I’ve never thought that brainstorming might be so controversial. Then I’ve found this article: Is Brainstorming a waste of time? Let’s talk about brainstorming and its rules.

  1. Generate as many ideas as possible – the more ideas you come up with, the better chance you have of coming up with good ones.
  2. Don’t criticise – it will dampen peoples enthusiasm and kill their creativity.
  3. Welcome unusual ideas – it’s important to break out of your usual mindset and consider wild and wacky ideas if you want to be really creative.
  4. Combine and improve ideas – instead of criticising ideas, look for way to use them in combination and/or make them better.

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Your performance… meets expectations.

What does it mean to meet expectations? Why is it so frustrating to heard that our job met expectations only? When I heard this sentence for the first time I felt very strange. Ok. How can I be better than it was expected? – I thought. What was expected from me year ago?

The truth might be cruel. This sentence means nothing! Really. It is the simplest and safest solution for managers who don’t want to talk with the people about their work regularly and have to evaluate them once a year. Unfortunately these words prevent employees to be proud and creative. Why should I make an extra effort if I’m not going to get recognized for it? I will do what is expected and nothing more. It is a race and I’m going to win ;)

What do you think about this? Is it worth to participate in such race?

Competition. What’s wrong with this?

Race to be the best company on the market. Race to be the best team in the company. Race to be the best employee. These slogans prove that the competitions are our passion. Winning is often our most important motivation to work hard. What’s wrong with this? Let’s take a look at a story.

One time, a group of 50 people were attending a seminar.
Suddenly, the speaker started giving each person a balloon. Each one was asked to write their name on it using a marker. Then, all the balloons were collected, and put into another room.
Next, all of the people were prompted to go into that room, and were told that they had five minutes to find the balloon that had their name on it. Everyone was frantically searching for their names, colliding with each other, pushing others around, and there was utter chaos.
At the end of the five minutes, no one could find their own balloon.
Next, each person was asked to randomly pick a balloon, and give it to the person whose name was written on it.
Within minutes, everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker began — this is exactly what is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for their happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness, and you will discover your own.

This example shows that sometimes starting in a race isn’t a method for being successful. In that case people try to be the best by finding their balloons as soon as possible. It’s very natural behaviour. They lose the game, because they disturb each other. True goal was simple: everyone should hold appropriate balloon. The solution for this problem wasn’t very difficult. Cooperation, not competition! Try to think about the things you and your company may lose because of the competition. Maybe the prize for being a winner is worthless.

Assertiveness. Just to say no or say the truth?

How to be assertive? Pictures below or similar are often used to illustrate the answer for this question. There are many articles about assertiveness titled “just say no!”. As you can see on the images  “no” might be said in many different ways.

We can explain our thoughts and try to find a compromise or just say no and nothing more. In my opinion, the second case has nothing to do with assertiveness. Unfortunately, many people think that to be assertive means to be able to refuse. Let’s take a look at example.

A: Would you like to go to a dinner with me?
B: No, I have no time. I have to finish my work.
A: Ok. No problem.
—– After a few minutes —–
C: Would you like to go to a dinner with me?
B: Yes, sure I’m very hungry. Wait a minute.

What do you think about the behaviour of person B? One may say that person B has the right to refuse to person A. This is definitely true. My question is: what about the feelings of person A in the context of the next situation? The calm answer “I have no time. I have to finish my work” might be a reason for person A to feel ignored. Why? The answer is simple, that was a lie. Person A has the right to hear the truth, even if it was difficult. For that reason my definition of the assertiveness is a bit different. It’s the ability to say the truth respecting feelings of the other people in the same time.

Benefits and Values. Why we are working?

Why we are working? One may say that we are working to earn money, to have a power, to be a very important person. Let’s assume that these are the only or at least the most important reasons we are working. If so, why we like running, playing football, playing a guitar, reading books, learning etc. These activities give us a satisfaction but not money. In spite of that we are doing them, because we are taking care about our values!

There is a big difference between: want and have to do something. Financial benefits (carrots) are necessary to convince people to be responsible for the work they don’t like. Unfortunately, they are not sufficient. Some awards, a bonus payment, a health insurance, a company car – all of this things are connected with the money. Furthermore every penalty is nothing else than the lack of the financial benefits (stick). The image above shows an employer who is motivated by three carrots e.g bonus payments. The question suggests that the man has a lot of responsibilities and a promise of a reward. A lot of mangers thinks that one person could be as efficient as a group of people when we promised him a great reward. Unfortunately, it is not so simple. In this case the man could be frustrated, because getting a carrot may be too difficult for him. In the same time he has to do his job as usually, because of the penalty, e.g lack of promotion.

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We are who we are

To understand others we need to understand ourselves first. Our behaviour is connected with our personality. We can choose our friends, but it is almost impossible to choose people we have to work with. Unfortunately, any job-interview doesn’t guarantee that we will fit in well with the team. In this case it is very important to know, what is our behaviour in response to different situations. Let’s take a look at some example.

X: Hi. I hear, you are going to Florida. Is it true?
Y: How do you know that?
X: Whole company know that. You are very lucky!

Y: Let’s go to the point. Do you finish a report?
X: I forget about that. ……………………………………….
Y: …………………………………………………………………….

What will be your answer in this case? There are a lot of possibilities. Answers may be totally different depending on temperament. Continue reading

Can I make mistakes?

In theory everyone can make mistakes. Probably everyone know at least one very smart quote about making mistakes. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • “The important thing in my view is not to pin the blame for a mistake on somebody, but rather to find out what caused the mistake.” Akio Morita (b.1921). Made in Japan, (1987), p. 149.””
  • “Those who make no mistakes are making the biggest mistakes of all — they are attempting nothing new.” Anthony de Mello, One Minute Nonsense (1992), p. 20.
  • “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” John Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love (1990), p. 85.

Do you hear about these quotes? Do you like them? I think that IT developers love them ;) Our managers never understands us. We are trying to finish our projects before deadlines but there are many problems during the development, e.g: code which we get from someone else is a piece of crap or business requirements changed many times.

I admit that it is hard to work with a code that we couldn’t understand. Of course also frequent changes don’t help. That’s true. In such situations, software engineers often treat symptoms because it is the most simple solution, often the only possible. We are creating more and more patches, wrappers, adapters to “fix” the code we get. To fix or to work around possible errors.

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