Team Learning on the Factory Floor LO22484

Winfried Dressler (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 18:01:58 +0200

Replying to LO22394 --

Dear George,

thank you for your questions on my thoughts abouts our "lean" project, in
which I try to shift the focus from local efficiencies to the flow of
sellable goods.

>Have you made formal efforts to "teach" systems thinking and team
>learning? If so, how is it going? Or, have you just changed the
>structure of their work and their responsibilities?
>So... have you directly told your workers that their job now includes
>formulating their requirements to increase the flow? If so, how have they
>handled these new roles? Smooth transition so far? Are the engineers,
>accountants and managers supportive? Lessons learned?

Fortunately, we are not in a crisis which requires immediate turnarounds,
so I can cook the frog slowly.

We build teams, one by one every few weeks, consisting of about 4 to 5
workers and 2 to 3 indirect people and let them collect new, other
experiences. The form is to have a two weeks initial workshop, starting
with a two days formal training in JIT principles. The workshop includes
collection of facts, generation of ideas how to improve the facts and
than... just do it. It's the plan do check action cycle.

Then the team learns to communicate without the structure of a workshop,
simply using an action list and weekly meetings. It took three weeks until
the first meaningful items could be formulated in the action list. I am
very patient with this, because from my learning from At de Lange, I know
how much learning is required, until one can become able to formulate
(formal knowledge has to emerge!) requirements which stem from
experiences, which are quite new and contrary to what they used to know as
the system, while this old system is still prevalent and active.

This preparation of the experiential level is in my opinion vitally
important, because as a contrast to the "normal" experiences it builds an
entropic force and starts to eat into the workers free energy as the
entropic flux starts to flow. Some are astonishingly fast and creativity
and learning emerge very fast, making huge amounts of free energy
available. Now I have to take care that those few don't start off like a
rocket, leaving the others left burnt out. They have to give their free
energy as a gift to the team and help the whole team to grow in

George, I am afraid you are shaking your head wondering what I am writing
about. You have just asked some questions to make me describe more
concretely what I am doing, and now this. Yet I have some hope that I
could ring a bell within you.

I don't want to give the impression that I know exactly what is happening
and have the whole process under control. I am also learning by doing from
the experiences made - here a bit about form aspects, there a bit about
content aspects. I am happy to have At's theory of deep creativity in mind
to guide my understanding of what is going on. Without knowing whether I
will be successful, I am at least quite sure that I do not pursue an
approach of which I could know that it is destructive tyranny of experts.
I am looking forward to learn about the ethics of /_\F < W and am
wondering if and when the empire will strike back. Up to now, everything
goes quite smooth.

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <>

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