McKinsey & Co. Partner Krish Krishnakanthan shared a number of sharp insights about the application of lean principles to the world of information technology, but what seemed to resonate the most were his thoughts on how we view two very important features of any organization: Meetings and managers.
Meetings, Krishnakanthan (pictured) told a crowd of 80 at last week’s IT Leadership Network forum, often serve the function of an all-hands-on-deck “firefighting” session. Here, issues that could be resolved on individual team members’ time instead are tackled en masse, contributing very little value or eroding what value there is.
“Staff meetings truly have become problem-solving meetings, not status-reporting meetings,” Krishnakanthan said.
Check out photos from the event here.
Where organizations often fail to contain much-dreaded waste in processes, he said, is in firmly establishing objectives among individual team members and leveraging “huddles” or meetings for valuable communication – not triage.
This same attraction to firefighting, Krishnakthanthan said, has seeped into the role of managers. These leaders, he said, should find themselves coaching their teams to develop the skills they need to solve problems – not solve the problems themselves.
“Most managers, though, would love to just solve the problem,” Krishnakanthan said, “and they get rewarded for this. A reward system must be built to reward really good problem solvers, not crisis managers.”
The key, he said, is to be a leader who knows how to ask the right questions, not jump to provide the answer.
Krishnakanthan was the featured speaker at COE’s sixth forum in its IT Leadership Network series, which began with a visit from Lean IT co-author Mike Orzen in April 2012. Check out go.osu.edu/ITLN for a look at past speakers and our upcoming events.