hello you’re watching HR TV and my guest for today is David Meyer David Meyer is an expert in lean management in lean processes and founder and the president of a consulting company which is called lean associate is it correct correct let my first question you had a beautiful presentation today in the for the check people management forum that was in my point of view and at how to teach people or how should people in their processes learn how to do things more effectively it was less cost and how to contribute more to the company profits and just to make things more easily is it is it correct yeah I would say that’s that’s a good understanding I think maybe the diff maybe one slight difference what you said is is profit we taught at we were taught of Toyota the profit is an outcome of those things but not necessarily the goal and you know if people are developed and if people learn and grow then the company grows and prospers and they they taught us that it’s like a triangle with employees and the company in the community and that together those things grow and prosper you spent to consider considerable time of your life with tilde what was the first thing when you when you just started to comprehend the processes that struck you it was just completely out of this is dis earth and it’s just just the biggest surprise for you wow that’s a great question you know that it was confusing the the learning at Toyota was confusing from the very first day really I joined the company and within two weeks we were in Japan and for me it was the first time being really out of the United States and really a different culture and so my trainer I had a trainer with me a Japanese guy and he we went to the plant and we stopped at a work station and he said to me you looking okay and I thought yes what would what is it I’m supposed to look for you know what what am I supposed to see you know and we went back and forth he said what I said yeah what what am I looking for and he said yes looking I said what am i what am I looking for he said what I said what am I looking for so he had a little language challenge and finally after maybe 10 minutes or so I decided that at looking wasn’t difficult that I could certainly look so I stood and watched the work for a while and and I noticed he disappeared he was gone and so I thought well maybe he went to the bathroom or smoke or something and and so after about 10 minutes or so 10 or 15 minutes I thought to myself well I’ve seen this guy do his job over and over again and I understand what he’s doing so I’m finished yeah but my trainer he’s not back yet so i’m waiting and waiting and waiting and finally two hours goes by and he comes back and first I asked him you know where’d you go you just left me here and he didn’t understand English so I realize this is going to be a interesting process here with his company and he asked me what what see night in those word what see and I said well I can see this guy he’s doing these things and so on and I explained he said okay more looking and I said again okay what is it I’m supposed to see you know what am I looking for he said what I said yeah what am I looking for he said yes looking oh my god so literally that the next and then he disappeared again okay leave leave me here in the middle of this place and and for the next two hours he was gone for two hours again for the next two hours I’m thinking to myself things like what did I get into here can I get my old job back can I find my way home I don’t even know where I am they they drove me to this place there’s nobody here who speaks English you know what am I going to do my back is hurting my legs are tired I’m standing here for four hours they don’t they don’t tell me what I’m supposed to do so he comes back and he asked me again you know what see sanuk I told you last time right that this is what’s happening here and so on he says more looking well by this time okay I’ve been standing here for four hours just watching one thing one guy do his job and and something to me decided that apparently I need to see something have no idea what and he wasn’t explaining it to me but maybe I’ll start making some nodes and maybe I’ll start seeing other details so I’m documenting these things you know and and writing these things down finally he comes back again after two hours and he asked me the question you know what see I said well now let me let me show you and I start explaining all these things mmm very good very good very good and of course I’m thinking that I’m finally gonna get away from this play do something I finish and he says more looking and I thought this is crazy what I came here to learn something I came here to be taught some jobs and how to build a car or how to do these things and yet I stand here all day and I don’t know why i don’t i don’t understand why so so at the end of the day I met with my colleagues and other colleagues from America and we’re discussing and they’re all saying what did you do today oh I stood there all day me too what what were you what were they trying why did we do that I don’t know I have no idea we were all confused everyone was confused but I learned the next day that some guys had to stand for two days because apparently they didn’t learn that they were what they were trying to teach us which I didn’t understand to later was how to really look deeply at something one of the lessons they taught us is how to develop a deep understanding right and I’ve done this exercise myself a hundred times since leaving Toyota with other people and other companies in all countries and everybody does the same thing as I did they look for a few minutes and they say okay I understand we don’t take the time to really deeply understand and that was the first lesson I could go on for the rest of the day on other lessons that didn’t make any sense one but I realized later if he had told me what I should look for what would I find and what would I learn learn nothing and the point wasn’t to see exactly a certain thing the point was to learn how to look at things more carefully ain’t wrong answer for a short question but it was a great question but it well corresponds with what I I was in the situation in a similar situation just described that i was watching for a presentation because i came a little bit light i didn’t know what you’re talking about I just had to bike pay attention attention to the details of your presentation of the details what you’re trying to say because I i just missed mr. the beginning right and what I notice is that it was just it was just the statements that I saw were just very very understandable short easy to understand but they were just composed of little details right you were mentioning in one of the details did I I noticed was that there was a good example you were speaking about what you think you drive a car to your office and you you just wake up and you realize that you you’re standing in the parking lot and you don’t have a clue what’s happening because you were you’re in playing some movie and you’re in your mind and then you just you’re jiving subconscious for n is it is it something what you do with your clients that you come to a process that people just do automatically they do it subconsciously and it may be don’t don’t have this vision above themselves and they don’t realize the small details which some of them can be done more effectively more maybe or in a short amount of time this is something that you do in your in your consulting oh yes yes actually because art as human beings are ways of looking at things and thinking about things and so forth has really allowed us to survive as a species for thousands of years and the way our brains function have served a purpose unfortunately as the world advances and things advance like we’re talking to this conference our brains don’t advance as quickly we don’t we don’t evolve as quickly as the technology but and and and we have very specific patterns and our thinking they’re there they’re very well studied and they’re very well understood by sociologists and so this notion of understanding something is in the trouble with that what I was saying that example is that that once we know something once we know how to do it and it they call it muscle memory but it’s not memory and your muscles it’s in your brain but it’s literally if you think about comparison to your computer on the hard drive it’s like you have to go into that file to pull that information back out right whereas when you’re learning something new you’re actively thinking about it you’re thinking so the language is a great example i’m here in czech republic and it if i want to say something it’s not automatic for me i have to think about what’s the word I’m supposed to say and in my case right now it’s my brain is going between German and Russian and I’m thinking wait a minute i’m not in germany or russia but i was but my brain hasn’t switched because it’s not an automatic thing i don’t have enough of the language skill to make it automatic so I’m thinking oh what do I say how do I say it what’s the correct word used to happen often when i was at Toyota because japanese and spanish english spanish language has a some similar structure into vowel sounds of things so I had learned Spanish in school so then I’m learning Japanese sometimes I would look at the Japanese guys to say something in Spanish and they would look at me confused like just capable player yeah because my brain was more used to Spanish than it was Japanese so when I speak Japanese I have to stop and think what what am I actually saying but when you learn a language when you’re fluent in the language or skill and anything then it’s it’s a different function in the brain let’s imagine situation where you have a new client who invites you to solve a very complex process that the company has been doing for years maybe for for tens of years and your goal is to make it more lean if you want or more effective but the company has already done anything they could have done to be to be as effective as possible what is the first thing you do do just do what you just described just then in front of the process and you just look or what is the first thing well the first thing is there’s not always the first thing that’s the same the unfortunate answer is it depends it depends on the situation but there is a this sort of a specific thought process or thinking process that we would go through and that’s one of the things I was trying to talk about here is is how do you know a thinking process hey I for example around lean I’ve done it for 30 years so I I know what I know but I don’t always know how I know it because a lot of the things we learned at Toyota were experiential like standing there and looking all day they never came back and said here was the point of the lesson right you had to figure out the point of the lesson you had to understand what what it was it was being taught because there was no lesson that was physically taught that you experienced it and so with the experiential learning it’s it’s a different process so I do with my clients similar to what was done with me first let’s just look at it no writing no talking no asking questions just observation okay then toyota gives us some tools some physical tools that we can use to be able to look differently so i was talking to the translator in there and i was explaining that one of the things that bothers me as people say to think outside the box right or work smarter not harder the two phrases you hear often and i always think to myself well if I knew how to think out of the box I’d already be out of the box but the reason I’m in the box is because i don’t have a different way to think so you have to teach me a different way to think so that i can be out of the box right so that’s what Toyota does is they give you some tools or or some concepts some philosophies and they talk about things like flow okay and they don’t talk about it in specific terms like an assembly line or building cars they talk about it and they use the metaphor of a stream running through the woods and you want it to be peaceful and you want it to be gentle without turbulence and without stoppage and without all this right and so then imagine that idea in the work you do so for you would be the flow of the conversation hey there’s the flow here Plato said actually that everything flows so that idea has been around for a long time but but to take that idea which is what it is it’s a mental concept and then to think about how does that apply to this process or task that I’m doing here and it can be applied anywhere because it’s a mental concept it’s not a physical thing you don’t say here’s how you build a car that’s a different thing so the ideas are applicable so so then I teach people the tools on how to look at it a certain way and then they see the issue they see what needs to be done I don’t have to tell them how to fix their process they know how they just haven’t been taught a different way to think about it and you can’t do anything different until you learn a different way to think that’s the basic idea what you just mentioned it’s a is the learning process you have the human capital or the human sources and sometimes there’s a there’s a person who has been working on the similar or the same process for four years how can an ally old dog yes yeah how can you teach the old dog to do the new things too so to think out of the box to see the things in a different perspective I just make it a habit because he he he needs to get into the flow process anyway into in order to make it more effective yeah that that’s an interesting question so actually is a similar question came up with my translator today she made the statement I don’t like change well I’ve heard it a thousand times a million times perhaps it’s one of the most common statements I don’t like change or often people don’t say that they say that they don’t like change right of course I accept change but interesting is yeah of course they don’t want to change right how do you how do you teach this old dog you know the old-timers they don’t want to do something different la blah blah and I say okay look I explained to you you have to go a little bit further into the question that let’s go back again to the human brain because that’s where everything starts all of it behavior is an outcome of thinking everything starts with thinking first I think then I behave then I act right so what’s the thinking and what’s going what’s it’s not thinking what’s actually happening in the brain and what happens in the brain and science can prove all of this now it’s very very straightforward is that when we learn things language driving route to work are familiar places our brains like to make connection Earl connections right and they like to make those patterns because our brains are designed to conserve energy okay our brain is five percent of our body mass but uses twenty percent of our physical energy so it’s a huge inefficient machine right and and over the millennia our brains have developed methods to conserve energy because up until two hundred years ago food wasn’t readily available and if you weren’t able to conserve energy you were going to die right so it’s not an issue today but it was 200 years ago and for thousands of years prior to that cuz there’s much team speed if you see animal exactly actually don’t have much you don’t have any energy left you or you don’t think fast you’re dead you’re eating you go you’re gone so the brain is this is this amazing thing that’s conserving energy by following patterns and the longer we follow a pattern the stronger it’s like a path in the woods so whether it’s a task it’s a language it’s it’s the phone I use the longer I do something that the stronger that path becomes and the less likely it is to change and the more painful it is to change it’s difficult every time we have to learn something new I get a new car I get a new cell phone again something it doesn’t work the same as the other one did and now I have to learn and my brain is saying oh no that’s too much work that’s too much work I don’t want to work that hard see so that’s what we’re up against so how do you deal with that well I believe it’s not quite the same I believe that it’s not that people don’t like change it’s that people don’t like change imposed on them I don’t want you to tell me I have to change but if I accept this thing I’ll do whatever it takes see I’ve seen 80 year old people on their cell phone just like there’s six years old like using their smartphone and searching the internet 7in said well if it were true old people don’t want to learn anything new how can this be I’m member Tom glad being in space he was almost 80 years old it was the first person in the bostik in the 60s and then he sent into the space again when he was almost eight years old and he had proved perfectly to be fine with the other guys were 40 years trying yeah so I’ve seen situations where the very newest employee was stubborn and I’ve seen situations where the person been there 30 years was quite open so so I think it varies according to what it is and the thing I try to teach managers is don’t go and tell people what’s wrong and what they need to do to fix it go and tell them what you’re trying to achieve and ask them what they think you see if I asked you for an idea you’re more likely to give it and if you have it if you have the idea you’re more likely to use it because I don’t think it’s my idea and cure simple it is your idea now on that note a lot of managers talk to me on the side a little quietly and they say you know if I can make them think that my idea was theirs you know then they’ll do it I said well that’s called manipulation it’s not the same right I’m not talking about getting people to accept my idea because i i’m not i’m trying to show people a different way to think about things and to look at things and then let them decide we have a goal we have an objective to achieve there’s many different ways to get there okay there’s not just one single path so I had to learn for myself I don’t care necessarily what the path is as long as we arrive at the destination on time I can’t allow it to take forever we have to get certain plays in certain time but how we get there the people who do the work can create the way back to the to the first question you spent a lot of time with Toyota learning their turn away their lean processes but what about the argument which you may hear a lot of times you may have heard a lot of times what about different countries different cultures because the Japanese are very specific in the way they approach their jobs and their culture is very aimed to be very efficient because they are Nylund and on the other Nylund you there are a lot of people are going to island that they must be efficient but what about if you comes a completely different country is completely different culture is it the pass and the principles are the same or do you have to think out of the box when it comes to the different country well you know I can’t think out of the box unless I learned something new you know when I when I first started to work with other companies in other countries and even in the beginning it was just in the United States and and I could see these same kind of patterns of thinking happening over and over and over again and at that time within the United States the language was something like hold on they’ve I don’t think you understand how it is at our company our company is different or I don’t think you understand how it is in California versus Kentucky because we’re different or you know and I kept hearing this over and over and over again or we don’t build cars you see that might work where you build cars but we’re different and and then I started working with car companies and and they couldn’t say we don’t build cars so they said we’re not Japanese and I said you know there’s an interesting thing when you join Toyota if a manager joints Toyota and Japan the first thing they have to do is read Henry Ford’s book today and tomorrow is the title for Henry Ford’s but Britain in 1926 i think it was okay that’s the first assignment they have what i learned over the years is and they give credit to ford and others many of the things that they learned they learn from Henry Ford’s original thinking and it wasn’t specifically Japanese or Japanese culture fundamentals their fundamental their ways of thinking about things that have little to do with culture it is true or it was true I think it’s probably changed a bit that Japanese people as a culture tended to be more homogenous aligned and their thinking and their behaviors as you said because it’s an island and they have certain sayings like the nail that sticks up gets hammered down you know so that people are more similar in their in their way but when they came to the United States they really the first lessons to us were we’re not trying to make you Japanese and and this isn’t about being Japanese this is about the Toyota way of doing things and if you look at other Japanese automakers for example or other Japanese manufacturers they have similar methodologies because they all learned them together after World War Two from the same sources which by the way we’re from america USA inter director frozen trucker Deming you know Twi all of these methodologies brought in there and these companies were all their learning them simultaneously okay now they’ve applied them in different ways but there’s a similarity but it has nothing to do with being Japanese it has to do with they learned at the same school right so their patterns of thinking about those things are similar and I found this out just not too many years ago when I went back to Japan for for another company not Toyota not automotive they were in manufactured products for for health care medical and I asked this group Japanese people I said so tell me what what you understand about this word Kaizen because the Toyota we use this word Kaizen all the time and it was translated originally to mean continuous improvement so I asked these guys thinking that I would get the same answer oh that’s continuous improvement they hand and HOD and they had some discussion of Japanese for a minute and then finally one guy said you know let me go home and ask my wife because I’m not we’re not really sure I thought well that’s really hot because I mean this is a word we we used a Toyota every day every day over and over and over disguising Kaizen Qaeda so he came back to next day and he said well first of all he said Kaizen is typically something you do at work it’s not something you do in your personal relationships or something it’s it’s related to work and Kaizen can only be done on something that already exists so the creation of something is not Kaizen the improvement or the literal translation i think means to improve for the better or to make for the better and so that to me that was kind of enlightening to realize it okay you can’t improve something that doesn’t already exist that’s creation then from there that back to something you said earlier is literally there is no perfection so that process would go on forever right the challenge is the closer you get to theoretical perfection the harder it gets to get better right the law of diminishing returns takes effect and the gains become incrementally smaller and the effort becomes incrementally greater right so half the benefit for twice the work for example and so that’s really the big kia Toyota is teaching people to think better to think more effectively to be more efficient in the thinking process how to solve the more difficult problems that are going to give a smaller gain but to use less effort that’s the key to long-term success last question is all you’ve just said for at least for the managers it’s a the issue that comes on my mind is a question or is an issue that’s very close to and a big issue which is the de motivation how can you motivate people to really think in disguise and terms to really really be motivated to put their best and to try to thinks in little small steps and make things at least in their mind just think in the in the in the way to make it more effective to just play with the idea to be out of the book that I just under on the on the day-to-day level how how can the managers motivate people or keep the level of motivation they will assure that people will really think about the skies and process even though they don’t know what has means well first of all I don’t think I really answer your previous question completely I realized once I started traveling out of the United States what I saw was the same thinking the same objections if you will I was getting other places only the wording was different oh you don’t understand xpeke German people or polish people are Hungarian people or Czech people or Russian people or Chinese people are you know in all these countries and I heard the same thing every time oh it’s different here you know check people won’t do this or check people are this way or they’re not good at you know and I just have to roll my eyes some time to think I wow I’ve never heard that before you know and so that leads to your second question about motivation and I’ll say this is my opinion that it is it is impossible to motivate someone else okay I can’t motivate you I can’t motivate someone else I can only provide an environment where you will be motivated okay the question I asked in the group and here is the question I always ask in groups or where where there might be leaders who make the objection you don’t understand my people or you know my culture my company or something and I ask the questions I said how many how many of you in this audience want to go to work and to do something meaningful do something that makes a difference do something that has a purpose everybody raises their hand how many of you want to be engaged in something meaningful that matters it it’s interesting or whatever everybody raised their hand so I’ve asked that question to thousands of people and everybody raises her hand so I’m not a statistician but I would have to conclude that if you know thousands out of thousands say yes at the percentages 99% Deming if i can remember quoting exactly i believe he said ninety-five percent of the people want to go to work every day and do a good job so i also asked that question how many of you want to do a good job how many of you turn sometimes i turn the question around to how many of you want to go to work and screw up just wait sorta yeah i waste your time do meaningless mundane routine work that doesn’t matter you know fill out forms that nobody ever looks at how many of you want to do that and of course nobody every now and then somebody try to be in joking says all right i love doing meaningless stuff but and so I said look here’s my here’s the only conclusion I can draw from that day i’m not an expert in this but I I can put two and two together and say that if ninety-nine point nine percent of the people want those things to be engaged to be relevant to matter somehow and numerous studies point the same thing out right if that’s the case that must be normal human behavior that must be the way we are automatically so if you’re telling me you’re getting this behavior instead of that one this is normal yours is abnormal so in order to get abnormal behavior you have to do something on purpose so it’s a more question of changing the environment than changing to something you’re creating that situation this is normal this is the way people are going to behave if they’re given the right situation this is the way they’re behaving given the current situation so what is it what is it that causes it and I could tell you it’s easy what causes it is your attitude which creates your behavior so I’ve had I can tell you in every country in every culture to every place i’ve been i’ve had leaders tell me two different things basically i’ll put two simple categories I’ve had leaders who say you know we’ve got some really great people here they do great things it’s amazing the work they do really proud of it etc etc and and then in this case over here well you know this is so-and-so country or so-and-so region and the labor pool isn’t so great and our pay level isn’t so great and so we don’t really attract great people etc etc etc excuse and and I just think well of course you can of course you get that result because that’s your attitude right it there’s no there’s not ever going to be a situation where one hundred percent of the people are perfect and grade and absolutely wonderful even even at the Olympics in the race of the finest athletes in the world one guy wins the one guy comes in last but they’re all great they’re different they don’t they’re not going to be exactly the same so so to me it always comes back to one simple thing it’s your attitude about it and whether you truly want it or not and if you don’t want it you’re going to tell me all the reasons it can’t happen I was at a company once some years back and you know who’s in with all the top-level leadership CEOs and all the top-level leadership of this company and one by one they went around the room basically explained all the challenges and all the reasons that wouldn’t work and the people in this country were a certain way and they didn’t they would never give anything extra and all these all these ideas just couldn’t happen here couldn’t happen I did did it well so so it came around the end and then CEO asked me a very difficult question he said can you tell me what’s the main difference between us and Toyota and sometimes I’m stumped a little bit i had oh my gosh what am I going to say what’s what’s the number one difference and then it occurred to me i said well i can tell you easily I said I i worked at toyota for 10 years okay not one single time during that ten years that i have one of the japanese guys tell me that something was impossible not one single time they would say it’s difficult they would talk about challenges and they would talk about the issues that were needing to be addressed but they never ever said something couldn’t be done so once you say that just close the door in her mind that this I said now I’ve been here for about an hour and a half and I said every single one of you only told me exactly why it couldn’t happen here I said that’s the difference right it’s all in your attitude about it of course it’s difficult Toyota never in the ten years I was there they never said hey what we do is easy they said every day it’s difficult it’s a challenge they didn’t make any apologies for that they didn’t say life at Toyota is easy they said life at three is hard it’s hard to be great it’s hard to solve problems it’s hard to get better every day they they never apologized for that I they had high expectations they the level of performance needed to be high but the interesting thing and this is this is this is the difference and this took me this took me a long time before I I understood it logically but I guess on an emotional level it that if if you’re my subordinate I have a responsibility for your development if you fail I failed if i give you assignments and you don’t succeed I failed you didn’t fail I fail see everywhere else the view point is you failed to do your job but it’s exactly the opposite there and that doesn’t mean i’m gonna give you simple assignments so you succeed in I succeed no they’re difficult they’re big challenges my job is to develop you to be able to succeed I think now that’s what the assumption that you have at least basic intelligent and capabilities and so forth right and and a desire that’s the only thing I tell I can’t give you the desire to want to succeed motivate I can’t motivate you I can only provide an environment by which you will be motivated right little difference so that’s the way to tie it away in a nutshell admire it was a great pleasure to have you here we might play dressed apply and I look forward with our viewers to watch another HR TV guest and wish this life great thank you Oh