Being abstracted from the real thing leads to poor decisions. As leaders, we lead, we teach, and we make decisions. But in doing so, we need help to sharpen our judgment so that we can learn to make better decisions.
Other articles in the Genchi Genbutsu Series:
- Genchi Genbutsu: Data versus Facts
- Genchi Genbutsu: Develop Better Judgment
- Genchi Genbutsu: See the Problem Clearly
- Genchi Genbutsu: Develop Empathy
- Genchi Genbutsu: Helps us to Develop Others
The first aspect I outlined in my first article on Genchi Genbutsu is that:
- Genchi Genbutsu develops our judgment.
Let’s look at the following situations where Genchi Genbutsu and the aspect of developing our judgement could be applied:
- You are a software engineer. But between you and the customer, there is a project manager, business analyst, and a requirements analyst. Those three acts as “proxy” or “surrogate” for the customer.
- You are an executive in your company, but you make all your decisions from a conference room or boardroom. In fact, most of the people in your company have not seen you step outside your office, cubicle.
- You are in the military – in a combat zone. You trust your subordinates and you rely completely on their reports of the situation. But, you are in a comfortable, air conditioned “war room”, while your people are in actual war. True, you must be protected and away from harm since you are a commissioned leader, but the reports of your subordinates could be clouded by their bias and by their near-sighted perspective. And, because they see you comfortable while they are not, that could undermine their trust in you.
- You are a scientist working in a “big pharma” pharmaceutical drug manufacturer. You value objectivity and, as a scientist, that makes sense. You are developing a drug for a bipolar disorder, but you actually have never met or observed any human with bipolar disorder.
Looking at the examples above, it is clear what the state of management is currently. Yet, the aspect of developing our judgment through the practice of Genchi Genbutsu counteracts poor decisions that could be made by being distant and abstracted from the real situation.
In the next post, I’ll cover the second aspect of Genchi Genbutsu – gaining agreement and consensus on the problem.