Take a Lesson from Human DNADNA says stop using LEAN!

We have been taught that we get our genes from our parents. Remember the line about every cell containing the all the DNA needed to create an entire you? Well, that is sort of true, mostly true. Scientists have learned that our genetic mechanism is a little more adventurous than previously thought.

You see, when our gene pairs split off, the ‘system’ allows for about a 1% mutation rate. Wildcards. 1% of your genes have a bit of creative freedom to contribute a modification to the original plans. This seems to be just enough to keep extreme variance under control while permitting ‘innovation’ to the human organism.

Yeah, that sounds a bit complicated so let me get this into a simple form. Our genes are not constantly pairing off perfectly at each cell split. There’s room for change. That’s good and bad news, but mostly good.

It means you can experience genetic damage. Cancer. Cells can go nuts. They can reproduce wildly and kill you. True. But, genes can adapt to fight cancer too. Genes can make other little adjustments that can benefit us. And, those subtle changes can be passed on to the next generation.

What does that mean? It means, biologists and geneticists please forgive this simplification, that we can pass traits we did not inherent to the next generation. We can create a trait on our own and pass it on.

Think about that. If we only had inherited traits, there would be very, very little difference from generation to generation. Obviously, children can be very different from their parents. Why? Because nature allows for a bit of genetic experimentation.

So how does this apply to business?

I see many businesses wrapped around the axle of “LEAN” management techniques. Managers with only a superficial understanding of business adopt LEAN and become tightly bound to ever tightening processes. If something goes wrong, it means they need to close another loophole. Keep closing loopholes until the process works perfectly.

It doesn’t work. It doesn’t even make sense. In business, this is called “tight coupling”. Managers make everything so tight, so structured, so organized that nothing can possibly go wrong.

Then, when something outside of the expected hits, the tightly coupled system breaks.

Actually, the tightly coupled system will begin to break, you’ll see stress fractures, long before an extraordinary event. Morale will slip. Passion subsides. Antipathy sets in.

Even nature ‘understands’ that allowing a little slippage is, in the long run, a good thing. Sure, a wrong turn could result in cancer. But it could also result in a stronger being. A faster runner. A smarter thinker. A stronger worker. A gifted musician.

Can you see what all this means?

Before you give the screw another turn, think about allowing a little freedom at the joint. Let people make decisions. Let them make mistakes and in the long run, they will learn and perform better.

Sure, that’s scary. But if you hire competent people you have nothing to worry about.

Chris Reich,