Plan vs. Actual—Part 3
So why does Plan vs. Actual work? Why is it imbedded in Lean applications so deeply we almost take it for granted?
Primarily, it is a simple application of the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle (PDCA) which is fundamental to Lean. In fact so fundamental, we have to remind ourselves of its profound impact from time to time. And is was in failing to either check or act that I botched it so badly, twice, this fall.
This reason Plan vs Actual works makes even more sense to me, though, when I examine it linguistically. In setting a plan, I make a declaration, naming a future state. By measuring the actual condition, I make an assertion, a statement of facts for which I am willing to provide evidence.
But it is in a third linguistic action that the power happens. It is when I make an assessment, an opinion based on a goal. And it is only in making powerful, well-grounded assessments that we trigger effective action, action that triggers a system of requests and promises.
It is in this system of five linguistic actions (declarations, assertions, assessments, requests, promises) that we flesh out lean leadership. We spend much of our time speaking. Do we do it effectively? I sure have botched it recently. I find going back to the basics very helpful.
I’m deeply grateful to my long-time friend Hal Macomber for originally putting me onto the work of Fernando Flores in this area. Hal has written much about a Language Action Perspective, of which I only scratch the surface here. It is not a well-known area but deserves attention in the nitty-gritty of a Lean implementation.