Are You Bob Woods from The Gold Mine?
Earlier this year I read the novel “The Gold Mine” by Freddy Balle and Michael Balle. When I was finished, I thought it was a good book and I liked the novel format. I found the book OK. It talked about a lot of lean concepts, but nothing new and it didn’t strike me in a new way. I was really taken aback by the behavior of Bob Woods, the main character of the story, a retired lean guy who had transformed many facilities. When asked to help out a friend of his son, he reluctantly agrees.
What shocked me the most was Bob’s behavior in the book. It seemed very command and control. Do it this way or don’t call me! type of attitude. The book is based around this attitude and his lack of patience for someone not taking action and doing it the way he said to do it. The attitude didn’t seem very lean leadership like.
Fast forward several months, I am now reflecting on the book again. I had to look in the mirror and ask myself, “Am I Bob Woods?” I have a better understanding of where he was coming from now. Have you ever gone into a situation where you know you can help? They have asked for your help, but in the end they don’t want to do it or argue with you. It becomes very frustrating to the point where you finally take an attitude of do it this way or don’t ask me for help anymore!
I still don’t believe this a way a great leader would behavior, but I have some empathy for Bob Woods now. How do you avoid becoming Bob Woods as you do more and more lean transformation work? As leaders we are to bring people along with us. That is the definition of leadership. Telling someone what do to is dictatorship. Is it appropriate to display the behavior of do it my way or don’t ask at any time? I feel there isn’t a time or a place for that, but it may not be that black and white.
What are you thoughts?