Lean Blog — 463: Jim Benson on The Collaboration Equation, His New Book

Episode page with transcript, video, and more

My guest for Episode #463 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Jim Benson, the CEO of Modus Cooperandi, and co-founder of Modus Institute.

He was previously a guest on Episodes 155 and 401. He was also a guest on Lean Whiskey #25 with me and Jamie Flinchbaugh (and #31), and was guest #4 on My Favorite Mistake.

A pioneer in applying Lean and Kanban to knowledge

work, Jim is the creator of Personal Kanban and is co-author of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life, winner of the Shingo Research and Publication Award. His other books include Why Plans FailWhy Limit WIP, and Beyond Agile.

His latest book is The Collaboration Equation: Strong Professionals, Strong Teams, Strong Delivery.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • How do you define collaboration? 
  • As an angry punk rocker? Parallels to startup software companies??
  • The balance between “every building/patient is unique “vs. having knowledge/structure/process??
  • Standard work for encountering complexity
  • When a major problem gets solved and nobody ends up in tears – From lawsuits, yelling, and strife — to collaborative problem solving? How?
  • Culture as it exists… culture as we are creating…??
  • Team deciding the culture vs. the CEO or leader having a vision of what the culture should be?
  • What the CEO says vs. what is the reality?
  • Value Stream Mapping as a “ruse”… a way to uncover team breakdown problems
  • Flapping our mouths vs. information about what’s really happening??
  • Get comfortable with change happening every day
  • Be hard on the process, not the people? But the system is made of people…
  • The FEELING of being respected
  • Fear as a cause of problems — “Every real collaboration has psychological safety”
  • What have you learned about PS, how to gauge it, and how to create it?
  • “You can’t go buy a box of psychological safety”
  • An NBA superteam… how would YOU lead them?
  • Getting over your damn self
  • The power of team members who are more likely to talk about others than themselves
  • “Do you feel heard…” — or are you actually heard?
  • What readers would get the most out of this book?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network