The Nemawashi Way

To bring positive change to an organization it is vital to build a coalition, to carefully raise awareness about a better way to do things, and to do it in a way that respects management and the people in the organization.

Japanese management has a unique practice that teaches us how to accomplish this, a practice that Lean has used and that we embrace as a fundamental part of KAFE. In summary the Nemawashi Way involves the following steps:

  • Find as much as possible about the roots of the bad business practice, bad metric, or fake deadline that needs to be corrected
  • Finding out who are the people in authority that need to be convinced to bring about positive change
  • Informally gather support from like-minded professionals in the organization to build consensus
  • Informally talk with the people in authority to see what level of positive change can be implemented
  • Once support has been achieved from the people in authority, call for a formal meeting to make the decision official. If possible full change will happen, but otherwise gradual change will begin.
  • Finally implement the change!

If you wish to know more from the Japanese cultural links to Nemawashi today, I recommend you read this article.

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About Joseph Hurtado

Agile Innovator and Enterprise Agile Coach. SAFe SPC, Scrum CSM and Kanban Ace Trainer. Currently writing the Kanban Ace Framework for Effectiveness or KAFE. Founded to offer Kanban, KAFE and SAFe training and consulting.