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Who's Lean in TV & Film: Week 3 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 8, 2013

Who's Lean in TV & Film: Week 3 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 8, 2013 | Comments (0)

This week's matchups are particularly interesting. Not only do we have two of the most popular Star Trek characters facing off, we have several of TV's most iconic crime fighters/detectives in the mix. And let's not forget the sensei that had an entire generation thinking they knew karate.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, this tournament features the characters from TV and movies nominated by you, the lean community, when we asked "who do you think is lean in television and film?" We then took your nominations and made this tournament.

The goal? To get people looking for lean all the time, find ways to communicate what lean is with others, find common ground, and to have a little fun.

leanscreen

Voting for this round has ended.  Click here to follow the progress of this contest

Match-up #1

Adrian Monk

Monk (TV)

vs.

Lt. Frank Colombo

Colombo (TV)

Adrian Monk is a former homicide detective turned private detective with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) amongst other phobias.  I had a feeling that Monk would be nominated for this tournament.  When I first saw 5S in practice at a manufacturer, I thought to myself "wow this is an OCD dream job."  It wasn't until I walked the gemba a bit more, that I realized there was a reason for the neatness and proper placement of tools.

But Monk is not just about 5S, he's also about problem solving.  Monk had his own standard work for solving problems, gathering the facts first, then trying to identify the root cause.  He always made sure to properly grasp the situation before jumping to conclusions.

Why he may not be so lean is his (lack of) respect for people.  Often he is angry at people for reasons having to do with much more with his phobias, so he very often struggles to treat people respectfully.

Columbo started as a character from a play, which later went on to be the main character in a series of made-for-TV films.  He definitely had a unique approach to getting to the facts, often questioning potential suspects to the point of exhaustion, where of course the truth would slip out.

He visited the gemba multiple times, usually with the "persons of interest," making it easier to fact-check answers to his questions, eliminate bogus stories and opinions, and gather the right evidence.

There are many similarities between Columbo and Monk, but there are also some pretty big differences.  For example, Columbo often fumbled through his coat trying to find evidence, instead finding grocery lists (he needs some 5S practice).  He was easily distracted, often asking to borrow a pencil, often bringing up irrelevant topics for discussion at a dramatic point in a conversation with a suspect.  Another difference is that Columbo is humble and always respectful, even to those he arrests.

Adrian Monk (Monk)
Adrian Monk
Monk (TV)
 
53%
Lt. Frank Colombo
Colombo (TV)
 
47%
Lt. Frank Colombo (Colombo)

Match-up #2

Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV & Film)

vs.

Spock

Star Trek (TV & Film)

Leadership in a lean transformation is crucial to its success.  Jean-Luc Picard exemplified the type of leadership needed to get his team to boldly go where no man (team?) has gone before (or was that Shatner?)

Depicted as deeply moral, highly logical and intelligent, Picard is a master of diplomacy and debate who resolves seemingly intractable issues between multiple parties with Solomon-like wisdom.  Though such resolutions are usually peaceful, Picard is also shown using his remarkable tactical cunning in situations when it is required.

Picard's ability to lead from behind and effectively empower people to improve their own work is what allowed his team to solve the problems they faced.  He would only step in to coach or guide. He often hosted great problem solving "sessions" in his "ready room."  He allowed for mistakes since he viewed them as opportunities for learning.

Picard constantly pushed the limits of his ship and crew and listened carefully to all his advisors (Guinan in particular).  He solved problems by asking questions at the gemba.  Sounds logical to me… wait that's someone else.

It's not the pointy ears, it's that amazing brain!  It's nearly impossible to discuss the character of Mr. Spock without discussing his love of logic.  Logic is part of Vulcan DNA, not necessarily a skill owned solely by Spock.  I often hear people speak of others having Toyota DNA, is this the same thing?  I think that topic is another post altogether.

Who is more efficient, methodical, or data-driven than Commander Spock?  As the person who nominated him wrote,

  • "If there were a reason, a Vulcan is quite capable of killing - logically and efficiently." (Journey to Babel)
  • "Insufficient facts always invite danger." (Space Seed)
  • Kirk: "What would you say the odds are on our getting out of here?"  Spock: "Difficult to be precise, Captain.  I should say approximately seven thousand eight hundred twenty four point seven to one."  Kirk: "Difficult to be precise?  Seven thousand eight hundred and twenty four to one?"&nbwp; Spock: "Seven thousand eight hundred twenty four point seven to one."  Kirk: "That's a pretty close approximation."  Spock: "I endeavor to be accurate." (Errand of Mercy)
  • "It would be illogical to assume that all conditions remain stable." (The Enterprise Incident)

Now I would think respect for people would be a logical path to take, but I don't know if Spock took that path.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Jean-Luc Picard
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV & Film)
 
62%
Spock
Star Trek (TV & Film)
 
38%
Spock (Star Trek)

Match-up #3

Sherlock Holmes

Elementary (TV)

vs.

Dr. Joan Watson

Elementary (TV)

Sir Conan Doyle's beloved character Sherlock Holmes has had many incarnations, the latest being Sherlock Holmes from the American television show Elementary.  It is this particular incarnation of Holmes that was nominated, which I found interesting.  When I get the opportunity to go on gemba walks I often try and channel my inner Holmes to observe everything I can, following up with questioning, just like Sherlock.

In this case the nomination is, well, elementary.  Holmes leads a spartan, no frills, lifestyle: no unnecessary equipment, always traveling light and ready to improvise.  Holmes' biggest lean strengths are his intense process focus and astute power of observation.  Holmes makes time for careful observation before asking questions.  He tests his ideas with controlled experiments.  He even plays the role of sensei to Watson.

What about respect for people (which seems to be the trend for this batch of crime fighters/detectives)?  Well, this is still up in the air.  How do you think Holmes shows respect?

It's tough to think about Watson as a lean thinker when she is constantly eclipsed by Sherlock Holmes.  But once you get beyond this you can see quite a few lean traits that I'm sure we'd all hope to embody ourselves.

Like Holmes, Watson has the "go and see" mentality when she investigates a problem.  Not keen on just waiting for the lab to give the results on evidence, she conducts her own experiments to find answers.  While her powers of observation are not as strong as Holmes, her ability to handle people and engage them in meaningful conversation more than make up for it.

Unlike Holmes, Watson has deep respect for people and works first to build consensus and understanding.  She talks with people, rather than "at" people, as they say.

Sherlock Holmes (Elementary)
Sherlock Holmes
Elementary (TV)
 
44%
Dr. Joan Watson
Elementary (TV)
 
56%
Dr. Joan Watson (Elementary)

Match-up #4

Mr. Miyagi

The Karate Kid (Film)

vs.

Sgt. Joe Friday

Dragnet (TV)

I'm willing to bet that when most Americans hear the word "sensei" they think "Mr. Miyagi" ("Wax on, wax off").  That teen drama in many ways helped an entire generation learn how to learn, perhaps opening their minds to seeing new ways of doing things.

Mr. Miyagi was not interested in glory, just balance.  He had very little interest in the color of your belt "Belt mean no need rope to hold up pants."  No offense to my 6-Sigma friends!  He often said karate is for self-defense only, so the glory of a tournament victory wasn't his goal.

He gets value (chores done) while developing strength and muscle memory.  Paint the fence - Paint house - Wax the car - Sand the floor.  I use this all the time to explain real importance of 5S (conditioning for kaizen).  It is very similar to Mike Rother's Toyota Kata idea: Keep practicing new things/methods until they feel natural.

Identifying root cause was crucial in the film, and Miyagi helped his student learn to see the true root cause.

Miyagi: Problem: attitude.
Daniel: No the problem is, I'm getting my [butt] kicked every other day, that's the problem.
Miyagi: Hai, because boys have bad attitude.  Karate for defense only.
Daniel: That's not what these guys are taught.
Miyagi: Hai – can see.  No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher.  Teacher say, student do.

See how he was able to show that the kids' attitudes weren't the real problem?

The downside with Mr. Miyagi is that he often just told Daniel what to do instead of asking questions and letting him find his own answers.  There was no disrespect, but there wasn't a lot of deep understanding going on either.

"Just the facts, ma'am," Sergeant Joe Friday played by Jack Webb of the TV series Dragnet of the 1950's.  Sergeant Friday's dry and methodical approach to solving crime (problems) was to separate the feelings (waste) of those he interviewed to get to "only the facts" (value added information/material).

For the most part, each episode was based upon a real crime, where the names had been changed to protect the innocent (sort of like a good case study!).  Friday and the other detectives would use a systematic approach and repeatable process to solve each crime.

Friday's approach to problem solving was absolutely lean.  He discarded opinions and made sure to only gather the facts.  If Friday made an A3 I'm pretty sure the left hand side of it would be awesome.  Not just because it would show the facts, but because those facts would come from the people involved, not just his own thinking.

Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid)
Mr. Miyagi
The Karate Kid (Film)
 
68%
Sgt. Joe Friday
Dragnet (TV)
 
32%
Sgt. Joe Friday (Dragnet)

Next week we start Week 4 voting, where you’ll get to think about how lean Dexter, Willy Wonka, and Tyler Durden are in their respective ways.  After that, round two of the tournament begins.  How have you enjoyed the tournament so far?  If you're enjoying it and learning something, be sure to share it with your team members and colleagues!

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the full tournament brackets. Download as a PDF

Download bracktes as PDF file

Tell your friends and colleagues. Tweet#leanscreen

(The copyright for the images used as part of the series are held by the image right holders. LEI makes no copyright claim on these images.)

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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