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Who's Lean in TV & Film: Round 2 Voting Continues

by Joshua Rapoza
December 4, 2013

Who's Lean in TV & Film: Round 2 Voting Continues

by Joshua Rapoza
December 4, 2013 | Comments (1)

This week we have winners of weeks 3 and 4 going head to head for the second round of the Who’s Lean in TV and Film.

Can Monk beat Picard? After a surprising victory over Sherlock Holmes, Watson takes on Mr. Miyagi. And this maybe the only place on Earth that you’ll see Willy Wonka face off with Dexter Morgan

Vote in each head to head by clicking on the image. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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

Match-up #1

Adrian Monk

Monk (TV)

vs.

Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV & Film)

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.  He's often angry at people for reasons having to do much more with his phobias, so he very often struggles to treat people respectfully.

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 cam also be remarkably cunning and strategic when he needs to be.

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

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

Adrian Monk (Monk)
Adrian Monk
Monk (TV)
 
32%
Jean-Luc Picard
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV & Film)
 
68%
Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Match-up #2

Dr. Joan Watson

Elementary (TV)

vs.

Mr. Miyagi

The Karate Kid (Film)

It's tough to think about Watson as a lean thinker when she is constantly being 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 makes 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.

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 Six-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 Coaching Kata idea: Keep practicing new things/methods until they feel natural.

Identifying root cause is crucial in the film, and Miyagi focuses his energy on helping 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.

Dr. Joan Watson (Elementary)
Dr. Joan Watson
Elementary (TV)
 
26%
Mr. Miyagi
The Karate Kid (Film)
 
74%
Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid)

Match-up #3

Mickey

Trouble with the Curve (Film)

vs.

Neo

The Matrix (Film)

In the film Trouble with the Curve, Mickey (played by Amy Adams) while not being a baseball player or scout herself, has an incredible ability to spot talent.  In a lot of ways this is what a good manager does.  Granted, the best managers should be able to help in any of the roles that report to them.

Most importantly Mickey goes to the gemba.  You cannot rely just on what you are told or statistics; you have to go see it for yourself, grasp the real situation.  Mickey does this throughout the entire film.  It's critical for her to see and more specifically "hear" the player with the good stats. It's better to see the problem, instead of simply judging the numbers.  Problem solving from afar very rarely works, and is much less sustainable.  Mickey knows this and lives it.

The character Neo from the film The Matrix took the ultimate gemba walk.  His entire journey was "go and see."

First, he unplugs himself, taking himself out of his comfort zone (his entire life).  Think about that for a second...in a lot of ways that's what lean transformation is about: taking yourself out of the comfortable routine, the way you always do things, and trying things differently.  Changing the way you think, work, and interact.

Neo conducts root cause analysis in order to work out what truly exists as opposed to what the machines portray as reality.  How many questions does he ask in the entire movie?  More than you can count.  He was also a change agent, using the matrix to overcome barriers to achieve his goal.

Mickey (Trouble with the Curve)
Mickey
Trouble with the Curve (Film)
 
31%
Neo
The Matrix (Film)
 
69%
Neo (The Matrix)

Match-up #4

Willy Wonka

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Film)

vs.

Dexter Morgan

Dexter (TV)

Kids may think candy is made through magic, but in a lot of ways, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was an entire generation's first exposure to manufacturing.  For the purpose of this tournament, let's look at Willy Wonka from both the 1971 and 2005 films.

In the beginning of both films we see the factory creating chocolates.  One-piece flow is evident, there's no extra inventory, and all candy is transferred directly into "milk run" size vehicles all destined for specific locations with just the right amount in each truck.  This is Lean in action.

A lot of what Wonka chooses to do in his factory also serves multiple goals.  One is quality and another is to thwart industrial espionage.  Instead of enacting levels upon levels of security, he makes things in a manner that no competitor can steal.  Sort of like the way Toyota makes cars and invites their competitors to tour their plants.

Wonka also creates a culture of problem solving, with a passion for quality.  The Oompa-Loompas may have been having fun, but they were all business, too.

A serial killer as an example of lean thinking?  It's not as crazy as you might think.  While his own goals may be a bit skewed, Dexter Morgan of the TV series Dexter makes a killing in the 5S and Standard Work departments.  Not to mention his ability to plan and improvise.

A true artist in the way of 5S (and I don't mean Stab, Strangle, Slice, Surveillance, and Syringe), Dexter has all his "equipment" and additional material organized and in specific labeled containers, bags, etc.  He has his tools when he needs them, no time is wasted looking for the right tool.

His "kill room" is a magnificent example of standard work, it's the same each time.  This greatly reduces the possibility for errors.  And for Dexter one mistake will place him in the electric chair.  When things don't go according to plan, Dexter has the ability to improvise, often with the materials he finds right around him.

The skill that I've found most intriguing about Dexter is his ability to observe.  He watches his victims, noticing their behavior, so he can anticipate their reactions to him.  He also collects evidence of their wrongdoing himself instead of relying on what others have said.

Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Willy Wonka
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Film)
 
68%
Dexter Morgan
Dexter (TV)
 
32%
Dexter Morgan (Dexter)

Next week we have the matchups of last week's and this week's winners and are on the road to the finals.  Tell us, whe do you think is the most lean in TV & film and why?  Where are you seeing lean thinking show up in unexpected places?

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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David December 13, 2013
You have the wrong picture for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It should be Johnny Depp

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