Nobody is asking to be transformed by consultants

Published on 7 March 2020 by Isaak Tsalicoglou.

I saw one of those inspirational posts recently: "Lean is about developing and transforming people, not just about process improvement".

Noble sentiment, but much like the title of the seminal HBR article "Why should anyone be led by you?" questioning leadership, so should the premise of the post be questioned, heavily.

Why should people trust anyone to "transform" them?

Why is it the role of a company to "transform people"?

What does "transforming people" even mean? What does it imply for the people before the do-gooders of Lean set out to "transform" them?

Were they caterpillars waiting for you to turn them into butterflies...?

Perhaps some think they can "transform" anything (especially people) really have a deep-seated romanticism, thinking that companies are places where people must self-actualize in the pursuit of meaning at work.

(BTW, Gianpiero Petriglieri's articles demonstrate exactly how dangerous this singular identity-meaning can become.)

Perhaps such people have a deep-seated need for neatness and goodness, and use Lean, Agile etc. as an instrument of fulfilling their neurotic, quixotic tendencies of control.

Give it up, Lean and Agile fans. Nobody asked to be "transformed" (whatever this means); let alone by consultants, a coach, or a sensei.

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