Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Schwerpunkt and how to have clear focus

Fast Company has article titled The Strategy of the Fighter Pilot which covers background of Boyd and his thoughts and also provides some nice examples of OODA in action. Even if Boyd is relatively know article is well worth a read.

I especially liked notion of schwerpunkt.

Systems like Toyota's worked so well, Boyd argued, because of schwerpunkt, a German term meaning organizational focus. Schwerpunkt, Boyd wrote, "represents a unifying medium that provides a directed way to tie initiative of many subordinate actions with superior intent as a basis to diminish friction and compress time." That is, employees decide and act locally, but they are guided by a keen understanding of the bigger picture.

I relate Boyds schwerpunkt to lean concept of 'High Agreement' and the need for organization to have High Agreement both on what they want to achieve and how they will achieve it. This allows whole organization to operate as cohesive unit towards common goal. Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino describe High Agreement in page 16 of their book Hitchhikers Guide To Lean as follows:
"Valuing a common way or process with low ambiguity more than you value your own way." To be clear, this definition does not mean individuals need to like the common way, but they value having the agreement and accept decisions that they may not like.

I don't mean that schwerpunkt equals High Agreement, rather that in lean environment High Agreement is a way to maintain that organizational focus.

Comments? Thoughts?


Matthew said...

Love the blog - please keep exploring this stuff, not enough people are ripping open Boyd to see how he really works.

Panu Kinnari said...

Thank you very much for your comment. We really appreciate discussion, that is one of the biggest reasons we made this blog, to engage others as well in our quest to better understand Boyd.