A few days ago I was asked: “Why do you post on LinkedIn every day?” Great question! To the simple-minded, lacking in ability to think beyond a surface-level impression, my daily posts are imagined to quench a deep thirst for attention, whereas the more sophisticated consumer of social media correctly recognizes that’s not it at all.
My posts are an extension of my scholarship and work as a teacher and former manager. They are opportunities for me to:
- Generate ideas
- Be creative in both the image and text
- Communicate in short form
- Teach and influence
- Entertain people
- Interact with people
The posts are experiments to test different ideas, see people’s reactions, read and respond to comments, and have offline conversations. Sometimes my experiments perform unexpectedly well, other times the experiments that I think are really powerful fall flat. I enjoy these interesting surprises.
Also, doing a daily post is a challenge that inspires me to continue exploring the vast depths of TPS, Lean management, and related subject areas. Occasionally, I am short on ideas and have only one or two posts lined up for the coming days. But time and time again I manage to think of three, four, five or more new posts.
I realize that my posts drive some (many?) people crazy, but that is not my purpose; it is just one of several outcomes. So you may ask, “What is your purpose?” Lean world, being closely allied with business, abounds with people pushing positive messages (boosterism, really) — often venturing into the realm of toxic positivity and gaslighting. Consequently, there is a need for someone in Lean world to publicly say what needs to be said (the above image, for example). I provide a service to the community that few are willing to do, perhaps for fear of harming personal relationships or missing business opportunities.
A key characteristic of my work is to think critically and not blindly follow the herd. If everyone follows the herd, progress is unlikely — as the above image shows, its truth being all too real. The suffocating combination of groupthink and positivity that pervades Lean is clearly unhealthy as it misrepresents reality, disrespects people, and disables scientific thinking and continuous improvement.
To help people think differently or see the truth of a situation requires being persistent over a long period of time, with both positive and negative messages. Predictably, saying what needs to be said is often interpreted as being negative. It is not negative. Instead, it should be recognized as a viewpoint that adds to the conversation, one that challenges groupthink and endless (and obviously irrational) positivity, and inspires people to think for themselves and take action.
My posts are a different way to connect with people — different from the readers of academic research papers or books. But it comes with a substantial downside: many people believe the posts are a sound basis for judging, whether it is me as a person, as a professional, or my intent. They are nearly always mistaken, as the introductory paragraphs, above, make clear. Impersonal social media is a bad way to know someone.
Of course, my daily posts on LinkedIn cannot go on forever. Either my ideas will run out or my motivation for creating the posts will fade away. But for now, enjoy it while it lasts!