I know I’m going to get in trouble with this post, but it’s Friday, the first of a new month, and in the crunch of the holiday season we need to lighten up a bit. Plus I’m in a bit of a punchy mood after having dealt with a two week visit from the mother inlaw. But luckily she got through O’Hare the other day before the storms hit.
Many of you may have already seen this, but there’s yet another scientific study out that tries to explain the differences between men and women. Apparently there are too many scientists in the world, as how else would a bunch of highly-paid professionals have the opportunity to study something so readily obvious… at least to one gender… but with a result simply dismissed by the other?
In this case I’m talking about… why women talk so much. A female psychiatrist, Dr. Luane Brizendine, claims that her scientific study shows women talk three times as much as men. Here’s why:
The simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high.
Wow… a drug-like euphoria created just by blathering! That would be a great skill to have! Now of course I’m sure some people think there are other reasons why women have to talk so much… a common excuse is that they have to repeat themselves several times just to get men to hear something once. But perhaps it’s just selective listening? For example, if a woman says:
Take out the trash. Take out the trash. Take out the trash. Take out the trash. How about we go see that new James Bond movie. Take out the trash. Take out the trash. Take out the trash.
What a typical man would hear is:
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah How about we go see that new James Bond movie. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Or if the guy is truly evolved, he would hear:
see Bond movie
All extraneous… wasteful… words and comments removed. a "lean conversation"! All is well with the world. On a slightly more serious note, I have always been amazed at how guys can "selectively listen" better than women. Not in terms of listening to only the interesting and relevant part of a wordy conversation, but in terms of picking out specific conversations in a noisy crowded room. At dinner in a noisy restaurant the guys can listen to a single conversation several tables away, but the women hear just a jumble of many conversations. My wife and I have discussed this… at length of course… and have no conclusions except that perhaps the female mind is again geared toward hearing everything. Maybe it has something to do with that drug-like euphoria.
Of course those of you that read the article on the scientific study know that there are other reasons why the male brain may not be able to talk as much… it is consumed thinking about other things. But out of respect for my gender and the valuable time of the readers, I won’t go into that here. Let’s just say it has something to do with eight lane highways and international airports.
I always try to inject at least a small modicum of relevant lean commentary into every post, and this time it is a bit of a struggle. But here it goes. Let’s think of some wastes with communication:
Meetings with no clear agenda and desired outcome
Meetings not held at the gemba, so the gemba has to be "virtually created" (explained hopefully by people who truly understand it and can also communicate well) before decisions can be made
Long wordy text work instructions instead of simply photos… or perhaps it is described in too minute a detail to begin with
Emails that get circulated and circulated with more and more people being added to the distribution… so before long you’ve taken 30 days and about 20 people providing input to determine what beverage to bring to the company dinner.
Meetings to discuss decisions that are worth less than the combined time of people at the meeting
There are some easy solutions. Clear agendas and outcomes. Phone calls instead of emails for simple decisions… or even better, just walk next door and talk about it instead of emailing. Empower people to make decisions without feeling the need to consult… or CYA. Go to the gemba. We’ve even blogged about how Carlos Ghosn makes his speeches "lean"… short, concise, with most irrelevant words removed.
And those solutions aren’t gender specific.