Whether it’s the shelves of a retail store, the activities of a manufacturing plant, or the processes comprising human resource management, push approaches try to forecast demand and then design operations to ensure they deploy the right resources to the right place at the right time.
Push programs have enabled scalable, cost-effective operations. But they’ve come at a steep price: the rigid standardization and specication of activities and tasks they require. The highly specied operations manuals created by traditional push programs are in many ways antithetical to talent development, which requires workers to improvise and experiment with their working practices in order to learn and grow.
But what if, rather than trying to forecast demand and standardize operations so as to avoid surprises, companies were to create more exible “pull” platforms to help participants access resources whenever and wherever they are needed? What if, rather than treating exceptions (such as quality exceptions on a manufacturing assembly line) as a nuisance to be eliminated, companies welcomed them as an opportunity for participants to tinker and experiment?"