Category Archives: Education

Learn Lean by Doing Lean

In response to: Developing Your Lean Education Plan

If you actually let the lean leaders practice lean management you are probably doing more to help them learn than anything else. Reading is great, but 10 times better when reading to find solutions you need to deal with issues you have in place. Same for going to conferences. Consultants can be a huge help, but if you just bring in consultants without allowing the changes needed to improve they are not much use.

Far more damaging than not approving training, or giving the lean leaders any time to learn, is not giving them freedom to adopt lean practices and actually make improvements in your organization. That is what kills learning, and the desire to learn.

A great lean education plan: give them opportunities to apply what they know. As they gain knowledge and have success give them more opportunities. I think often lean leaders (and management improvement leaders) have to spend so much effort fighting the resistance in the organization they don’t have the energy to seek out much new knowledge. If you can reduce the effort they have to spend on fighting the bureaucracy most lean leaders will naturally focus on learning what they need for the current and future challenges.

Related: Building Organizational CapacityHelping Employees ImprovePeople are Our Most Important AssetRespect People by Understanding Psychology

An Introduction to Deming’s Management Ideas by Peter Scholtes (webcast)

An Introduction to Deming’s Management Teaching and Philosophy by Peter Scholtes – webcast from the Annual W. Edwards Deming Institute conference in Madison, Wisconsin, November 9th, 2008. My previous post on this speech: 6 Leadership Competencies.

Next month, the Annual Deming Institute conference will be held at Purdue on Oct 10th, 2009.

Related: Peter Scholtes’ LifeCurious Cat’s Deming on ManagementThe Leader’s HandbookPerformance without Appraisal

Red Bead Experiment Webcast

Dr. Deming used the red bead experiment to present a view into management practices and his management philosophy. The experiment provides insight into all four aspects of Dr. Deming’s management system: understanding variation, understanding psychology, systems thinking and the theory of knowledge.

Red Bead Experiment by Steve Prevette

Various techniques are used to ensure a quality (no red bead) product. There are quality control inspectors, feedback to the workers, merit pay for superior performance, performance appraisals, procedure compliance, posters and quality programs. The foreman, quality control, and the workers all put forth their best efforts to produce a quality product. The experiment allows the demonstration of the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the various methods.

Related: Fooled by RandomnessPerformance Measures and Statistics CoursePerformance without AppraisalExploring Deming’s Management IdeasEliminate Slogans

Seth Godin: Intern Program and the Internet

Learning from a summer intern program:

I was overwhelmed by the quality of what I got back. (The quantity was expected… interesting internships are hard to find). I heard from students on most continents, with a huge variety of backgrounds and life experiences. And these people were smart.

Unable to just pick a PDF or two, I invited the applicants to join a Facebook group I had set up. Then I let them meet each other and hang out online. It was absolutely fascinating. Within a day, the group had divided into four camps:

* The leaders. A few started conversations, directed initiatives and got to work.

If you’re hiring for people to work online, I can’t imagine not screening people in this way. This is the work, and you can watch people do it for real before you hire them.

Excellent post and the advice echoes his advice on hiring: the End of the Job Interview. We have an internship directory, that helps people find opportunities (and those with internships to offer a way to market it) which includes a list of virtual internships.

Related: Seth Godin on Marketing and the InternetInternships IncreasingCurious Cat Management SubReddit

Management Seminar in May

The Deming Institute is sponsoring, How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business, 12-14 May, 2008 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Kelly Allan and I will be presenting the seminar. Please let me know if you sign up.

Twenty-seven faulty management and corporate governance practices create most of the problems in any organization. These practices will be identified, and better practices recommended. It will be shown that as better practices are introduced, quality of products and services increases, costs decline, and you create a globally competitive advantage for your organization.

Learn how governance practice leads to the heaviest losses, how inconsistencies between policy and strategy create sub-optimal outcomes, how mismanagement of people leads to unethical and ineffective behavior, and how to overcome these problems. Study the theory and practice of management. Not quality management, not good management, not excellent management, not knowledge management, not risk management, not process management, not performance management, not supply or asset management, not technology management, not time management, not emergency management, just plain management.

Related: Deming on ManagementCurious Cat Management Improvement CalendarDeming Seminar and ConferenceDeming Companies

Learn from Russel Ackoff

The In Thinking network offers many great ways to learn. This week they have 4 hour long conference call discussions with Russ Ackoff. Thought Pieces (suggested links to review in preparation for the conference call)
Lecture on “Systems Practice” at Open University (audio file)
Transforming the Systems Movement
A Major Mistake that Managers Make
From Mechanistic to Social Systems Thinking

These four resources are great, even if you are not going to participate in the conference calls.

Related: articles by Russel AckoffCurious Cat Management Improvement CalendarWrite it DownTransformation and RedesignAckoff’s F-laws: Common Sins of Management
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Dr. Deming 4 Day Seminar

The W. Edwards Deming Institute is sponsoring a 4 day seminar using videos of Dr. Deming’s seminars and facilitated by Ed Baker, Dave Nave, and Joyce Orsini: Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position. Ed Baker was the person at Ford responsible for helping Ford apply Dr. Deming’s ideas.

Hear and watch Dr. W. Edwards Deming identify faulty management practices. He will describe how, as better practices are introduced, quality of products and services increases, costs decline, and you create a globally competitive advantage for your organization.

Built on archive videos of Dr. Deming, this seminar blends footage of Dr. Deming presenting his theories with live facilitation by Ed Baker, Dave Nave, and Joyce Orsini to create an interactive learning environment. Facilitated discussion following each film segment will provide opportunity to deepen your understanding of the concepts, and interpret what these ideas might mean for your organization.

This seminar explores simple and powerful principles for anyone who manages people, or holds an executive responsibility in an organization. For more details see: Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position.

Related: Scoring a Whole in One by Dr. Ed Baker – Deming on ManagementCurious Cat Management CalendarDeming Institute Conference (2006)Deming Seminar UpdateInvestors Business Daily on DemingWhere to Start Improvement

Hiring – Does College Matter?

Another essay by Paul Graham packed with great thoughts – this one on hiring, colleges, measuring performance of people, etc..

Practically everyone thinks that someone who went to MIT or Harvard or Stanford must be smart. Even people who hate you for it believe it. But when you think about what it means to have gone to an elite college, how could this be true? We’re talking about a decision made by admissions officers—basically, HR people—based on a cursory examination of a huge pile of depressingly similar applications submitted by seventeen year olds.

No one ever measures recruiters by the later performance of people they turn down.

There’s a lot of randomness in how colleges select people, and what they learn there depends much more on them than the college. Between these two sources of variation, the college someone went to doesn’t mean a lot. It is to some degree a predictor of ability, but so weak that we regard it mainly as a source of error and try consciously to ignore it.

Related: Hiring the Right WorkersMalcolm Gladwell, Synchronicity, College Admissions…Google and Paul Graham’s Latest EssayInterviewing and Hiring ProgrammersWhat Business Can Learn from Open SourceGoogle’s Answer to Filling Jobs Is an AlgorithmHiring: Silicon Valley StyleCurious Cat Management Improvement Career Connections

Improvement Tools and Improving Management

Tools are just tools by Lee Fried

We have begun to shift away from a tool driven approach to one more centered on improving our management systems. This makes the work far more difficult, yet far more rewarding.

Great post. Great goal; and quite a challenge. My personal belief is while you are trying to make this change (which takes years) to become an organization that acts as a system you must balance education (an investment – one of the best forms of investment often) and improvements gains today (both are needed). And just applying tools effectively can often provide nice gains today (with the right guidance and proper restraint).

Often the two go hand in hand – there is little more educational than actually participating in using quality/lean/improvement tools and concepts to solve your own problems. That is the best way for managers to learn about lean thinking. But I think when you see this dual role of current improvement efforts it changes your measure of success – not just measuring improvement for today (or improvements in the value stream that will pay dividends for years) but also valuing the new knowledge gained by the participants. I have never been able to quantify the benefit of the education but that doesn’t bother me.

Related: Systemic ImprovementEncourage Improvement Action by EveryoneKeeping Track of Improvement OpportunitiesSearch management improvement sites selected by Curious Cat

Learning Lean: A Survey of Industry Lean Needs

A draft version of Learning Lean: A Survey of Industry Lean Needs by Gene Fliedner and Kieran Mathieson is now available. This voice of the customer report is product of some of those involved in the Lean Education Academic Network. Conclusions:

We studied what business practitioners think graduates need to know about Lean. Our results showed that practitioners are not concerned about specific technical skills. Instead, they want graduates to possess a systems view of organizations and value streams. Implications for Lean education and a broader systems approach to professional education in general, are considered.

I think it is an interesting read.

Related: Applying Lean Tools to University CoursesLean Education Academic Network Spring MeetingApplied Quality Engineering Educationvoice of the customer