Management Blog Posts From May 2006

gold figure from South America at the Met

I think looking back at some previous posts to the blog is worthwhile. Here are links to some of the posts from May 2006. The photo shows some South American artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: I took the photo on a trip to New York.

  • Using Data Effectively Requires Thought – The numbers are just proxies for the real situation. Look beyond the numbers you see to what they mean and understand how the numbers presented may not fully capture the important details you need to consider.
  • Better and Different – Toyota is a great example of doing both. So are Google and Apple. But doing things differently also means taking risks and Apple has suffered in the past. Doing things differently is great as long it is the right differently (which isn’t always easy to judge).
  • Find the Root Cause Instead of the Person to Blame – If you find yourself thinking a problem or defect is the fault of a person try asking why a couple more times and see if you can find a system improvement that would eliminate or mitigate such problems in the future. That is a much more effective improvement strategy.
  • Respect for People – I think we often have so little respect for people we just avoid dealing with anything touchy because we don’t want to risk they won’t be able to react to the issues raised and will instead just react as if they have been personally attacked.
  • Problems Caused by Performance Appraisal – People are increasingly challenging the notion that we just have to live with performance appraisal systems. As usually, I will make my suggestion that chapter 9 of the Leader’s Handbook offers great material on performing without appraisal
  • Lean Thinking Misconception – It is a shame so many think lean is equal to “reducing staff.” Lean is about removing waste. Removing waste might mean that fewer people are needed but no real lean thinking organization aims to reduce staff.

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