Management Improvement Carnival #100

I started the management improvement blog carnival in 2006. At the time the number of blogs posting useful management ideas had already grown to a large number. It took years after I started my Curious Cat Management Improvement site, in 1996, to have even a handful of consistently useful web sites for those interested in improving the management of organizations.

Blogs really started the explosion of good management content online. Now we have more great blogs nearly every month. This jumbo sized edition could be much larger and still not run out of great posts to include. Hopefully the regular carnivals help you keep up with great management posts from blogs you already enjoy, and introduce you to new blogs to add to you RSS (blog feed) reader.

Photo of Arches National Park

Arches National Park by John Hunter, Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog

  • What’s Deming Got To Do With Agile? by Dennis Stevens – “If you equate Kanban with manufacturing you won’t be successful. You need to understand what Deming has to say about knowledge work and how management is responsible for creating an environment for success. Kanban brings an easy to implement – low friction implementation of Deming’s philosophy.”
  • Remember – We Want to See Problems by Bryan Zeigler – “Well if you designed your system to truly follow the lean ideals, you have problems! That’s the whole point! Make your problems visible instead of hiding them with inventory, extra labor, long lead times, etc.”
  • Control Systems and Feedback Loops by Tom Foster – “why don’t we change this control system into a feedback loop? Why don’t we have the feedback loop tell the team, and why don’t we run the feedback loop in real time? The manager just gets in the way.”
  • My Favorite Southwest Airlines Moment by Rachel Barry – ” If you live with gratitude, you will have reached life’s highest ideals. And your letter is grateful. You are a wonderful woman. Thank you, thank you, for being you and for writing me. The truth is, it just doesn’t get any better than that. ” (Southwest encourages people to act like people [and treat customers like people not numbers] instead of cogs in a machine. Not amazing when put that way but when contrasted with most other large companies it is an amazing difference. – John)
  • Organizational Kryptonite: Fear of Confrontation by Kris Dunn – “Because the world is full of people who suffer from fear of confrontation, giving good, direct, honest feedback in a professional way is often the best way to stand out as someone who can be trusted.”
  • The False Theory of Meritocracy by Nigel Nicholson – “A true theory of meritocracy would acknowledge that we all have multiple talents and motivations; and that we all can learn and improve in most of the roles in which we are placed — though how much and how fast will vary from person to person.”
  • Corporate Renewal, Waste, and Turnaround by Pete Abilla – “Each of us has a responsibility to improve those areas where we have influence. Given that, what are you going to do today to improve the business you are in? Help the people you work with? Improve the world around you?”
  • Show Me the Results by Mike Wroblewski – “Despite our efforts to make all results objective and quantifiable, in many cases, subjectivity remains. Overlooking this problem, we obsess over results… In our obsession with results, do we actually miss something, perhaps something greater?”
  • Drucker’s Surprising View of Corporate Social Responsibility by William Cohen – “Drucker concluded that considerations for workers in and out of the workplace were the responsibility of the corporate leader just as much as the profits, survival, and growth of the business or organization. Therefore, he taught that there were social responsibilities of business.”
  • Profitable & Proud: Campaign Monitor by Jo Polts – “Over the last six years we’ve gone from open plan, to all closed offices and then to a combination of both. I’ve paid close attention to the pros and cons of each layout, and I’m convinced that closed offices are the best layout for a software company.”
  • Want Your People To Care More? Help Them Perform Better by Bret Simmons – “As they become purposeful performers that care, the work they do will become more meaningful to them and they will become more satisfied with and committed to you and your organization.
  • No Such Thing As Selective Excellence by Bill Waddell – “It all comes down to design of processes and the engagement of people. They are either designed to achieve excellent results – or they are designed by short sighted people to optimize some immediate, narrow dimension of cost.”
  • Agile Pendentives by Mike Griffiths – “most software solutions are unique, intangible and hard to describe without reference to an evolving system. Agile methods make use of the learning’s gained through progressive elaboration to refine planning artifacts. “
  • 10 Opinions on Performance Reviews by Dan McCarthy – “At the end of the day, we’d be better off getting rid of the complicated forms and mandated practices, and just practice good day-to-day management and leadership.”
  • Something that cannot easily happen in a classroom by Glyn Lumley – “Japanese management training starts with a long internship on the factory floor – not days in a classroom but years at the sharp end… Kenneth and William Hopper (‘Puritan Gift’ 2009) said ‘Management is neither an art nor a science, but a craft that can properly learned only ‘on the job’ and not in an academic setting'”
  • I’m at Gemba; Now What? by Bill Iacovelli – “Most of us act only when it is obvious that things aren’t right, when in reality, we should be acting whenever we can’t see evidence that things are right. This is where 5S, standardized work, and visual controls add stability and contribute to our ability to determine normal from abnormal conditions in the workplace.”
  • Building a Culture to Promote Differential Thinking by Tanmay Vora – “Organization’s culture plays an important role in allowing people to think differently. If their ideas are consistently put down – they would either move on, or learn to comply – much like students in the school classroom who are not allowed to think unconventionally. It is important therefore, to build a culture that encourages differential thinking and embraces new ideas.”
  • Lean Leader Principle – Show Them Your Back by Mark Hamel – “leaders following and posting their own leader standard work, spending time at the gemba, participating in kaizen activities, maintaining 5S in their office, applying PDCA checkpoint rigor to strategy deployment”
  • Trustworthiness… Then Trust by Mike Cottmeyer – “What you need to do is become trustworthy. Becoming trustworthy is something that you have power to do something about. If you are trustworthy long enough, you will earn the trust of the business and won’t have to ask for it. “
  • Why Companies Don’t Experiment by Dan Markovitz – “The only way to find what will work is to really understand what’s behind the problems and then experiment with changes… that reluctance is also driven, in part, by fear. What if people don’t like working in this new way?”
  • How I almost ignored our single best source for customer feedback by Hillel – “It makes me understand why Craig’s (a.k.a. Craigslist Craig) main job is customer support. From my perspective, there’s no better way to understand what my customers are thinking.”
  • No No NO-This is Not Operational Excellence by Adam Zak – “Why do some today still persist in equating business and operational improvement efforts with personnel cuts? In a truly operationally excellent environment it’s all about continuous improvement and respect for people.
  • “Well-Oiled Machine” is So Last Century by Wally Bock – “If you haven’t already done so, start looking for ways you can move to a living system paradigm. Seek ways you can reduce formal planning and increase agile adaptation. Help the people who are part of your living system grow, adapt, and contribute.”
  • The Secret Trick for Office Kaizen Success by Jeff Hajek – “So, next time you are working to improve an office process, break it down to the core components, the Kejahs, and see how much more waste you can identify—and eliminate.”
  • John Wooden: What the Obituaries Missed by Michael Lee Stallard – “The character values, or blocks of the pyramid, were: industriousness, enthusiasm, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, self-control, alertness, initiative, intentness, condition, skill, and team spirit. Wooden taught his players that believing and behaving in a way consistent with these character values produced poise and confidence that resulted in competitive greatness (that is, the desire to continuously challenge oneself in life).”
  • Shifting the Pattern: A Systems Approach to Change by Esther Derby – “And that’s the point. Looking at Containers, Differences, and Exchanges shows possibilities for action that will shift the pattern.”
  • Focusing on everything by Joi Ito – “One of the great thoughts in the book is the idea that you should set a general trajectory of where you want to go, but that you must embrace serendipity and allow your network to provide the resources necessary to turn any random events into a highly valuable one and that developing that network comes from sharing and connecting by helping others solve their problems and build things.”
  • Learning’s From Daily Improvement Pilot by Lee Fried – “First and foremost leadership must be willing to create the time and capacity for teams to engage in this process… Finally, we have focused on building the capability into the operations managers. They are leading the brainstorming sessions, checking on progress of experiments and securing resources.”
  • photo of cheetahs

    Cheetahs in Kenya by John Hunter

  • If managers did their jobs… by Chris Ferdinandi – “How much of what HR professionals spend a lot of their time on – performance appraisals, succession planning, employee relations – are really things that managers are responsible for?”
  • Learn How to Give Feedback by Suzanne Lucas – “Natalie Merchant, formerly of 10,000 Maniacs gave a performance at the 2010 TED … So, rather than suffer through with the audience provided beat slightly off, she stops and gives feedback… Now, note how she gives them feedback and they follow. She teaches them how to be an audience at a concert, and they learn. She’d make an excellent manager.
  • Business Transformation for Senior Leadership by Rob Thompson – “This video for senior leaders explains the Army’s Lean Six Sigma approach to continuous improvement as part of the Army Business Transformation and leadership’s special responsibilities in implementing it.”
  • Leading with the Socratic Method by Glen B. Alleman – “The method which Socrates employed in his philosophical analysis had five distinct characteristics: skeptical, conversational, conceptual or definitional, empirical or inductive, deductive. Each of these can be applied to managing teams performing project work.”
  • ThedaCare, Lean, and Primary Care in the News by Mark Graban – “Lean isn’t about cost-cutting. It’s about reducing timelines and improving quality – faster diagnoses lead to better care.”
  • 16 questions for free agents by Seth Godin – “1. Who are you trying to please?… 11. Choose: teach and lead and challenge your customers, or do what they ask…”
  • First Year Hansei by Tim McMahon – “One year ago today I started A Lean Journey and I thought some hansei was in order. Hansei is Japanese for “self-reflection”… you learn more when you write about Lean so that others can understand what you are talking about you”
  • Neuroscience, Joyful Learning and the SCARF Model by Ed Batista – “‘An atmosphere of exuberant discovery.’ I love that phrase! It perfectly describes my most fulfilling learning experiences. If I can help to evoke that feeling–in myself and in others–in a workshop or a class or a coaching session, then I know we’re on the right path.”
  • The Bonus Battle by Dan Roam – “So why the lingering anger from DC? Then I drew the pictures and (as always) when we stop talking and start looking, things have a tendency to become real clear real fast.” (my thoughts: Paying Back Direct Cash from Taxpayers Does not Excuse Bank Misdeeds by John Hunter)
  • Drilling for Certainty… by Steven Spear – “risks can be decreased to near zero—in frequency and severity—in organizations capable of hyper-accelerated learning.”
  • Top 5 reasons to celebrate mistakes at work by Alexander Kjerulf – “When we can openly admit to screwing up without fear of reprisals, we’re more likely to fess up and learn from our mistakes.”
  • Improve Your Ecosystem’s Ability to Tackle Complex Issues by Patty Seybold – “there’s a difference between complex problems and complicated problems. Complicated problems can be decomposed into smaller chunks and dealt with in sequence or in parallel. Complex problems are more systemic in nature.”
  • How to Set Span of Control for Leaders by Jon Miller – “Since team leader spans and routines are set by the pace, variability and the frequency of repetition of front line work that results from customer interaction, when senior leaders adjust their span of control to remove waste by paying more consistent attention to key areas, they are linked to the heartbeat of the business. Form follows function.”
  • Classic Management Theories Are Still Relevant by John Hunter – “Good management is good management: it doesn’t matter if someone figure out the good idea 100 years ago or last week… It is amazing how little use of long known good leadership lessons actually takes place in organizations. You don’t need to discover secrets to improve, just adopt ideas others ignore”

Related: Curious Cat Management Blog DirectoryManagement and Leadership quotes

7 thoughts on “Management Improvement Carnival #100

  1. Wonderful “jumbo” post, John. I join Mark in thanking you for the consistent posts. They add great value to my life.

    We both starting blogging in 2006 and I think you’ve nailed the change in business blogging since then. There’s been an explosion of high quality content. And there have been several strong thinkers who have also become strong writers from consistent blogging. Your blog was one of the first quality examples. Thanks for being a trail blazer worth following.

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  3. Thanks for the list of management sites. i spent ages looking for some good sites and then i came across yours and all the work was done/ Thanks, keep up the great work.

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