Management Improvement Blog Carnival #180

The Curious Cat Management Carnival is published twice each month. The posts selected for the carnival focus on the areas of management improvement I have focused on in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Guide since 1996: Deming, lean manufacturing, customer focus, six sigma, systems thinking, respect for employees…

  • Dr. Deming on Innovation by John Hunter – “What you need to do is know your customers (and potential customers) and business so well that you can innovate to meet their unmet needs (even when those potential customers can’t give voice to what they would like to see).”
  • Just Observing, Sir. by Kevin Meyer – “When you rush around focused on firefighting and fixing things, you miss the nuance of the process.

    Take some time to ‘just’ observe. Better yet, make it part of the ongoing routine of you and your staff.”
  • The most destructive misunderstanding in today’s work life by Sami Honkonen – “Thinking that high utilization leads to good results is the most destructive misunderstanding still prevalent in work life. This misunderstanding is based on the false assumption that working hard is always the best way to get results… We should focus on results, not utilization.”
  • Do We Know How to Learn? by Gregg Stocker – “The power of PDSA thinking lies in the realization that every decision is, in effect, a prediction that a specific outcome will occur. If one consciously adopts this mindset and practices it to the point where it becomes natural, significant learning can occur.”
  • Flow if you can, pull if you can’t by Michael Ballé – “More fundamentally, what has changed is the management’s team perception of how SMED gains can be used for strategic-level advantage. Few top management teams ever get such a grip on lean thinking that they can see the direct link between basic shop floor practices and how to convert point-by-point progress into market-level benefits.”
  • Making the Daily Standup Work by Arline Sutherland – “Use a virtual Scrum board. While we know that sticky notes on a wall work best, using the simplest most lightweight tool you can is the next best solution. Every member of the team needs to be able to access the board all day, every day.”
  • 11 Common Misconceptions About Lean by Jeff Hajek – “People see the structure that Standard Work brings to a process, and the think they are being asked to be robots. Robots, though, are not asked how to improve a process, and they are certainly not invited onto teams to make those ideas a reality.”
  • Special Cause Signal Isn’t Proof A Special Cause Exists by John Hunter – “The control chart tool helps guide us to use the correct type of improvement strategy (common cause or special cause). But it is just a signaling device, it isn’t some arbiter of whether a special cause actually exists.”

One thought on “Management Improvement Blog Carnival #180

  1. Hi Jon

    A few hints on each of your points:

    Finding Innovative Ideas, a good place for most consumer products companies are your own employees. This is a group to often ignored by most executives yet your lower level employees belong to the largest group of consumers there is especially so for all western companies.

    Stopping to Observe not only helps you to see what is going on, but it also makes you stop and think something we forget to do far more often in today’s world.

    Another danger of building a process for high utilization is that if you are using all of it you can never react to surges in demand, which makes it easier for competition to step in.

    We not only need to know How to Learn, we also need to allow it to occur.

    Freddie has an adavantage over most executives, in that he knows what actually happens on a production floor and why. Finance based executives only know numbers with dollar signs attached, yet have zero real undersatnding of everything that goes into creating them. It kind of points to the real need for more executives that come from the actual production floor.

    Ideas rarely come during meetings, so you need a simple way people can add them as they occur.

    Standard Work and structure are tools used to free people to think about other bigger problems, most great writer are very structured people that use standardization to help free their mind for the creative part of the work.

    Jon you want people to actually stop and think instead of blindly following data, what a refreshing thought, and a great way to avoid needless new measures being added for no reason other than to make things worse.

    Great Post I wish more people thought like this.


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