July 28, 2014

Toy Dogs and the trouble with short-term thinking

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Last night was one of those unfortunate, frustrating nights in our house. At 3:10AM, the dog decided he needed to go out into the yard, which caused him to prance loudly around our bedroom until we woke up to let him out. Although he woke up both my wife & I, I was awake enough to get out of bed first (which rarely happens), so I let the dogs into the yard, brought them in, and went back to bed.

About 15 minutes later, before either of us could fully doze back to sleep, the 3-year-old started to cry in his bed. [Read more]

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When habits go bad – walking the extra mile

Let_Your_Mind_Do_The_Walking_by_jzcj5
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Habit tells me that to get places without my car means I have to walk. If I rode my bike more often, the thought to get on the bike and ride down to the mechanic’s shop would have been as natural as the thought that tells me I have to put on shoes before I go out the door most mornings. Also, I could say, if I’d developed a better habit of stopping and thinking…to weigh alternatives….before doing….then I would have realized I didn’t need to hike all the way down to the shop. I might still have wanted to, but I would not have needed to.

So, in a way, my habits let me down. [Read more]

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I’d like to thank my dog for running away, and the opportunity to think things over

English Setter running
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Friday evening my 7-year-old accidentally left the gate open and our 2 dogs took off into the neghborhood. Neither I nor my son saw them go out, and a neighbor alerted us to the fact the dogs were a ways off from the house, running along the bike path that is next to our property. I spent the next 3 hours walking through the woods, and all over the neighborhood, going many miles in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him but with so many wooded areas between homes and a large, swampy meadow as well, there were just oo many places for him to get off to. I was well aware of how exhausted I was becoming, the blister emerging on my foot, the sharp pain and tightness that was creeping up my back and the incredible soreness that was gripping my legs – but all that time walking around gave me time to think about things that have been on my mind lately. [Read more]

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Management Improvement Blog Carnival #159

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March 2012 marks the 2-year anniversary of My Flexible Pencil. Although I’m certain he was unaware of that, I am still honored that John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement blog is helping me to celebrate this milestone, by asking me to host the Management Improvement Blog Carnival #159.

The Carnival, begun by in 2006, is published 3 times a month and serves to provide a selection of links to posts on a number of blogs. The carnival covers management improvement: Deming, lean manufacturing, six sigma, innovation, customer focus, leadership, systems thinking, continuous improvement, respect for people… [Read more]

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Guest post on A Lean Journey, and the weekly rewind

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Today, I have a guest post appearing on Tim McMahon’s A Lean Journey Site. The Topic: ROWE in the context of the Shingo model. When Tim asked if I’d like to do a guest post on his site, I jumped at the chance. I also reached out to Mark Hamel, a blogger, an award-winning author for his book: The Kaizen Even Fieldbook, and a Shingo Prize examiner, for input. Mark wrote a complete post of his own which will appear on Tim’s site tomorrow. Mark dives even deeper into how ROWE aligns with the Shingo, and how it does not. [Read more]

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Last Week’s Top Tweets

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TweetIn case you missed it, here are some tweet & re-tweets of articles & other things that caught my eye last week: MUST READ: From Dan Markovitz (@timeback): Respect for people — treating them more like machines. bit.ly/zVyKew   From Others: From Boston College Center for Work & Family (@BCCWF): Need more leadership support + manager training: Flexible [...]

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Last week’s tweets

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TweetIn case you missed it, here are some tweet & re-tweets of articles & other things that caught my eye last week: From Others: From @tedcoine: YES!! RT @shawmu: Actually give a S### about the development of individuals.ow.ly/8SkuB via @kris_dunn From @ShingoPrize: Robert Miller said Shingo Prize focuses on more than just culture, it focuses on how [...]

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Understanding why: Developing Critical Thinking in kids

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When faced with information that contradicts our understanding of the way things are supposed to be, we revert back to what we already know, claiming disbelief in the rightness of what we’re seeing and failing to examine the situation in order to develop a new understanding. We are told to follow the rules, even if we don’t understand them, and we insist on following the rules even when it is pointed out that those rules were based on false assumptions. [Read more]

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The management lessons of angry birds

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Angry Birds, that time-draining app that has spawned a cult phenomenon and a slew of stuffed toys at Walmart, might seem like an odd place to look for wisdom on accomplishing tasks. Nonetheless, the game offers several highly useful examples of how to manage yourself and others in order to get things accomplished: [Read more]

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Process Improvement and the free flow of laundry

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Around the house, we’ve always had a problem with laundry. There’s always a heap waiting to be ironed, hampers are overflowing, and many morning a search for clean socks would necessitate a trip to the basement to dig out a fresh pair from a laundry basket that was washed a week ago but still waiting to be folded.

While a lot of folks might point to large-scale factory-wide process improvement efforts that take months to design and implement, I’m pretty content knowing that I was able to take all those concepts and apply them right here…….at home…..where it counts. [Read more]

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