July 29, 2014

Be honest with yourself (a call to conscience)

My conscience
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I am often surprised, when presenting someone with new ideas for how work can & should be done at the reaction I receive. What strikes me as completely strange is the number of people who are certain they are acting in acccord with the best possible practices and that anything other than their own well-developed habits is, clearly, not the way to get things done.

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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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Why your PMP prep doesn’t feel like reality (and why it shouldn’t)

A Break in Reality
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I feel lucky to have the benefit of my time spent trying to understand the Lean paradigm because it is offering so much insight into what the PMI framework is trying to do. It is establishing a standard. It is offering a methodology for managing projects against which all other management styles, and outcomes, can be measured. In a way, it depicts the ideal – if all projects, everywhere, operated in the way the PMI describes, then all projects would deliver on time, within budget, and with inputs from all stakeholders at every level of the organization – including customers.

Is that reality? No. Of course not. [Read more]

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How to keep your organization full of brilliant, brand new, and really old ideas

Bright Ideas
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It is clear and obvious that people, no matter their positions or titles, or their professional backgrounds or formal eductions, are thinkers. They will observe the things that make their lives more difficult and endeavor to find ways to reduce the difficulty or eliminate it entirely. If the perception is that the difficulty is due to some failure of high-positioned people to adequately guide the organization, then there will be ideas generated around how to improve those strategic and operational problems. These are the discussions that fill the cafeterias, breakrooms, hallways and after-hours hangouts.

What you will often find, however, is that many of the ideas discussed in these conversations – even among the high-ranking decision makers with authority to move and change the organization as a whole, is that the ideas are, usually, nothing new. [Read more]

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Every customer trusts you. But what do they trust in?

Trust by alireza1
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Customers will trust in something when it comes to your company – but what will they trust in? People will, quite quickly, develop an expectation of what they are likely to get from you – good service or bad, high quality or low, good price or not. What you want to establish is a positive trust, one that is based on customers consistently getting what they value. [Read more]

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How Expensive is Perfection?

Buyer's View
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Last week I managed to chalk up 15 years of marriage, remarkably they were all consecutive and all to the same woman. I feel more than a little smug about this achievement (how my wife feels is a moot point).

I decided that the least I could do was to take the poor soul out for dinner so I dutifully booked a table at Sat Bains’ restaurant.

The first part of our 8 course taster menu arrived. Two immaculately presented waiters materialised holding a plate each and placed them in front of my wife and I simultaneously. It looked like a work of art, and it tasted… you will have to use your imagination. So it went for another 7 courses. Each course accompanied by its own, especially selected, glass of wine.

The bill, well I will leave that to your imagination as well. But as we all know quality costs and this was verging on perfection. [Read more]

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The paradoxical inefficiency of thought

Imagination
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In order to attain high levels of ingenuity in products and activities, the environment in which those ideas are created must support an endless ocean of thoughts that yield very little value, in the hopes that, eventually, a single very good one will be produced. Generating ideas is an inefficient process, even if those ideas are generated around improving efficiency. [Read more]

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Do you ever just get tired of it all?

burned out
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Article upon article, book upon book, for somewhere around 30 years or more, telling us how to make the workplace……better. Still, the consultants and gurus keep pumping out information, more and more effort comes around to create change in the hearts and minds of business leaders, and still we’re stuck in the quagmire.

Yes, I realize that I am one of those who keep pumping out thoughts on how to change things in my own little corner of the blogosphere. Which is why I have to ask – of anyone who has ever endeavored to change anything – do you ever just plain feel like you’re banging your head against the wall? [Read more]

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Product Innovation vs Operational Excellence (or, Magic vs. Might?)

Warrior vs Sorcerer
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Product innovation appears to be the realm of the unexplainable – that the way to go about that business is to assume a muse, or some divine spark is, ultimately, going to descend upon the workers bees and imbue them with the powers of insight and creativity. You have to create innovation space, and adopt managerial styles and practices, that allow creativity to flourish.

Process innovation, on the other hand, is seen as something a little more grungy and foul-smelling. It is the world of brute force and awkwardness, no matter how elegant it tries to become. [Read more]

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Human Capital Management and Lean Transformation Go Hand-in-Hand

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It’s common for organizations to begin their Lean journeys focusing on production, operations and Lean tools. It’s only after toiling at it for a couple of years that they realize they should’ve focused sooner on the human capital aspects of creating lasting change. Commonalities between operational improvement and managing involvement are significant, particularly with regard to three critical work streams often overseen by the Human Resources (HR) arm of human capital [Read more]

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