Monday, April 24, 2006

On Simplification

On Simplification

Tom Peters is one verbose guy…I’m astounded at the quantity of his blogging.  At times, I just start skimming when I sense he is typing, rather than writing.  


However, he had some substantial insight following a recent speaking trip to the heart of Russian Siberia, 4,000 miles East of Moscow.  The pithiest, to me, was:


There is a wretched tendency to keep complicating things, for the sake of self-amusement, to the point that the "eternal basics" disappear into the dust




When we gain knowledge in a specific area, such as Lean, we can forget the basics, finding them boring, and desire to complicate, adding topics, just because we can.  Just because it makes is more fun for us.  Self-absorption wins out over teaching and leading others.


A couple weeks ago, a speaker with TSSC addressed our local Lean Network.  And, for over two hours, talked about Standard Work.  One topic.  Deep.  Simple. Clear.  And she didn’t seem the least bit bored.  Not the least bit annoyed by our questions.  Her energy over the basics was palpable and inspiring. 


Peters captures it well.  Conquer a basic today.



Saturday, April 22, 2006

Responding to Frank Patrick: Root Cause

Responding to Frank Patrick; Root Cause

Blogging Buddy Frank Patrick posed a
question to me yesterday, based on a comment I posed to his assertion about understanding underpinnings last week. For those of you who find text full of links annoying, I’ll summarize in text.

Frank has a deep understanding of Theory of Constraints. I mean deep. And I learn from him regularly. Frank posited;

The Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes can be used to address this through the use of a Current Reality Tree to lay out the logical underpinnings that support or explain one's "perception of the world." This aspect of marketing runs parallel to the need, in any situation involving persuasion, to start from a point of "agreement about the problem."

So I asked Frank, via the comment, if he could explain more how he applies these powerful concepts in practice. I’m not that good at it; I’d benefit from Frank’s explanation.

What sits behind my request is one of the points of learning for me currently; how do we reliably and quickly describe the root cause of problems? The more I try to seek process excellence, the more I am aware of the need to find root cause. And the company that can consistently and quickly specify the core problem it faces will simply be more agile than competitors. And such an agility will be impossible for a competitor to identify, understand or replicate.

TOS’s Current Reality Tree is the most analytical and robust of the numerous methods of getting to root cause. I’ve used it several times. In each instance, it has led me to a very sound root cause, to which the solution became obvious. In each instance, I have been completely unable to communicate either the process or the result to others. The work and simple, logical elegance was for naught.

Frank, any help on implementation??

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Queue's Cues

Queue’s Cues

Seth Godin is a terrific writer, one of my favorites.  He just put up Seth's Blog: Banging down the doors, which leads with this:


Finally, a sunny day. Did some errands, walked around the West Village and realized what a phenomenal cue queues provide. In other words, there must be a reason for that line.


Seth applied this to marketing.  It also applies to processes.


Any line, any queue, any pile of material or decisions or papers or emails is something with meaning.  There must be a reason for the line.


Virtually all lines indicate a loss of flow.  Something is stopped.  Waiting.  Sitting. 


And what is the reason? 


It is a great question; What is the cue in the queue?  There are seeds of improvement there, waiting to germinate.