By Kevin Meyer
Evolving Excellence is pleased to once again host the Management Improvement Carnival. Blog posts of note from the last couple weeks include:
- As noted in the last Carnival, several bloggers including yours truly took an appropriately harsh look at an article in Harvard Business Review titled It's Time to Rethink Continuous Improvement. One of the best responses was by Jon Miller of Gemba Panta Rei with a post titled How is PDCA Inimical to Innovation? "A few simple ways to successfully integrate continuous improvement to innovation are to lay bare our assumptions (visual management), seek out the voice of the customer (management by fact) and learn from experimentation (kaizen)."
- Jamie Flinchbaugh has a thought-provoking post asking Are You Working on the Right Problems? Probably not, especially if you're a manager. "The manager’s problems are why those problems exist. The manager’s problems are why we can’t solve those problems faster."
- John Hunter's post on Curious Cat titled Customers Are Often Irrational hit home for me today as I was dealing with a doozy of a poster child. I'll spare you the details, but it could be a great case study on how to screw up a very profitable product line. As John noted, "The problem is not in thinking the customers are being irrational for not buying what you are selling. The problem is in thinking the customers will behave rationally. Your theory should not expect rational behavior."
- We continue a rough focus on problem-solving with Mark Graban's post on A Hard Habit to Break. We're all busy, so the temptation to quickly jump into "solutions mode" is great – even if most of us know that's wrong. "Immediately jumping into solutions brainstorming can really short circuit good problem solving. We can waste time going down rat holes, discussing ideas that don’t address the root cause and won’t really address the issue we’ve come together to discuss."
- Similar to jumping into solutions mode, Matthew May reminds us in a short video that Doing Something Isn't Always Better than Doing Nothing. Or as he says, quoting National Geographic journalist Boyd Matson, "when the hippos charge, stand still."
- In a post titled Quality Improvement in Government? Tim McMahon takes on a topic that befuddles many of us in the lean leadership world – there is so much opportunity for improvement and savings in government, it is known how to do it, but it doesn't happen. "Most elected officials and government executives didn't join government to manage. Instead, they are driven by a deep desire to advance a cause, a policy issue or a political agenda."
- In More Learning from an Elementary School, Matt Wrye digs into some observations on learning made at his kids' school. As we transition into professional roles, especially in management, we tend to shift our focus onto execution. "When do we lose that learning zone? When do we switch from learning being the most important to execution being the most important and forget all about learning?"
- And finally, I can't resist poking at the Facebook debacle by reminding people how prescient, ok at least for a couple weeks, my Evolving Excellence co-blogger Bill Waddell was with Why Facebook is a Sucker's Bet. Bill and I may disagree on some issues – which livens up the blog just a tad (cough, Steve Jobs, cough) – but on this topic we're in complete agreement. Some of us learned a painful lesson with the dot-com bubble of 2000 – business value still all about real customers and real cash flow. Not "$1B for Instagram because it's cool."
Until next time…!