Human Error

World War 2 During the second world war over 60 million people were killed.  That was roughly 3% of the world-wide population.  It was a hazardous time. Amongst the hardest hit were the bomber crews.  The Eighth Air Force suffered half of all the U.S. Air Force’s casualties.  The British fared as badly.  The chances of surviving the […]

An Extraordinary System

The logistics organisation In Mumbai there is an organisation that delivers meals to office workers. It is called the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association.  That is a bit of a mouthful, they are more commonly known as Dabbawalas (lunch box men).  Think deliveroo and you wouldn’t be too wide of the mark, except that meals […]

Evolution or Revolution?

What’s the best way to improve your business? Where should you put your development time and effort to get the greatest return? There are two lines of thought: #1: Revolution Focus on the big strategic levers and the radical steps.  Making bold moves is the most important thing you can do.  Don’t worry about the […]

The Solution to Everything

Management is full of solutions… There is always another management solution.  Something that we must invest in.  Over the past 20 years or so the solutions I have seen include: Analytics Big Data Big Scale Value Analysis Customer Journey Mapping Customer Relationship Management Customer Satisfaction Measurement Business Process Re-engineering Business Process Outsourcing Near Shoring Off […]

Penny Wise Pound Foolish

Economies of scale For a while I worked in an organisation that obsessed about costs.  Everybody had a target to cut the costs that they managed.  If everybody reduced their costs then the total cost would go down.  Or so the logic went. The cost of printing There was a man who owned the stationary budget: paper, […]

Does All That “Structure” Help?

Organisations are complicated They have: Customer requirements Partner requirements Legal requirements Compliance requirements Legacy systems Specialist teams Obsolete databases Competitive pressure Profitability problems And all those competing priorities are in conflict with each other. How do we manage complexity? By creating process and structure: RACI frameworks Target Operating Models Interim targets Delegated authority levels KPIs Heads […]

Pride and Ignorance

Scurvy isn’t nice If you are unfortunate enough to contract it you will start to feel tired. Then you will develop spots on your skin and your gums will turn spongy. A week or so later you will start to bleed from your mucous membranes and your skin will turn yellow.  Eventually sufferers develop open […]

4 Ways to Solve a Problem

An apocryphal story: A man you know is hungry.  There are 4 ways you could solve his problem: Slap him about a bit. This will take his mind of it.  Hunger gone, problem solved. Give him a fish to eat.  Hunger gone, problem solved. Give him a fishing rod and show them how to fish.  Hunger gone, problem solved. Develop a […]

Go, Look, Understand

Problem solving To solve a problem you need to understand the problem. Understanding comes at all sorts of places: Opinions We all have opinions, mental models of how things work and people behave.  Our opinions help us box off and make sense of the world. Data Numbers and patterns.  Information that helps us see how […]

The Ninth Waste

The Seven Wastes When Womack and Jones wrote The Machine That Changed the World they coined the term Lean and identified the seven wastes: Transport Intellect Motion Waiting Over Production Over Processing Defects Stock The observant among you will notice that is eight wastes not seven. Somewhere along the line somebody thought to add Intellect. On that […]