Archives for January 2013

Let’s Talk About Me

Words are powerful things; they can engage, they can sting, they can excite and they can bore.  The impact words have on people is amazing, even every-day words provoke a gut reaction.  Try these two definitions for size: Self-centred ~ chiefly concerned with one’s own interest Altruistic ~ disregarding one’s own welfare over that of […]

How to Miss the Point

A tragedy On the 14th December 2012 in Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother.  He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he murdered twenty-six children and six adults.  Finally he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Twenty-eight senseless deaths. Wikipedia describes the what happened that day.  It was […]

Hot Chocolate Tastes Better in an Orange Mug

That is not a random provocative statement (though I am guilty of those on occasion) it is a scientifically proven fact.  Charles Spence, of the University of Oxford and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman from the Polytechnic University of Valencia have statistically validated it. They served a group of people the same hot chocolate in white mugs, cream […]

Good, Better, Best Practice

This is a guest post by Bill Flury A good idea We were discussing how we could get started with the business of process improvement.  Somebody said: “Hey! I’ve got a great idea! The Quality folks are always telling us that we should lookout for better ways to do things. Let’s hold a series of […]

Are Your Neighbours Spying On You?

W Edwards Deming is often quoted as saying: “In god we trust, all others must bring data”. His point was that if you want to improve an operation; hunches, beliefs and superstitions just won’t cut it.  You need to have the data that shows what is really going on.  No data, no improvement. Unfortunately the […]

Quality Control Doesn’t Work (and how to fix it)

Here is a bold statement, “inspection doesn’t work“; (literally bold).  Yet every organisation I have ever worked for uses and pays for quality controllers.  They can’t all be wrong can they?  What makes me think I am so right? Maybe, if you read this I will convince you: The shadow illusion. Or perhaps this: Fooling […]

“Group Think” is no Laughing Matter

In the 1970’s the psychologist Irving Janis coined the term “group think” to explain why group pressure results in poor decisions, or, as he explained it, why groups show: A deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgement That is a little more erudite than the way I would put it, but the phrase […]

The Stick is Mightier Than the Carrot

Regression to the mean Psychologists will tell you that carrots are a far more productive strategy than sticks.  You might think this is a blindingly obvious statement, but the facts don’t always support it.  Sometimes the psychologists are proven wrong. That is exactly what happened to Daniel Kahneman. In the 1960’s he was giving a […]