For “Game Changing” Performance, Change the Game

Game changing Everybody is hell-bent on moving quicker, faster and harder. Everybody wants “game changing” levels of performance improvement.  Managers, executives and shareholders demand it… So if you want “game changing”, what are your options? Three parts to an organisation The systems thinkers categorise organisations into three elements: The components. The team-members and functions, the […]

Management Heresy

Heresy — noun (ˈhɛrəsɪ ) An opinion or doctrine contrary to the beliefs of an organisation The act of maintaining such an opinion or doctrine An interesting word And an interesting activity. I often wonder about heretics. Are they a bunch of loony tunes who can’t see how wrong they are? Or are they perfectly […]

Was My M.B.A. A Waste of Time?

Collaboration For my sins I have an M.B.A.  I am a child of the ’70’s.  By the time I hit the ’90’s an M.B.A. was the qualification to have if you were intent on pursuing a corporate career. The course taught me all about the parts of big business.  I learnt about: Finance and accounting […]

Changing the Rules

All organisations have rules We have rules about expenses and rules about systems access.  There are rules about promotions and rules about mobile phones.  Still more rules about budgets and rules about supplier gifts. Organisations have hundreds of rules.  These rules, explicit or not, define the way our organisations work. The problem with rules If […]

Variation or Standardisation?

Standard work The process guys will tell you that you should standardise and reduce variation. Variation is a bad thing. The customer experience guys will tell you every interaction is different.  No customer is the same. Variation is a good thing. Which camp is right? The case for allowing variation Some situations call for a […]

Management Cardboard

Management control Rather longer ago than I care to admit, I worked for an FMCG company.  I worked in R&D, and developed new frozen food products for a living. There were two things we worried about: The contents – the product that customers pay for, the fish finger or ice cream. The container – the […]

Tool Hire

There are lots of tools out there I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.  I mean process improvement tools: 5S, control charts, swim lanes… those sort of tools. There are also lots of people who know how to use those tools. It is easy to recruit staff who can bring a toolbox stuffed with approaches […]

One Hundred Bad Ideas

Notable failures Even the most successful people have failures: James Dyson built 5,127 prototypes before he perfected one vacuum cleaner. Mozart wrote over 64 symphonies.  How many have you heard? Richard Branson has launched over 400 business ventures, remember Virgin Vodka?  Nope, nor do I. Over 30 years Albert Einstein published ~ 345 scientific papers but his major work […]

Thought Walks

Brainstorming doesn’t always cut it Sometimes you have a problem that requires an imaginative solution. The standard management method for adding a spark of creativity is to brainstorm the problem. But brainstorming doesn’t always work. The ideas can be a little tired, you may not get something really new. Random thoughts There is an argument […]

Not Invented Here

Nothing comes from nothing I sat in a meeting the other day, it was a nightmare… Two guys were trying to extol the benefits of automation to a team of sales managers.  The tension was palpable.  In one corner stood a bunch of consultants trying to explain the latest and greatest thinking in operational improvement.  […]