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Management Improvement Carnival #99

Gemba Tales is proud to host the 99th edition of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Carnival. Curious Cat’s founder John Hunter facilitates this sharing of lean thought provoking posts thrice monthly.

In order to select a cross-section of great blog posts from the last several weeks, I scanned through both Mark Graban’s prodigious blogroll and mine (not so prodigious). Consequently, I read a lot and learned a lot. My only regret is that I could not pick a post from every worthy blogger.

Nevertheless, I trust that you will enjoy the posts. They effectively challenge conventional thinking and they end with a post from new dad (congratulations!), Brian Buck who definitely shares the voice of the customer and reinforces the need for lean healthcare. Hope you enjoy these. Cheers.

  • Does “Lean” Become Self Perpetuating? by Steven J. Spear – “…‘Lean’ never becomes self sustaining.  Never ever ever.  No way, no how.  It simply cannot.”
  • Everyone Is Responsible for Their Systems by Jamie Flinchbaugh – “…I believe we (meaning lean thinkers) send blame up the organizational chart too far, as a natural reaction to too much blame being pushed down on people in traditional organizations.”
  • Fake Lean and the Spotting Thereof by Jon Miller – “…While lean is journey of continuous improvement and there is no such thing as arriving at state where we can say ‘we are lean’ there are plenty of false paths, dead ends and wilderness areas on this journey that we can label ‘fake lean’.”
  • Inefficiency through Default Meeting Times by Tim McMahon – “…Who decided meetings should be 30 or 60 minutes?”
  • New Book Gives Negative Review to Performance Reviews by Mark Graban – “…Yes, there are alternatives to the annual review. As Dr. Deming might have said, we invented that practice (and we invented management) so we can change it.”
  • People Cannot Multitask by John Hunter – “…People think they are multi-tasking but in fact they are just doing 4 tasks serially switching back and forth between them. Which slows them down and increases the odds of forgetting something.”
  • Stealing Monkeys by Bryan Lund –  “No, I’m not going to steal your pet chimp, but it is often tempting and easy to “steal a monkey” from people while in the genba…”
  • The Downside of Automation by Dan Markovitz – “…When I see companies leaping at technological solutions for time and attention management, I have a feeling that they’re in for a big disappointment.”
  • More Committed than Ever by Brian Buck – “I am now back from my wonderful 4.5 weeks of paternity leave and am more committed than ever to help hospitals become lean.”


Gemba Tales’ 90 Day Reflection

thinkerGemba Tales is now three months old (my first “real” post was made on December 28, 2009). So, I thought it appropriate to engage in a little reflection or hansei. But not too much, mind you. I don’t want to over-analyze anything when my blog is still so young and immature. I know that it takes much more than 90 days to build content and community. Slow and steady, as they say.

Lessons Learned

Here are some of my lessons learned, in no particular order:

  • Blogging ain’t easy. Sure anyone can develop a site (I opted for some professional help), but you still have to come up with posts that matter, that bring value…on a routine basis. Sometimes I think I add value and sometimes, not so much. And sometimes there are technical glitches, like when a broadcasting “plugin” generated multiple (like 9) emails to subscribers for the same post. That seems to be under control now. I am thankful that the Gemba Tales email subscribers are such an understanding bunch.
  • I actually LIKE blogging. My twice weekly posting frequency almost pushes me over the edge (like everyone else I burn the candle at both ends way too much), but I actually like blogging. Frankly, I wish I could do more.  I enjoy the interaction (there could be more – hint, hint!) and I enjoy the intellectual challenge to come up with some fairly cogent posts that add value for the members of the community. It makes me think and it makes me consider what others might benefit from as they progress in their lean implementation journey and as they seek to develop their own personal lean competency.
  • Spammers are a pox on humanity. I am constantly bombarded with comments that are at best stupid and at worst unprintable from folks who want to advertise their products or “services.” I guess spam is one of the hazards of blogging…
  • The lean community is awesome. Lean folks, by and large, live the principles of humility and respect for the individual…and then they go beyond. They share, they mentor and they encourage. I have benefited from the help of a number of first class people within the blogosphere. At the risk of omitting someone, here’s a list of some very cool folks:
    • Jamie Flinchbaugh – Jamie shared some advice on how to get started, made some comments on my early posts and included Gemba Tales in his excellent Lean Blog Aggregator.
    • Larry Loucka – Larry provided needed encouragement, advice and comments.
    • Ron Pereira – Ron was absolutely gracious. He profiled Gemba Tales on his LSS Academy blog and then invited me to guest post. Thanks, Ron.
    • John Hunter – John writes some real profound stuff on his Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. It was an honor when he included me in several of  his “Management Improvement Carnivals.”
    • Brian Buck – Comments, link and inclusion in his “Roundup.”
    • Evan Durant – Comments, link and some advice to a total Twitter novice.
    • Tim McMahon – Comments and inclusion in his monthly “Roundup.”
Popular Posts

Some of my posts seemed to generate a fair amount of interest and others, well…I tried. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular posts among the 28 thus far.

Looking Forward – An Invitation

I definitely want this blog to add value, so I invite you to either comment on this particular post or email me directly (see the green question mark on the sidebar) and let me know what lean subjects are most meaningful for you. I promise that I will try to cover those areas in future posts or, if you desire, via email.

Thanks for the past 90 days!

Best regards,

Mark R. Hamel

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Welcome Kaizen Practitioners!

In the coming days and in conjunction with the formal launch of the book website, I will start to blog about Lean transformation issues. I welcome other Lean practitioners and leaders to share their thoughts, questions and comments – all for the purpose of helping each other to be better Lean thinkers and more effective implementers.