John Hunter
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Management Matters

by John Hunter

   


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  • Unintended Consequences - distorting the system or distorting the data

    Using data to understand your processes and improve them is very useful.

    But using data often results in unintended consequences. If you don’t have a good understanding on the pressures collecting data will bring to bear on the system you can create pressure for results that damage the delivery of value to customers...

    Distorting the system or distorting the data are often the result, instead of the process improvement that is desired and expected.

  • Backyard Wildlife: Great Tailed Grackle

    Great tailed grackles are bueatiful birds with black base coloring that includes feathers with iridescent colors on closer inspection.

  • Support Theatre

    Support theatre provides the appearance of supporting customers when in fact it is just treating customers poorly based on a management system that disrespects customers. It is a similar idea to security theatre that has become so popular for government in the USA for the last 10 years.

    Companies that practices support theatre are usually very focused on cutting the company's cost and not "wasting" the companies time fixing the problems they create for customers or even helping customers put on "band-aids" to cope with the injuries the company has inflicted on the customer.  Those companies also don't learn from their failures to improve and stop future customers from suffering the consequences of their poor processes.

    It is painful to interact with such companies.

  • Chart of Global Wind Energy Capacity by Country from 2005 to 2015

    In 2013 global wind energy capacity increased only 13% while in both 2014 and 2015 it increased 17%. Still 17% is less than any year in the last 10, except 2013.

    At the end of 2013 China had 29% of global capacity (after being responsible for adding 62% of all the capacity added in 2013). In 2005 China had 2% of global wind energy capacity.  At the end of 2015 China accounted for 34% of global capacity, the only country in the top 8 increasing their share of global capacity. The USA now has 17% of capacity.

  • Google Check of Whether a Website is Mobile Friendly

    The tool is useful in pointing out potential issues to improve for mobile users. I do wish however that Google wasn’t so autocratic about its opinions, acting as though failing their tests is equal to failure mobile users. It isn’t, it is a decent indication there may be a problem, but it is not proof there is a problem.

  • Product and Service Innovation is Driven by Customer Focused Organizations

    At the core of W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy is a focus on delighting customers, allowing everyone to contribute what they have to offer and continually improving.

    ...

    An organization must have a deep focus on customers in order to continually improve the value delivered to those customers and to innovate and create new products and services that delight those customers and future customers that the business can win over.

  • How to Use Data and Avoid Being Mislead by Data

    One of the four areas of Deming’s management system is “understanding variation.” The core principle underlying that concept is using data to improve while understanding what data is and is not telling you.

    The mistakes in interpreting data are very often related to mistaking natural variation in data as meaningful. Combining this with our brains ability to find patterns (even from random data) and confirmation bias this creates problems.

    Data can’t lie, but people can be mislead and they can even mislead themselves by misinterpreting data.

  • Photos of Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

    The Kuching riverwalk and a bit of surrounding area are nice for tourists (and locals) to walk around and enjoy.

  • Acting Without Theory Often Results in Wasted Effort

    If you don’t understand why you take action you will find yourself wasting effort. You must have a theory that you can test in order to test what is working, what changes actually lead to improvement and to learn. If this bird wants to find food it will discover this method isn’t effective.

    I wrote about a similar example before: Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory.

  • Thoughts on Security Risks while Traveling (especially risks of violence)

    How to travel safely?

    Not getting drunk at bars proactively addresses a significant portion of issues.

    Second, if you are coming from the USA or many other fairly high personal crime countries there are many places you are much safer while traveling than average risks at home are.

  • Foreign Ownership of USA Stocks Reached 26% in 2015

    In 1965 foreign ownership of USA stocks totaled about 2%, in 1990 it had risen to 10% and by 2015 to 26%. That the foreign ownership is so high surprised me. Holdings in retirement accounts (defined benefit accounts, IRAs etc.) was under 10% in 1965, rose to over 30% in 1990 and to about 40% in 2015. The holdings in retirement accounts doesn’t really surprise me.

  • Reporting on the Noise Level of Lodging Options

    I would love a service that reports on the noise level of hotel rooms, apartments for rent etc.. I am far more sensitive to noise than others. And in my nomadic existence the most annoying thing for me was noisy places.

    Reading reviews will provide some level of noise warnings when past travelers complain about noisy conditions. But this is time consuming (reading through lots of reviews to try and see) and not very accurate.

  • Reflection of the Washington Monument on the Vietnam War Memorial

    Photo of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. Most of the photo is shows a reflection in the shining granite of the memorial.

  • Golden Rules for Making Money

    P. T. Barnum wrote the Golden Rules for Making Money in 1880. He provides a few paragraphs on each of the 20 golden rules:

    1. Don’t mistake your vocation
    2. Select the right location
    3. Avoid debt

    ...

    "Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you or your employees treat your patrons abruptly."

  • Cliff Norman and Ron Moen Discuss the History of the PDSA Cycle

    Ron emphasized the importance of the iterative nature of learning supported by the PDSA cycle. The importance of iterating the PDSA cycle multiple times is something that I find most organizations would benefit a great deal from. Another API consultant spoke on this importance at the 2006 Deming conference.

   

John Hunter has experience in management improvement (customer focused continuous improvement, process improvement, systems thinking) and related areas. Since 1995, I have used the internet and internet technology to improve the results of management improvement efforts.

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