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  • Take Advantage of the Strengths Each Person Brings to Work

    Managers should be setting up the organization to take maximum advantage of the strengths of the people in the organization while minimizing the impact of weaknesses.

  • There is No Such Thing as “True Unemployment Rate”

    As Dr. Deming said: “there is no true value” of any measured process. The results depend on the process which includes the operation definitions used.

  • Why are We So Slow to Change?

    In management we often seek the new new thing. So while great ideas take a long time to become common practice we stop looking at them fairly quickly because we decide they are old outdated ideas. Not a very effective strategy :-(

  • If You Visit Kuching, Malaysia Eat at Tribal Stove

    Yes it has great food, which thankfully there is a a great deal of in many place. What makes Tribal Stove someplace not to miss is it is the rare combination of great and generally inaccessible food.

    I often find great restaurants in tourist destinations. And sometimes it is even local in a sense – but nearly always (not all, but almost) I can get very similar good dishes in any large city across the globe.

    Tribal Stove had truly distinctive dishes that were also great.

  • Peter Drucker Discussing The Work of Juran, Deming and Himself

    Drucker talked about the shared importance he, Deming and Juran put on the importance of valuing all employees and creating management systems that capture all the value they can offer. He spoke of all 3 of them tilted against those that believed in command and control business organizations. Sadly the lack of respect for all workers is still common today; but it is much better than is was due to the work of these 3 management experts.

  • Making Credit Cards More Secure and Useful

    Business should not be allowed to store credit card numbers that can be stolen and used. The credit card providers should generate a unique credit card number for the business to store that will only work for the purchaser at that business.

  • Engineering Graduates Earned a Return on Their Investment In Education of 21%

    Engineering graduates earned a return on their investment of 21%. The next highest were math and computers (18%); health (18%); and business (17%). Even the lowest returns are quite good: education (9%), leisure and hospitality (11%), agriculture (11%) and liberal arts (12%).

    These returns look at graduates without post-graduate degrees (in order to find the value of just the undergraduate degree).

  • Niamey Grand Market, Niger, Africa

    We lived in Nigeria (my Dad was a Chemical Engineering professor) and took a trip during winter vacation through Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin. I am nearly certain the photo is in Niger and very likely Niamey but it is possible it is elsewhere.

    My mom and brother are in the photo, which is likely taken by my father (or maybe by me). In this part of the trip we were quite far off the beaten path. The only foreigners we noticed were a National Geographic film crew at the market.

  • Self Driving Cars Have Huge Potential for Benefit to Society (2014)

    The potentially to reduce the amount of death and serious injury we currently experience is a great goal. I have always found our objection to new ideas that it has a drawback and will ignoring the drawbacks of the current system to be poor reasoning. It is often related to an attachment to the familiar and reluctance to change.

    It also relates to our psychology where we often see mistakes of commission as more harmful than omission and then we equate doing the same thing we did before as the assumed behavior and somehow not something we chose (which of course is not accurate, it is an act of commission even if it is the same action as before but psychologically we mistake this relation).

    It also related to our legalistic thinking to blame individuals, even when that is not sensible as systems are more responsible for the results. This will be one of the challenges to a safer transportation system – the desire to assign blame in the same way we did before. The delay of safer solutions because lawyers don’t like the new system would be a shame, but is possible. While a delay is possible I don’t think they will be able to prevent a safer transportation solution from becoming a reality.

  • Hexawise Buys the Beers

    George Box was an amazing person, scientist and statistician. One of the traditions George started in Madison, Wisconsin was the Monday Night Beer Sessions.

    An excerpt of Mac Berthouex’s introduction to An Accidental Statistician: The Life and Memories of George E. P. Box:

    I met George Box in 1968 at the long-running hit show that he called “The Monday Night Beer Session,” an informal discussion group that met in the basement of his house. I was taking Bill Hunter’s course in nonlinear model building. Bill suggested that I should go and talk about some research we were doing.

    Hexawise has decided to bring this tradition to software testing...

  • Replying to Tweets Usefully

    Certainly responding could be done in a spamming way. And that should not be done. But you can respond by being helpful. And rely on some of those seeing that you provide useful information wanting to learn more.

    A measure of if you are providing useful replies see how often it is retweeted.

  • Companies Trumpet Stock Buybacks and Act as Though Stock Givaways Don’t Matter

    "One of the things that annoy me as an investor is how happy the executives are to grant themselves huge amount of pay in general and stock in particular. The love to giveaway huge amounts of stock to themselves and their buddies and then pretend that isn’t a cost.

    Thankfully the GAAP rules changed a few years ago to require making the costs of stock giveaways show up on official earnings statements. Now, the companies love to trumpet non-GAAP earnings that exclude stock based compensation to employees."

  • Revolutionary Management Improvement May Be Needed But Most Management Change is Evolutionary

    Revolutionary change is powerful but very difficult for entrenched people and organizations to actually pull off. It is much easy to dream about doing so.

    Often even revolutionary ideas are adopted in a more evolutionary way: partial adoption of some practices based on the insight provided by the revolutionary idea.

  • Mistake Proofing Using Enhanced Stop Signs

    The video shows a system that cascades a sheet of water and displays a stop sign directly in the path of trucks ready to crash into a tunnel (because the truck is too tall).

    The driver had ignored several less obvious signals that they were headed for danger. This is an application of one of my favorite management (and industrial engineering) concepts: mistake proofing. As I have stated before, often it is really mistake making more difficult (as it is in this case) rather than mistake proofing.

  • Evolutionary v. Revolutionary Management Improvement

    I do think both are needed. But I also think we exaggerate our revolutionary management changes - I just think it is really rare. We normally keep pretty much the same management system and tweak it will a couple new tools and maybe some new concepts.