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- Could Toyota Fix GM
Yes, Toyota could fix GM. Even the right leaders and managers, within GM, could fix GM but it is a huge long term job and it would be harder to do it internally because you will have to do it while competing with Toyota. Also they have some difficult issues to deal with since their previous managers did not tihnk of the long term (20-50 years out from the decisions they were making in the 70s though 90s).
I wouldn’t buy GM if I were Toyota, though. Why bother. Just grow Toyota, it is working very well so far. It makes sense to buy if you need to grow quickly to gain critical mass, or you will lose the opportunity to grow early in a fast moving market. High tech companies (like Cisco and Intel) often do well buying other companies – but just as often high tech companies make more mistakes buying than is justified by the successes.
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- Millennium Development Goals
I agree it would be greatly beneficial if the method to reach those goals included a measurement system that provided good outcome and process measures (not just activity measures like spend so many billion dollars). And those measures were used to help determine what was working well and what was not. And then resources were focused where they had been effectively used and where they were not changes were made. The PDSA method should be used to test out potential good ideas on a small scale and then measure the success and invest in things that work and don’t invest in cases when results are bad. The failure to focus on results, and basing development efforts on all sorts of ill conceived considerations, is a large part of the reason many of the problems are as bad as they are now.
I think there is hope for progress in the attempts to improve the situation for people worldwide. However, it will not be easy. A great first step would be to hold accountable those leading the effort (the United Nations, individual countries [most especially the security council, etc.). If we could even get to the point where the progress was visible and failures were an embarrassment to those in power, then we will increase the odds of success. But I doubt failing to reach the outcome measures will be seen as a problem that must be addressed and fixed, instead of explained away.
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- Toyota as Homebuilder
many organizations don’t apply many concepts that have been proven effective for decades. So I hope Toyota gets into any business that continues to provide lousy value to the consumer (at least those where that consumer is me). I wish they would create their own credit card (they offer Toyota branded Visa and MasterCard credit cards now, in Japan), provide high speed internet service and run an airline.
Toyota is probably too smart to try and run an airline in the US (only Southwest seems to be able to that profitably).
On the Toyota web site they list the following areas of non-automotive Toyota business: financial services, information and communications, marine and most surprisingly Biotechnology and Afforestation. Toyota states: “Biotechnology may seem far removed from the auto industry. It is, however, closely related to automaking in the context that they are both aiming to achieve a sustainable society, and their close relationship can be seen in the new Raum, launched in May 2003, which uses parts made from bioplastics.”
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- Targets Distorting the System
I still remember Dr. Brian Joiner speaking about process improvement and the role of data well over a decade ago. He spoke of 3 ways to improve the figures: distort the data, distort the system and improve the system. Improving the system is the most difficult.
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- Dilbert and Deming
Dilbert can show the silliness that is common place in many workplaces, as just that – silly. Point 10 of Deming’s 14 points called on management to eliminate slogans.
The text works well for me, but I think Dilbert provides a great service in pointing out the same idea that such slogans are silly and even harmful in a way many others find more accessible.
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- Google: Good Service not Arbitrage (2005)
Google, to use a internet bubble phrase, is doing a good job monetizing eyeballs. However, that is not arbitrage it is just doing a good job of maximizing revenue and profits. Yes Google is able to make money because they are paid more by advertisers than it costs them to deliver what the advertisers want. But I don’t see how that is more like arbitrage than Toyota selling a car for more than it costs them to make the car.
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- SEC chief quotes Deming
Security and Exchange Chairman William H. Donaldson:
This approach will, ultimately, better serve investors, and it will also gradually temper the pressures on some corporate executives to fudge the numbers. It would behoove us all to remember the words of W. Edwards Deming: “People with targets, and jobs dependent on meeting them, will probably meet the targets – even if they have to destroy the enterprise to do it.”
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- Traffic Congestion and a Non-Solution
For decades traffic congestion has been a problem in American cities and one that has continued to get worse. The typical proposed solution is to increase the number of roads. The theory behind this solution is not normally stated but, I believe, it amounts to: “if we build more roads then the system will have more capacity which has to decrease congestion.” Unfortunately this theory fails to take into account the past data on the increasing capacity of roads “solution.”
Ackoff’s solution does require actually changing the system. That is not easy to accomplish. However, if the desire is to reduce congestion the solution is not likely to be to just keep doing what we have been doing (given that it isn’t working). Building more and more capacity doesn’t seem to achieve the desired results.
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- 10 stocks for 10 years
The 10 stocks I came up with are (closing price on 22 April 2005 – % of portofilo invested):
- Templeton Dragon Fund (TDF – 16.40 – 16%) – a closed end mutual fund investing in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore… This one doesn’t fit the criteria but does a great job of filling out the portfolio in my opinion.
- Dell (DELL – 36.43 – 12%)
- Toyota (TM – 72.42 – 12%)
- Google (GOOG – 215.81 – 12%)
- Pfizer (PFE – 27.22 – 8%)
- Amazon (AMZN – 33.04 – 8%) They are only just starting to generate cash but I like their prospects.
["I should have picked Apple instead of Dell but even with that mistake the fund did very well - I did add Apple in 2010" John, Oct 2017]
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- Performance without Appraisal
In the short article Performance Without Appraisal: What to do Instead of Performance Appraisals, Peter wrote:
Dr. Deming said of Performance Appraisals, “Stop doing them and things will get better.” He was correct. Many organizations, however, wonder what to do instead.
For those that do require “some alternative” Peter included some good ideas in The Leader’s Handbook(see chapter 9 “Performance without Appraisal pages 293 to 368). This chapter has excellent material for any manager.
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- Who Influences My Management Improvement Thinking?
- Statistics for Experimenters – Second Edition
Complete with applications covering the physical, engineering, biological, and social sciences, Statistics for Experimenters is designed for individuals who must use statistical approaches to conduct an experiment, but do not necessarily have formal training in statistics. Experimenters need only a basic understanding of mathematics to master all the statistical methods presented. This text is an essential reference for all researchers and is a highly recommended course book for undergraduate and graduate students.
This updates the classic text by George Box, William Hunter (my father) and Stu Hunter.
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- Control Charts in Health Care
The point of using a control chart, and many of the management improvement tools, are to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resources spent improving. The trick is not really to improve (that is pretty easy) the trick is to improve quickly and effectively (and in a competitive marketplace to improve more quickly than competitors). Where improvement resources are targeted is critical. In deciding which improvement options to explore it is important to understand the impact on the outcome (in this case the health of the patient).
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- Theory of Knowledge
When managing many fail to predict when attempting to test improvement ideas through what should be experiments (often they are just changes without verification the change produced a desired effect, any learning or study of the results of the change). Without prediction learning is much less (if there is any at all) than it would be with such prediction.
With, even a fairly simple understanding of the theory of knowledge the effectiveness of management improvement efforts are greatly increased. This topic is difficult for most to understand, I recommend reading chapter four of the New Economics.
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- Designing a New Organization
Ackoff has done a huge amount of work in idealized design and thinking about the big ideas that can drive dramatic change. His ideas are exceptional. He even offers a plan for modeling the idealized organization and then a plan for how to transform the organization based on practical ideas that are feasible in the real world.
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