Blog posts on respect for people

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  • Performance Appraisal Problems

    There are no easy answers, but what it should be about is managing the system to produce the best results. My best advice is to read chapter 9 of The Leader’s Handbook and read the rest of the Leader’s Handbook and other great management improvement books. And manage using the ideas of DemingAckoffScholtesMcGregorOhno… 

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  • Profound Podcast with John Hunter – Curious Cat

    In this podcast I discussed a bit of my history with management improvement. My father introduced me to the ideas as I was growing up.  And that became formal during high school, when I attended a class for City of Madison employees (during the summer) on management improvement (Deming included a couple pages on those efforts in Out of Crisis).  I also discussed: Design of Experiments, Peter Scholtes, W. Edwards Deming, PDSA cycle and six sigma.  This podcast is part one of the interview.

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  • People: Team Members or Costs

    Both Toyota and GM seek to use technology to improve but Toyota sees the technology as useful to help people to be more efficient, eliminate menial repetitive tasks, eliminate tasks that cause injury… and it seems to me GM saw technology as a way to eliminate people. The action showed a company that viewed people as a cost to be eliminated. GM did not act as though people were their “most important assets” as we so often hear, but see so little evidence of in the action of companies.


    Toyota does try to reduce overall costs (including labor costs) by continually improving and making cars more and more efficiently (so they can produce cars using fewer hours of labor in the future than they need today). Trying to become more efficient by engaging everyone in the effort is a part of the system of management at Toyota. The current Toyota employees are an important part of the system and are not viewed as a cost to eliminate. 

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  • Brainstorming Under Attack

    Brainstorming is about creating an opportunity to bring new ideas the forefront.

    There are other useful tools such as the affinity diagram which can serve as another option (or can serve as a tool to work with the results of brainstorming).

    And Edward DeBono has excellent creativity tools, like his 6 thinking hats. Brainstorming is a useful tool when applied properly but it is only one tool and other tools should be used also.

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  • Airline Quality (or Rather, Lack Thereof)

    I flew JetBlue Airways last week. The help at the counter was polite and friendly. While this is only one data point (and hardly a “high bar” to meet) it contrasts with most of my flying experience (in my experience Southwest has a good likelihood of providing good service but few other airlines do). It would be nice if more airlines could be like Southwest...

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  • Find the Root Cause Instead of the Person to Blame

    Why did they make that error? Why did the process let them make that error? When you follow the why chain a couple more steps you can find root causes that will allow you to find a much more effective solution. You can then pilot (PDSA) an improvement strategy that doesn’t just amount to “Do a better job Joe” or “that is it Joe we are replacing you with Mary.” Neither of those strategies turns out to be very effective.

    But investigating a bit more to find a root cause can result in finding solutions that improve the performance of all the workers. 

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  • Management: Geeks and Deming

    Several of Deming’s 14 obligation of management and 7 deadly diseases are noted in this quote, including: “Remove barriers that rob people of joy in their work” and the disease – “Emphasis on short term profits.” Deming was a physicist so that may explain the similarity of this ideas to geek management culture.

    • “Geeks seek knowledge for it’s own sake” – Deming’s point 13 “Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.” Deming encouraged organizations supporting education of employees – even when unrelated to work in any direct way.
    • “Geeks like to experiment” – many of Deming’s ideas focus on this point, most obviously is the emphasis on PDSA
    • “Geeks openly debate the merits of technical ideas”

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  • Brainstorming Under Attack

    Brainstorming is about creating an opportunity to bring new ideas the forefront.

    There are other useful tools such as the affinity diagram which can serve as another option (or can serve as a tool to work with the results of brainstorming).

    And Edward DeBono has excellent creativity tools, like his 6 thinking hats. Brainstorming is a useful tool when applied properly but it is only one tool and other tools should be used also.

    continue reading: Brainstorming Under Attack

  • Lean Software Development

    Software development can be extremely complicated and can benefit greatly from making problems visible – jidoka

    ...

    Lean thinking has a great deal to offer for those involved in software development.

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  • More on Obscene CEO Pay

    Unfortunately this reverse robin hood (steal from the workers, stock holder, customers…) and give to the CEO tale continues. Hopefully someday soon we can at least turn the momentum in the right direction (stopping these incredibly excessive “pay” packages). Even then it will take quite a deal of reducing these ridiculous “pay” packages to reach some sense of decency.

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  • Employee Ownership

    I have always liked the idea of employee ownership. To me this can be a great help in creating a system where employees, owners, customers, suppliers work together. Alone an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) does little. But as part of a system of management it is something I think can be beneficial.

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  • Trust: Respect for People

    Management then vowed that this (layoffs in 1950) would be the first and last time such an event would come to pass at Toyota, and, in a gesture of respect to former employees, Kiichiro resigned from his position as president of the company.

    A bit different than laying off tens of thousands of workers and then taking huge bonuses [the broken link was removed]. And in case you don’t know, I think Toyota’s approach is more honorable and what should be aimed for (I wouldn’t say the president always should resign but it should be a significant admission of failure).

    Does this mean no workers ever come into conflict with Toyota management? No. But Toyota’s respect for workers is qualitatively different than that of most companies.

    Related: Bad Management Results in Layoffs

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  • CEO Flight Attendant

    This getting out and seeing work in action is exposed a great deal, including a lean management concept, Genchi Genbutsu – to go to see the problem in situ (not just reading a report about it).

    The success of many management practices is more a matter of how the practice is done than if it is done. Also the success depends on the rest of the management system. Practices cannot just be copied. But you can learn from what others find useful and figure out how that idea would work within your organization.

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  • Supplier Development Article

    people are scared to talk about any other aims than profit. Deming didn’t have such a problemToyota doesn’t have such a problem.Google doesn’t have such a problem [the broken link was removed].

    Others need to learn that there are multiple aims for organizations not just profits but providing good jobs, serving customers, aiding community… Learn from the leaders – talking as though the only purpose of the organization is to make profit is counterproductive.

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  • Profound Podcast with John Hunter, Part Two

    In this podcast I discussed my thoughts on management improvement, Deming, respect for people, systems thinking and more.

    continue reading: Profound Podcast with John Hunter, Part Two