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Conventional wisdom says that government is not efficient and not effective – but, we are still unsure what works and what is broken in government, where to find some common sense, and where to start to fix it. So, with that in mind, I'm glad I had the chance to speak with Richard E. Mallory this month about his recently published book, Quality Standards for Highly Effective Government, Second Edition. I asked him a series of questions, and I'm including those along with Richard's very interesting answers here.

What are Quality Standards?
They are professional standards developed and endorsed by the American Society for Quality Government Division as international best practice standards for government. There are three standards that collectively apply to every area of government operations, and provide a framework for excellence. There is a standard for process management, system management (including project management), and for aligned leadership objectives. One or more of these standards align with the responsibility of every supervisor, manager, and executive in every government agency. Each provides a measurable standard, with uniform and objective criteria, that evaluate the design and application of best practice operational practices. The systematic use of quality standards provides the first-ever opportunity for an organizational scorecard, that measures the extent of quality practice in government. 

Why are these standards necessary for highly effective government?
The development of high-performing learning organizations depends on defining and testing a best practice operational structure that is specific to every one of its branches, divisions, and operating units. This can’t easily be done with existing frameworks, which depend on top-down application of uniform organizational practices, such as ISO 9001 or Baldrige. The application of Quality Standards is from the bottom to the top, and requires every supervisor and manager to develop a process map or a system map that defines the critical steps or milestones of value creation within that program area. It applies a cycle of learning that is based on a defined approach and deployment, combined with periodic evaluation and update or improvement. The development of indicators and measures of success cements the practices of learning and improvement. The application of system management at the executive level ensures organizational alignment.

Can’t we do the same thing with organization-wide deployment of Lean Six Sigma? 
No. The problem with most traditional Lean Six Sigma and DMAIC improvement efforts is that they are not sustainable over the long term, and require a continual “push” from leadership. Because their success requires each practitioner to dedicate current effort for longer-term gain, busy organizations often curtail these best practices to resolve short-term crises. If executive recognition ever wavers, or if leadership changes, the commitment to best practice operation also disappears. The use of Quality Standards changes this dynamic, by allowing executives to create a report on the existence and use of quality practices in their organization, so that executives are at last able to “see” where individual managers are maintaining best practice, and where efforts are lapsing. It will also allow organizations to create external reviews, and audit organizations to report on the continuing commitment to quality practices within every government organization. This reporting ensures that Lean and DMAIC practices are established, maintained, and sustained. No longer will the practice of quality be "invisible."

How do we know they work?
Quality Standards have been endorsed by the Government Division of the American Society for Quality as an international best practice standard for Government. A recent white paper of the National Academy of Public Administration on Strengthening Organizational Performance in Government has also endorsed the standards. The Process Management Standard is a part of the Process Management Handbook for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and numerous government jurisdictions have found them to be a tool for organizational capacity reviews, both to evaluate current efforts and to offer further suggestions on the means and methods of improvement.

How can we get started?
This book provides the logic and approach behind the standards, and introduces each with its evaluation criteria, and the scoring plan. It is important and foundational, for those who will be using the standards, for those reviewing them, and for leadership who want to understand the benefits and the logic being followed. Each organization using the standards should plan to provide introductory training for all its managers and supervisors, to help them in identifying the key processes and systems that drive organizational results, and to help them define best operational practices for each. The effort should then transition to periodic review of each defined process and system, both to ensure the integrity of the approach, and to evaluate the next steps to its improvement.

What are the changes in the second edition book?
The second edition includes the newest revision to the system management standard, which applies to the work of executive managers, program office managers, and project managers. It completes the organizational framework by challenging those managers to define milestones of value creation relative to the work of their office, with the causes of success in each milestone. In addition, it allows the development of operational metrics and indicators. It is through the integrated definition of key processes and systems that an entire agile framework can be completed. The second edition looks ahead to the role of leadership in developing excellent performance through application of the Aligned Leadership Objectives Standard. 

Do any readers currently work in the public sector? What do you think of Richard's thoughts? Have you adopted these quality standards in your organization?
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by LSSU Admin - Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 9:36 AM
Retrieved from: Lessons in Lean
Anyone in the world
The first step is transformation of the individual . . . The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people. – W. Edwards Deming I reflect on a regular basis about why companies struggle with the application of lean within their businesses. Countless organizations have tried … Continue reading
Anyone in the world
Last month, a very interesting book entitled The GuruBook: Insights from 45 Pioneering Entrepreneurs and Leaders on Business Strategy and Innovation, compiled by Jonathan Løw, was published. In it, 45 of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and leaders -- such as Salim Ismail (Singularity University), Naveen Jain (Moon Express), Jimmy Maymann (Huffington Post), Otto Scharmer (Theory U), and Blake Mycoskie (TOMS) -- plainly discuss their ideas about innovation, entrepreneurship, and authentic leadership.

I had the chance to speak with Jonathan Løw about this book, and one of the main questions I asked was: "What inspired you to compile the thoughts of these particular entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders?" Here is his complete response:  

The GuruBook is first and foremost about listening. Although I have been a serial entrepreneur and have tried to start a number of businesses, have worked with innovation in both large and small organizations, and have been a leader in several organizations, I do not imagine in any way that I have all the answers in these exciting but also complex areas.

I believe that the ability to listen is one of the most important characteristics for future entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders. This ability to listen, and the curiosity that is inherent in it, may be the factor that gives you an advantage over the competition. Consider, for example, the English mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton, who, like millions of others, saw an apple fall from a tree. The difference was that Newton asked "why."

As a result of my own curiosity and desire to listen more, it was obvious that I should invite the people who, in my eyes, have generated inspiring and pioneering ideas, organizations, and results, to share their thoughts and knowledge with the readers in The GuruBook.

This book’s gurus have been asked to talk/write about what they’re enthusiastic about. That means that you can look forward to becoming more knowledgeable about:

• How to start a business without an idea.

• Why some ideas succeed while others fail.

• How to demystify the task of scaling up a startup as an entrepreneur.

• How you can be enterprising, no matter what phase your organization is in.

• How to create an innovative culture.

• Why simple questions lead to the greatest innovations.

Why businesses and local authorities aren't startups, and what both can learn from each other.

• How to become authentic as a leader.

• Why authentic leadership is a strength.

• Why there’s an entrepreneur in every successful leader.

• Why the ability to listen is all-important whether you’re an entrepreneur or a leader.

The contents of The GuruBook have weight and value because the articles and/or interviews are with people who, for years, have perfected their ability to listen and have consistently become better at understanding their customers, partners, and colleagues.

Through thousands of meetings, sales calls, customer service responses, innovation processes, brainstorms, mail dialogues, LinkedIn discussions, and so on, they have listened and then acted on what they heard. These are the insights that The GuruBook contains.

I fundamentally believe the future belongs to the curious. The future belongs to the entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and passionate souls who are not only capable of “listening more intently” to the world about them, but who are capable of “ listening more intently” to the world about them but who also have the ability to act on the input they get.

A website for the book -- -- includes a list of the gurus participating as well as some more background on the book.
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by LSSU Admin - Tuesday, 13 March 2018, 8:10 AM
Retrieved from: Lessons in Lean
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Changing the culture requires helping people understand that every instance where a standard is not met is a problem and needs to be resolved. Doing this requires spending time at gemba to see when it happens, helping people recognize the small problems that happen (or validating that the problems are important enough to address), and coaching people to effectively solve problems. The objective is to get people solving the problems they face every day. Continue reading
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by LSSU Admin - Thursday, 22 February 2018, 10:50 PM
Retrieved from: The Lean Insider
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An important new book hits the market this month entitled New Giants Rising: How Leaders Can Help People and Companies Grow During the Followership Crisis, and it helps us understand that business growth fueled by labor productivity does not rely on leadership as we’ve come to celebrate it, but on our ability to sustain loyalty and commitment to one another -- a following if you will -- inside and outside our workplaces. When we recognize and understand our historical Followership Cycles, we can begin to restore our workplaces to their lost role as a place to meet the demand of all Americans for a better future.

I spoke with the author, Paul D. Fisher, this past week and asked him: “What exactly is the ‘followership crisis’ and how does it affect the workplace?” Here is his full response:

Followership is the social wealth-building process that creates and sustains a rising middle class through labor productivity. We are in a global social and economic growth crisis because of the slow decline of followership since the 1970s. And the support system we usually use to build it -- media, government, education and institutions of all kind -- have proven themselves unable to help us cope.

As much as they’d like to, our companies are failing to address it too. Business growth is stunted by what we think of as the declining commitment and loyalty of our employees and customers. Our attempts to regenerate followership have been reduced to an endless string of employee engagement programs and hollow content marketing and branding efforts that have provided us no competitive advantage.

To gain that competitive advantage, companies must begin dealing effectively with structural deficits in their social architecture – the systematic means they use to develop purpose, pursue quality, and manage accountability with all their stakeholders. History shows us it has always been the role of business to pull us out of the social tailspin created when higher forms of human need transcend lower ones to help people cope inside their more isolated, robotized and disconnected work places.

For example, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Facebook post about reforming Facebook by first analyzing “questions of history, civics, political philosophy, media, government and technology” is a surely signal he believes Facebook’s social architecture will not survive into the future without significant modification.

And Warren Buffett’s recent comment on health care -- calling it a “tapeworm on the American economy” (a comment he surely doesn’t personally believe) -- is his attempt to start a national conversation in which society will decide if health care is simply an uncontrolled cost of our manufacturing economy or a model for socially negotiated growth that we should all emulate.

The companies of tomorrow will not grow without reallocating some of the costs of their inclusion and engagement PR campaigns to building the social growth architecture they need to survive in this new environment. And business leaders like Zuckerberg and Buffett are showing us that the first step is to analyze our followership DNA.

Here is a video of Paul discussing the concept:

What do you think of Paul's perspective? Do you you feel it is important for your organization to focus on "social capital"?
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by LSSU Admin - Wednesday, 14 February 2018, 7:16 AM
Retrieved from: Lessons in Lean
Anyone in the world
Assuring problems are visible makes perfect sense and is something many organizations mistakenly believe they already do. For a variety of reasons, showing problems is not something that does not come naturally to many people. It is more natural to hide – or at least not openly display – problems with the hope they can be resolved before being discovered. Continue reading
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by LSSU Admin - Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 7:36 AM
Retrieved from: Lessons in Lean
Anyone in the world
Most leaders fail to appreciate how much the overall system affects the performance of the organization, and that it is their responsibility to develop and maintain the system. If they did understand, they would never put so much effort on trying to “fix” the part of the organization that accounts for less than 3-4% of the company’s performance. Performance ratings assign blame to people who are likely attempting to work in a flawed system, and those who receive higher ratings are often working outside of the system, something that should never be encouraged Continue reading
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by LSSU Admin - Monday, 29 January 2018, 6:07 PM
Retrieved from: The Lean Insider
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The most recent book by organization Development (OD) master practitioner Gilmore Crosby, entitled Leadership Can Be Learned: Clarity, Connection, and Results, describes how leaders can be more effective in their interpersonal, group, and large-system interactions. During a recent conversation about his book, I asked Gilmore: "What are the traditional leadership paradigms that have consistent negative effects on work culture? How can this be changed?" Here is his complete answer:

There are two prevalent paradigms that lock leadership and work culture into a limited box:

Denial about authority issues -- Everyone has them, but most don’t realize they do. We all start small and dependent, and carry emotional memories from infancy into adulthood. Having a boss, being a boss, and being in an organization all remind our brain of our early pre-cognative experiences. Wired for survival, our brain wants to protect us from experiences similar to those early moments, including the dependency and interdependency of most work. Our emotional memories (the past) intensify our reactions in the present. If one isn’t aware enough to separate the past from the present, they will be apt to blame the people they are with (the boss, the subordinates, the peers) for their own mistrust and communication gaps. Our authority issues define and limit how we lead and how we relate to the people we report to.

Lack of systems thinking -- From a systemic perspective, it’s not who is on the bus that is most important, it’s how the bus is being driven. Most leaders are trapped in a paradigm of personality theory, obsessed with getting the right people on and off the bus. Many leaders I know take pride in their ability to judge people. That of course is necessary, but without a healthy dose of systems thinking, judging (and being judged) becomes the main focus. That unintentionally drives fear and defensiveness into the culture, undermining the very openness necessary for high performance. Leaders would do well to strive with at least equal energy for creating the conditions for fostering high performance in the vast majority of the people that are reporting to them. If they are constantly changing people out, they are the problem, not the subordinates. The right driver can lift an entire system, the wrong driver can demoralize and undermine performance. I’ve seen both many times.

Practical methods for bringing out the best in yourself and in others are woven throughout my book not as a program, but rather as sound leadership practices suitable to every group in any organization.

What do you think of Gilmore's perspective? Do these leadership paradigms exist in your organization? What have been the effects?

In this video, Gilmore presents a more in-depth overview of his book:
Leadership Can Be Learned Promo from Gilmore Crosby on Vimeo.
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by LSSU Admin - Sunday, 21 January 2018, 12:00 PM
Retrieved from: Lead With Lean
Anyone in the world

Lean is a full business strategy. But first, a disclaimer: to explain how lean is a specific business strategy, I need to get into a debate about strategy and I want to make perfectly clear I don’t believe military thinking […]

The post How is lean a strategy? appeared first on Lead With Lean.

Anyone in the world

“How does OEE systematically improve your manufacturing processes?” --That was the question I recently posed to Ross Kennedy, author of a recently published book entitled Understanding, Measuring, and Improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness: How to Use OEE to Drive Significant Process Improvement. Ross is recognized as Australasia’s leading authority on total productive maintenance (TPM) and continuous improvement, and he had some key insights. Here is his complete answer:

OEE or Overall Equipment Effectiveness was created during the development of the Toyota Production System to help understand all the losses that could affect equipment performance so as to reduce lead times and improve quality, rather than relying on the traditional approach of measuring just equipment downtime. I first came across the concept in 1989 in a Productivity Press book titled TPM Development Program. It outlined that equipment could only be effective if it was Available when required, running at the ideal or theoretical speed or Rate (very best in ideal situation), and producing good Quality output first time. Hence OEE = Availability% x Rate% x Quality%.

Originally OEE involved the Six Big Losses (equipment failure, sets and adjustments, idling and minor stops, reduced speed, process defects, reduced yield) , however in more recent times this has been expanded to seven losses with the inclusion of planned downtime when the operating crew are at work.

OEE is often referred to as the measure that allows you to expose and capture the "hidden factory" within your plant. Often sites will identify opportunities worth 20% to 50% more capacity from their production lines or processes with little or no capital expenditure simply by fully understanding and doing something about all the losses that stop their equipment from being effective. I have certainly witnessed this in manufacturing, mining, and process industries during the past 20 years of applying this learning in a structured discipline way.

I have found when studied in detail, OEE losses can be attributed to three key areas:
  • Technical issues such as design weaknesses or poor maintenance practices.
  • People Development issues such as poorly trained operators or maintainers who lack an understand of prevention at source for equipment.
  • Management issues such as inappropriate organization structures, rostering, recruitment, daily management policies, planned maintenance and planned break times.
Once identified and actioned, the improvement results can be very significant.

One mine site in Indonesia reported at an international conference in Asia how over two years they saved over US$135million by focusing OEE improvement on their run-of-mine. At Australia’s largest privately owned brewery, OEE was used to increase the capacity of their main production line by more than 15% each year to defer the need to increase to a two-shift operation for three years while still meeting the growth of their business which was reported in the local media as 17.5% average yearly growth from 1993 to 2012.

Unfortunately at many sites, OEE has become the most misused and abused indicator of equipment performance with some sites changing the definitions to make it appear better as they are required to submit it to corporate for comparison between other sites.

At one large multi-national food manufacturing site I visited they were boasting about their high OEE performance, however when I delved into the way they were measuring OEE, I realised that they had removed Planned Downtime and Set-up or Changeover Downtime and had an Ideal speed set at the standard average speed used for setting budgets and doing costing (typically 20% lower than true ideal or theoretical speed). In effect, they were hiding many opportunities for improvement so that they could report a good performance figure to corporate management. In other words, they had a culture of always trying to look good rather than seeking out opportunities for continuous improvement.

OEE should be seen and used as a "driver" for improvement, not as a performance measure to be compared or benchmarked between equipment and sites. As a "driver" for improvement, the definition for OEE should have a 100% correlation to the good output produced from your line or plant. In other words, if OEE increases by 10% then you should be making 10% more good output or making the same amount of good output within 10% less time, hence the need for the OEE definition to include all the seven losses. 

What are you thoughts on Ross Kennedy's perspective on the use of OEE for process performance improvements? Do you use OEE as a key performance indicator of manufacturing productivity?