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Weekly Update (May 3, 2013)

Notable News

I had a glimmer of hope for common sense in the government this week. It turns out that a bill to get the FAA operating at pre-sequester levels had a typo in it. Apparently it was missing an ‘s’ to make ‘accounts’ plural, which would have limited funding. While this bill was needed in the first place due to an inability to effectively solve problems, it was a welcomed surprise that common sense dictated in this case. The actions the bill called for were taken before the bill had to weave its way back through the approval process.

The Lean takeaway is to make sure that you don’t let bureaucracy get in the way of progress. Granted, the government is a different beast than a private company, but businesses can get mired in their own rules that hamper creativity. I’m not advocating a free-for-all, but it is important to limit the number of hoops a person has to jump through to make a change.

Thoughts of the Week

  • The term ‘partnership’ is way overused when describing customer-supplier relationship. That’s not to say that they should be cutthroat with each other, but partners split risks and the ‘pie’ very differently than customers & vendors do.
  • There really aren’t a lot of new ideas in the Lean community. The innovation tends to come from how concepts are packaged and presented.

Tips of the Week

  • Write the three most important things you want to accomplish today on a 3×5 card and keep it in your pocket. Get in the habit of checking it every time you eat something or get a drink. You’ll be surprised at how much more effective you are if you make sure a few important things are accomplished every day.

Interesting Improvement Articles

  • Kevin Meyer has an interesting take on payment terms in his article ‘Net Nonsense‘. One insight that he has is about disparity in the cost of money, and how it plays out over the duration of a float. 30 days means a lot more to one side than the other. If you have a minute, take a look at the comments. I have a nice little exchange with him there.

Recommended Reading

  • When novices talk to me about continuous improvement, there is often one or two things they say that remind me how much misinformation is floating around out there about Lean. Read 11 Common Misconceptions About Lean to learn more about some of the most frequent misunderstandings. There is also a download of the article on PDF available for you to hand out to your team.

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