Continuous Improvement programs and why they fail

The best-running manufacturing plant I ever worked in (and I’ve worked in a lot of ‘em) used no Continuous Improvement (CI) methodologies. No Lean, no Six Sigma, no TPM, no TPS, no TQS, none of it (at least none in any programmatic way – though I don’t think you can run a manufacturing plant without […]

Ebenezer Scrooge on leadership

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol Before we get too far down the road past the recent wonderful Christmas […]

Winning performance: it’s the preparation, stupid

Yesterday I read this wonderful recap of the 1967 “Ice Bowl” game in Green Bay, in which the Packers beat the Cowboys with a touchdown in the closing moments of an NFL Championship Game played in temperatures even colder than we’ve had this week. This passage, a remembrance by Packers right guard Jerry Kramer, really […]

Want to reinvigorate US manufacturing? Make it suck less

The chattering classes are all atwitter over the decline in US manufacturing jobs. And rightly so; the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector is a social problem, a fiscal problem, and even a national security problem. Now, there are a whole lot of factors that have contributed to the decline in US manufacturing employment, so […]

Andrew Jackson Higgins, industrialist and war hero

Photo by Robert F. Sargent, US Coast Guard It’s one of the most iconic images from WWII. Usually it’s used to highlight the impossibly courageous men shown storming Omaha Beach during D-Day, and quite appropriately so. This article, though, focuses instead on the boat, and its inventor and manufacturer, Andrew Jackson Higgins. Who’s ever heard […]

You! Start treating people better right now!

As I’ve increasingly published my thoughts about the proper way, the moral way, to treat the people we’re privileged to lead, I’ve seen an interesting phenomenon among some of those who agree with me. They’re waiting for someone else to do something about it. Look at the comments to this LinkedIn post by Caroline Fairchild, […]

Do away with all the time clocks

I’m halfway through Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia. It’s affirmed something I’ve felt for a long, long time: that most business leaders are doing it all wrong. This passage hit me like a ton of bricks: I remember a conversation I had […]

Spend your time on what’s important to you, and ignore the jerks

Caroline Fairchild, Senior News Editor at LinkedIn, shared this article by her friend Dan Lyons about the burgeoning culture of overwork in Silicon Valley, with her own questions for her readers about workplace expectations and hours worked. It struck me as cognitive dissonance that in the nerve center of technology, which should be liberating us […]

You must read this book! Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America by Danielle DiMartino Booth

“I dedicate this book to every hardworking American who wakes up in the morning asking themselves what went wrong.” Danielle DiMartino Booth worked on Wall Street and as a financial columnist at the Dallas Morning News, then worked her way up at the Federal Reserve District Bank in Dallas, eventually advising Dallas Federal Reserve President […]

Leadership: treat your people like dogs

Okay, that’s click-bait. You should really treat your people like I treat my dog. (Well, not literally, because there are those people who consider belly rubs in the workplace inappropriate.) I try never to walk past my dog Hunter without at least giving him a pat on the head. Most of the time, I take […]