Does the Original Seven Quality Tools Still Fit?

Prior to his early retirement, Brian Joiner was Chairman and co-owner of Joiner Associates, a nationally recognized management consulting firm. Prior to Joiner Associates, Brian was a UW professor. He is the author of Fourth Generation Management and co-author with Peter Scholtes of The Team Handbook, published by Joiner Associates and one of the best-selling business books of all time, having now sold over one-and-a-half million copies. Brian was a protege of W. Edwards Deming and has received the Deming Medal, the Shewhart Medal, the Hunter Award, the Ott Award, and the Wilcoxon Prize, to name just a few. Brian is at this time is contributing to greater health care solutions through his work at Joiner Associates LLC.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Thoughts on Lean and Dr. Deming from Brian Joiner

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:         In today’s the world, does the original seven quality tools still fit?

Brian Joiner:      I think all those things are still very important. Lean, I think, is very important. I’m not so high on Six Sigma. One thing, that I think Six Sigma made a major contribution to, was the process of construction and developing capabilities that, from the beginning. They had this notion that you needed to develop people to high levels of confidence to help others do this stuff. They came up with the notion of the black belts and the greenbelts and so on, and that was a real innovation.

We at Joiner Associates, and the other thing that happened are that companies, we had one of our clients at that time got heavily into Six Sigma, one of the early companies to do that, and we already had a thing that was like the black belt training but wasn’t quite as rigorous, and it included more of the people aspects of consulting and how you get teams to work together and so on, but it had the basics of it, which are para-statisticians training, like paramedics and other things like that.

We had that, but what we never had was the ability to get the company to put the high potentials into the course. That’s what made that hum, I think, was special, was that they had the high potentials, learning and learning by doing it themselves before they go out and try to help other people, getting good at it themselves that creates a whole new culture. That was a big, big impact from the Six Sigma. I think that the content of it is okay. Lean has much better content, and I think they had better content even in the beginning approaches. We didn’t have that access to the high potentials to make that work.

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True Deming, I open up Peter Scholtes book

In 1999, poor health forced Peter Scholtes to retire from conducting seminars and consulting. Peter asked Kelly L. Allan, Senior Associate of Kelly Allan Associates, to continue the seminars and consulting practice. Scholtes said, “There is much to appreciate about Kelly. His exceptional ability to combine theory with real-world implementations is perhaps what clients appreciate the most.”

Related Podcast and Transcription: The Work of Peter Scholtes

An excerpt from the podcast:

Kelly Allan: When Peter was writing The Leader’s Handbook, the phenomenon of “Lean” was in its infancy in the U.S., and it’s kind of a complicated issue in that Taiichi Ohno, who is the father of the Toyota Production System, which we would call “Lean” did not like labels, as Deming did not like labels. He didn’t care for TQM, for example. When Peter wrote The Leader’s Handbook, he was very careful about any of those kinds of words and phrases that tend to pigeonhole things and limit their effectiveness.

Joe Dager: Well, I think what’s interesting about The Handbook, is that it has always served as my bridge to applying Dr. Deming’s principles, and it’s untainted, as I mentioned, with Japanese terms and the Toyota validation that occurs in practically every “Lean” book anymore, that, it needs to be validated if Toyota did it or not, but if you really want true Deming, I open up Peter’s book.

Kelly Allan: You are not alone in that. Peter was an excellent student of Deming’s, certainly, and a thinker in his own right. The Leader’s Handbook is bigger in scope than “Lean” quality productivity. It links those elements into a management approach, so The Leader’s Handbook is about creating an organization that really has win-win-win for everyone involved rather than experiencing the unintended negative consequences of trying to lead an organization through silo thinking or by pitting departments against one another for budgets and recognition and rewards. Peter knew, as Deming knew, only at the visible numbers, where we look at the KPIs, and when we try to set targets without understanding ability of people, and processes, and teams, etc., what we are doing is creating tomorrow’s failures. We are creating unintended consequences that people try to optimize their own area, achieve their own goals within their own departments at the detriment of the entire organization. And that’s something that is still not well understood.

Joe Dager: Well, I think one of the things I noticed, because I play in the sales and marketing world a little bit, is it has been very difficult to take “Lean” into sales and marketing because it is centered on internal structure and the first thing they talk about is leveling sales and making it better for the production. Well, when I read Peter’s work and Deming’s work, it is systems thinking where we are trying to make both the supply and the demand-side work together, and just as you alluded to there in your description is that type of systems thinking is what Dr. Deming and Peter Scholtes and others were about.

Kelly Allan: You are absolutely correct, and I think it’s a good insight that you mentioned that one of the, and it’s true not just of “Lean, ” I mean “Lean” has really excellent things to offer, but when we try to apply anything without seeing the larger context, we typically get those unintended consequences. The example you gave about sales, trying to level set sales with production, it’s not that’s a bad thing, and it certainly can reduce some of the upsets that come from those two areas being out of balance, but that’s still kind of a black-and-white world, and with Dr. Deming’s work and with Peter Scholtes’ work, we are no longer in a black-and-white world, we are in a color, 3-D world instead of a two- dimensional, black-and-white world. We have to bring in other things, and it’s not just about, then, whether we are trying to look at the numbers of what production is, or service delivery is capable of providing, so that sales can sell that. We also want to have feedback loops that include market research, and include the customer, include new innovation, and we want to be using sales, not just as a sales function, but as in part a research function, to hear the voice of the customer, and to test things the customer might not have thought about   It becomes multi-dimensional, and that’s where I think the example you gave was really excellent, because we see so many companies trying to force-fit “Lean” methodologies without seeing the larger ramifications of that. Things will get better in some ways if you force-fit “Lean” into sales, but they won’t necessarily stay there.

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A Salute to PPD

To some, Dota 2 is just a video game. To Peter “PPD” Dager, it’s a career. Watch as PPD prepares for the biggest video game tournament to ever take place, The International 4: a 10 million dollar gaming tournament in Seattle where the best Dota 2 teams in the world compete for the largest e-sports prize in history.

Many people will view this video not knowing the challenges that face video game players to reach this level. They all posses skill and a mental aptitude that is very unique. In addition, they all have to have a unique psyche to withstand the constant turmoil of roster changes, inconsistent sponsors and the personalities of various cultures. It is not uncommon for teams to have three and even four different nationalities playing together.

I will add to the video what in my opinion was a defining moment in Peter’s career.  I was an undiscovered observer looking out the kitchen window. It occurred outside of video games when the neighborhood sports star who happened to be faster, stronger and much more popular got corned by Peter in a squirt gun, of course with Super-Soakers) fight cornered him. The neighborhood boy looked Peter right in the eye and said, “don’t you dare shoot me.” It was even intimidating to me, as an observer.  Peter, hesitating only slightly,  unloaded the super-soaker into the boy. I thought at the time, that not only was he fearless but it said a lot about Peter’s will to win.

Peter’s will to win certainly helped propel his career and get him where he is today. However, what stood out to me in the video was the moment after the final lost where Peter is signing autographs. There are few people that could appreciate what it took for him to stay there and do that. He may have had to overcome his biggest challenge, his self. To stay around and control all of his other emotions after losing said an awful lot to me. I salute PPD and his efforts in becoming a champion in more ways than just on the playing field.

Find out what PPD and his team Evil Geniuses are up to these days:
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Buy PPD’s official shirt and support him directly (designed and conceived by Peter himself)!
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Using the Power of Visualization in Business

  Michael Gelb explains the power of visualization and how it relates to innovation and creativity. You can find out more n Michael’s new book: Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius.

Related Podcast and Transcription: The Power of QiGong

Joe:   When you think of it in sports, it’s become accepted through the years and you kind of visualize standing behind a golf ball, your swing, and if you think the water on the right, well guess what, it usually goes in the water on the right. But in business, that’s always been kind of taboo. You never really did that.

Michael:   Yes, well you know it’s — how about if I just cut to the chase and say, “That is really stupid!” No, I mean, the detachment, the notion that somehow you are some kind of a disembodied mind. Yes, I mean just take it on this level, forget about performing on a more creative, more intelligent way. Just let’s look at in the context of healthcare. The biggest expense companies have, or one of certainly the biggest expenses they have is the healthcare contributions for their people. And when people actually get sick, obviously that’s not good for anybody and most of the illnesses in our world today are caused by one of the two things; either lifestyle, a lack of exercise, poor diet and fundamentally stress is the greatest contributor to most illnesses that people experience, and then the other big contributor is going to the hospital.

Iatrogenic illness is about 25% of illnesses in the United States, so between lifestyle and then the treatments for the lifestyle illness — you know I just met a guy on a plane, I just did a seminar out in Florida and this guy sitting next to me said he used to be really overweight, and he was out of shape, and he got some kind of sinus infection and he went to his doctor and the doctor put him on really heavy-duty antibiotics for 21 days. The sinus infection went away, and instead he got a yeast infection and that lasted for months and wrecked his life for a while until friends of him said, “If you keep taking drugs, you’re going to keep getting a reaction. You need to change your diet and start exercising.” So the guy lost over 100 pounds and he said it absolutely changed his life and the great thing is that he had no idea that there was a connection between his lack of exercise and his crappy diet and taking antibiotics, and the fact that he was way overweight, out of shape and prone to all these problems.

This is so simple, and yet we keep spending more and more money on various kinds of pharmaceuticals and people want a magic bullet. You’re responsible to a large extent for your health and for your level of energy and here’s the great news, people have been studying how to cultivate more energy for thousands of years, and this is not just anecdotal or superstitious. The Harvard Women’s Health Newsletter recently described this ancient Chinese art and said, “It’s not just meditation in motion, it’s medication in motion.” These are research-validated to help with so many of the common challenges that people face. Especially, this is relevant to you if you’re 20, 30, or 40. But if you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90, the margin for error is less.

Learn about Lee Holden’s Qi Gong Exercises & Program

When to Use Dialogue Mapping 0

This past week, I have investigated Dialogue Mapping and been starting to use it. The context that I first used it in was capturing meeting notes which I could argue the pros and cons of this, but find for virtual meetings particularly interesting and better than most other attempts. The one problem I have found was trying to do it without being the facilitator. One, it is hard to keep up and asking to re-clarifying certain points sometimes seems out of place. It does demonstrate how unstructured most meetings are! Dialogue Map

My new venture with  Dialogue Mapping) is to see how it works in a meeting that we are trying to solve a problem and reach a conclusion or an implementation of the countermeasure to the problem. Most of us believe that there is some sort of ideal sequence of events that we go through which results in a decision with the implementation to follow. The preceding discussion to this is quick, direct, and implementation is straight forward. And, that is how it goes most of the time. The issues are familiar, solutions are obvious, and the implementations are straightforward. What I just explained is a routine decision making for a routine problem.

The decision-making process in most organizations are never routine, and more problems seem to exist that we could call messy or as Horst Rittel used to call them Wicked Problems. The bottom line is Tough Problems do not solve easily. This is why the IBIS Method was developed, later followed by Conklin’s Dialogue Mapping. Dialogue Mapping takes these tough problems and structures a way to capture the information. I like the fact that we remove a barrier by doing this, the loss of ideas and questions. The other area, that I see benefit in, is that it allows to control the dialogue to keep all participants in the discussion.

I am not sure for routine discussion, meetings and decisions that I would go through the effort of Dialogue Mapping. I could change my mind as I get more proficient at it.  However, I do like the structure of the entire process and can see the benefits of the process for those more difficult decisions.

Dialogue Mapping is based on the Issue-Based Information System (IBIS) method developed by Horst Rittel. The IBIS method breaks a conversation down so that it can be structured into only 3 basic elements: Question, Idea, Pro or Con.

Diagram was created using Rationale Software

Develop Shared Understanding thru Dialogue Mapping 0

Dialogue MappingTM with KC Burgess Yakemovic of Cognexus Group.  KC has over 25 years of experience capturing and using decision making KC Yakemovicrationale within both the corporate and small business environments. She worked with Jeff Conklin a (author of Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems) during his early research on the technology needed to support the IBIS methodology in the “real world.”   Since January 2011, KC has been the Director of Training at CogNexus.

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Using Argument Mapping in a Collaborative Way 0

Working with argument maps are a great way to outline and develop your  critical thinking. It’s not really about winning an argument rather it is more about looking at both sides objectively. It is something we all need a little help with sometimes.

Rationale is an educational mapping tool that includes an easy-to-use essay planner, with templates that help students prepare their ideas for clear essays that address the topic question. I have found it great for developing sales letters, telephone scripts and many other forms of marketing communication. It can also serve as a structure for creating decision trees. One of the extras included in the software is the icons for using Dialogue MappingTM.

Look at Rationale in action:

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