Monthly Archives: July 2008

Video: Electing a US President in Plain English | Common Craft – Explanations In Plain English

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I figure most readers already understand the US Electoral process but I love this video (appx 3.5 minutes).  It is so simple, clear, and VISUAL.  I am in the middle of The Back Of The Napkin by Dan Roam and this video is very consistent with the lessons in the book.  Common Craft has a whole slew of great videos in this style.  I put this in the Lean improvements category because it inspires me how we can create a visual workplace and process instructions. Check it out!

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Keeping Too Much Inventory On Your Hard-Drive?

The Trouble with Terabytes by John C. Dvorak at PCMAG.COM is a great article about how cheaper information storage is causing us to keep unneeded files, duplicate documents, bad photos, lame music tracks from ripping a whole CD to your iPod, ect.  He points out how important it is to maintain our information storage systems.  The solution sounds a little like 5S to me! 

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Great Mark Twain Quote

“My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine — everybody drinks water.”  -Mark Twain

Improvements do not always need to be perfect.  Small changes may seem like they do not make a big impact, but they will in the long run (as well as give you some momentum).  Do not wait until the wine is perfect when you are thirsty for change, get some water immediately!

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I love “My CI”

Mike Wroblewski’s blog Got Boondoggle?always has some great gems that encourage and inpire me.  His latest article, My CI, is a brilliant way to demonstrate respect for people and get employee engagement.  He has a Kaizen Wall Of Fame and recognizes people who create improvements by branding it “My Continuous Improvement”.  Check it out and see the pictures he posted.

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Galileo On Gemba

What was observed by us is the nature or matter of the Milky Way itself, which, with the aid of the spyglass, may be observed so well that all the disputes that for so many generations have vexed philosophers are destroyed by visible certainty, and we are liberated from wordy arguments.

Galileo Galilei was a Tuscan (Italian) physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution.

My paraphrase: “When going to gemba with a spyglass and learning to see, we are liberated from wordy arguments in a conference room.” 

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New Name & New Look: Improve With Me

I recently bought a domain name and now am applying it to my Pass The Buck blog.  The URL still is the same but you can also get here at http://www.improvewithme.com.   I chose the name IMPROVE WITH ME because I coach organizational teams to remove waste and I also want to share (and hear your personal stories if you find this site encouraging) as I try to improve myself everyday.   I have new RSS feeds with the new name but the old ones still work for now.  I updated the look of my site to reflect the change!  I hope you enjoy it.

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My Reflections From Tufte

I learned a lot when I saw Edward Tufte last week.  I have increased ^ my knowledge of data presentation (the little carrot in this sentence is an example of mixing symbols directly into narrative).   Here are some more take-aways:

  • We get so much into our graphs, it is easy to lose the power of a simple table (people read them all of the time in sports and market papers – why do we think people need fancy picture-graphs).
  • Sort data by performance.  We often see data sorted by alphabetical order which doesn’t allow people to see trends.
  • Make content rich and give a data dump to allow the viewer to make their own conclusions.  Viewers will find a point that hooks them, we do not need to direct them (unless you are in sales). 
  • Rich content = More than 1:1 comparisons.  For instance, instead of just showing process cycle times – add data about time available, visit type, patient acuity, etc.  Separate tables and graphs do not allow the viewer to see how every element is connected.  Multivariate data should coexist and not be separate!

I was frustrted with one thing from his course.  The majority of the graphs he loves need a drawing tool and not possible with Excel.  Some of his advice boils down to “nice to know but I don’t have the tools to apply it yet”.

The course was worth the time and money and I encourage anybody to see him.  You get all of his books which pretty much make up for the price.

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How To Improve Your Powerpoint Presentations

Rowan Manahan at Fortify Your Oasis created this latest slideshowto illustrate the power of visuals in your presentation.  RSS Readers will need to open this post to view the presentation.

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Watch Your Assumptions

By guest columnist Shelley J. Buck

 

Are your assumptions in check?  Have you placed assumptions on someone else – thinking “well they ‘should’ do that” – or could you be assuming someone’s being unreasonable about a request or task -thinking “they think I ‘should’ do that – ha!”? 

 

Here’s a question for you: Have you talked to that person about your expectations or theirs?  No?  Well stop shoulding all over yourself and others!

 

In all areas of our lives we’re making assumptions – both good and bad. It’s vital that we communicate and get the facts on the table as soon as possible. Take the time to talk it out. Once everyone understands the expectations, there leaves no room for guessing, hurt feelings or – for you LEAN people – WASTE! (time, energy, etc.)

 

Please have a conversation before you get upset with a boss, friend or coworker. I bet you’ll be happier with the outcome.

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Mock God at Your Own Risk!

I received this via email and it made me reflect. While I have not double checked the facts, I found this to be inspiring. I hope you find it impactful.

DID YOU KNOW THESE FACTS?   I SURE DIDN’T TILL NOW.

Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!  Make a personal reflection about this…

It is written in the Bible, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7

Here are some men and women who mocked God :

John Lennon (Singer): Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said:

“Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain.  Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, today we are more famous than Him.” (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ): During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being President, then he died.

Cazuza (Brazilian composer, singer and poet): During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: “God, that’s for you.”

He died at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER.

The man who built the Titanic: After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be.  With an ironic tone he said: “Not even God can sink it.”

I think you all know what happened to the Titanic

Marilyn Monroe (Actress): She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.  He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.  After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said, “I don’t need your Jesus.”

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment.

Bon Scott (Ex-vocalist of AC/DC): On one of his 1979 songs he sang, “Don’t stop me; I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell.”

On the 19th of February 1980, he was found dead; he had been choked by his own vomit.

Campinas, Brazil: In 2005 a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend. The mother accompanied her to the car and was worried about the drunkenness of her friends. She said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car, “My daughter, go With God and may He protect you.”  She responded, “Only if He (God) travels in the trunk, ’cause inside here it’s already full.”

Hours later, news came that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died. The car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact.  The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none were broken.

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer): She said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006, she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.  Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and He is still alive.

I have done my part, Jesus said “If you are embarrassed about me, I will also be embarrassed about you before my father.” Mark 8:38 paraphrased.

Bishop T.D. Jakes’ 8 Second Prayer, just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!

‘Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen.’

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Edward Tufte in Seattle Next Week

I will be at the July 17th Edward Tufte Course.  I am pretty excited to learn how to present data to tell a story in a visual way.  Let me know if you are attending because I would love to meet some of my readers!

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Poka-yoke Health Care

I recommend a great resource for you to check out: Mistake-Proofing the Design of Health Care Processes from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

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Interruptions Waste

Ralph Bernstein at Lean Insider posted a great piece “Quiet Time” and “No Email Day”: Eliminating the Waste of Interruptions.  I love this idea and think it is very Lean thinking.  We are in a culture where interruptions are so common we now must be proactive to own our time!

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Value Added – Happiness as Your Business Model

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Tara Hunt from Citizen Agencycreated this brilliant slideshow (RSS readers will need to open this article to view).  This really helps me get a picture of the mind of the customer.  Once we understand their minds, then we can ensure our process steps are creating value.

Slide 124 inspires me from a Lean perspective.  While there are some necessary non-value-added steps that have to be taken (especially in healthcare), look for the possibility to make it value added by giving the customer tools to personalize their experience.

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100 Posts!

Wow – I can’t believe this blog has 100 posts!  It has taken me about 7 months to hit this landmark but I have loved it.

I began this blog while interviewing for my Lean Data Consultant position and it has been fun capturing my thoughts and ideas during my training.  It is neat that I hit 100 posts at the same time as I begin in a value stream (realignment is later this month).  I hope to bring back my project management thoughts and how they relate to Lean projects during this next phase of my life.

I want to thank all of my readers from the bottom of my heart.  Just seeing that people are reading this keeps me going.  I also want to thank all of the blogs that have added my site as a link on theirs. 

If you are considering a blog for yourself, I highly encourage it.  It is a lot of fun and gives you an opportunity to reflect.  Everybody has a unique perspective and I would love to read your site!

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