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Master Manually Before Automating

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 May 2013.

For decades now, we have been operating by the principle of mastering a process manually before automating it. We have shared this principle with many clients, and to my amazement, we get more pushback on this one principle than any other.

The Elements of Change Part 4 – Cultural & Leadership

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 March 2013.

We have discussed ideas associated with the change process and how it involves technical work. We also discussed the organizational ramifications associated with this process. However, in the case of the deployment of lean and other world class manufacturing elements, we regularly claim that we need to change the culture for these initiatives to be successful.

The Elements of Change Part 3 – Technical Work

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 February 2013.

I am often asked, “What are the easiest attributes to instill into a world class organization? What are the most difficult?” After conferring with many colleagues on this perplexing question, my stock answer is simply, “The easiest part is the technical work. The most difficult is changing leadership behavior and culture.” The most understated or executed part is clearly the organizational effort necessary to deploy new practices and leadership behavior. Additionally, the question, “What does one mean by ‘technical work’?” has a bit of a more lengthy answer, as one’s view of technical work tends to be very narrow.

The New Year Resolution Phenomenon

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 January 2013.

Why do we set resolutions to begin on the first of January? Better yet, why do we set them year after year knowing that we stop somewhere into the month of January never having made a lasting change? Isn’t a resolution simply admitting that we don’t continually identify our shortcomings and consistently counteract them with self-discipline?


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 December 2012.

“If you want something to look spontaneous, organize it!” – Rolf Harris Nothing in the old slapstick Three Stooges or Charlie Chaplin movies was ever off the cuff. It was all carefully planned and choreographed, in other words, carefully organized. And so it should be with attempting to change the culture of an organization.


By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 November 2012.

In the post‐World War 2 era, the conversation around how to become the world’s best, and sustain competitive advantage, has raised the topic of organizational culture. The introduction of the elements of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) to the United States via Toyota has raised the performance bar for all of global manufacturing. However, few truly understand it and the results of efforts tend to fall far short of the depth of what Toyota has achieved. Jeffery Liker, in the first chapter of his book, The Toyota Way, bemoans this fact. Adapting to the ever‐changing dynamic of the competitive world requires a different way of thinking about the management of a business.


By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 October 2012.

Often in conversations with plant managers of unionized plants, the union is identified as a barrier to continuous improvement and world‐class performance. In fact, early in their “Lean Journey,” after many false starts in their own operations, one US automaker made the decision to focus on deploying Lean in their supply chain instead of their own plants, citing the union as the reason for the change in strategy.


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 September 2012.

Both the process and the result that is achieved (paying attention to what is done and how it is done) are important. The result will not change unless we change the process. Process Orientation comes with the understanding that it is the processes that yield results. Many managers focus purely on the results regardless of the process followed. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done!” If we focus on the processes that yield the results, we are more likely to be able to improve those results over time instead of getting what we get and not understanding why.


By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 August 2012.

A couple of years ago, I was in the Amazon rain forest riding on the Amazon River. It is the second longest river behind the Nile River and is approximately 4,000 miles in length and can be up to 120 miles wide. Although it was a very fast and huge river, it was amazing to me how there were “out houses” on piers along the banks where people would go to the bathroom and they were arranged to drop the waste right into the river. The stench was awful and yet, just a few feet away, kids would be playing in the water. Approximately five miles downstream, after cruising past several of these “out houses,” we met a tribe that lives near the water. Their drinking, bathing, and cooking water all come from this river. These indigenous people seemed to ignore the close proximity of human waste entering the water and being delivered directly to them. I guess you could say it was a case of, “out of sight, out of mind.”


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 July 2012.

It’s early morning, and you are on your way to work. Following your normal routine, you stop at the local Starbucks and pick up that delicious Grande Caramel Macchiato, walk back to your car, and once inside put the cup of coffee in the conveniently located cup holder – and the rest of your commute is enhanced by that energizing beverage.

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