Strategy & KPIs - Busting the Myths

Sep 18, 2019 10:30:00 AM / by John Cockburn-Evans posted in Productivity, Organisation, KPI, strategy

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Senior leaders have been wrestling with strategy for years. There has been a trend over the last few decades of linking metrics to strategy. This has obvious benefits, but  can be counter productive. An article in the September issue of the HBR highlights an example, where this has gone spectacularly wrong. Wells Fargo was an extreme example of where using metrics to drive sales induced staff to setup deposit and credit card accounts without the client consent.There were significant fines, reimbursement of fees and the consequent loss of reputation.

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Strategy founded by Vision, People Engagement & Cultural Shift

Sep 9, 2019 11:00:00 AM / by Aspire2blean posted in Lean, Productivity, culture, Organisation

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There is  considerable debate about strategy, both ongoing or as part of a new initiative or launch . Company or project strategy needs to linked, or support the "Vision" . It can take time to build a strategy, especially if you are working in a complex environment, multiple inputs and/or multiple stakeholders. If we want to achieve ROI on our strategy, it needs to be understandable , drive employee engagement, involve an element of cultural transformation and be executable. The cultural transformation is the hardest piece, because this will require individuals to change. People are creatures of habit, and don't like change. Significant change always pushes people out side their  personal comfort zones. There is an argument that says we can get our strategy to fit our current  culture, but there is a high chance in the rapidly changing market place, we will end up sub optimising our strategy. I recently heard a great quote in a presentation, "Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast".

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The Difference Between Performing Organisations & Great Ones

Sep 5, 2019 1:00:00 PM / by Aspire2blean posted in Business, Corporation, Environment, Lean, Operations, Sustainability, Process, Productivity

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I am always amazed at what improvement potential there is for organisations, even profitable and well established ones. There is a perception that they are well down their "Lean" Journey and have made significant improvements, whether it be through technology or process development. Organisations are rarely as well developed as they think they are, so of course this breeds complacency. Maintaining the improvement "hunger" is a real challenge in large companies.

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The Difference Between Performing Organisations & Great Ones

Sep 3, 2019 2:00:00 PM / by Aspire2blean posted in Business, Corporation, Environment, Lean, Operations, Sustainability, Process, Productivity

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I am always amazed at what improvement potential there is for organisations, even profitable and well established ones. There is a perception that they are well down their "Lean" Journey and have made significant improvements, whether it be through technology or process development. Organisations are rarely as well developed as they think they are, so of course this breeds complacency. Maintaining the improvement "hunger" is a real challenge in large companies.

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Productivity Inhibits Curiosity

Aug 29, 2019 2:00:00 PM / by Aspire2blean posted in Business, curiosity, Environment, Lean, Sustainability, Uncategorised, Process, Productivity

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In the line of work I do, there is a constant drive for productivity and efficiency. This clearly has its benefits, but it can be a hidden hindrance. As we rush to clear our job lists, key activities and work to have impact with our strategic goals, we have very little time to step back. This may sound obvious, and the principles of effective time management are well established, but what are the unintended consequences of this "hurried" or "rushed" state we create for ourselves? I use the word "ourselves" because even though our plates are filled by others, we have the power to control our environs. 

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Productivity - Don't sweat the Easy Stuff

Aug 27, 2019 10:00:00 AM / by Aspire2blean posted in Business, Lean, Operations, Saving, Task, Productivity

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When we are looking at  Productivity, we have a tendency to approach the easy stuff first.  There is nothing wrong with getting  "Quick Wins" in any  Operational Excellence Programme, especially if you are trying to get traction in a new programme, by demonstrating the power of the system. However, there is a danger that we get ourselves into "Tick Box" mode, and we end up working through check lists. This means  that we delay tackling the big issues, as we think we are making progress. This is not surprising as humans have what are known as cognitive biases. These are psychological states that can affect our rational thought processes and our ability to look at data objectively. There are many documented biases ranging  from 15 to 20 in number. In this particular case we are talking about "Task Completion Bias", which gives us the sense of  achievement when we view a 70% or similar complete  list. A recent two year study of 90,000 patients in the hospital emergency rooms, showed doctors not necessarily choosing the patients on the basis of the severity of their condition, which should be the primary focus. They were falling into this bias trap (HBR Paper - Task Selection & Workload)

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What does Productivity Encompass ?

Aug 20, 2019 10:00:49 AM / by John Cockburn-Evans posted in Lean, performance., Productivity, waste

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This is an expanding question because it encompasses everything we do. I have to stay mindful with my work, such that I don't get buried in the historical roots of lean manufacturing. At Aspire2BLean, we analyse the business situation and provide solutions for the traditional process wastes, but also look at the innate connections with energy losses, effluent and inefficient business processes. We are now looking at the digital interfaces and aspects of our daily work.

 We have to go way beyond these fundamental processes, and look into the dimensions of personal productivity as a subset of business efficiency.  This will have a significant impact on the overall goal of waste reduction. Within this area we have to go deeper and analyse the interaction with the person and machine. Nothing earth shattering, as it about the ability to train and guide staff on new hardware, which we have been doing for some time. We must get to the point where our personal ability to  connect effectively with the computers and digital interfaces improves, and our understanding is greater. It is not just about bespoke software for equipment, but the ability to deal with packages like Office 365, CRM and project management software. All of these touch points are opportunities for a loss in efficiency. I have tried to visualise this in a simple animation. 

Holisitc Productivity
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Agile is not Dead - It just needs Re-Calibrating

Aug 7, 2019 12:00:00 PM / by John Cockburn-Evans posted in Impact, Lean, Productivity, waste, Organisation, agile

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Embedding AI & Digital In your organisation

Jul 24, 2019 9:59:00 AM / by John Cockburn-Evans posted in Impact, Productivity, culture, AI, Digital, Organisation

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I have been fortunate enough to  attend a couple of events recently, one in Cambridge and one in Milton Keynes on the impact of digital technology , such as AI & I.o.T . Over and above the technological advances there was one recurring theme, that of  acceptance.

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The Complexity and Power of Agility

Jul 8, 2019 8:00:00 AM / by John Cockburn-Evans posted in Lean, Operations, Process, Productivity, waste

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As lean experts and professionals we are always talking about agility based on lean thinking. The majority of people in industry and commerce are aware of the term VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex Ambiguous), its importance and resonance. What does 

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