Newsletter – July, 2014

On My Mind

July 1 roughly marks the half-way point of 2014 and many executives are taking some time to reflect on the performance of their organization year-to-date and to understand what the outlook is for the rest of 2014. What has gone well? What hasn’t gone well? What surprised us? What are our major performance challenges for the rest of 2014? A Japanese word for self-reflection is hansei. Executives will learn during their hansei activity that some of their performance objectives are too easy whereas others are too difficult. Hopefully some will be “just right.” An easy objective might lead to boredom. A difficult objective might lead to frustration. A “just right” objective is the Goldilocks approach—neither too easy, nor too difficult, but just right. Some objectives, strategies, and action plans will need to be adjusted based on the hansei. Best wishes to you during the rest of 2014 as you attempt to accomplish your performance objectives.

Interesting Stories

Talk about doing something counterintuitive—the story of sports agent J. B. Bernstein’s improbable baseball recruiting odyssey is told on the big screen in the movie titled, Million Dollar Arm. Whether you enjoy baseball or not, this is a touching movie about finding raw talent in a surprising place and then developing the raw talent to an elite level. According to Wikipedia, Bernstein sponsored a contest in India to find baseball talent. Two Indians—Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel—placed first and second in the Million Dollar Arm contest and were given the opportunity to develop their baseball skills in the U.S. They watched their first baseball game once they arrived in the U.S. Under the guidance of Tom House at the University of Southern California, the two pitchers developed their pitching skills and were drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates within one year of their arrival in the U.S. July 4, 2009 was an important event for India as Rinku Singh became the first Indian to play in a professional baseball game when he pitched in the 7th inning of a minor league game. Dinesh Patel pitched in the 8th inning. Singh went the farthest of the two pitchers eventually playing in a AA professional baseball league. This was also an important event for Major League Baseball because of the potential to create numerous new baseball fans from the billion-plus Indian population. I don’t expect baseball to replace cricket anytime soon in India, but it will be interesting to see who the next Indian baseball players will be and how well they perform.

Company News

I presented on Japanese-Style Hoshin Kanri at The Conference Board event in St. Louis on June 17. I will be conducting a public seminar on Advanced Lean in Manufacturing on July 10 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN. The seminar brochure can be found on this website by selecting the “PUBLIC SEMINARS” tab on the homepage. The Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held September 24, 2014 at the BayView Event Center in Excelsior, MN. There will be fourteen outstanding presenters this year and the brochure will be available July 21.

Intriguing Reads

I’m writing a paper on Applying the Four Student Model During the SDCA Cycle for the International Conference on Quality in Tokyo this coming August. I recently revisited the book titled, Daily Management the TQM Way: The Key to Success in Tata Steel by Yukihiro Ando and Pankaj Kumar as part of my research. This is an excellent resource for learning about the basic ideas underlying TQM plus it provides an in-depth look at Daily Management with excellent Tata Steel examples.