Newsletter – April, 2018

On My Mind
Some of the content in my 2016 paper on Quality, Analytics, and Big Data recently became even more relevant with the emergent data issues confronting Facebook and other news reports of data breaches in other organizations. The paper is available on the RESEARCH page of the Strategic Improvement Systems website ( Here is an excerpt from Page 42: “10. Manage Customer Data with Great Care. With data and information comes responsibility. . . Here are some sample guiding principles that would demonstrate a “Manage Customer Data with Great Care” intent:
• We will respect a customer’s data privacy preferences
• We will safeguard and protect customer data
• We will only share customer data when it is authorized and appropriate
• We will work aggressively to prevent errors associated with customer data
• We will correct any customer data error that we discover as quickly as possible
Customers might be more likely to establish a long-term relationship with a company if those principles are evident in the operations of the company. Customers whose data is managed with great care might be more likely to be open and honest with an organization—this could lead to the identification of new sources of customer value and a potential source of competitive advantage.”

Interesting Stories
I’ve made several trips to Japan—and now again on my recent trip—the service provided by retail store, restaurant, and hotel workers was exceptional. They were generally polite, respectful, attentive, thorough, and ready to serve. I didn’t notice any of them buried in their smartphones!

Company News
My son Simon and I visited Japan in early March where I gave a presentation on Big Data. We toured the Toyota Takaoka Plant and Toyota museums plus visited numerous Shinto and Buddhist temples and shrines in the Nagoya and Kyoto areas. I’m one of the sponsors for the PENworks 2018 event May 3-4 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis hosted by the Performance Excellent Network. The event is a great learning opportunity! The next public Strategic Improvement Green Belt course kicks-off April 17, 2018. The public Advances in Strategic Planning course will be held May 30, 2018. The venue for both courses will be the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN. The course brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. Other planned public courses in 2018 include Basic Analytics for Strategic Improvement, Advanced Analytics for Strategic Improvement, Strategic Improvement for Senior Executives, plus Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt courses.

Intriguing Reads
Two colleagues and I each individually identified our “Mount Rushmore” of the four books that most influenced our careers. This turned out to be a profound exercise because it forced me to reflect deeply on my career and then identify only four books (out of so many). Here are my four books: Out of the Crisis by W. Edwards Deming; Introduction to Quality Control by Kaoru Ishikawa; Hoshin Kanri by Yoji Akao (editor); and The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning by Henry Mintzberg. You might consider reading these books – it just might influence your career!