On My Mind: How strongly do we believe in our values? This is a question the National Basketball Association (NBA) is attempting to answer after the Chinese Government took offense to a comment made by an executive of one of the NBA teams in regards to the Hong Kong protesters. China is a large market for the NBA for merchandise and game broadcasts. One source mentioned that there are several hundred million NBA fans in China. The NBA has a history of welcoming the freedom of expression and so it will be interesting how this plays out. Interesting Stories: “No human is limited. You can do it.” This was said by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya after running a 26.2 mile marathon in Vienna in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds – becoming the first person ever to break the 2-hour barrier. Unfortunately, his achievement won’t count as an official record because it wasn’t an open event (see the full article in The Washington Post by Derek Hawkins on 10/12/19). Company News: I facilitated the 2nd Annual SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Forum panel discussion on October 4, 2019. The turnout was great in spite of the cold weather. The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses are the following: Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts November 5, 2019; Strategy Techniques & Tools will be held November 25, 2019; Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts January 7, 2020; and Innovation Techniques & Tools will be held February 4-5, 2020. The 11th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 29, 2019 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There will be eleven presentations on topics related to Organizational Culture & Philosophy, Strategic Planning, Innovation, Performance Measurement, Risk Management, Safety Huddles, Lean Six Sigma, System Thinking, & Problem-Solving. The brochure is available on the ANNUAL CONFERENCE page of this website. Intriguing Reads: Over 50 member countries of the African Union are developing Kaizen capabilities to assist in industrial development. They are being guided by Japanese experts. This is described in great detail in the book, Applying the Kaizen in Africa: A new Avenue for Industrial Development by Otsuka, Jin, and Sonobe (editors). I especially liked Chapter 3: Kaizen in Practice and Chapter 4: Kaizen and Standardization. If you want a refresher on the basic Kaizen principles, concepts, and techniques, then give this book a try.