Newsletter – April, 2020

On My Mind: What is on my mind is probably on your mind . . . COVID-19. How quickly our world can change forcing us to totally re-think nearly every aspect of our personal life and the lives of organizations. Leadership Teams are rapidly responding to the emergent COVID-19 issue: stress testing, contingency planning, scenario planning, statistical analysis, financial modeling, etc. Some dreams have been dashed, some lives ruined, and sadly, some lives have been lost. The strange and cruel aspect of COVID-19 is how quickly it became an invisible global threat. I wrote about Flexible Policy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) in my 2012 paper on The Application of Policy Deployment in Indian Companies (see Pages 6-7). The paper is available on the RESEARCH page of this website. That content is especially relevant now. There were seven organizational capabilities that I mentioned: (1) Be prepared for imaginable and unimaginable events, (2) Be aware of what is happening in the world, (3) Be able to detect emergent events, (4) Be able to diagnose the situation quickly and take immediate action (Check-Act), (5) Be able to communicate quickly, (6) Be able to make Policy Deployment changes quickly, and (7) Be able to rapidly conduct PDCA cycles throughout the company. Best wishes as you and the organizations you are associated with battle COVID-19. Interesting Stories: I’ve heard so many touching and inspiring stories this past month and also some stories of descipable human behavior. Here are some broad themes: heroic acts, sad goodbyes, fortunes lost, rays of hope, strengthening of family bonds, and profiteering. We each can author our own life story throughout this crisis and on the backside. I hope that yours has a happy ending. Company News: I presented on Big Data Analytics for Mobile Products at the joint Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) meeting at the Edina Library on March 10, 2020. The next Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC public courses are tentatively the following: Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts April 7, 2020 (distance learning); Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts May 4, 2020 (this course might shift into June or later); and Introduction to Multivariate Data Analysis which will be held May 21, 2020. The course brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. Intriguing Reads: I recently re-read several classic books because of their relevancy given COVID-19. The novel The Plague by Albert Camus provides a glimpse into the stages of an epidemic from the twin perspectives of human emotions and philosophy. The novel The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is a spellbinding novel with a heavy science perspective. The story is about how a team of scientists battle an extraterrestrial organism. The book Implanting Strategic Management by H. Igor Ansoff discusses many valuable topics including surpriseful changes, weak signals, strategic issue management, and how the use of filters can affect our decision making. Lastly, the book The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is essential reading during the current crisis. The author explains rare events, how to interpret them, how to respond to them, and how to prepare for future ones. I especially enjoyed the Glossary and Notes sections in the back of the book.