Newsletter – January, 2019

On My Mind
Another year has flown by and now many organizations and individuals have new goals they would like to achieve in 2019. I tend to begin each year with high hopes and optimism . . . and then soon thereafter reality appears when unanticipated events occur and unexpected barriers emerge forcing me to re-evaluate my priorities and resource allocations. The easy route would be to set easily attainable goals which would result in apparent success, but not personal satisfaction. Alternatively, I could set unrealistic goals and not achieve anything leading to frustration. Finding the appropriate balance is my aim these days. Best wishes as you strive to achieve your 2019 goals.

Interesting Stories
Colin O’Brady from Portland, Oregon “. . . became the first person to traverse Antarctica alone without any assistance on Wednesday [12/26/2018], trekking across the polar continent in an epic 54-day journey that was previously deemed impossible” according to Amanda Lee Myers of the Associated Press (AP). Journeys like his are inspiring, but loaded with risks. The great British explorer Henry Worsley died in his solo Antarctic attempt in 2016. From the same AP article, O’Brady reflected: “I’m no longer the same person I was when I left on the journey . . .  I’ve suffered, been deathly afraid, cold and alone. I’ve laughed and danced, cried tears of joy and been awestruck with love and inspiration.” British Army Captain Louis Rudd became the second person to make a successful solo unassisted crossing of Antarctica two days later. Maybe I’ll now re-think my 2019 goals!

Company News
I’m excited to announce the next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses for the Winter/Spring time frame: Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts January 15, 2019; Customer Experience Deep Dive will be held January 23, 2019; Basic Statistics & Analytics will be held February 12-13, 2019; Creating High-Performing Work Teams will be held February 26, 2019; Implementing Process Management will be held March 20-21, 2019; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held April 11-12, 2019; and Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held April 30, 2019. The brochures for these events are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Every year at this time I re-read the book Sioux Winter Count: A 131-Year Calendar of Events by Roberta Carkeek Cheney. It helps me reflect on my personal life and business. From the Introduction of the book: “Winter counts were the historical calendars of the Sioux. One part of this great Indian nation lived along the big muddy river, the Missouri [River], that cut its way across Dakota Territory. Their historians kept records of these people on animal skins. The Big Missouri Winter Count is one of the most extensive and best preserved of all these Indian calendars.” Continuing from the Introduction – each year, “. . . an appointed historian [member of the tribe] drew one pictograph with colored dyes on the buffalo or deer skin at the end of each winter season.” If you could draw one pictograph to commemorate the most important event for you in 2018, what would it be?

Newsletter – December, 2018

On My Mind
Here we go again . . . Another high-profile organization experienced a data breach – it was Marriott this time. Unfortunately, it is reasonable to assume that at least one organization each person deals with has experienced a data breach. I now just assume some of my personal information has been compromised and all I can do is cross my fingers. It will be interesting to see if U.S. lawmakers pass legislation similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union. There seems to be some momentum on the part of (1) technology companies to welcome some regulations and (2) citizens to demand more data privacy and safeguards. On another note, the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush was quite moving. I’ll always remember his call for a “kinder and gentler nation.” That request is still appropriate today.

Interesting Stories
Magnus Carlsen successfully defended his World Chess Champion title recently in London against Fabiano Caruana. The match consisted of twelve games and they all resulted in a draw forcing the players into a tie-breaker round of speed play. Carlsen—who has excelled at speed play in the past—easily defeated Caruana in the tie-breaker round to retain the title. Those not experienced at chess probably thought the match was uneventful and boring because there were twelve consecutive draws. However, there were numerous exciting moves during the initial twelve games including missed opportunities and minor blunders. Carlsen will defend his title again in 2020. Will Caruana get another chance? Only time will tell.

Company News
I attended the MinneFRAMA (Financial, Retail, and Marketing Analytics) Conference at the Science Museum of Minnesota on December 3, 2018. It was sponsored by MinneAnalytics. There were dozens of presentations and over 850 conference attendees. Anyone in the Twin Cities interested in analytics and big data should become a member of MinneAnalytics. Membership is free as are the outstanding conferences sponsored by MinneAnalytics. The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events are the following: Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and Customer Experience Deep Dive will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events are available on this website. The Winter/Spring schedule of public events will be available on January 2, 2019.

Intriguing Reads
There are two annual reports that I study in depth each year: The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report which contains the famous Letter to Shareholders by CEO Warren Buffet and the Toyota Annual Report. I particularly enjoyed the 2018 Toyota Annual Report because it describes the Toyota long-term strategy in great detail. If you want a glimpse into the future—according to Toyota—then check out the annual report. The next Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report should be available in April of 2019 just prior to the Annual Meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska.

Newsletter – November, 2018

On My Mind
There are some recent events that should impact how big data analytics is used in companies. First, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has affected those U.S. companies who have European Union customers and now U.S. lawmakers are considering similar laws. Second, some algorithms have recently been found to have discriminated against certain groups calling into question the unbiasedness of algorithms. Lastly, some executives are warning people on how their data is being used by companies – here is a passage from the article Apple CEO Urges Action on Data Misuse which appeared in The Wall Street Journal on 10/25/2018 (Pages B1 & B4, by Sam Schechner and Emre Peker): “Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook issued the technology giant’s strongest call yet for U.S.-wide data-protection regulation, saying individuals’ personal information has been weaponized.” . . . “’Our own information—from the everyday to the deeply personal—is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,’ Mr. Cook said. ‘Today, that trade has exploded into a data-industrial complex.’” While big data analytics holds great promise, there are obviously still many challenges that must be addressed.

Interesting Stories
Chess is considered one of the ultimate games of strategy and it can be instructive to watch elite Grandmasters play. Magnus Carlsen will be challenged by Fabiano Caruana for the World Chess Champion title starting November 9, 2018 in London. Carlsen has held the title since 2013 and is considered the favorite in this match. However, Caruana is a strong challenger. He became the youngest Grandmaster in U.S. history while still fourteen years old and he is one of the highest ranked chess players in history. Caruana is the first American to challenge for the World Chess Champion title since Bobby Fischer. If you want an alternative to watching traditional sports this month, then follow the match starting November 9 – you just might get captured.

Company News
I presented on Information-Based Customer Value Creation at the 1st Annual Colloquium on Analytics, Data Science & Computing. This was an outstanding event and it will be held next year on October 25-26, 2019. The Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC schedule of public events is now set: Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held November 14-15, 2018; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held November 29, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and Customer Experience Deep Dive will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events are available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
There are two relatively new books that are worth reading in preparation for the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana. The book titled, Endgame Virtuoso Magnus Carlsen: His Extraordinary Skills Uncovered and Explained by Tibor Karolyi obviously focuses on Magnus Carlsen and his endgame skills. The book titled, Fabiano Caruana: His Amazing Story and His Most Instructive Chess Games by Alexander Kalinin contains some of Caruana’s “best and most instructive” games. If you want some deep insight into two of the best chess players in the world, then these books are a good place to start.

Newsletter – October, 2018

On My Mind
Automobile recalls are quite common these days and even the highly-respected Toyota Motor Corporation occasionally experiences such events. Toyota recently recalled 2.4 million Prius hybrids because they can stall while driving (see the October 5, 2018 issue of USA TODAY). I’m reminded of an article I wrote with Schroeder, Linderman, and Rickard (2010) on Preserving Quality Superiority which appeared in Quality Progress. Once you become #1 in Quality in your industry – How do you stay #1? Based on our research, we identified six factors important for preserving quality superiority: (1) Quality superiority is a strategic intent; (2) Go beyond customer focus to customer intimacy; (3) Leaders at all levels are engaged in quality activities; (4) You have a strong Quality Management System in place; (5) Quality is embedded in the culture; and (6) The organization adapts to—and shapes—the environment. We know so much about how to become #1 in Quality, but we still don’t know a lot about how to stay #1. Toyota is an excellent current case study on how difficult it is to stay on top.

Interesting Stories
Companies have so much to worry about today in terms of data/information security and privacy. Data breaches, hacking, cyberattacks, and now accusations that people in China might have planted surveillance microchips in servers used by leading U.S. technology companies (see the October 4, 2018 issue of the Washington Post). The lesson continues to be invest time and money into security, be vigilant, and back-up, back-up, back-up!

Company News
I’d like to thank the following presenters for helping make the 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum a great success: Cathy Moeger (retired) of the MN Pollution Control Agency; Bruce King of Seagate; Sara Rose of the MN Department of Human Services Office of Continuous Improvement; Dr. Ralph Bovard of the HealthPartners Institute; Kristine Enno, Cathy Robinson, and Dr. Carrie Oswald of Be The Match; Dr. Tanya Rodriguez of Hormel Foods; Dr. Johanna Rian and Gene Dankbar of the Mayo Clinic; Terra Carey of the MN Department of Human Services Direct Care and Treatment; David Peter of IBM; Randy Guse of the United Health Group; Crystal Selchow of Loram Maintenance of Way; and Vern Campbell of Process Management and the University of Manitoba. Everyone in attendance benefitted greatly from the knowledge the presenters shared.The schedule for the next public SIS events has been set: Statistics & Analytics for Strategic Improvement will be held November 6-7, 2018; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held November 14-15, 2018; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held November 29, 2018; Implementing Process Management will be held December 12-13, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and Customer Experience Deep Dive will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events are available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
The book Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques by Witten, Frank, Hall, and Pal is an excellent starter book on the subject. I especially enjoyed Chapter 4 on algorithms and Chapter 13 on applications. If you want to get going on learning about analytics and big data, then this should be one of your first technical books.

Newsletter – September, 2018

On My Mind
Nike decided to dive head first into divisive politics by using Colin Kaepernick, a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback, in an advertisement with the phrase: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” There is a current controversy in the NFL regarding players taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to each game. Kaepernick gained notoriety by taking a knee and then speaking his mind to the media. His playing career spiraled downward from that point. A decision like Nike made shouldn’t be taken lightly by organizations because immediately some people will love your organization more, some people won’t care, and some people will hate your organization. It will be interesting to see how this plays out (pardon the pun). We haven’t seen the same phenomenon in Major League Baseball and I’m not sure why.

Interesting Stories
I was at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California on August 7 when Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, tweeted that he planned to take the company private. This triggered immediate passionate responses from analysts and investors—some positive and some negative. The tweet also attracted the interest of the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was surreal. Musk has apparently borrowed the “business by tweeting” playbook which has worked well for getting attention, but has not helped Tesla overcome its production issues.

Company News
I presented on Integrating Quality, Analytics, and Big Data at the American Society for Quality – Madison Section meeting in Madison, WI on September 11, 2018. The schedule for the next public SIS events has been set: the Leading Rapid Action Projects Workshop on October 16-17, 2018 is full; Statistics & Analytics for Strategic Improvement will be held on November 6-7, 2018; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held (again) on November 14-15, 2018; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held on November 29, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt will start January 8, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt will start January 15, 2019; and the Customer Experience Deep Dive Workshop will be held January 23, 2019. The brochures for these events will be available on this website on September 20, 2018. The 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochure is available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
The book Big Data: A Very Short Introduction by Dawn Holmes is an excellent “starter book” for anyone interested in learning about Big Data at a basic level. Oxford University Press has published a number of these “Very Short Introductions” or VSIs and they are generally excellent and easy to travel with because they are small books. I especially enjoyed the chapters on Big data analytics and Big data security and the Snowden case.

Newsletter – August, 2018

On My Mind
Qualitative approaches—such as grounded theory, ethnography, and the case study method—seem to be gaining more corporate attention as the limitations of quantitative approaches are becoming more well-known. This is in part why I define analytics as “the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data for decision making.” Both “Q” approaches can be used to capture tacit and explicit knowledge which were so masterfully described in the landmark book “The Knowledge-Creating Company” by Nonaka and Takeuchi. It is especially important in analytics work to understand the four knowledge conversion modes: Socialization, Externalization, Combination, and Internalization. Organizations are hiring a multitude of “Quants” these days, but not a lot of “Quals.” A holistic view of analytics values both qualitative and quantitative data. A company can ignore qualitative data, but at its own risk.

Interesting Stories
Some stories do have a happy ending! The nearly unbelievable rescue of the twelve soccer players and their coach from the cave network in Thailand revealed so many positive traits of humans. I was moved by the courage, hope, ingenuity, and cooperation displayed during the rescue operation. The thirteen people were fortunate to be found in the first place and then the international rescue plan to extract them from the cave network was far from a sure thing – especially with the potential for more rain and cave flooding. One heroic rescuer tragically died during the rescue operation. If you missed the news coverage of the event, don’t worry, there will be numerous magazine articles, books, and movies that attempt to tell the epic tale.

Company News
I’ll be presenting on Information-Based New Value Creation at the Global Quality Futures Workshop in Monterey, California on August 10, 2018. The schedule for the next public Strategic Improvement Systems (SIS), LLC events has been set: Strategic Improvement Green Belt Course – Starts August 15, 2018; and the Strategic Improvement Black Belt Course – Starts August 21, 2018. Also, the 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochures for these events are available on this website. The Fall Schedule for SIS public events will be available on this website in late August.

Intriguing Reads
The new book by Douglas B. Laney titled, “Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information as an Asset for Competitive Advantage” is an exceptional resource if you are interested in learning how to benefit from the analytics revolution. This book provides deep insights on how to develop organizational analytics capabilities. I especially liked the Gartner Information Management Maturity Model. Laney was the creator of the “3V” definition of big data (Volume, Variety, and Velocity) which has become an important component of the unofficial global standard definition.

Newsletter – July, 2018

On My Mind
Congratulations to IBM for its Summit supercomputer which was recently named the world’s fastest computer according to a July 1, 2018 article on Page B5 in the Star Tribune. Some of the IBM employees who contributed to the Summit project are based in Rochester, Minnesota. This article had more significance to me because I recently read the book “The Superman” discussed below. The IBM employees are already working on how to go faster. Very inspiring!

Interesting Stories
Mastering the fundamentals matters! The University of Arkansas was one out away from winning the NCAA Division I College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska recently against Oregon State University (OSU) when an unfortunate “mistake” occurred. An OSU player hit a high foul ball and three Arkansas players converged on the expected landing site – and then the ball innocently dropped on the ground in-between the three Arkansas players. It looked like any of the three Arkansas players could have caught the ball if not for the heat of the moment confusion and poor communication. I’ve been in that situation before on the baseball field where each of the players involved thinks one of the other players will catch the ball only to have no one catch the ball. One convention I learned is that the outfielder running forward towards the ball takes the lead and yells loudly several times “I’ve got it!” and then catches the ball. This situation is common in baseball and success depends upon mastering one of the fundamentals of baseball. Long story short – OSU went on to win that game and the next game to become the Division I Champion. Mastering the fundamentals does indeed matter.

Company News
I presented on Big Data Strategy on June 5, 2018 at the Big Data Tech 2018 Conference conducted by MinneAnalytics. The schedule for the next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events has been set: Introduction to Analytics & Big Data Course – July 11-12, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt Course – Starts August 15, 2018; and the Strategic Improvement Black Belt Course – Starts August 21, 2018. Also, the 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochures are available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
I just read a riveting book by Charles J. Murray titled, “The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards behind the Supercomputer.” The author did an excellent job chronicling the early evolution of supercomputers while weaving in-and-out passages about Seymour Cray, Control Data Corporation, IBM, and others. I especially enjoyed learning about the new product (supercomputer) development process – the enormous investment of time and money and the intense pressure to rapidly invent new technology. If you want to gain insights into new product development and the genius of Seymour Cray, then this is the book for you.

Newsletter – June, 2018

On My Mind
Five months of the calendar year have passed and many Leadership Teams are starting to prepare for their mid-year strategic planning review. Here is one important question that is typically on the review agenda: “Are we making adequate progress in accomplishing our strategic objectives?” Leadership Teams who are on track will probably celebrate. Leadership Teams who missed their milestone targets will most likely scramble to learn “What went wrong?” and “What can we do to salvage the situation?” In either case, the senior executives who are involved in the review should strive to learn as much as they can and reach consensus on a positive way forward. The review—if done well—will provide a great opportunity for leaders to understand organizational performance and make the necessary course corrections.

Interesting Stories
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has had an interesting two months. He abandoned his hoodie and donned a suit and tie for his appearances in front of the United States Congress and European Union lawmakers to provide testimony and answer questions. Zuckerberg and his “Team” face a number of strategic issues related to their business model, data privacy, data protection, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and potential changes to U.S. data-related regulations. He mentioned “AI” numerous times during his appearances which seemed strange because Facebook is hiring thousands of content reviewers (humans) to judge user (“customer“) content for appropriateness. The lesson is that AI is not yet perfect and there are still some tasks that must be performed by humans even in the leading technology companies.

Company News
I’ll be presenting on Big Data Strategy on June 5 at the Big Data Tech 2018 Conference conducted by MinneAnalytics to be held at the Normandale Partnership Center. The schedule for the next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events has been set: Customer Experience Deep Dive Workshop – June 12, 2018; Leading Strategic Improvement Course – June 20, 2018; Introduction to Analytics & Big Data Course – July 11-12, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt Course – Starts August 15, 2018; Strategic Improvement Black Belt Course – Starts August 21, 2018; Strategic Improvement Master Black Belt Course – Starts August 27, 2018. The brochures are available on this website. Also, the 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochure will be available on this website on June 15, 2018.

Intriguing Reads
John Doerr, Chairman of Kleiner Perkins, details some of the strategic planning practices of Intel (formerly led by Andy Grove) and Google (founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin) in his new book titled, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs. “OKR” is a simple framework composed of an “Objective” and the corresponding “Key Results.” The book is filled with numerous real examples and practical suggestions. While the OKR approach is very basic and not as advanced as Hoshin Kanri, it does provide senior executives with a simple framework for determining what should be accomplished in the form of objectives and what is necessary to accomplish those objectives (key results).

Newsletter – May, 2018

On My Mind
The Berkshire Hathaway 2018 Annual Shareholders Meeting will be held May 5, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. This is one of the best-attended annual meetings in the world because of the opportunity to learn from the dynamic duo of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and his long-time partner-in-profit Charlie Munger. The Q&A session begins at 9:15 a.m. CST and it will last several hours. The event will be live-streamed on Yahoo! Finance at http://finance.yahoo.com/.

Interesting Stories
According to news reports, one of 24 metal jet engine fan blades broke during a flight causing a catastrophic engine failure which led to the death of a Southwest Airlines passenger. I believe it was the first domestic commercial airline fatality since 2009. What a sad event. The flight crew and some of the passengers have been recognized for their heroic efforts during the emergency landing. The commercial airline system has been performing above the six sigma level of performance in terms of air fatalities. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike at any time and so leaders of systems must remain vigilant even at extremely high levels of performance.

Company News
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 schedule for the next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events has been set: Advances in Strategic Planning Course – May 30, 2018; Customer Experience Deep Dive Workshop – June 12, 2018; Leading Strategic Improvement Course – June 20, 2018; Introduction to Analytics & Big Data Course – July 11-12, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt Course – Starts August 15, 2018; Strategic Improvement Black Belt Course – Starts August 21, 2018; Strategic Improvement Master Black Belt Course – Starts August 27, 2018; 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference – October 2, 2018. The brochures are available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the book “The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos” by Christian Davenport. People tend to associate Elon Musk with Tesla and Jeff Bezos with Amazon, but they both also control space companies. You should read this book if you want to learn more about the personal backgrounds of these two fascinating people and how they think far beyond the confines of earth.

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 (www.strategicimprovementsystems.com). 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!