Friday, October 21, 2016

Story About Process

My past posts covered subjects like the Hidden Factory, Standard Operating Procedures and the "what, hows and the whys."  Most recently, I read a book by Clayton Christensen, who introduced the concept of Jobs To Be Done or JBTB. If you have time, pick it up; I highly recommend it.  It's titled Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice.

In one YouTube video where he spoke in front of an audience in Oxford, the person who introduced him indicated that his book was one of the top six management books of all time. After reading it I couldn't agree more.

This post will be devoted to one small piece of the book that lit a light bulb. Funny is that this concept is nothing new; something I preach about daily.

And that is the concept of process.

There was a section in the book that explained how Toyota, after tremendous success, invited major competitors to visit its operations. The company went so far as to teach classes about how their Toyota Production Systems (precursor to Lean Management) launched them to a high level of efficiency and operational excellence. What Toyota or the Japanese knew was that it wasn't their concepts or ideas that made them successful but the core of processes, influenced by W. Ed Deming and his 14 Point Total Quality Systems principles, The Japanese culture of obedience and abeyance practiced for thousands of years in history was inbred, an evolutionary process that the world did not, could not understand nor accept at the time.

Many of you who take traditional martial arts may understand what I am talking about. It has to do with a commitment used in combat.

Business is much like war. Some of us have read and studied Sun Tzu's Art of War and use its concepts, the practice of this commitment.

Each morning when I wake up, I go through a martial arts routine, have done so for the past 40 plus years, not thoroughly realizing I was strengthening a unique culture, a process of commitment and perfection, used to kick start my day.

The late Steve Jobs said the Americans spent a great deal of resources and money marketing and promoting quality. The Japanese in their Toyota Production Systems methodologies instead focused on ensuring quality within their system through processes. The need to advertise quality in their products was not a consideration since quality and operational excellence were inherently built in through history and culture.

If we concentrate more in perfecting our processes internally and externally we, in my opinion, will achieve our goals with less obstacles and challenges and, as a result, reach levels of perfection, excellence and satisfaction that stand high above competition and create better opportunities.

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