On Continuous Improvement

“It’s simple. You just take something, and then you do something to it. Then you do something else to it. And then something else. Keep this up and pretty soon you’ve got something.”

-Jasper Johns, Twentieth century American artist (who, incidentally, grew up near my hometown)

Continuous improvement is an idea that comes from the business world. After World War II, Japanese manufacturers invited W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, professor, and management consultant, to their country to help them improve their manufacturing and production processes. Before the war, Japan was synonymous with cheap goods and shoddy craftsmanship. Deming taught leaders that improving the quality of their products would reduce expenses while increasing productivity and market share.

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In 1982, Deming published a book, Out of the Crisis, outlining his philosophy. “Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.” Continue reading “On Continuous Improvement”

The Almost Miraculous Benefits of Making Space for Thinking

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My morning thinking time.

Sara Blakely of Spanx© fame once said in an interview that she spends about 45 minutes each morning driving around the streets of Buckhead, the upscale area in Atlanta where Spanx headquarters are located. Even though she lives really close to her building, she builds in a “fake commute” so that she has time to Continue reading “The Almost Miraculous Benefits of Making Space for Thinking”