Archive for February, 2010

Imagine a Japanese Car Company…

February 23, 2010

…that decides to expand. New suppliers are key to this expansion. Instead of licensing proven designs it invites its new suppliers to create new designs. These designs may or may not have been analyzed to determine and eliminate or make safe their modes of failure.

Dangerous modes of failure remain in some designs as they rush to production and assembly confident of their world famous production system. It is unclear from the many books written of the marvels of this production system if it reaches back far enough to include design.

Meanwhile the government of the country, that is home to many of its customers, decides to buy a majority of the stock in a major competitor.

Cars that look as if they will continue the legacy of success are eagerly bought by loyal owners. Problems are reported by some of these owners. The system remains unimproved.

Problems reported by some employees also fail to get through to top management. The company’s leaders have too much faith in the infallibility of their lauded system.

Unfortunately some owners, their families and friends die as some components of their new or nearly new cars fail in an unsafe way.

After years of celebrating this company and its cars the press decide to question and investigate the quality and safety of it products.

Reluctantly the favorite car company of many decides to recall and fit a plate to reduce the friction in the unproven design so the accelerator pedal will not stay down after the driver lifts his or her foot.

Now it is the cross-hairs of the legislative branch of the government that owns one of its largest competitors!

After fixing their cars will this company fix the integrity of its system to survive?

A Leader who Understands

February 17, 2010


Today your management system helped two of your employees do a wonderful job.

My client and I were asked to move our cars from the street to allow snow clearance.

We had nowhere to go; but I then I had enough confidence in Hampton Inn to say to my client “we can move to my hotel where I am sure we can find a place to continue our work”.

I went ahead to make the arrangements. Tristan was most efficient in telling me the boardroom was clear and we could use it for a few hours (from 2pm to 4pm).

I then went to my room to freshen up before returning to the elevator on the 4th floor. This is where John met me. He took me straight to the boardroom and made sure I was comfortable. He then left to make sure my client could easily find me. Tristan had told my client where I was and he met John who escorted him the rest of the way.

My client was pleased and most impressed (he used to recommend some other hotel!).

Tomorrow I shall thank Tristan and John in person for their sterling service (their shifts had finished by 4pm).

Congratulations on developing and nurturing your system so it helps the employees do such good work.

Many thanks…