|Thoughts on Key Performance Indicators
Contributed by Gordon Hall of the The Deming Learning
Network in Aberdeen, Scotland
Disease no 5: - Running a company on visible figure alone
(counting the money)"
Unique process that
produce figures amount to only 3% of the whole (Edward Baker
of Ford Motor Company - in W. Edwards Deming's The New
Economics, page 37)
The fixation with "quantity" is an
offshoot of Newtonian mechanistic thinking (Tom
The dominance of accounting figures is a
relatively recent phenomenon (Tom Johnson)
If we can
only measure say 5% of the whole, what does this mean in the
context of the management time spent reviewing KPIs and their
use to "motivate" staff?
How are "management" getting a
feel for the other 95% of their business?
still think in terms of "If you cannot measure it, you cannot
control it"? or the equally daft thought - "what gets measured
Are KPIs being used in the main to
support traditional and discredited command and control
principles of management?
Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that
Author: Michael Bungay
Publisher: Box of Crayons Press
Reviewer: Bill Bellows
How often do you find
yourself in a situation that tests your mettle as you seek a
solution that gets you moving forward, or even backward? I'm
not referring to the severe traffic conditions that many of us
face daily on the Los Angeles freeways ("sigalerts"), although
these traffic jams can be trying, but rather the traffic jams
in life that we face far less frequently, with far more
serious consequences than arriving late for work. Do you have
a well defined process for getting unstuck in these
situations? If so, is it documented well enough to share with
others? If not, Michael Bungay Stanier has taken the time to
document his fast lane solution in this attractively prepared
7-inch wide by 7-inch tall by 1-inch thick
Complete with "the Little GREEN BOOK" pamphlet as
a handy guide, Michael has prepared a step-by-step process for
getting moving, including his litmus test for the "stuff that
matters" enough to get going on. As Michael suggests, "Bad
Work is easy." It's when you sit and ask yourself, "Why
exactly am I wasting my life with this?" This is not to be
confused with "Good Work - which for most of us is the
majority of the stuff we do - is work that uses your skills,
it gets stuff done, and it may well pay you a wage." What
Michael is offering is a helpful solution for the stuff that
matters, the "Great Work - a place that honors your skills,
your passion, and your experience." He also offers 14
reflections on what it means to be "stuck." For some, it "is
when you have many options - and the thought of choosing
paralyzes you." For others, "when you see what needs to be
done - but you make an easier choice." Or, perhaps, "when
you're running flat out and know you're in the wrong race."
With the help of downloadable Action
Acceleration Sheet(TM), Michael offers a simple 4-step
model for getting traction. It begins with "Focus", before
"tapping into Creativity and Wisdom, and deciding on "Action."
At the heart of this reference book is the guidance he offers
for the middle steps - Creativity and Wisdom. Using 3 sets of
50 index tabs, Michael has prepared the reader with "inspiring
stories," "provocative quotes," and "powerful models." In all,
the 125,000 combinations of tabs provide provocative
information and questions to prompt the user's creativity.
Many are drawn from sources which are likely well known to
fellow inthinkers, although not readily accessible in such a
useful format. Still others will be obscure citings, very
worthy of reflection and easy access. Taken together, this
handy source of reflections offers thousands of precious
trigger points for "getting unstuck." Should this 4-step
"Action-ending" process fall short, Michael goes beyond and
offers three additional strategies for the reader's personal
challenges. All in keeping with his passionately stated aim of
"helping individuals, teams, and organizations get unstuck and
discover what's possible for them."
For those of you
who can identify with the frustration of getting stuck on what
truly matters, I highly recommend this book as a handy desktop
reference for personal use and to loan to "stuck"
The author offers a test
drive of the book.
|June Ongoing Discussion|
The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for June will feature Clare
Crawford-Mason. On Thursday June 29th and Friday June 30th,
Clare will lead a discussion focused on The Urgent Need
for Systems Thinking inside the Hospital and Outside...for
This month's OD announcement will be
released by June 25th. For those readers not already on the OD
mailing list, contact Bill
Bellows to be added to this list.
|Partner Events and Resources|
- As part of a recent UK visit, Bill Bellows was asked to
deliver presentations at University of Hull and a Philips
Electronics Conference. These presentations will be posted
to the In2:IN
site in the coming days.
- The Center for Social-Profit Leadership - Supporting the
Business Needs of Social Entrepreneurs. Find out more here.
- PBS Special - Good
News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves
reports the depth of the patient safety problem and how two
large hospital systems have saved lives and reduced errors,
infections and waste by using Toyota Management Principles.
These methods could improve every hospital in America
dramatically and reduce health-care costs by 50%. It does
not require outside help or additional funding. Check your
station for air times.
- The 50th Annual Meeting of the International
Society for the Systems Sciences to be held July 9-14 at
Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California
- The 16th Annual Pegasus
Conference, "Leading Beyond the Horizon - Strategies for
Bringing Tomorrow into Today's Choices," to be held November
13-15, Waltham, Massachusetts
|Volunteer with the In2:InThinking Network|
The In2:InThinking Network is run by volunteers. Your help
is needed in a variety of areas from Forum 2007 planning,
newsletter, website, and beyond. If you are interested in
helping out please click on the link to sign up. We will
follow up for more details on where you would like to help.
|Forum 2006 DVD Sales|
Order a set of Forum 2006 DVDs - "Daring to
Explore - Creating Possibilities Together." The DVDs
include all triple track sessions and keynotes; a total
of 12 presentations.
Clicking the "Buy Now"
button will take you to PayPal for order processing.
Price: $150 USD
Buy Now | Learn More
|About The In2:InThinking Network|
The In2:InThinking Network was formed in 2001
by a group of students of the work of W. Edwards Deming
and related theorists.
The aim of our network is
to make thinking about systems, variation, knowledge,
and psychology, and their interaction - which comprises
Deming's system of profound knowledge - more conscious.
We believe that such thinking about thinking,
which we call "inthinking," will allow people to better
perceive relationships and interdependencies in human
endeavors, and consequently act to make those endeavors
more valuable, more satisfying, and more joyful.
Learn More about In2:IN
Meet Bill Cooper, one of the founders of the In2:InThinking
I retired in 1988 after
thirty years with the Government. I was the senior civilian
for the Naval Air Depot North Island, in San Diego,
California. In that capacity, I was one of the founders of the
Total Quality Management movement in the US government.
(Some folks would say that was a curse not a benefit).
However, my relationship with Dr. Deming and his ideas allowed
us to accomplish some great things. I am still very proud of
them today. Upon my retirement in 1988, I formed my own
consulting company with Phil Monroe. We operated it for 11
years and consulted world-wide. Today, I work on special
projects for Congressman Duncan Hunter and teach an occasional
class for local universities.
As one of the founding members of the Board
of Directors, and ultimately co-president, I have attended all
Why do you attend the Forum?
have attended in many capacities - co-president, board member,
speaker and pre-conference workshop leader. I will continue to
attend for the simple reason I enjoy hanging out with folks
who want to think and learn rather than spout someone else's
dogma. There is no one size thinking that fits all. It is
just, hopefully, our own application of that which we continue
to learn. In short, it makes me think about new and different
theories and revisit those which I thought contained the
ultimate truth. As Dr. Deming suggests, "There is no true
value of anything, only estimations." That is also true of
Tell us about a recent "a ha"
I do not have anything specific. I read all the
time and every time I come across something that makes me
think about what I think I know, I say "a ha". Also, when I
read something that contradicts something that I hold to be
true, I say "a ha". That comes often with my rather eclectic
What book are you reading
I have a complete library of every book I have
ever read since I left college. That was the only time that I
got to choose my material to learn rather than get a grade. I
do not go back and re-read books. I am, however, in my library
often. I will give you an example. I have just had both knees
replaced and so have spent a fair amount of time in my
bedroom. I just checked and my wife has moved 11 books in
there for me to check some thoughts or facts that have
occurred to me while reading.
What recent book have
you read that you consider both beneficial and
I think, like Jon Bergstom, that John
Kotter's book, "What Leaders Do", is an important
contribution. If you want to talk about ethics, or the lack
thereof, you should read Kurt Eichenwald's "Conspiracy of
Fools;" the story of the Enron collapse. If you want to visit
geo-political issues you should read "The Assassins' Gate," by
George Packer, about the "march to war with Iraq."
you want to get back into process and systems thinking, the
book "Systems Thinking - Creative Holism for Managers" by
Michael Jackson, is a good choice. This is a book recommended
to me by Dr. Russ Ackoff. This is a slow read, with content
which runs deep between its covers.
What advice do
you have for people new to the In2:InThinking
Be true to yourself. Surround yourself with
family for love and surround yourself with friends for fun.
Then surround yourself with others who are always on a quest
to learn and challenge past assumptions and ways of
Any network serves you only as much as you wish
to be served. My advice is to seek out at least two new
thinking partners through the network. I believe you will
surprise yourself at how helpful others can be if you only