Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Curious Cat Management Review Carnival-Part 2

Welcome back, hope you enjoyed exploring Kerrie Anne's Fridge Magnets.  Today's blog under review is called the Squawk Point.  It's editor is James Lawther, a self-described middle-aged, middle manager. His blog is focused on service improvement but I think it does an outstanding job of communicating quality and management concepts with humor.  James posts blogs in three general categories: Operations Analysis, Process Improvement, and Employee Engagement.  So let's look at my personal favorite from each category.

This year the emerging concept is "Big Data."  The technology folks are wanting to create a cottage industry on how to deal with all the data that is now being collected and analyzed. James' September post, I feel, is designed to bring us back to reality.  Yes, we have access to more data than ever before.  The challenge is not to analyze it but to understand what we want out of it.  The idea of analyzing large amounts of data has been around since World War II.  Probably the best practical application was the radar system the Brits developed as part of the Battle of Britain defense.  So when you hear about Big Data in the future, don't fall for the trap that we need to invest in new technology; we need to invest in good old fashioned segmentation.

In November, James posted on my favorite "constraint," multitasking. I taught a Lean Six Sigma champion class a while back and one of my students was a military lawyer.  The class featured an excellent simulation of one-piece flow: the antithesis of multitasking.  Even after telling her the answer for success in the simulation she refused to accept the concept of one-piece flow, feeling that she was more productive multitasking.  Even when she failed she insisted that we had rigged the simulation against her and her group, even though the other group was highly successful following our guidance.  Suffice to say, if a manager comes to you and insists that you have to multitask to be successful, go find another position!

My favorite post in the Employee Engagement category was a timely one.  Recently, I was assumed a new leadership position.  For the past ten years I was an instructor or facilitator and not in a direct leadership position.  In November, I became responsible for 150 sailors and civilians.  Going through some self-reflection, I found James' October post very relevant. I really enjoyed my time teaching.  I had thought that I would spend the rest of my career in the classroom.  Now I find that I enjoy the daily challenge of creating that same environment that allowed me to have such fun teaching.  

That's a little taste of what has quickly become one of my favorite management blogs.  We are halfway through the review.  My Dad is in town this afternoon through the weekend so will try to sneak away to finish things up.  Hope your holidays are joyful!
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