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Is Five Why Analysis Too Simplistic for Complex Problems?
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) A common question, especially in industries that are just now learning the Lean Business System. Problem solving is a kata – a set of core forms that we practice over & over, hopefully under the guidance of a capable sensei. When practicing the problem solving kata, we pull in the tools […]

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Singapore FinTech Festival & the Shape of Things to Come
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Just back from a splendid week in hot, sticky & smart Singapore and the FinTech Festival. Despite the jet lag, I thought I’d send out a quick note, with more to follow (when I’m vertical again.) I took in as many Innovation Labs as I could, talked to umpteen start-ups and […]

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Toyota’s New Rivals & ‘ Life and Death Battle’
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) We are in a ‘life & death battle’ against our new rivals, Akio Toyoda Mr. Toyoda is not talking about Volkswagen, GM or Audi…he means Google & Waymo, Uber, Lyft and the rest. Ironic, no? After seven decades of unparalleled (analogue) excellence, the world’s greatest manufacturer is facing a mortal threat […]

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The Power of One Page
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) In times of tumultuous change brevity is king. Blah, blah, blah…doesn’t cut it when revenue is non-existent and investors are jittery. Endless PowerPoint decks, no matter how slick, are tiresome and wasteful. The four-hour meeting that goes nowhere is downright irritating. Less is more remains the cardinal rule in music, art, […]

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Strategy in a Time of Explosive Change
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) May you live in interesting times – Chinese Curse Interesting times indeed, no? The reasons are too long to recite here – changing technology, customer expectations, internationalization, rapid cultural shifts, the explosion of information… Technological change, for example, is so rapid and severe that in many industries we can no longer […]

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Amazon Enters Banking
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Big news indeed, no? Amazon is a marvel, and perhaps the exception that proves a rule. Big companies are supposed to be slow, and well, slow. Yet Amazon is a colossus of intelligence, entrepreneurialism and advanced Lean thinking. Jeff Bezos is famously customer-focused and Amazon’s management systems express a deep understanding […]

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There is No Right Answer in Strategy
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Building on my last blog, the strategy is not about perfection. In fact, there is no right strategy. This is often difficult for senior leaders to accept because it runs contrary to their experience. Senior leaders are usually the smartest kids in the class, the ones who always have the right […]

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Complexity is a Crude State, Simplicity Marks the End of a Process of Refinement
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) This one’s like gravity – not just a good idea, it’s the law… It’s my privilege to help leaders develop strategies for complex organizations. A recurrent refrain is ‘our business strategy is too complicated to explain simply.’ If so, do we really understand our strategy? Don’t want to be misunderstood. I […]

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The Function of Leaders is to Produce More Leaders
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) In an era of breath-taking innovation, is there anything more important? The ‘Essential Eight Technologies’ – Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Drones, 3-D Printing, Big Data Analytics, and Distributed Ledger Technology (‘Blockchain’) – make disruption almost inevitable. Prosperity, and in some industries, survival, depends on an organization’s ability to […]

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The Four Levels of Visual Management
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Lean is about making problems visible, and visual management is a core methodology. You can’t fix what you can’t see! There are four levels. Here they are in order of increasing power: Level 1 – Tells only STOP signs are a good example. In our neighbourhood, people blow by them all […]

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Neither Too Rigid, Nor Too Loose
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) When it comes to fundamentals like Strategy, Management System, Standardized Work, Quality in the Process and the like, it’s easy to become rigid and even doctrinaire. After all, these are the concepts that underlie TPS, the ‘world’s most powerful production system’. In the circumstances, we’re right to be doctrinaire, aren’t we? […]

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Scatter – Our Nemesis
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Big Company Disease has many causes. One of the most subtle is our inability to ‘wrap our arms around’ the PDCA cycle. Myriad improvement cycles begin – but they become fragmented: Group A develops the Plan, Group B deploys, Group C checks the Plan, and Group D adjusts it. I call […]

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If It’s Not Simple, It’s BS
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, “any scientist who can’t explain to an eight-year-old what he’s doing is a charlatan.” This principle is especially true in strategy, perhaps our most human management activity. Artificial Intelligence & Robotics can eventually handle many jobs, but can they make & deploy strategy? Can they motivate a […]

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Design Thinking and the PDCA Cycle
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) To everything there is a season In a world of tumultuous and endless technological change, Design Thinking has rightly become a core methodology. In many industries, we can no longer confidently claim that we understand the customer’s problems. An thus, we can no longer define Value with any certainty. A generation […]

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Digital Transformation – the Critical Questions
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Digital is eating the world, as they say, and every industry is feeling it. How do you steer a digital transformation? How do you decide on a purpose and strategy, and deploy a course of action? We need to translate the eternal questions of strategy to suit our new terrain: What’s […]

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The Trouble with Corporate Clichés
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) “Think outside the box” “Ducks in a row” “Low-hanging fruit” “Let’s take this off-line” Why do these and other corporate clichés make us cringe so? Well, they’re often used by lazy people to express stale, tired thinking. If we haven’t thought about something deeply, why burden people with inanities? If we […]

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What is Courage & How does it relate to True North?
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Let me build on my earlier blog on Lean, Leadership & Ethics The ancients defined Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Courage. Courage — the capacity to overcome fear — is perhaps the most admired. In Getting the Right Things Done, I defined True North, our strategic and philosophical purpose, […]

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Lean, Leadership & Ethics, Part 1
leansixsigma.co.business

By Pascal Dennis (bio) Been reflecting about each of these lately, and how they relate. But what’s Ethics got to do with anything? We’re in a proverbial knowledge economy. The market caps of, say, Google, Facebook and Apple, dwarf that of Toyota. Google, Facebook and Apple have comparatively little in physical capital. ‘All’ they have […]

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