Appreciation for a System

Leaders Can Make Music

By Guest Post / May 25, 2017 / 0 Comments

“An example of a system, well optimized, is a good orchestra.” – W. Edwards Deming

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Video of W. Edwards Deming at Western Connecticut State University in 1990

By John Hunter / May 11, 2017 / 1 Comment

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. Presentation by W. Edwards Deming at Western CT State University – February 1990 We are being ruined by best efforts without knowledge. Sure we want best efforts but guided with knowledge. Efforts guided by instinct do more harm than good. Our problem is best […]

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Creating a Deep Commitment to Delighting Customers

By John Hunter / April 24, 2017 / 0 Comments

By John Hunter, author of Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability. Those organizations that can delight customers today and take the steps today that position the organization to delight customers in the future will prosper and grow. But building and maintaining a management culture that reinforces delighting customers and long term thinking is quite difficult. I […]

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David Langford Presentation on Motivation and System Improvement

By John Hunter / February 23, 2017 / 0 Comments

By John Hunter, founder of David Langford’s presentation at our 2015 annual conference was titled: Education – Implementation Intentions and Automatization. David included a clip from one of my favorite shows, Utopia (called Dreamland in USA) with a vivid example of a performance appraisal experience. David also discusses the problems created by using extrinsic […]

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Stratify Data to Hone in on Special Causes of Problems

By John Hunter / February 6, 2017 / 0 Comments

By John Hunter, founder of We have a tendency to focus on special causes even when poor results are due to common causes within the system. To improve results that are due to the system trying to determine the specific problem with any bad result and fix that problem is an inefficient strategy. But […]

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Jobs to be Done

By John Hunter / January 19, 2017 / 0 Comments

“While many in the business world associate the word ‘theory’ with something purely academic or abstract, nothing could be further from the truth. Theories that explain causality are among the most important and practical tools business leaders can have.” – Clayton Christensen

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Using Deming’s Ideas – When Your Organization Doesn’t

By John Hunter / December 12, 2016 / 0 Comments

You see things through the Deming Lens – but your boss/co-workers/team/board do not. What can you do?

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Using Checklists to Reduce Process Variation and Improve Results

By John Hunter / December 1, 2016 / 0 Comments

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is a wonderful book about how to create systems that work. At the core the Checklist Manifesto is about determining the critical process conditions and creating a system to assure that the those process items are properly handled. […]

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Transforming the Management System of an Organization

By John Hunter / November 17, 2016 / 2 Comments

By John Hunter, founder of In response to our request asking what topics readers would like to see addressed on our blog, Dan Bracewell said: I’d like to see some posts about how to implement change in an organization. How does one get an organization to start looking at itself as a system? How […]

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Understanding Data is Often Challenging

By John Hunter / October 10, 2016 / 0 Comments

By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. Using data to understand the system and validate our theories and successful improvements is an important part managing well. In some cases it is fairly easy to understand and collect data that provides a clear and accurate measure of what we care about. But […]

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