2019-April: Operational Excellence by Design eNewsletter

Monthly Newsletter
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April 2019

Monthly Musing

It’s that time of year again – golf season.  I play golf, I don’t work golf.  There is nothing more satisfying than hitting the ball well.  I know, because it happens so infrequently for me that each is memorable.  In fact, I call my clubs “weapons of grass reduction.”  The Germans require you to obtain a golf license in order to go on the course.  You have to memorize the rules.  And you are tested on your knowledge and must demonstrate their use on the course with the pro to earn your license.  Talk about salt in the wound.
– Joseph Paris




Founder’s Corner


Being Clear and Concise

by Joseph Paris


The date is November 19th, 1863.  A crisp autumn day in the fields of southern
Pennsylvania in a little farm-town called Gettysburg.  Just four months earlier, the
fierce battle of Gettysburg raged there as the
Union and
Confederate forces clashed in what mark the decisive high-water mark of the Confederate efforts to separate from the United States and become their own country.


This was to be the day that the
Gettysburg National Cemetery, through the efforts of
David Willis, would be consecrated. And Willis had organized the day’s program which, among other aspects of the program, contained speeches from
Edward Everett and
Abraham Lincoln.

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         Educational Webinar Series


he Operational Excellence Society is proudly hosting its latest online business educational initiative, coined 
the Operational Excellence Webinar Series.



Leading in Tough Times – The Role of Systems Thinking

April 30 | 02:00 pm – 3:30 pm (EDT)

Featured Events

2nd Annual Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Summit 
June 5 – 7, 2019 | Vienna, Austria

Joseph Paris will be delivering a State of Readiness Masterclass and also the conference Chairperson at this superb event.


Journey to Excellence
June 19 – 20, 2019 | Manchester, United Kingdom

 Join us for two days of inspirational keynotes, including a plenary session by Joseph Paris on being in a State of Readiness.


Featured Article


Leading the Agile Organization
by Frederick Fladmark


“62% of leaders we surveyed didn’t want to lead, but incentives lead them to take a promotion” Michael C. Bush
This is a quote from Michael C. Bush, who recently took part on the
HBR Webinar “Leading the Agile Organization”. I thought this was a really interesting insight, and very telling.
In my perception if you want to create an agile organisation (ie nimble not Agile©) you need great leaders. If a person doesn’t want lead, they are going to struggle to execute the leadership needed to thrive in a complex and changing environment.


The webinar hosted a pretty interesting discussion and worth a watch for those interested in the building agile/nimble organisations. However, for me the discussion posed a lot of questions as to how you achieve nimbleness and not a lot of solutions.

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Thought Food



Economist LogoShould the world worry about America’s corporate debt-mountain?

Unicorn IPO’s and Silicon Valley groupthink

The Agile Mind: Scientific Thinking
by Jonathan Escobar

Agile neither fears nor worships failure. For some time, I’ve been noticing a trend. At conferences, in business schools, in business books and “business cartoons”: a trend that trivializes failure. The alarming equation I see set forth everywhere is: Failure = Success.

This newfound glorification of failure triggers the same mixture of alarm and sadness from another earlier extreme, before ‘failing forward’ rose to aspirational heights. In earlier times, the equation was: Failure = More Failure = Utter Failure
Two extremes. This previous obsession with failure avoidance produced a generation of steadfast fighters for the preservation of status quo surrounded by a dense layer of opacity around problems (aka opportunities). Under this umbrella grew a culture infinitely more willing to embrace ‘the devil you know’ than reckon with the one you don’t. Fear of the unknown + fear of failure bred a loathing of organizational risk or exposure, at any price.




Trust me…


Operational Excellence Society

Contact the Editor


“Thank you for being a valued reader. 
Please feel free to contact me if you have any
questions or comments related to this publication – or if you might be interested in

an article for consideration in 
our eNewsletter.”
Gretchen Lubbe – Editor



        Connect with us…

Past Webinar

Strategic Financial and Operational Performance Management


It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to hoover it. What can improve and performing comedy tell us about learning and collaboration?  After discovering several contacts in common, JP and Benjamin are joined by the
Public Service Transformation Academy’s
Paul Conneely to talk insights from his past forays into improv and comedy and their applicability to the developing collaborate and innovate teams…

Listen now!


Peter Evans – LEGO


In this episode, I interview Peter Evans, Continuous Improvement Director for Lego Group.  I have known Peter for a couple of years.  And we seem to keep running into one another at Operational Excellence conferences – which are the circumstances of our first meeting.  I have always found Peter to be an affable gentleman and have always appreciated his insights and the experiences he shared.

I grew up with Legos.  Loved playing with them.  My sons loved playing with them.  It seems children all over the world love playing with them.  So, if you’re like me, you must wonder; “Is Lego the coolest company in the world to work for?”  According to Peter, the answer is “Yes.”


    Upcoming Events


OpEx Vault

Business Lessons learned from Playing Golf




It’s March – finally.  The Winter darkness has noticeably given way to longer hours of daylight.  The cold and the snows are abating.  The crocuses and early spring flowers are in bloom.  It’s a pleasure to waken to the birds chirping.  And a person can feel that Spring is just around the corner.


That is, except in
Upstate New York, where March doesn’t come until May (especially this year).
And while my wife is  thinking of “Spring Cleaning”, I am thinking of Fishing and Golf.


is a very peculiar place in many regards.  But probably the most striking peculiarity is their absolute insistence on ”
ordnung muss sein
(roughly translated to “there must be order”
).  In Germany, there is a process and a procedure for everything – and everything has a place and you better be certain to ensure it is in that place at all times.



Stay Ready.

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