2019-October: Operational Excellence by Design eNewsletter

Monthly Newsletter
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October 2019

Monthly Musing

This is a generalization, but the real reason why most engineers rarely make good business people is because they are fixated on the perfect.  They are terrified of what they do not know or understand – and even more terrified to release to those who do.  Their idea of too much risk is that there exists any risk at all.  Ironically, almost all of their perceived risk comes from their lack of understanding that which is outside their purview of expertise; marketing, sales, finance, supply chain, and other topics which might vary from engineer to engineer.  But the perfect “no-risk” plan is doomed to fail – if for no other reason than because everyone else is doing it that same way, or worse, they are too late and the opportunity has passed. Time is the enemy and engineers will almost always lose to time.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg



Founder’s Corner


Artificial Intelligence; The Next “Undiscovered Country”

William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” (usually referred to simply as ”
Hamlet“, the main character, Hamlet, uses the phrase “undiscovered country” to refer to what lies beyond the grave – the afterlife – and our lack of knowledge of it, and our fear of it.  As it is with death, so is it with ”
Artificial Intelligence“, or “AI”.


Simply put, AI are the sciences involved in having computers gather and evaluate information (data in context) – whether that information is stored, or is gathered in real-time, or combinations thereof – and to make decisions based on that information towards some pre-determined outcome or objective.  Each decision made leads to an experience which is archived and added to the information that is stored to help make better decisions in the future.


To help understand the concepts simply, we can examine the world of games.


In 1996,
Deep Blue was arguably the first computer to understand the rules and objectives of
Chess and to learn from its experiences.  In its debut against
Garry Kasparov, Deep Blue lost to Kasparov two games to four.  A year later, in 1997,  IBM’s Deep(er) Blue won its rematch against Kasparov three games to two with one game being a draw…
by Joseph Paris

Operational Excellence is…

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Featured Article

The sad reality of “quality” today: How innovation and growth creates waste and inefficiencies
In the late 1970s, “quality” began to evolve from its historically “Neanderthal” passive inspection approach to its current “Cro-Magnon,” more pro-active, project-based approach “bolted-on” to the current operational status quo.  Joseph Juran was a pioneer in such efforts. Various subsequent adaptations such as Six Sigma and Lean evolved it further; but, over time, it has become comfortably stuck in a misguided focus on tactical improvements at the expense of strategic improvements-doing things right as opposed to doing the right things right.

Jeff Liker, professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan, writes (from a 2011 private correspondence with leadership expert Jim Clemmer) (my emphases):


“Originally Six Sigma was derived from [Total] Quality Management (TQM) by Motorola to achieve six sigma levels of quality, and then through Allied Signal and GE it morphed to projects by Black Belts based on statistics to become a cost-reduction program-every project needs a clear ROI. In other words, we denigrated the program from a leadership philosophy [i.e., “built-in improvement”] to a bunch of one-off projects to cut costs [i.e., “bolt-on quality”]. It was a complete bastardization of the original, and it rarely led to lasting, sustainable change because the leadership and culture were missing.

by Davis Balestracci


Featured Events

5th International Lean Transformation and Digitalization Conference & State of Readiness Masterclass and Workshop
Nov 16 – 17 | Cairo, Egypt
This conference provides an opportunity for Lean practitioners, companies from Egypt & some Middle Eastern countries to meet & exchange experiences and best practices of Lean in different industries.
Joseph Paris will deliver a
keynote session on “Culture of Leadership”, followed by his highly regarded
State of Readiness Masterclass & Workshop on the 17th of November.



OpEx Week – Business Transformation 
World Summit 2020
Jan 21 – Jan 24 | Orlando, Florida
OPEX Week 2020 prides itself as the largest, most reputable and the most senior level summit.
It is the single destination that covers the full ecosystem of OPEX and provides a holistic approach for business transformation and operational excellence.
Join our founder Joseph Paris at this superb event where he will deliver a special keynote talk and act as chairperson.



Thought Food





Trust me…



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…

Need a High-Energy    Expert Speaker?

Click here to receive a free copy of his
bio +
 an outline of his outstanding State of Readiness Masterclass & Workshop !




In this edition of “State of Readiness”, we interview Céline Felan, Vice President of Business Transformation at Community Brands, a software company that provides a suite of offerings for membership-based organizations, private schools and churches.
Being born in Paris, France and raised in the Netherlands, Céline now calls Austin, Texas home – where she quickly learned and understood the phrase “grabbing the bull by the horns”.  In her role, she has help guide the company through 28 acquisitions over the past two (2) years.  Yes, you read that right (I even asked her to repeat that during the podcast because it seemed like quite a bit – and it is).  As such, Céline’s days are non-standard and she never really knows for certain how each day (or each acquisition) will play out.  This proved to be a considerable challenge for Céline, who is a self-professed “Type-A Perfectionist”.  She had to learn and understand that “80 is the new 100”.   Over time, Community Brands has created an “acquisition checklist”, but it is imperfect so it’s more of a guideline than a checklist…

Antlerboy (aka Benjamin Taylor) continues to be plagued by substandard internet, although right in the middle of London and across the street to MI-6, yet can only get ADSL service to his office.  How can that be in 2019?  Broadcasting from home is not possible because Antlerboy is too “afraid” to tell his wife to be quiet as a mouse for an hour whilst we are recording.  Not to be undone, JP laments about his “high-tech house from hell”.  And so it goes…

Our guests include Seth from Joisey.  Seth shares his thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and sets the subject for the rest of the podcast.  He ponders the quality of the data being mined, whether people need all the information available to them – are they now being fed information for the wow factor or is all that time and effort waste?  JP goes on the offensive to challenge the use of AI in the hiring process among other applications.  But the conversation goes on to other introductions of innovation and technologies in general and on a variety of applications – and as experience guides us from the past; the knowns, the known unknowns, and the unkown unknowns.

Listen now!

OpEx Vault

The Antidote for VUCA is OODA



The date is September 15, 2008.  The
crisis in subprime mortgages had been going on for a little over a year.  It was triggered in the
last half of 2006 when house prices began to fall as the
housing bubble in the United States burst.  This caused those who had taken NINJA (No Income, No Job, or Assets) loans to buy their home, with the expectation that prices were going to increase five per-cent year on year forever, to default.  This accelerated the decline in home prices which, in turn, accelerated the number of defaults – a financial and economic death spiral had formed.
But September 15, 2008 was different.



Stay Ready.

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