An interesting article suggested that the gap in artistic ability between early modern humans and relative Homo species such as the Neanderthals was due to differences in the way they hunted. The Neanderthals stabbed tamer prey at close range with spears, while early modern humans on open grasslands had to
My friend Reiko Kano began her career as Taiichi Ohno’s interpreter thirty years ago. She then supported Ohno’s disciples, the Shingijutsu consultants, for decades. She recently wrote a book about her experiences. One of her stories resonated with me in particular. In the late 1980s the world was just beginning
Given a choice between a leader who is dumb and a leader who is smart, most of us would choose the smart one. A smart leader will be able to draw on more knowledge, make better decisions, and find solutions to the group’s more difficult challenges. What if we had
I’ve written before on the parallels between Taoism and TPS a.k.a. lean thinking. It is not surprising that we find influences from so-called Eastern philosophies, as Taiichi Ohno and the others framers the Toyota Way were were from that culture. Taoism is evident within TPS in how work is organized.
I found some wisdom in a surprising place, on the theme of lean thinking, learning, value, and muda. Ichiro Suzuki is a very successful professional baseball player who at age 44 has played the game for 25 years and intends to play into his 50s if allowed. He made some
It’s that time of year when we reflect back on the prior 12 months, look ahead to the next 12 and set personal priorities. I’ve heard that by February, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are on their way to failure. This has not been my personal experience. Year to year,
My career in the field of lean thinking got started twenty-four years ago while helping Japanese consultants communicate with their American clients. There were occasions when it was as much an education in cultural differences and communication as in the workings of the Toyota Production System. One week there were
Confucius is credited with many insights into human nature and moral governance by his followers who recorded his teachings. They still influence culture and society in many Asian countries today. Confucius observed “lead with virtue, bind with ritual”. This passage from Analects seems appropriate for our times. It is supported
In an oddity of human behavior, we pay more respect to the unfamiliar than to the familiar. This is true towards people, processes and situations. When we meet someone new we are more likely to be polite to them than to a friend or a person whom we know well.
Melvin Kranzberg, a professor of the history of technology at Georgia Institute of Technology, came up with six laws to explain society’s unease with technology’s growing power and presence in our lives. This was in the 1980s and his laws were based on historical examples taken from the Cold War. A