Chris Hubble’s picture

By: Chris Hubble

There’s a misconception that the most successful business leaders are born with their leadership credentials imprinted in their DNA. Surely because they’re more successful than their peers, it stands to reason they’re extremely sharp or even smarter than their non-CEO cohorts. But in truth, what sets successful business leaders apart is their innate curiosity and sponge-like ability to draw out insights about their business from all kinds of places.

In November 2021 Bastion Db5 teamed up with Vox Media and surveyed more than 400 U.S. small-business owners (SBOs) and decision makers. Many insights into the workings of SBOs’ innate curiosity were gleaned.

When asked about their management style and what it takes to succeed, the No. 1 characteristic small-business owners cite is a “commitment to lifelong learning.” They almost unanimously share a drive to seek and absorb new information. In general terms, this means someone who is highly curious and somewhat obsessive about gathering data—and always learning from it.

The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson’s picture

By: The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson

When I was a kid, I was enamored of cigarette-smoking movie stars. When I was a teenager, some of my friends began to smoke; I wanted to smoke too, but my parents forbade it. I was also intimidated by the ubiquitous anti-smoking commercials I saw on television warning me that smoking causes cancer. As much as I wanted to smoke, I was afraid of it.

When I started college as a pre-med major, I also started working in a hospital emergency room. I was shocked to see that more than 90 percent of the nurses working there were smokers, but that was not quite enough to convince me that smoking was OK. It was the doctors. Eleven of the 12 emergency room physicians I worked with were smokers. That was all the convincing I needed. If actual medical doctors thought smoking was safe, then so did I.

I started smoking without concern because I had fallen prey to an authority bias, which is a type of cognitive bias. Fortunately for my health, I wised up and quit smoking 10 years later.

Jamie Flinchbaugh’s picture

By: Jamie Flinchbaugh

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new book People Solve Problems: The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem (Old Dutch Group, 2021) by Jamie Flinchbaugh.

For anyone reading this who is familiar with my teaching, this will come as no surprise: Problem-solving tools are not the key to success. Behaviors are more important, more effective, and more powerful than the set of tools you use to execute problem solving.

Twelve years ago, that was the premise of the first chapter of my book with Andy Carlino, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean (SME, 2006). Twenty years ago, that was the premise of starting a company with Andy. The first chapter of our book was on lean principles. We argued that lean was not born from tools but from how we think.

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By: Jonathan Gilpin

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, a United Kingdom-based global professional body working for the purchasing and supply professions, suggests that every supply chain should enhance its diversity because this “can not only bring new ideas and solutions to an organization, but also boost competitiveness and market growth.”

That said, what value does a diverse supply chain bring?
• Drives transparency
• Drives competition
• Brings innovation
• Boosts market growth
• Supports local (and nonlocal) economy
• Enhances brand reputation

A background to supplier diversity

What is supplier diversity? Ultimately, supplier diversity refers to the purchasing of goods or services from minority, women, and LGBT suppliers. By sourcing suppliers from underrepresented groups, buyers can successfully enhance supply chain diversity.

There has been confusion surrounding the implementation of diversity into the supply chain, with business owners believing that it is simply a social program necessary to improve their brand’s image—rather than seeing it as an opportunity to seize the welcome benefits that we’ve highlighted above.

Multiple Authors
By: Roderick Swaab, Robert Lount, Seunghoo Chung, Jeanne Brett

The higher the stakes, the more likely a negotiation is conducted by two teams rather than two individuals. Just think about corporate mergers and acquisitions, lawmaking in government, or international trade agreements. All these types of negotiations require varied expertise with multiple people on both sides of the table.

Yet, most research on negotiations often focuses on individual negotiators rather than teams, which makes it difficult to extrapolate these insights to team-on-team negotiations. Perhaps the most profound difference between the settings is that two teams tend to be more competitive than two solo negotiators.

There are several reasons why two teams are more competitive in their negotiation approach. For starters, teams prioritize the needs of their in-group members over those of the out-group. Second, teams provide a shield of anonymity for individual team members, emboldening them to use more aggressive tactics. Third, interactions between teams make “us vs. them” boundaries salient, which then activates beliefs that the other side is deceitful and competitive.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

‘I don’t see how we can replace the serendipitous idea generation of hallway conversations,” said Saul, the director of quality management for a 1,500-employee enterprise software company, during a planning meeting about the company’s post-vaccine return to the office. “If we don’t return to the office full-time, we’re going to lose out to rivals who do so and gain the benefits of serendipity.”

This is a common issue among organizations and one that can be addressed only by adopting best practices for innovation when returning to the office, as I told Saul and numerous other leaders who consulted me on the matter.

Grant Ramaley’s picture

By: Grant Ramaley

The IAF Medical Device Working Group has updated one of the most important documents that supports the medical device quality system ISO 13485. IAF MD9:2022—“Application of ISO/IEC 17021-1 in the field of medical device quality management systems (ISO 13485)” provides the mandatory requirements for auditors to ensure they are competent, impartial, and spending enough time doing their audits, especially where medical devices present a higher risk to patient safety.

New solutions to problems within the supply chain

In 2017, IAF MD9 was published with the aim of supporting manufacturers and other organizations that were not making medical devices, but were supplying “parts and services.” This followed after the ISO 13485:2016 standard was revised, which opened up ISO 13485 for more casual use. Since then, thousands of companies have sought ISO 13485 certificates for what are essentially unregulated products and services.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

ISO 9001:2015, Clause 6.1 introduces the term “actions to address risks and opportunities,” as a replacement for the standard’s previous term, “preventive actions.” The juxtaposition of “risks” and “opportunities” seems to imply a relational nature between the two concepts. But is it still realistic to apply this notion after the beating administered by 2020 and 2021?

I think most organizations would agree that 2020 and 2021 have been a challenge above and beyond anything in the last three decades, as unknown risks to workforce and supply chain have compounded already known, but growing, cybersecurity risks. If we were to take a SWOT approach going into 2022, perhaps we could identify possible opportunities in the risks that are sure to carry over from the past two years.

Multiple Authors
By: Shannon Karels, Kathy Miller

Many tools and concepts can be applied when implementing a transformation in a business. But what makes the transformation meaningful? What is the thing that will drive the transformation’s success?

It’s not how well standard work is written or the number of pull cards in the loop, although it’s necessary to do those things correctly. That meaningful thing is how you choose to engage the people in the organization to make those tools and concepts successful.

One of the concepts presented by the Toyota Production System (TPS) is respect for people. In our experience, engagement happens in small pockets but is rarely viewed as the foundation of the implementation process.

It seems like common sense: “Of course, we talk to our people every day.” But it’s more than meetings about the day-to-day operational performance. It’s building trust through transparency and open, two-way communication. Does the entire team know the vision? Are the value stream maps, future plant layouts, and performance metrics posted where everyone can see them? Do operators know what changes are coming to their area and why? The why is a huge part of helping everyone understand the changes being made and the reasons behind them.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

A tall, thin man in his late 50s approached me after my closing keynote for a manufacturing association conference on how leaders can avoid business disasters. He looked distraught and agitated. I hoped he wasn’t angry with something I said.

Mark introduced himself and asked me to tell him more about one of the dangerous judgment errors I’d discussed: cognitive bias, or the MUM effect (Minimizing Unpleasant Message). This bias causes those lower down in the organizational hierarchy to avoid passing bad news up the supervisor chain due to fears of the “shoot the messenger” problem—namely, that they’ll be blamed for the bad news. Given how often quality professionals must bring bad news to their leaders, it’s a big challenge.

Such mental blind spots stem from how our brains are wired, according to research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics. Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to address these judgment errors.

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