Alan Culler

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3 years ago

What Problem Are We Trying to Solve?

“What problem are we trying to solve?” is a question that can be delivered dripping with withering Middle School English teacher sarcasm, communicating the message that “the status quo is just fine, thank you very much.” Or it can be delivered gently, inquisitively, encouraging p ...

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Alan Culler

3 years ago

The Questions of Continuous Improvement

“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” · Claude Levi-Strauss · I have written elsewhere of my view that the goal of leadership is attract followers to go in the direction you are leading and that the secret of leadership is the art of aski ...

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Alan Culler

3 years ago

Solutions Not Symptoms

“But we just redid our comp ratios.” · “Look, I don’t care when you did them, I’m telling you your comp ratios are wrong! My mortgage processors are leaving in droves and the reason they give in exit interviews is compensation. They can make more money doing the same work at othe ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Continuous Improvement Strategies: What to do depends on where you are

Image: Construction of the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple "Mothership," new headquarters Cupertino, California · I was talking with Bill, an executive at a construction firm. “I’ve been reading about continuous improvement,” Bill said, “how would you implement something like that here ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

There are only 7 CI projects?

Continuous Improvement Project Management tools · Metrics and measurement, root causes not symptoms, design of experiments, analysis systems . . . it is all so complex and overwhelming how do you pick what to improve? · My friend and Results-Alliance colleague, Dr. Richard Taylo ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

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Continuous Improvement: For Good Measure

Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Paul Bethany, Laura Fraser, and Alan Tudyk in the 2001 Columbia Pictures Film, A Knight’s Tale · “You have been weighed. You have been measured. And you have been found wanting.” · This line from the 2001 film A Knight’s Tale, brings back how I always f ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Tips for Leading Innovation and Continuous Improvement

“Leadership!” “Those at the top must lead the parade!” “Can’t do anything without the leaders.” · Ask anyone, what is the most critical success factor in a company’s drive to be innovative or to continuously improve? “Leadership support!” Without hesitation, these are the kind o ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Maturity and Continuous Improvement

The late, great Jerry Lewis as a young comedian · “You are only young once, Alan, but you can be immature forever.” I’m not sure who first said this to me, probably some elementary school teacher upset by my constant “cutting up” in class. I’ve heard it from several managers over ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Maturity and Continuous Improvement

The late, great Jerry Lewis as a young comedian · “You are only young once, Alan, but you can be immature forever.” I’m not sure who first said this to me, probably some elementary school teacher upset by my constant “cutting up” in class. I’ve heard it from several managers over ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

“CX, CI, EE, oh my!”

"Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!" Jack Haley, Jody Garland, and Ray Bolger in the 1939 MGM film "The Wizard of Oz" · Gotta love acronyms. Corporations can’t seem to stay away from these shorthand communications devices. I once tried to convince a client not to shorten their Co ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Hard and Soft Skills in Continuous Improvement

First, a shout-out to Kelly Eager, who put Dr. Richard Taylor and I together to deliver 4 weeks of continuous improvement (CI) training to a group of operations common process specialists. · It was an unlikely collaboration. Ric is a professional engineer, a statistician, a Lean ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

What the Heck is a Master Black Belt?

The late Keye Luke as blind Master Po in the 1970s ABC-TV series "Kung Fu" · A Master Black Belt is the senior most role in the Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma “brand” of continuous improvement initiative. · First, let me apologize to readers who are already acolytes of Six Sigma; t ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

The 7 Deadly Sinkholes of Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement (CI) is a discipline that has been around in the United States (at least) since the turn of the twentieth century. Frederic Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management (planned and measured activities and workflow) in 1911. Walter Shewhart, a s ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

What's Your Story, Morning Glory?

“‘I need your help,’ the blond whispered in my ear as she took me by the arm and started fast-walking me towards Boylston Street. Before I knew it, she pulled me into a taxi and barked ‘Copley Square’ at the driver. As we sped off, I noticed two men in dark overcoats and Homburg ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Ed MacGregor: Self-Reliance

I think I have always loved to hear people’s stories. Perhaps this began when I was a boy; my father was a great storyteller for whom a book wasn’t necessary and the “Truth” was always a relative term. He also spoke to nearly everyone he met, “Krajcik – Kray-check, is that how yo ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Leadership: Thinking about Thinking

Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz · I facilitate a lot of groups. There is one mistake I seem to make over and over again. When it is time to break people into small groups, I ask participants to count off by the number of people I expect in the gr ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

The Journey of the Late Adopter: Installment 2 My Adventures with Computers

“I’m not a never-adopter, just a late adopter.” I don’t fear all new technology, I just take my time getting comfortable with it. I’ve now gotten quite comfortable with the Lenovo Thinkpad I am typing this on and even with Windows 10, even though I avoided that upgrade for more t ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

The Journey of the Late Adopter: Installment 1: 1994

I often joke, “If you look up ‘late adopter’ in the dictionary you’ll find a picture of me.” · It is not my intention to be such a technology laggard; it just takes me a while to see the usefulness of the latest and greatest technology. Sometimes this works to my advantage: I to ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

Wide-eyed Wonder

My father was an amateur photographer. It used to drive my mother and us kids nuts when he would pose us for the inevitable family shot, anywhere and everywhere. We waited impatiently unsmiling while he lined up his Ansco Twin-Lens Reflex 2”x 2” camera and then he would jolly us ...

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Alan Culler

4 years ago

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Image from: 2017 BMW X3 xDrive 28i Commericial, For the Fun of Doing, Song by Blur · “Remember when everything you did was for the fun of doing it?” · Recently, I was struck by these words coming from my TV. I was engaged in the very American pastime of ignoring commercials while ...

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