Time to Dump the Toolheads in Service Industry

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by Tripp Babbitt
The toolheads are the ones pushing Lean, Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma with massive training on tools that only a command and control manager could love. The ones with more tools than an electrician, auto mechanic and lathe maintenance operator put together.  I know . . . my name is Tripp and yes I was a toolhead.  BB and then MBB in Six Sigma.  Somewhere between W. Edwards Deming and John Seddon I lost my way.  Dr. Deming and Taiichi Ohno never talked about tools so where did we stray away from the Yellow Brick Road of business improvement? . . . in a word "tools."

First the labels came with "continuous improvement", "six sigma" and "lean."  Deming and Ohno never called them these things the people who did were more marketing than thinking.  We rejected Demings call for the elimination of things like short-term thinking, ceasing dependence on inspection, elimination of work standards, slogans and MBO, breaking down barriers between departments and getting rid of performance appraisals, rewards and incentives.  All barriers to making his system of profound knowledge relevant and US companies competitive.

The new age has begun, this age will require a change in thinking that Ohno and Deming understood.  We can’t continue down the path of toolheads finding a place to apply value stream mapping or hypothesis testing without first understanding the thinking that must accompany it.

Learn more by downloading "Understanding Your Organization as a System" for a new beginning to a change of thinking . . . need a label? "systems thinking"

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