Posted by: Knightbird | July 22, 2011

“Habitual Excellence”

Every lean practitioner knows about variation and standard deviation, even if the only class we took on statistics was over 40 years ago. Dr. Deming taught that most of the variation (97%) in our workplace is common cause variation. Using the tools of lean and pursuit of continuous improvement can reduce common cause variation. Reacting to special cause variation will increase variation. Ultimately, variation is bad, and our goal is to reduce it.

Habitual Excellence” is another term used by Paul O’Neill during his podcast with Mark Graban. While employees don’t need to know about tracking and calculating reduction in variation, every employee can learn the tools of lean and participate daily in a culture of continuous improvement. So doing builds excellence into our daily routine, and in so doing, excellence becomes habitual. As I wrote in a previous blog, setting goals at the theoretical limit gives us an ambitious target to shoot for.

Our current crop of executives seems to set their sights rather low. By looking at slight and incremental improvement, we achieve what we seek—mediocrity. By building habits of excellence and theoretical limit goals, we achieve what we seek—excellence.

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