Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Thinking about 2021

After the new year, I'm planning to get back into the daily video business.  I've been spending these past couple of weeks focused first on family, then on developing some new ideas.

Neither of these are really new ideas, but I'm mustering up some energy to get them going this time around.

First is a concept around a high confidence culture.  This is based on what I think is the most significant factor in a successful culture of engagement: self-efficacy.  I've been talking about self-efficacy for years and sometimes it seems like I'm the only lean guy who does.  Self-Efficacy is the confidence we have about our own ability to do a particular task.  It could be a particular job at work, or an entrepreneur's marketing efforts, or my confidence that I can take a train from one part of DC to another.

Self-efficacy isn't something that just happens. Leaders can help shape this in team members, and I believe this fundamental understanding of how to build confidence in team members, and then to let it flourish is the first step to becoming a more effective leader.

The second idea is to build a more focused practice on coaching others.  I intend to take on clients who want to become more effective leaders and build engaging, high-confidence cultures.  I need to keep it oriented toward leadership in organizations, since it's that culture piece that we want to employ to create a better work environment for as many people as we can.

I guess I'll end up with three tiers of membership.  

    Tier 1 is individual, one-on-one coaching.  It'll start with a 360 degree assessment.  I use the LifeStyles Inventory (LSI) from Human Synergistics.  It'll also include an organizational assessment for profitability using the Quantum Profit Science Profit Model and will show how your organization compares with its industry averages.  We'll build a personal development plan and a roadmap to more engagement and we'll connect once a month for an hour to help you with accountability.

    Tier 2 is individual, one-on-one coaching as in Tier 1 but with 2 sessions per month, plus access to a weekly group Zoom call that will use lean coffee dialog techniques to discuss issues that participants bring to the table, rather than a set agenda.

    Tier 3 is the big Kahuna.  It includes the same individual one-on-one coaching as at Tier 2, and this group'll get their own weekly Zoom call.  But for this group, we add a specific project for participants from their own workplace.  Every 6 to 8 weeks, we will have a 3 to 4 day workshop focusing on a deep dive into a familiar topic, or an introduction to something completely new.  Finally, twice a year, pandemics notwithstanding, we'll meet face-to-face as a group in a place where we can learn, reflect, and relax.

What will the coaching focus on?  I'm glad you asked.  As the author of a book on leadership and another book on problem solving, it's a good bet that we'll be spending a lot of time on both of those topics.  But they will always be discussed within the framework of the high confidence culture.  Lots of lean systems thinking, principles, practices, tools and techniques with a special emphasis on standardized work (no, it's not the same thing that you're familiar with), workplace organization, visual management systems, and problem solving systems.

What's it going to cost??  I haven't figured that out yet.  I do know that I'm capping tier 3 at 16 people so I can provide a proper level of attention to achieve their learning and performance objectives.  What would you be willing to pay to get one or two of your key people into a focused development group like that?  Let me know.  

If you want to know when we're going to start and how you can be first in line, send me an email (  If you're ready to take that plunge now, go to and schedule a 15 minute video chat with me.

All the best and Happy New Year.


Monday, December 14, 2020

125 - Cultures of Engagement

Hi, I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

It's December 14, 2020.  The first truckloads of COVID-19 Vaccines headed toward 636 distributions centers over the weekend.  It'll still be months before we reach a point of saturation that will allow us to put aside our masks and social distancing, so please, keep maintaining your safety protocols through the holidays and well past when you get your own vaccination.

Here are a couple of cool events from history on this date.

On the sadder side, in 1799, George Washington, our first president, died at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.  In 1861, Prince Albert - Queen Victoria's husband - died in England.  He was a strong advocate for our Union - an important ally for the United States that was now in our 8th month of Civil War.

On the cool side, today is the day in 1900 that Max Planck presented Quantum Theory at the Physics Society in Berlin.  In 1911, Raold Amundsen reached the South Pole with 4 team members, after a 1400 mile trek over Antarctica.  

What piqued my interest in the Amundsen/Scott race to the south pole was Jim Collins and Morten Hansen's book Great by Choice.  They use it to contrast todays companies, in highly competitive and unpredictable markets.  

Some companies prepare like Amundsen and get similar results - they win.  Others prepare like Scott.  Scott's team died on the return trip from the south pole.  Pick up Collins' and Hansen's book along with Roland Huntford's "The Last Place on Earth" which Collins recommends as an excellent study of the two explorers.

The discipline applied by Amundsen's team created a culture that drove excellent performance.  In that kind of environment, your team has to be fully engaged.  

How do I define a culture of engagement?  The biggest difference between a culture of excitement, as I described in my last video, and a culture of engagement is the level of self-determination by the team.  

In a culture of engagement, everyone knows the vision, the goals, and the boundaries; they're trained to mastery level; and they're allowed to do whatever is necessary within the boundaries to achieve the goal.  And then, they do it.

Engaged team members don't wait until the Kaizen team comes to make improvements.  They make improvements everyday, practicing true kaizen - doing something everyday to make like a little better for those around you.

The leader's job is clear...set the vision and the direction, along with what's allowed and what's not allowed.  In lean we call these boundaries and rules Standardized Work.  But once these are set, the leader trains, teaches, and coaches, emphasizing problem solving and then let's go - encouraging everyone to improve everything without waiting for approval, as long as they operate within the rules to determine that a solution is in fact better through experimentation.

The harder part comes in how the leaders respond to failure.  If you hope to sustain this culture of engagement, we need to celebrate failure as learning events.

Please keep in mind that culture is fragile.  Any mishandling by leaders can undo any progress made toward this highest level of performance.  

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

124 - Cultures of Excitement

Hi, I’m David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

Let’s take a quick look back at what happened on December 8 in history, then we’ll get into today’s topic - Cultures of Excitement

Perhaps the first crack in the glass ceiling occurred on this day in 1660 when a woman was allowed to play the part of Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello.  Apparently up to this point, men played all the roles, even email characters like Desdemona.

On the bad news side, today in 1980, John Lennon was murdered outside of his Manhattan apartment building by Mark David Chapman.

Let see what shapes up for today and what kind of history we can make.

Today, I want to continue building on the evolution of corporate culture.  We started with a culture of defiance, then compliance.  Compliance is the default organizational culture.  No matter what we do, we normalize in compliance and we’ll get locked in there if we don’t deliberately shake things up.

For future business survival, we have to break out of Compliance as often as we can think to and we do that first by asking for involvement.  In a culture of involvement, leaders ask for input to improve the workplace.  A lot of leaders in a lot of organizations do this regularly, but we can’t sustain this and push to the next level without certain working systems that allow us to process the input from involved employees productively.

As we push past involvement and begin allowing employees to not just share ideas, but participate in testing and implementing their ideas, we lay the foundation for a culture of excitement.

We love a workplace that’s exciting.  But what is it that excites people?  

Participation is a big part of it.  So what are we asking people to participate in with us?  One of the more popular activities is a rapid improvement event.  These events go by a wide variety of names:  Kaizen Event, Kaizen Blitz, Action Workout, 5 days/4 nights, Improvement workshops…anything.  

They are focused activities that bring a cross-functional group of people together for a set period of time…usually 5 days.  In that week, participants receive focused training on solving the problem at hand or implementing a particular strategy - something like creating a work cell, or a 5S campaign to organize the workplace. 

These same kinds of things make for popular Television Shows like Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Fixer-Upper, or Flip or Flop.  These are focused on getting the maximum result possible in the minimum amount of time.

What makes these exciting is the attention, the resources available, and the results.  These events are facilitated by skilled team members.  The tools they employ are designed to equalize the group so that the input from the front-line employee weighs the same as input from the CEO.  That’s very satisfying for most of us mortal humans.

So in that week, we feel listened to.  We feel like we matter.  We help make a real change in the workplace, and we can measure that change to show how much better we made things.  And that feeling of “look what we did” or “I helped” and “We won” is wonderful.  I think it’s winning that excites us the most.  So these events have to leave us feeling like we won. 

But how long does it last?

When the event is over and the facilitators go on to the next event, the participants are usually back to their old status - just team members.  They’ll remember how exciting the event was and they’ll say things like “I can’t wait till the Kaizen team comes back to do that with us again.”

A culture of excitement runs on events.  Since events are usually limited in scope to a small area that can actually get finished in a week, for a large organization, people might never participate in a second event.

These events drive great improvements in organizations of all kinds.  They work.  Don’t misunderstand me.  But they don’t create real, broad employee ENGAGEMENT.  The difference is critical. 

I’ll talk more about that in the next post.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2020

123 - Involvement

Hi, I’m David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

It’s my granddaughter Ivy’s first birthday today.  She’s a fireball already and promises to be the perfect wild child.  I’m sure her moms will be able to handle it…one way or another.  Happy birthday, Ivy!

For the past two days, I’ve facilitated an online workshop sponsored by Lean Frontiers that I called High Speed Problem Solving.  I had 5 active participants that were just great to work with.  

As each introduced themselves, they described some frustration that in their organizations, getting to solutions just seemed to take too long.  Several were holding kaizen events that they hoped to shorten by applying what I might be able to teach them in this “high speed problem-solving” workshop.  

I spoke to them about the Lean Adage that says “sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.”  That pretty much sums up the premise of High Speed Problem Solving:  Slow down and do the thinking required to find the right problem, set the right scope, find the right root causes, and evaluate several different countermeasures to find the right one.  The speed comes from never having to solve that particular problem again.

I did share some very specific techniques for speeding things up, including ways to see problems more quickly through visual management and workplace organization; writing better problem statements, so we don’t have to ask a lot of questions to get the clarity we need; breaking down a big problem; stem-and-leaf cause mapping; and ways to cultivate creativity.

But all of those are just tips and techniques.  The context that makes them work, really, is in the culture of the organization.  Last week I spoke about cultures of defiance and cultures of compliance.  To get to a culture of engagement, we have to navigate our way through involvement and excitement while we build the skills required to thrive in engagement.  These include leadership skills as well as problem solving skills like critical thinking, quantitative analysis, creativity, planning and organizing, execution, and evaluation.

Getting to involvement should be easy, but staying there is very tough.  To get there, all you have to do is ask people for their input.  Staying there requires that you act on their input.  What makes this hard is that this early input expects the leader to solve the problems they point out, many of which are beyond the leader’s authority.  When the leader fails to act, people notice.  They go back into their compliance mode telling themselves that the leadership was never really serious about listening to employees anyway.

To make our way through this involvement stage, we have to have systems that allow us to show that we are listening to people, but we need to make it clear from the start that the leader’s role is not to solve the problems, but to provide resources to people to solve their own.  Those resources include time, coaching, and supplies.  Problems and ideas have to be tangible and work related, so complaints about how lazy other employees are doesn’t count.

If we don’t think through what the new rules should be for involvement, we’ll fall pretty quickly.  I’ll be happy to help you define those rules and help you begin your journey to a new culture.  Just give me a call.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Welcome December

Hi everyone.

We have made it to December, despite 2020!  Of course, there have always been end-of-the-world predictions surrounding the first day of Winter, December 21, so we can't say we've got it made until at least after that.

2020 has definitely been a year for disrupting habits.  There are so many things we "used to do" that we've had to reinvent.  But we've done just that...Reinvented.  So I've been thinking this morning about habits and how it's so hard to build good habits that stick for long.  If we've reinvented and created something that works, will we keep it after the pandemic passes?  That made me think about change initiatives, projects, and programs and why so many fail, or why we have so many in the first place.

Being human is just difficult.  If we could stick to stuff, would we be better off?  Let's start with diets.  I can show you in my "LoseIt" app that I was able to maintain a streak of 481 days of logging every meal.  In that time, I lost 30 pounds!  But then, for one reason or another, I broke the streak. 

Once it's broken, the effort to get back into it is enormous.  So, I've gained all that weight back.  I don't really need anything new, though, because I know exactly what to do to achieve that level of success.   My biggest question now is: Why can't I get back into it? 

I learned everything I needed to know and I should have been able to sustain without the details of keeping track of everything.  But I didn't.  So the lesson to me is that the system and some help are absolutely required even after all that learning.  The same applies to your work.  You can't rely on people doing everything that needs to be done just because they know how.  Leaders build the systems that not only sustain, but also propel the workplace into the future.

Have a wonderful December. I have two things I'm prioritizing (after family) that I could use your help with:

1. I want to do more professional speaking in 2021.  (Profession is code for "Paid".)  If your company is having a meeting, either virtually or in person, I hope you'll consider me as a keynote or workshop speaker.  If you're in a chamber of commerce or professional association, please recommend me to the program committee.  I'm happy to follow up with proposals to provide the details, but start by booking a call with me.

2.  I have discovered a cloud based system that changes the way we keep track of work as it progresses through our processes.  It is unlike any financial software or ERP system I've ever seen.  It bases everything on a profit model created from your current financials but run through an algorithm that allows you to see first if you're in line with competitors in your market segment, and second, precisely where you can focus to increase productivity, profitability, and engagement. 

I need 6 to 10 small- to medium-sized companies to try this with so I can really understand how it works.   The company that produced it (QPS) is making a special offer that makes it affordable for even a very small business.  Please think about this and book a call with me to talk about how we might be able to run it in your company and what you can expect.

If I can help you with anything else, send me a message. 

A Verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business

Keynotes | Workshops | Seminars | Coaching

Certified Virtual Presenter (eSpeakers)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

122 - Happy Thanksgiving

Hi, I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and I also want to make a special shout out to my lovely bride of 36 years since it's her birthday today.  Happy Birthday, baby.  I love you.

It's been a very difficult year for us all.  We've been restricted from traveling, restricted from gathering with family and friends, restricted from going out to our favorite restaurants and bars.  But we seen hundreds of thousands infected and tens of thousands killed because of the virus that has recently ramped up.

So in this kind of gloomy environment, our ability to recognize blessings that my be hard to see and hard to think about is a pretty handy skill.  No matter what we're going through or what we've been through, there is always something to be grateful for.

I'm grateful that my family has avoided getting sick.  We've been careful, but we've also done some limited traveling - nothing like last year, but at least we've been out of the house a couple of times.  I'm grateful that the vaccines are progressing well.

I'm grateful for some new friends in the National Speaker's Association, where I've been asked to become a Vice President and future President in the Ohio Chapter.  

I'm grateful for a new client and the return of existing clients.

I'm grateful for the time I've had to create some new stuff and to do these videos.

I hope you'll be able to take some time today to reflect on similar things in your life.  Embrace that feeling of gratitude and see how that affects your mood and stress levels.

We're having a Zoom feast this afternoon with the family dialing in from Texas and Maryland, then we're planning some online games we can play together.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

121 - Cultures of Compliance II

Hi, I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

A few days ago I described a culture of defiance in organizations, and I ended up saying that a new leader would usually be necessary to pull the organization into a culture of compliance.  

It takes a leader to create conditions for a culture of defiance - and that leader generally has to convince people that they can trust no one but them and tends to blame everything bad on some group or some person. 

The first step toward getting out of a culture of defiance is to remove that leader.  

The new leader will need to be pretty much a tyrant, enforcing his or her will through the strategic application of power.   But if that behavior persists, the organization will return to the pits of defiance.

The first stages of a culture of compliance  will involve a new set of rules with consistent enforcement of those rules.  There is no room for anything else.  These new rules will form the basis for a new relationship between the leader and the led.  During this period of time, the leader has to be brutally honest about everything.  The more transparent they can become, the less difficulty they will have in restoring trust.

The vast majority of organizations are stuck in cultures of compliance.  This isn't because leaders are maliciously keeping people there.  It's because people have been conditioned for compliance their entire lives.  It's parents, then teachers, then employers who have consistently punished non-compliance over time that creates compliance as the default until you discover how much freedom you actually have.  

The new rules need to encourage and reward compliance, and punish and discourage defiance.  It won't work for some of your people.  That's fine - they can go, either voluntarily, or through termination - If they can't or won't follow the new rules, which you have carefully communicated and taught - there is no reason to keep them.

As we settle into the new culture of compliance to the rules, and as we see some degree of trust returning, leaders have to adjust the rules to allow for more involvement.  But it isn't just adjusting the rules.  It also requires systems to allow for productive involvement of the workforce in setting those new rules.  We have to ask employees for their input.

We will always need compliance to set rules.  But to advance the culture toward engagement, we'll need a defined process for breaking the rules.  So when someone has input to share, that defined process shows them what they much do to confirm that the input makes things better, and then we change the rules - we create a new expectation.  We capture that in our standardized work and it becomes the new source of compliance, until we find a still better way.

More to follow.  Stick with me.  Join me next week, Wednesday and Thursday, for a high speed problem solving workshop sponsored by Lean Frontiers.  It's virtual - four hours Wednesday afternoon, and 4 hours Thursday afternoon.  

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

120 - Cultures of Compliance

I’m David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

We’re exploring this spectrum of organizational culture that spans from Defiance to Engagement.  

I believe the vast majority of organizations operate in a culture of compliance.  You can be perfectly successful here.  Some are even satisfied here.  

In a culture of compliance, people show up, work hard, and generally stay within the lines.  That’s another way of saying they do what they are told.  They follow the rules.  They comply.

Following rules is essential, but restrictive.  To create something new, like a new process, or even to change a process, everyone has learned that you can only do something like that when your leader has directed it.  That directive doesn’t have to be dictatorial.  It can come in the form of an innocent question, “How’d you like to be on the next kaizen team?”

And that is what makes us tend to stay in this culture of compliance.  People have learned not to try new things because of the likely response they will get from either their leaders or their peers.  We’ve learned not to rock the boat.  We’ve learned not to stand out.

To change this, we can’t just talk about encouraging people to share their ideas.  We can’t just ask people to let us know when they need help.  We have to have systems that make it safe for people to do these things.

The best way to convince people that this is safe is to deliberately train them on the techniques we want them to use when they have a problem or an idea.  We might need to do some conventional familiarization training - the classroom stuff we’re used to, but the more effective, although slower, way is to build a system that teaches them in real time when they have a problem or an idea.  In this case, the leader is the teacher and coach and reinforces the notion that we do want people to begin pushing the limits of the way we currently do things and forcing changes in the rules when the rules restrict us from improving performance.

I have some ideas that can help you build these systems, so give me a call and we can get started.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

119 - Cultures of Defiance

How do we find ourselves in a culture of defiance?

Defiance is the open disregard or even contempt of something or someone.

I’ve seen defiant cultures in several different organizations.  In two cases, it was a Union workforce that defied any management policy.  I’ve been doing some digging, plus reading the news, and doing some critical thinking; and I’m closing in on what I believe to be the root cause of this kind of defiance.  

I’m almost convinced that a defiant culture, whether in an organization, or a nation, flows from distrust of the opposition based on false or exaggerated claims by influential people in leadership roles.  When leaders, whether they have actual or official leadership positions or if they are simply the people others tend to listen to and believe, make false or exaggerated claims of the activities or performance of some system or some opposition leader, people believe them and resist or defy.  What's bad becomes good.  What's good becomes bad.

I even saw this in Toyota for a short period of time after the first US president was named at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.  He happened to take the job at the same time the company decided to make changes to the suggestion system that restricted what ideas would be eligible for consideration and reward compensation.  

Team members associated that change with the new President, and I was even asked by a friend who worked there if I thought the new president was trying to bring the United Auto Workers into the plant.

That was a case of unfortunate timing without clear communication about why a change was made.  Neither the President nor the managers of the suggestion system were malicious in intent, but the influential voices started rumors that spread quickly and were believable.  The result at Toyota wasn’t particularly bad from a performance standpoint that I could tell…They were still producing about 2000 high quality cars a day, but the difference in the way the plant just felt was palpable.  

I’ve been in that plant a hundred times.  Most of the time, the team members working on the line would take a second and look up at visitors and smile or wave briefly.  You could feel positive energy in the building.  During that dark time, though, it felt like a pall on the place.  When anyone looked up at you, there were hard lines on their faces and that energy had changed.

We’ve seen this same growing split in the culture of our country.  I think it started with George W. Bush’s presidency and the stories about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that prompted our invasion.  Then when Obama was elected, we see the partisan shift in several news organizations that slid them decidedly to the left or to the right.  And each began coloring the events with that left or right slant.  When Trump was elected, it seems we stomped on the gas pedal for radical reporting with audiences observing the exact same events, but coming to two entirely different conclusions.

Now, with the seemingly clear election results being openly contested by the sitting president for the first time in our history, with half of the country supporting him absolutely and the other half defying him absolutely, we find ourselves in that same kind of dark and stressful place that is just made worse by the raging Pandemic.

This kind of defiant culture can’t last long without having serious consequences.  

So how would an organization (or a nation) pull itself out of a defiant culture?  I’m still working on that.  

But I believe that without a completely different leader taking the dominant role in the organization, it will only get worse.  But then it gets ugly.  That leader has to be remarkably consistent with the truth, and ruthlessly suppress the disinformation from the opposition.  

We’ve seen some examples of this in history on both extremes.  

When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, he was immediately, forcefully, branded a tyrant by the opposition.  And he was.  He had to be to draw the nation out of our most terribly defiant culture ever.  

Hitler rose to power by uniting German nationalists against everything else, especially the Jews, by using every lie and exaggeration he could conceive. But he sold it.  

The only way out of both of these cases was a brutal war, and of course, the winners write the history.

Can we work together at the grass-roots level to find the common things that bind us together?  Can we deliberately ignore news and information from the extreme ends of the political spectrum and not let it inflame us to the point where we want to take up arms?

What we have to do is deliberately step toward compliance, together, and build systems that allow us to continue building toward more engagement.  For an organization, that’s not really too difficult.  For a nation, that’s a different story.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

118 - Culture

Good morning.  I’m David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

What is culture? offers 8 non-biology related definitions.

1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group of people, as a social, ethnic, professional, or age group (usually used in combination): the youth culture; the drug culture.
6. the shared beliefs, behaviors, or social environment connected with a particular aspect of society: the rape culture on campus; the culture of poverty; a culture of celebrity worship.
7. the values, typical practices, and goals of a business or other organization, especially a large corporation: Their corporate culture frowns on avoiding risk.
8. Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

We see culture in the arts, rituals, and ceremonies of any community, society or nation.  Think about the way we in the US have weddings or funerals.  And then, within a variety of communities there are special features of the celebrations.  A wedding involving a military officer is likely to feature something like a saber arch for the married couple to pass through as they exit the chapel. Mine did. Then my best man swatted my bride on the backside with the broad side of his saber…an old and somewhat questionable ritual.

We have graduation ceremonies, bar mitzvahs, prayer breakfasts, and any number of other reasons we get together.  We have have rituals for things like kids’ soccer games - oranges at halftime; ice cream after the game.

In an office, it’s no different.  The rituals and ceremonies are the meetings and gatherings we have for a variety of purposes.  They can be formal or informal, long or short.  

It might be a quarterly all-hands where we share the news of the company and recognize people for accomplishments and achievements.

It might be how we send off retirees.  Or it might just be our weekly pot luck.

The frequency and the duration of any of these along with the tension in the room, tells us the culture of any organization.  If, during the potluck or birthday ceremony, everyone is a little tense and anxious to get back to work, what would that tell you?

In Operational Excellence, we talk about creating a culture of continuous improvement or a culture of problem solving.  And we can talk about it a lot.  But if we don’t have that now, we won’t get it by talking about it.  We have to deliberately change the rituals and ceremonies around problem solving and continuous improvement.  There has to be a legitimate reason for people to change the way they behave.

Ultimately, I think we want to move from a culture of compliance, where people do what they’re told or what they are allowed to do, to a culture of engagement, where people do what they need to do to make the workplace better.  Of course that’s a function of trust between the workforce and management, isn’t it?

At the lowest end of the culture spectrum, we can describe a culture as defiant.  I’ll pick this up tomorrow and see where it leads.

Don’t forget to register for my High Speed problem solving workshop, hosted by Lean Frontiers on December 2 and 3.  

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

117 - Heading for the Holidays

Good Morning.  I'm David Veech.  This is Elevate Your Performance.

We are quickly heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, and then on to Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years.  All fantastic times to re-center, reconnect, rejoice.  I'm praying for a safe, virus-free, small gathering for everyone.  In the midst of this pandemic, please take the time to reflect on your blessings and find gratitude for small things.  Gratitude eases the stress and can get you refocused and reenergized.  We all need that!

If you need a brief renewal with focused problem solving, I invite you to join me for a 2-day virtual learning experience hosted by my friends at Lean Frontiers.  

Come and discuss how we can... 
• See problems more quickly
• Teach problem-solving skills more consistently
• Write better problem statements
• Determine more accurate and actionable root causes
• Reduce bias and increase certainty in your decisions
• Build more creativity in your workplace...

The workshop will be from 12-4 pm EST on December 2 - 3.  Register HERE.

If you need something more focused on your business, please reach out.  We can co-create a program to deliver precisely what you need, delivered either virtually or on-site.  My favorites are strategic planning, leadership development, operational excellence & lean systems, and problem solving. 

If you need a speaker for an upcoming event, I am happy to help.  I can deliver an inspirational and motivational message virtually or in person.  It might be the perfect touch to your organization's holiday celebration. 

Please visit my Blog and my YouTube channel.  I've been posting something nearly every day.  Drop by and share a thought or two and let's get a conversation going.  Please consider Subscribing to my mailing list for the most current information.

Call me at 502-517-1845 or send an email to me at to get the ball rolling. 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Join me over the next couple of days.  I'm going to be talking about different types of organizational culture and how we might be able to change to create a better workplace.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

116 - What's your next challenge?

How do you usually respond when someone says "I want to challenge your thinking about that."  

If you're like most people, your autonomic response is defensive.  That means we immediately begin formulating our response in defense of this challenge.

I'm still a fan of challenging ideas and conclusions.  We need that to bolster our critical thinking.  But can we do it in a way that doesn't feel like an attack?  For this, I haven't really figured it out.

Maybe if we dropped the word challenge in those cases and instead offer an alternative to consider.  Could this help us through political discussions?  Too many political comments and discussions on social media are driven by rage, outrage, passion, or other emotions.  It doesn't help that two people can look at the same data, presented the same way, or even look at the same video and come to different conclusions.  And both would still likely be wrong.  If we pause our commitment to one answer long enough to consider the other side, how much progress could we make?  

Let's leave the word "challenge" to represent a difficult goal that we want to pursue and attain.  My current challenge is to walk a half-marathon in every state and US territory within two years.  COVID-19 screwed that up, but I'm getting it fired up again this month with a "virtual" race in Maryland the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  The virtual race idea sounded pretty weird at first, but organizers are still offering t-shirts, medals, and other race swag but allowing people to run on their own instead of in a giant crowd.  I think that's a great work-around for our covid constraints.  With Pfizer's announcement about the effectiveness of their vaccine, I am hopeful that we'll be back to real races by the middle of next year.

My other current favorite challenge is orienteering.  I read about orienteering in a book called "The Great Escape" way back in 1972 and was hooked.  Organizers plan courses of different levels of difficulty and distance in a park, and hang orange and white markers at different locations and on different landmarks or pieces of terrain and mark them on a map.  At the start of the course, runners get their maps and have to find their way to each marker in sequence.  

The Orienteering Club in Cincinnati, OCIN, offers a series of races every week from November through February.  Last year they were really well done and I'm looking forward to getting started this weekend.  They are challenging.  They make you think.  They are always a lot of fun.

One more example of a challenge I want to share is rock climbing.  Last week, Emily Harrington became the first woman to free climb a route on El Capitan, a famous rock face in Yosemite National Park, in under a day.  That is a beast of an accomplishment.  Her approach was different from Alex Honnold's free solo climb of El Cap in 2017.  Emily still used ropes for protection, and Alex didn't - which I think is pretty crazy, but that's what made this a challenge for him.

One of these days, I hope I’ll get to do a little more rock climbing.  It’s been a while, though.

What's going to challenge you?  What's your next challenge? 

I'm David Veech.  This is Elevate Your Performance.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2020

115 - Getting back on track

Good morning!

It's been a rough week and I'm out of sync with my video schedule.  We ended up with doctor's appointments this week that fell during my normal video production time, and if I don't get this made within a certain time window in the morning, I can't seem to escape the other stuff that comes up every day to get it done later.  

Other factors contributing to this include my tendency to procrastinate and just be lazy.  I let a lot of things get stuck bouncing around in my head too, that I constantly try to organize.  The excitement of this very close election is also proving very distracting!

To start getting back on track, I want to return to a discussion about Culture.  I spoke about this back in August, so after the weekend, I'll dig into some more detail about each culture type that I talked about then:  Defiant; Compliant; Involved; Excitement; Engagement.

I also need to get refocused on Saturdays to talk about Travel.  I think travel is going to come back very strong once we have a vaccine that works and makes social gatherings a thing again.  I want to have the travel advisory ready for that. 

Sundays are for reflection.  I like to set aside specific time to think through what I've learned, discovered, uncovered, and shared with you.

I hope you’ll stick with me.  give me a like, a comment, or a share please.  Let’s have a discussion about these things.

I'm David Veech.  This is Elevate Your Performance.  

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, November 2, 2020

114 - Challenges, Opportunities, and Problems

I've been in a bunch of organizations who initially are uncomfortable with using the word "problem."  I expect this is caused by feelings lingering from some previous negative experience with a problem of some kind.  Most likely someone received some kind of punishment for having a problem.  This would be particularly acute if that person wasn't fully in control of the area that had the problem.

I suspect that some of this is also caused by our egos, which tell us we should not let anyone else see that we're having any problems lest they think badly of us.  This is where the expression "don't air your dirty laundry" may originate.

In lots of places, people would rather say we have some "opportunities" or we have some "challenges."  Those seem to be nicer words than "problem" but they mean something different.

A problem is anything that happens that you didn't expect to happen.  Some are good "We get free HBO this weekend!" Some are bad "Wifi is down!"  The key is that there is an expectation of some kind, but the actual condition was different and therefore it's a problem.  

An opportunity is something that you can choose to take advantage of or not.  "We have an opportunity to sell 400 units to the government."  You don't have to do that.

If you change the phrase to "opportunity for improvement" it's still OPTIONAL.  If there's a problem - something that is not meeting our expectations - good or bad - we have to take some action.  If it's the positive side, "free HBO" could be an opportunity - we can choose to figure out if we want that to be the new expectation or not; but on the bad side, "the wifi is down" that's something we have to fix.

You can make all the semantics arguments you want about these kinds of examples.  What I want to get to is that we need to call problems - problems so we can apply an effective problem solving method to fix them. 

But I also want to teach leaders how to CHALLENGE people because if a leader challenges people to do something different than they are doing now, that is, if the leader CREATES the problem by changing the expectation, that can drive some positive and creative behaviors.  But people perceive that as impossible, they are going to be unwilling to accept the challenge.  So even now, it's optional.  A leader can try to force the challenge, but if people are forced, they may not pursue it with gusto.  

But consider this:  Once accepted, once we decide to pursue an opportunity or take on a challenge, then, with new expectations set, any deviation from that new expectation is now a problem.  

The difference is choice.  For a problem, you don't have a choice of whether or not to solve have to find out what happened.  For a challenge or opportunity, you first get the option to go for it.  Once you choose, then you can use "problem" language because we're going for it.

Another thing to consider is getting out of it.  It's often pretty difficult the get out of the challenge or opportunity once you accept it.  For example, when Alex Honnold accepted the challenge to Free Solo El Capitan, he treated it like a problem to solve, planning and investigating and experimenting, and testing everything.  But until he started up the wall, he had a choice.  Half way up though, he didn't have the option to quit.

What kind of challenge will get you fired up today?

Don't forget to Vote tomorrow.  I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.
Follow me on twitter:  @davidveech

Saturday, October 31, 2020


In case anyone drops by, I want you to be able to see an analysis of the massive problem COVID-19 presented and how we collectively responded.  For a problem solving coach this is pure gold.

Some will view this as a political hit job, But it can only be a hit job if it fabricates a harmful story and distributes it.  When facts are presented logically and objectively that piece together what actually happened with the evidence necessary, it’s just a documentary.

We will be studying the US response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic for decades.  I hope we actually learn from this and develop creative solutions to prevent this from happening again or, more likely, improve our response and outcomes WHEN something like this happens again.  We must make changes.

God bless the USA.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

113 - Tomorrows problems

Today was a big day.  On October 29, 1969, the Internet was born.  That’s the day that ARPANET created the first host-to-host connection and transmitted a message between two computers at UCLA.

As I'm working through my production schedule for these videos and the book, I'm trying to set the framework for what kinds of problems we've had in the past and what we might face in the future.  I don't necessarily predict the future, but looking at certain trends provides some foresight.

Tomorrow’s Problems and Challenges of the future
Productivity, Profitability, and Professionalism
How do we improve Productivity in all types of work systems?  I think we will need to continue to improve productivity to stay competitive.  In many cases, we will have fewer resources available so we will have to figure out how to get more work done by each without burning people out or asking them simply to work longer and harder.
How will we increase Profitability as resources become scarcer or more expensive?  If we can't maintain profitability, we can't stay in business.  This is intimately linked to the productivity question, but will also force us to understand markets, pricing, and staying attuned to customers demands.
How can we attract, assimilate, and retain a professional workforce?  This may be the toughest challenge we'll face.  We already believe there is a significant gap in the available talent we need in many workplaces.  
Balance and wellness.  I believe that services for balance and wellness at work will be critical to maintaining our ability to improve productivity, profitability, and professionalism.  I think it will be important that we find affordable ways to look after the needs of all employees, but especially key leaders in stressful roles.
Global leadership – Leading people across a spectrum of vastly different cultures will tax the ability of leaders.
Diverging mindsets – will we be able to lead people with polarized mindsets toward a common objective?
Greed - Can we find ways to avoid promoting only incentive-based structures for motivating employees reducing greed across senior leadership?
Hate - Can we find ways to promote a mutually respectful environment to get people from diverse cultural backgrounds to work together, overcoming centuries of hate?
Another huge problem is our human tendency to jump to and act on a solution or conclusion - this problem points to the importance of finding ways of developing processes to resolve prospective or existing problems in the organization.
Technology – Technological interventions that help create an engaging environment in the workplace.
Talent – Diverse talent – hiring individuals that add value to the organization rather than fill empty spaces.
I'm certain there will be things that can't anticipate that will tax our abilities.  I want to work to discover the best ways to prepare for this.  What we do now really matters.
I teach people how to think, not simply how to solve problems.  My hope is that better thinking will help us respond better to whatever comes our way.
Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

112 - More of Today's Problems

Good morning!

I love taking a look back through history as I prepare for these daily videos.  Here’s what I found for today:

• In 1636, Harvard College is founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
• In 1793, Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his Cotton Gin, a device that dramatically changed the economics of growing cotton in the southern United States, which I think allowed slavery to expand because the Cotton Gin made plantations profitable.
• In 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated Liberty Enlightening the World, also known as the Statue of Liberty.  She was a gift from France celebrating our Centennial in 1876.
• In 1927, Pan American Airways launches the world’s first scheduled international flight.
• In 1955, Bill Gates was born.  Happy Birthday, Bill!

I encourage you to take a step back every now and then and take a look around.  This quick review of the past always sparks some desire to learn more.  I use the Eli Whitney example of one of the seminal events that enabled the transition from the Craft Age to the Mass Production Age.  

We are still trying to make the jump from Mass Production to Lean Production - and when I say production, I don't mean just manufacturing.  We "produce" services as well and the principles are just as applicable.

Today, we still have problems, whether caused by a system failure or a decision to be better.  
To me problems are NOT bad things. They teach us. They challenge us. They drive us forward. We only think they hold us back because our heads aren't always on right.
I've had a few conversations with people about framing this and here's what I've learned.

The fundamental problem for business is "how can we be successful."  In most cases, success = growth.  But there are a variety of ways to shape success, and there are a variety of reasons to grow.

• Maybe we want to keep high paying manufacturing jobs in your region. 
• Maybe we want to have some positive impact on the community - one client of mine that makes medical devices said they want to reduce overall healthcare systems costs through improved patient outcomes.  
• Maybe they are focused on providing a reward those invested in the success of the company - following the old “Maximize Shareholder Wealth” purpose.

How can you grow your business?  To me, there’s really only one way:

• Be more innovative.  That means to learn and act faster than others.  This can lead to 2 basic things:
○ New processes for higher quality and productivity (including a faster process for launching new products, better processes for sales and marketing to reach new markets, etc.)  
○ New products for market growth

How can a company be more innovative?

• Get more ideas from more people.  In other words, improve employee engagement and confidence so they are willing to share their ideas.  We can do that in several ways:
○ Give them ownership (leadership has to let go) and rewards (not necessarily money) for sharing their ideas
○ Give them better thinking skills to improve the quality of ideas (teach them how to think critically)
○ Give them a structure that allows them to experiment with their ideas quickly:  Give them structures so that they can more quickly see problems that might prompt ideas (structures that make them more aware of what is going on)
○ Give them practice at doing these things

I've designed the C4 system I've been talking about to do all of these.  Let me help you put it in place.  Send me an email at or send me a direct message on one of my social media platforms.

I’m David Veech and this has been Elevate Your Performance.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

111 - C4 Master Pres File

Sometimes teams need to keep track of more than the C4 Card or C4 Worksheet provides the space for. I built this C4 Master Presentation File in PowerPoint just to provide that space and keep things organized, especially for teams who will need to periodically present their progress to a decision-maker. #problemsolving

Monday, October 26, 2020

110 - The C4 Worksheet

Elevate Episode 110   The C4 Worksheet 20201026

How do you keep track of ugly problems?  I've been in dozens of meetings where teams of people argue back and forth about what problem is really plaguing them or who should be doing what about it.  Lots of talk.  Lots of defensive emotions.  Lots of stress.   Zero action.

I've said this before but I'm telling you again, you have to write down everything that comes up when talking about a problem.

In most cases, problems that employees tell us about can be taken care of with the C4 card I shared with you last week.  It works great to help people think through the critical issues of the problem, find the most likely root causes, and develop more effective countermeasures by requiring us to think through the impact the countermeasure will have.

But what happens when it's a big ol' ugly problem?  

To address these, we need a team.  To help the team get it's head around the problem, we need something a little more flexible and substantial than the card.

In lean circles, we teach A3 problem solving.  A3 is simply the size of the paper that you work on.  The process follows PDCA steps.  But in many cases, the A3 is just a blank sheet of paper, or a paper with several large blocks designated for different activities, and I have found that many people find this very intimidating and it limits their progress as they try to figure out what is supposed to go where on this blank form.

So I thought I'd offer up some training wheels.  I took a Quality Circles Theme report from Toyota and used it as a guide to create this annotated C4 A3 worksheet.

It starts off with some questions to ask and answer and offers some descriptions and examples of what to put in each block.  It's everything you need to keep track of a problem or a project in summary form.  

It is not sufficient for collecting everything a team needs to complete a proper analysis of processes surrounding the problem or for details related to confirming root causes and managing experiments to gather enough data to evaluate countermeasures.  For these tasks, I've put together a C4 master presentation file that I'll talk about tomorrow.

This C4 A3 is available to download for free at my website,  Just hover over "Learning Resources" and click on "Free Downloads."  After we verify who you are, you're free to download everything we have there, including a full copy of my book, "The C4 Process."

I will also be teaching how to use these in a Lean Frontiers Digital Workshop coming up December 3-4.  Here's the registration link:

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

109 - Sunday Reflection

Good morning.

With travel this past week, I missed recording on Thursday and Friday.  Saturday I have managed to skip for 3 weeks in a row.  I still have in mind to do a travel related show on Saturdays to have some fun and to boost my travel agency a bit.  We'll see how that works out.

The pandemic had an effect on my travel to New York.  I had checked the travel restrictions and New York apparently has some of the tightest controls in the country.  I'm happy about that, because we don't seem to be taking it as seriously as we probably should especially since we had  a record number of new cases yesterday.

To make it to my client in Rochester, I had to complete a form for the New York State Health Department giving the details of where I was arriving from and if I've shown any symptoms or if I'd been exposed to anyone with symptoms or been in any potentially hazardous activities that could have put me at risk.  

Unlike Massachusetts, New York didn't say they would waive the requirements with a negative COVID test within the past 72 hours.  I decided it would be prudent to get one anyway, for my client's and my own peace of mind.

CVS does drive through testing that easy and essentially free, so I took care of that on Monday morning hoping to have the results before I arrived in New York.  I didn't, but I filled out the New York travel forms and got an email back with a green check mark that said I'm good to go.

When I arrived in Rochester, the National Guard was there to collect information from everyone arriving.  I showed them my green check mark and they let me sail on through.  I picked up the car at Hertz with no trouble and arrived at the Marriott hotel with no trouble.

The client had a similar statement that I had to sign, plus they took my temperature before they let me in.  Our group met in a large, well-ventilated training room that allowed everyone (a group of 9 people) to spread out.

At lunch, I got a phone call from the New York State Health Department and we had a nice conversation about how I was feeling, and if I'd had any symptoms at all.  They said if my employer had restrictions or quarantine requirements I should follow their guidance.  I was following the client's guidance so I think I'm good to go.

Later that afternoon, I got an email from them (the Health Department) that was pretty much a form letter that they must send to everyone arriving in New York from almost any other state that ordered me to quarantine in my hotel room for 14 days.  There was no hint of this coming based on the phone call I had, which clearly indicated I could work following the employer's guidelines.  

About this same time, my test results arrived - a nice big "Negative" across the top.  I forwarded this to the client, and showed them the email, and we decided to proceed with the second day of training.

I was supposed to get periodic text messages from the Health Department asking about symptoms, but they sent them to the wrong phone number so I didn't see them until I got home.

I'm home now, feeling fine except for not sleeping much because my poor wife is still hurting so badly from her knee surgery.

This past week, I showed you my C4 Card and explained how to use it.  On Wednesday, I talked about 4 types of problems:  Alert Response, Measured Response, Individual Idea, and Management Response and how they tie in to the C4 card as well.  

This week, I'll bring up the C4 worksheet and a Master file I give to groups to use to hold everything they discover on their problem solving journey.  I'll talk through both of those, then go into a little more depth on  the types of problems and on the types of gemba walks.

I hope you'll stick around.  Let me hear from you!  Make a comment.  Let me know if you'd like to know more about anything I'm talking about.  Let me know if you'd like me to come to you and take a group through these steps.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

108 - Four Types of Problems

I mentioned yesterday that how we process the C4 Card depends on the type of problem we have.  The types of problems that I have written about in my books are:

Alert Response Problems:
• Problem occurs that threatens your ability to serve your customer
• Requires immediate report and immediate response
• Short term countermeasures contain the problem from spreading further
• Follow up analysis to find the root cause and develop a permanent solution

• For these problems, you'll need to take some action to contain or correct the problem immediately.  When the "crisis" passes, grab a C4 card or worksheet and quickly capture the problem and describe what actions you took.  Try to pull a few people together to dig into the problem deeper to make sure your countermeasure will correct the root cause.

Measured Response Problems:
• Problem is visible through process metrics as an "out-of-standard" condition
• Could also be a nuisance problem but doesn’t threaten customers (usually smaller in scope)
• Individual reports the problem
• Coach works through the problem with the individual, escalating the problem if warranted
• Together they develop and implement the countermeasure

• For these problems, when you see the deviation from standard in your process, pull a C4 Card and capture the problem as the gap between what you planned and what you actually got.  Assign a coach - or do it yourself - and work through the card to define and clarity the problem, the find the root causes.  Afterwards, develop several countermeasures to try and implement the one that works best in every similar process.

Individual Ideas:
• Individual has an idea and is willing to share it with us
• Ideas often stem from unresolved problems that may be hard to define
• Coach works through idea with the individual to identify the problem and check if the idea actually solves the problem
• Together they decide whether or not to implement the idea
• For these problems, write the idea in the countermeasure section of the card, then, as the leader coaches the team member, we identify the problem that prompted the idea, the find its root cause.  If the idea solves the problem at that root cause level, we can say it's a good idea; if it doesn't solve the problem, try something else!

Management Response Problems:
• Problem is created when management sets a goal that exceeds current ability (push the standard; set a stretch goal) OR
• Business is making slow or no progress on annual or quarterly goals
• Assign a team to work through the problem solving process to pinpoint problems or barriers to success, find its cause or articulate the obstacles, develop and implement a set of countermeasures, then track progress

• For these problems, pull a team together from the start and build the plan to achieve the goal, but dig through to understand not just the root causes of any problems you foresee in pursuing this new standard, but also to identify any potential barriers to success.
Tomorrow, let's talk about escalating and using the C4 worksheet.
Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

107 - The C4 Card Part 2

Good Morning.

Yesterday, I showed you the C4 Card and what it's used for.  Today I want to show you how it works.

Working the Card
• Problem occurs/team member has an idea
• Post card
• Leader pulls
• Assign coach
○ TL or Peer coach
• Dialogue 
○ Critical thinking
○ 5 whys
○ Initial evaluation
• The Dialog piece not only helps the team member but it teaches the coach how to ask better questions and build stronger relationships
• Cross unit coordination
○ Cross-shift/Cross-Dept
• Adjust inputs
• Countermeasures
○ Explore multiple options
○ Evaluate
○ Plan
○ Execute
• Confirm - Check the result.  Do we need to update any procedures or standardized work? Review the process - did we follow it as planned?  If we deviated, why did we deviate?  What did we learn by going through this?

How it works depends a little on how the problem shows up.  We'll cover these tomorrow!

I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2020

106 - The C4 Card, Part 1

Good morning.

Do you need an easy way to get more people involved in sharing ideas and in finding and solving problems?

Let's talk about the C4 Card.

Every problem or every idea that a team member has is an opportunity for developing problem-solving skills.  So this C4 Card System is first a skills- and people-development system, and second a system to solve problems.

The C4 card is designed to be the initial recording device for all the problems identified or exposed in the workplace.  It is relatively simple and hopefully non-threatening, so that every employee would have, or develop, a high level of confidence that they can fill it out.

The C4 card is sufficient by itself for many smaller problems that employees experience, but still requires all four steps - Concern - Cause - Countermeasure - and Confirm.  Since we are driving learning, and not just solving problems, it is essential that we require evaluation of countermeasures to reach those higher levels of learning for people.

The C4 card is also sufficient for use in an employee suggestion system, where we can capture their ideas, and assist them in analyzing, evaluating, and implementing those ideas themselves, while giving us a tool to keep track of all of them.  For this, you simply start on the back, recording the idea in the Countermeasure box.

Many problems will be more significant and will require more resources to solve than the C4 card will support.  A problem may be initially captured on the C4 card, but could quickly elevate to the next level, which brings us to the C4 worksheet.

Join me tomorrow and I’ll walk through the details of working through this card. It sounds like it will be very time consuming, and the first few times it may be.  But the idea is to get better at these key skills so that we can blast through all the steps in the shortest possible time - Maybe as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

I'm David Veech and this is Elevate Your Performance.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

105 - Review and Reflection

Good morning!

What did you learn this week?

Overall, this was a pretty good week.  I celebrated my 100th episode on Monday and got a chance to explain why I'm doing this daily show.

When I got into the prep for Tuesday morning's episode on the scientific method, I searched for some new information.  What I've had in my notes for a long time focused on the impact that the scientific method had on accelerating the Industrial Revolution - but that was only a few hundred years ago.

When I read about the Edwin Smith papyrus I was fascinated. I love finding things that make me want to learn more.  But it makes you think:  People have always had the capability to think in a focused and deliberate fashion.  The hard part is getting people to actually do it.

Finding out why we don't has been a significant part of my research.  To me, it's much less about the sequence of steps in applying the scientific method and much more about people's general behavioral and cognitive habits. 

What makes people do what they do always intrigues me.

I also covered the quality movement; first as part of the discussion on the scientific method, then, on Wednesday, in terms of a shift from inspection at the end of a process to process control.   We haven't gotten away from inspecting and auditing anywhere that I've been, but we have learned that we don't have to rely exclusively on inspection to ensure our products are good.

On Thursday and Friday, I shared the stages and steps of the C4 Process.  I want to emphasize once more that I designed the C4 Process to develop people through problem solving, not just to solve problems.  I hope that focus on people stick with all of you who might decide to use the technique at work.

This week, I have a couple of days with a client that will likely delay or eliminate a couple of episodes.  The plan is to share with you how to use the C4 Card and C4 Worksheet with teams to help solve problems and develop people.

I also signed up for Orienteering Cincinnati's TROL/WARS series of orienteering meets this fall.  I'm excited about getting back out into the woods and get lost again.  They had to suspend meets at the beginning of COVID but we're on this fall - since orienteering is largely individual and spread out in the woods.  I just can't wait to do it; it's one of my favorite things to do.

I hope you'll stick with me. 

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.