January - February, 2012

Volume 2, Number 1

In This Issue

·    Happy 2012

·    The City of Irving, TX Shows How It’s Done

·    Revisiting a Classic

·    Higher Productivity Through Relaxation?

·    Link of the Month

·    Do You Own a Set of Booz Balls?

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Happy 2012!

Twenty-Twelve should be an interesting year.  Some indicators show the economy is slowly bouncing back which will hopefully bode well for many businesses.  On the other hand, it’s been said the Mayan calendar indicates the end of the world on December 21st.   I suppose that could have a negative effect on ones holiday shopping season…

There are certain to be many fascinating highlights and lowlights this year as in any other.  My wish for all the readers is that you have a healthy, happy, record breaking year and surpass all of your goals and expectations.  It’s been a trying few years for many, and it’s time to get back to the good times.  I hope 2012 is your year!

Have an excellent month!


Jeff Cole


JCG Management Consulting

The City of Irving, TX Shows How It’s Done

Operational Excellence methods like Lean and Six Sigma are exclusively for manufacturing firms, right?   Not so, if you ask Lynda Johnson, Chief Performance Officer of the City of Irving, TX and 2011 winner of the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE).   For several years, the City of Irving has been diligently applying Lean and process improvements in everything they do. And their results have been amazing! 

According to Lynda, “Since implementing Lean Six Sigma, the City of Irving has eliminated waste, saving over 38,000 hours and $38M. Lean Thinking is embedded in our culture. During these tough economic times when many cities are cutting back their services, we are enhancing and improving service levels.”


Congratulations to the City of Irving on being a role model for excellence!  Click here to view a fascinating video clip of how they applied lean techniques to one city process that saved 90 minutes per day per worker!


Revisiting a Classic

Every now and then a book is written that is timeless.  Such is the case with In Search of Excellence, now celebrating 30 years in print.  In 1982, two consultants out of McKinsey, Tom Peters and Bob Waterman wrote the book which looks at eight attributes of excellent companies.  Its effect was like throwing gas on a fire in terms of creating interest in quality and operational excellence.

So successful was it that it launched Tom Peters into management superstardom, where he went on to author over a dozen books and is still a sought-after management speaker.  Although the firms Peters and Waterman studied have certainly had their share of ups and downs, in general the underlying attributes they uncovered are as applicable today as in 1982.

·         A bias for action

·         Staying close to the customer

·         Fostering autonomy and entrepreneurship

·         Productivity through people

·         Hands-on, value-driven management

·         Sticking to the knitting

·         Simple form, lean staff

·         Simultaneous loose-tight properties

Happy 30th anniversary to Peters and Waterman on a management classic!

Higher Productivity Through Relaxation?

We’ve heard it all before:  studies show that relaxed workers perform better; more than half of lost workdays are reported to be stress related; in one large company, four of the top ten prescriptions administered by their healthcare insurance were anti-depressants.   

We’d like to find fast, effective ways to relax more in our stress-filled world, but how?  Could the answer lie in something as simple as music?  Definitely so according to Time magazine.  It awarded one of its coveted 2011 Top 50 Inventions slots to what it calls the world’s most relaxing song.

Weightless” by British band Marconi Union is an 8 minute song proven to reduce anxiety by 65% and slow heart rates by 35% as a listener’s body rhythm synchronizes with the song’s.  According to Time, the scientists studying this found it so effective they cautioned people to not listen to it while driving.

At this writing, the song can be heard here.  Turn off the phone, close your eyes and enjoy an 8-min relaxation break today!

Link of the Month

Operational Excellence - is there an app for that?  You bet!  This month we share a list of links to various phone apps you may find useful in your efforts.

We have not evaluated nor do we endorse any particular app you see here.  Rather this list is to make you aware and possibly short-cut your time in searching for apps.

·         Six Sigma phone apps

·         Lean phone apps

·         Project management phone apps

Do You Own A Set of Booz Balls?

In the 1970’s, Booz Allen Hamilton consultant Harvey Poppel designed a set of little pie-chart type icons for use in a comparison table.  Often referred to as “Harvey Balls” or “Booz Balls”, these icons are useful in project management to indicate status and in the world of quality improvement for visualizing.

The basic set of Booz Balls can indicate five different statuses.  For example:  Empty ball (not started); One quarter full (25% complete); Half-full (50% complete); Three fourths full (75% complete); Full (Complete).

You may have seen a similar set of icons in magazines such as Consumer Reports where they provide product comparison tables.

Visit the Excellence Insights Download Center to download your own set of Booz Balls in Powerpoint and liven-up your presentations today!  Alternately, there are Harvey Ball fonts to be found on the internet, and some applications in Microsoft Office allow you to insert pie-chart statuses. 


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