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There, There... All Better!

As the above video points out, not all proofreading efforts lead to success.  As a college professor, I have to laugh at some of my students' bloopers... sometimes I mercifully correct them... sometimes I shrug it off as a lost cause.

One Christmas, when my sister's girls were much younger, they excitedly came to our house to see the Christmas tree I had put up in the basement.  I really enjoy Hallmark ornaments, and they loved seeing some of the different decorations.  My younger niece burst into the room first, yelling "I seed it!  I seed it!" at the top of her lungs.  Her older sister, always in the spirit of watching out for her, corrected her grammar, "No, Trisha, it's 'I SAWED it.'"

During one vacation my wife and I shared at a brand spankin' new resort on the north shore of Lake Superior, I happened to look down while showering and noticed water seeping up under the fresh pine baseboards.  Later that morning, I went to the front desk to inform the clerk that they may want to avoid water damage by caulking the baseboards.  She thanked me as I watched her write the note to her maintenance staff, "Shower in 103 needs cock."  Um, yeah... let's just not go there.  (Although I've always been curious what went through the mind of the maintenance staffer who was on the receiving end of that note.)

In our world of six-sigma-lean-TQM-continuous-improvement, are we REALLY making things better?  I've seen more than once where the cost-cutting efficiency efforts actually hurt the organization.  It seems that often, efficiency runs counter to effectiveness.

We may have saved a few bucks, but did we really make the overall process and the final end result BETTER?  Are our customers any happier?  Are the people doing the jobs any more satisfied?  Have we sped things up?  Are decisions more streamlined or better informed?

Or have we "proofread" one thing just to mess up something else?

Where have YOU seen one thing fixed, which in turn broke five other things?


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Scot Herrick

When we focus on the desired result and test to see if what we did hits it, then it's better.

In every Fortune 100 company I've worked in, however, it is more about following the (insert popular improvement meme here) process than the actual results of the process.

A shame, too. Results are much more fun.

Timothy Johnson

Wel said, Scot. (You must have been reading a certain book I've heard about.)

Crysta Wille

I have to agree with Scot. There is an infatuation with the process (whatever is the buzz of the day). But at the end of this process if the true discipline of "quality improvement" has not been exercised then all you've done is exercise the process with no long term results. I feel for our Six Sigma guy at the moment. He's banging his head against improvement and documenting his X and Ys and in the meantime we've not addressed resource constraints so the car will look good, but there's no gas to run it.

Delaney Kirk

One of my students recently wrote at the end of his paper: Good thinks will come.

But maybe it wasn't a typo?

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