Curious CatJohn Hunter, the maestro of the Curious Cat Management Improvement blog and the year-end Management Improvement Carnival has once again allowed me to contribute a list of some of my favorite blogs and posts from 2013. I never miss reading these three blogs—they consistently educate, enlighten, and entertain me. Earlier, I reviewed Michel Baudin's epnonymous blog. Today, I've selected Mark Rosenthal's Lean Thinker blog.

Mark Rosenthal’s occasional posts come straight from the shop floor. When you read his blog, you feel like you’ve been transported right to the action in the production line. That’s where he spends his time, and that’s the spawning ground for his ideas and reflections.

He describes the absurdity of the 20-page “lean audit” another consulting company uses to gauge a company’s progress, and advocates a far simpler approach (which comes straight from the standup meeting): what are you trying to achieve; where are you now; and what’s getting in the way. His story of how a team finally understood the purpose of 5S and how it affects workflow should be read by every consultant that’s ever mindlessly pushed a client to start with 5S because “that’s what you do.” Lest you think that Mark only knows about machine set ups, check out his article on leadership that connects a leader’s journey with Joseph Campbell’s concept of the hero’s journey. And lastly, if you’ve ever struggled to convince people of the value of checklists, read his post on a different way to view them: “Do vs. “Did You Do?” It's a subtle difference, but extremely powerful nonetheless, and might go a long way towards increasing acceptance and usage of checklists where you work.

Mark's writing -- both in style and in content -- reveals both his humanity and his deep understanding of respect for people.

Check out the other year-end blog reviews on the Curious Cat website here. Or browse the entire blog review category here.