John 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.
Full confession: I’m totally, utterly, and completely jealous of Bill Waddell. He’s smarter than me. He’s opinionated and passionate. He’s forgotten more about lean and manufacturing than I’ll ever know. He actually understands accounting. (I got a 29 out of 120 on my accounting mid-term. How I passed is beyond me.) But mostly, I’m pissed because he’s ten times as funny as me, and a hundred times more entertaining. My goal in 2014 is to bribe him to write my blog for me. Until that time, I’ll have to suffer the indignity of writing in the same blogosphere as Bill, so you should check out some of these posts that I envied loved.
Both of us wrote about the pathetic case of the Harvard business school professor who has dedicated the past several years to trying to prove that, in spite of the success enjoyed by companies like Toyota, Lantech, and Autoliv, workers actually do better when they’re hidden from their managers. So much for respect for people. Read Bill’s acid comments here. (And mine here!)
Bill is never shy about calling bullshit when he sees it, whether it’s from ivory-tower academics or from executives who have nothing better to do than create silos and fragment responsibility. He eviscerates both the “Chief Customer Officer” management fad, and the CEO who claims that you’re dead when your sales team works for the customer. He’s equally adept at the nuts and bolts of lean implementation—check out his argument that SKU reduction, while valuable, is not the same as a comprehensive lean initiative—and can in fact be a step backwards. Most of all, when you read Bill’s column, you get a passionate, articulate, and powerful defense of the principle of respect for people. Take a look at “Right Church, Wrong Pew” and “Respect for People Begins at the Hiring Office. . . Or Not” to see how to make a powerful, unabashed argument in support of this principle.
You may not agree with everything that Bill writes, but he'll always make you think (if only to wonder how he can read so damn much and still find time for his day job).