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PDCA Cycle: Continuous Improvement with Shewhart and Deming

PDCA Cycle

PDCA CycleThere aren’t many ideas so big that we use them every day – often without thinking. But the PDCA Cycle, Plan-Do-Check-Act, is one.

The PDCA Cycle comes with many names and none. It’s pretty much something humans have been doing since the dawn of time. But that doesn’t diminish the idea.

So, what is the PDCA Cycle, and how has it evolved?

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Flow: The Optimal State for a Human Being

Flow

FlowThe Flow State has been described by the first researcher to study it in depth, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as the optimal state for a human being.

When we are in a flow state, there’s nothing more we want, than to continue doing what we are doing, to completion. So, flow states are great for getting things done.

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The Long Tail: Infinite Consumer Choice

The Long Tail

The Long TailThe Long Tail is the other half of the same chart we saw in an earlier Big Ideas article: the Pareto Principle. Vilfredo Pareto took an interest in the head of the chart, where a small number of people accounted for a huge proportion of wealth. In 2006, Chris Anderson published a book that looked at the huge number of products that form the remainder, when you exclude the few that account for the majority of sales.

How many categories of item does Amazon list? I found the statistic from January 2018 that:

Amazon lists more than 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide.

But most of their sales and revenue come from the top few highest performing goods in each category. A small number of books may sell thousands a month. But there are millions of books that rarely sell any in a given month… or year.

Continue reading The Long Tail: Infinite Consumer Choice

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The Slow Movement: Right-speeding

The Slow Movement

The Slow MovementAs I started researching this article, I found myself speed-reading an interview with Carl Honoré. Was the interview dull? No. Rather, it was my need to finish and move on. This is what the Slow Movement is pushing back, gently, against.

The Slow Movement is a corrective. While some proponents advocate slowing down for its own sake, I think the most persuasive advocates of slow are those who see it as being about slowing down to the right pace. I’ll call that right speeding.

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Bloom’s Taxonomy: Hierarchies of Learning

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's TaxonomyMost managers will need to be involved in the learning and development of their staff. So, do you know the steps that learning follows? If you don’t, then take a look at Bloom’s taxonomy. It’s the label for a number of interconnected ideas around how we acquire mastery of any topic.

Benjamin Bloom was an educational psychologist who started work on this, with others, in the 1940s. They first published their work in 1956 and it has evolved since. But the changes have been ones of detail and its relevance and applicability remain.

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Tribes: From Shared Interest to Change

Tribes

TribesSeth Godin is a marketer and a communicator. His stream of valuable ideas about 21st century marketing is something we’ve written about before. And we’ve featured his idea of Permission Marketing in a previous Big Ideas article. But perhaps the most resonant of his ideas is that of Tribes. This is the idea that marketers need to lead change. And we do that by building a coalition of the willing: a tribe of like-minded people who share our vision.

What I like best about Godin’s idea of Tribes is that it works well on two totally different levels. And different managers in our readership will find greatest resonance in one or the other. The idea of tribes can be about:

  • leading change to build a better future
  • creating demand for a new product, idea, or service

So, Tribes is a big idea about change leadership or about marketing… or maybe about both.

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Transformational Leadership: Values-driven Change

Transformational Leadership

Transformational LeadershipCan there be some big ideas that underpin the emergence of others? That’s a question that James McGregor Burns tackled in much of his writing. And the answer he gives us is ‘yes’. That big idea is Transformational Leadership.

It’s not surprising that leadership is a common topic for us, here at the Management Pocketblog. There must be a dozen different models to choose from among our articles. But Transformational Leadership is one we have returned to a number of times.

We do so, because it repays careful study. It is an idea that changed my thinking and has huge value for any manager or leader in business or public or community service.

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Behavioural Economics: You aren’t as Rational as You Think

Behavioural Economics

Behavioural EconomicsIt turns out that you aren’t as rational as you may have thought. So, traditional economic theories that assume you are, are… well, flawed. We need an approach that accounts for self-interest and lazy mental short-cuts. Enter Behavioural Economics.

We’ve already told the foundation story of Behavioural Economics in our Management Thinkers series. There we looked at the two men who received Nobel Prizes in Economics for their work in the field:

  1. Daniel Kahneman won his in 2002
  2. Richard Thaler won his in 2017

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5S: Organise Your Workplace

5S: Organise Your Workplace

Here at Management Pocketblog, we love the ideas that come out of Japanese manufacturing. And none more so than the 5S approach to creating and maintaining an efficient workspace.

Originating with the work of Hiroyuki Hirano, and rapidly adopted into the Toyota Production System, 5S is now an essential part of Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time processes. It has also been adopted into the Six Sigma quality process tool set.

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Emotional Intelligence: Getting what You Want from Yourself and Others

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional IntelligenceEmotional Intelligence may have felt like a fad in 1995, when we all rushed to buy Daniel Goleman’s book of the same name  (1996 in the UK). But from a perspective of over 20 years on, it still holds its own as a useful concept and very much fits the bill as a Big Idea.

And why not? After all, the theory of emotional intelligence is that the way we succeed in life is through our emotional connections. Firstly with ourselves and then, secondly, with others. And the idea isn’t new. After all, did not Socrates say

‘First, know thyself’

Probably not. But it’s been attributed to a host of ancient thinkers, including Aeschylus and Heraclitus.

But I digress. Emotional intelligence allows you to:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Regulate your emotions, choices, and motivation
  3. Understand the emotions of others
  4. Influence and work with them

Continue reading Emotional Intelligence: Getting what You Want from Yourself and Others

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