No one likes spending money on maintenance. Take your car in for a service and you’re not only left with no transport, you have to pay for the privilege to boot. In fact, there’s only one thing worse than planned maintenance. An unplanned breakdown. I recently had the chance to talk at one of the
I had occasion recently to reflect on the fact that it is now more than twenty years since I first read Peter Senge’s seminal book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organisation. All those years ago, I was at the National Productivity Institute in Pretoria looking for a breakthrough in work
It pays to stand on the shoulders of giants, those who have come before and exposed eternal truths. You get to see further, you have a reference point to test your own understanding and insight and it gives you the confidence to continue, even when you are not sure of the ground you’re standing on.
One of my all-time favourite authors, Joseph Campbell, when asked for a definition of mythology, gave the devastatingly simple response: ‘Other people’s religion’. He did go on to talk to the three basic functions of myth: to achieve psychological reconciliation with consciousness, life and death; to bind an individual into society’s norms; and to learn
Think of a production system and you’ll probably conjure up some kind of assembly line. Whether you imagine humans or machines doing the work, this mental model feels wedded to manufacturing. It needn’t be—production principles are universal. An airline’s check-in desk is part of a production line. So is the hospital’s procedure for admitting patients.
The real cost of any decision is what you forego by making that choice. In economics, the cost of a decision based on the cost of the next best option is called the opportunity cost. At its most poetic, Henry David Thoreau put it thus: ‘the price of anything is the amount of life you