Tag: Office

Desk Jockey Leaders – Where Did That Come From?

desk jockey
desk jockey (Photo credit: notorious d.a.v.)

The inspiration that tipped the scales and served as a motivator to write about Desk Jockey “Leaders” came from a headline that appeared on the front page of Friday’s edition of the Toronto Sun (October 25, 2013):

“Despite $862M repair backlog, housing boss says: I need a bigger office! – Keeping Up With the Jones – TCHC Eyes $2-Million Reno to Rosedale HQ”

I would like to think that when people are struggling to survive with the most basic necessities of daily living, renovating the offices of the very corporation that’s helping them would be the last thing on everyone’s mind.

At least one city councillor echoed the voice of reason stating, “I don’t think it’s something we can justify to either the taxpayer of the City of Toronto or our tenant base.” I’m certain this statement also resonates with most people who read the accompanying article.

The CEO of the TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation) suggested that a more professional environment would be more appealing to visitors and tenants and a larger office could be used to host meetings.

I would suggest that focusing on the purpose of the corporation’s existence is first and foremost. Could it be that some people have decided to make a career out of an ever-growing problem that should never have risen to the scope and scale that it has

Whatever hardships the CEO and fellow TCHC employees must endure to perform their work could hardly compare to the conditions that the tenants must live with each and every day.

What could make this any worse? Knowing that our Liberal government wasted $1.1 Billion to cancel the construction of two gas plants – a decision that was sure to win them a few more seats in the last provincial election. No one is accountable and no one is responsible. Unfortunately, the one’s who suffer most are the taxpayers who fund it all.

As I complete this follow-up, there is some good news. The CEO of the TCHC has withdrawn the motion to renovate their headquarters. Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel after all.

Two of my greatest pet peeves are working with people who 1) attempt to manage everything behind their desk , and 2) believe meetings are the answer to resolve everything else that can’t. This article presented a CEO who was planning to do both – in the same office!

As many quickly discover, being a desk jockey “leader” simply just doesn’t work.

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Thinking Outside of the Box

A spreadsheet of my construction showing how n...
Image via Wikipedia

I am always intrigued to find evidence that supports the application of lean outside the realm of manufacturing.  This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find an article published by Bill Wake titled “Lean Manufacturing and Software” where Bill discusses software development from a lean perspective.  Even if you aren’t a programmer or software developer, the article offers some interesting insights and perspectives into a different application of lean principles.

Perhaps seeing this article should not come as a surprise to me.  Some time ago, I published “Lean Office with Excel and VBA” that was featured in an article on Daily Dose of Excel titled “Learn VBA to be Lean“.  Even more interesting were comments that included candid responses from some of the more well-known Excel guru’s including John Walkenbach, a renowned author of numerous books on Excel.

On another occasion, I attempted to demonstrate some basic lean tenets and Standardized Work in “22 Seconds to Burn – Excel VBA Teaches Lean Execution“.  Finally, “Lean Paralysis” makes reference to a simple software development decision to select a sorting algorithm.  When we consider the thousands of lines of code that comprise a software solution, it is noteworthy that each instruction is executed with a specific intent to present a solution to the user.

So, somehow it seems apropos to see an article on software development featured here.  On an even greater scale, this demonstrates unintended collaboration for the greater benefit of all.  Just as stories are an excellent way to communicate and teach new ideas, analogies and “surrogate” applications can also serve to help improve our current level of understanding.

We benefit from the software community where it becomes painfully clear that every instruction represents a step that brings us closer to the eventual solution.  The software development community benefits from lean to improve their software development process.

As I mentioned in “Lean – A race against time“, the application of lean has extended beyond the walls of manufacturing and is further demonstrated in “The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition” by author, and recipient of the Philip Crosby Medal, Steven J. Spear.  This book exemplifies how lean thinking has emerged in a diverse range of industries including health care, air lines, the US Navy, Automotive, Manufacturing, and Mining.  Even our own local governments are pursuing lean to improve government agencies and services.

I am impressed by what we can learn from others and look forward to learning more.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

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