Category Archives: Health Care

Ethics, Lean Six Sigma, and Insanity


If we are continually hired to resolve the same issue that was previously addressed, is that insanity, misinformed decision making, misguided, or something else?  What roll should we play?

There is no doubt in my mind that some of the greatest companies in the world have made their name by re-purposing or re-packaging the same item and selling it to anyone that is willing to buy it.  Recycling has become an industry unto itself in which we re-purpose something that has outlived its usefulness or passing something on that  is no longer of use to the original owner.  Over the life of my consulting career, I have continually built upon and improved documents, deliverables, and ideas that I had previously provided to a different customer.  However, something seems to be changing.

I may be just catching on to something that has been happening forever. I would not question it if someone called me naive.  However, I am beginning to grow weary of the requests by numerous clients to reproduce products or deliverables that they have already purchased or funded on numerous occasions.  I could even understand if the organizations hired a consultancy to perform work, were dissatisfied with the results and then hired a different consultancy to finish the job.   The current phenomena is that the clients are continually paying to have the same studies done, the same requirements built, the same recommendations made, etc. without following up on much, if any, of it.  As if they do not believe that the results could be true, they hire another organization to come in and do the work, getting the same results.  On numerous occasions the clients have traveled this road so well that we have returned to one of the original contractors to re-perform the work they had done on a previous occasion.  As a Master Black Belt and your Common Sensei, I find that this seems a lot like RE-WORK, something that as a self-proclaimed CPI professional drives me mad.

Numerous people including Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein have been quoted as saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  In saying this, I hate to think my clients meet this definition.  Is this an issue of avoidance, is there something wrong with the process, or has our culture moved even further toward a complete and total resistance to change?  I could write it off as the “not invented here” phenomenon that I describe in an earlier post except that more times than not, they are avoiding things that were invented here.  Beyond the question of insanity, beyond the issue of change management or process improvement lays a deeper question of morality and our capitalistic nature.  The capitalist in me says that if I don’t take the work, they will just hire someone else to re-do what has already been done.  No matter how hard I try to persuade them that it is time to implement the recommendations and begin the transformation, I, as have so many of my partners and competitors, get nowhere. I often come to the conclusion that I might as well take the money that they seem so desperate to throw away.  The little voice sitting on my other shoulder is encouraging me to just walk away from the mess with a clear conscience and let someone else deal with it.

Now, what if I told you I consult almost exclusively with the US Government and the money they are using is our tax dollars?  What insights do you have now?

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Filed under consulting, efficiency, government consulting, Health Care, Lean Six Sigma

Fat and Happy


Over time I have realized that the overall attractiveness of men can be measured in three major categories:   Physical Appearance, Sense of Humor, and Wealth.  Over the last 3 months, I have lost nearly 40 lbs and I am continuing to lose.   However, the statistician/human performance expert in me started looking deeper at how weight loss would affect my life.   Therefore, I have put together a Pass/Fail assessment on how weight loss could possibly affect my attractiveness.

Physical Appearance:

I understand that the more weight I lose the better I will look and feel.  But let’s be honest, as I near 40 I am probably never going to be able to achieve those six pack abs that were so elusive even when I was at the peak of my athletic prowess.

The more weight I gained the less Physically Attractive I perceived myself to be:

Since I have been dieting, the more weight I lose, the more attractive I perceive myself to be:

Physical Appearance Score: Pass

Sense of Humor:

Admittedly, I think I am very funny and I can reasonably assume that nearly everyone I encounter agrees.  However, I am hungry.  And as most people know, hungry people get cranky and cranky people are not funny.

The more weight I lose, the crankier I get:

The crankier I get, the worse my sense of humor is:

Sense of Humor Score: Fail

Wealth:

Over the past 12 years I have noticed that the more weight I gain, the higher my salary.

Therefore, I must come to the conclusion that if I continue to lose weight, I will start to lose money as well.

Wealth Score: Fail

Summary:

Based on the scores alone it is obvious to me that, although I may be more attractive physically, losing weight is going to have a negative overall effect on my attractiveness.  In conclusion, even though I want to be skinny and ripped, I must quit my diet in order to stay funny and get rich.

Disclaimer:  This is purely a satirical piece.  As a stats guy, I realize that correlation does not equate to causation.  However, it does make me feel better about the amount of Christmas Cookies I have been eating.

Happy Holidays,

The Common Sensei

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Filed under Health Care, Holiday Humor, Human Performance, Lean Six Sigma