Tag Archives: common sense

PowerPoint Saves Lives

I am not certain where this began.  However, it is too good to share.  If anyone knows who should get credit, please let me know.  Of course, much of the Credit goes to Jack Nicholson for his command performance and to Rob Reiner and the good people at Columbia Pictures for creating a classic.

“Son, we live in a world that has PowerPoint, and those slides have to be produced by men with computers.  Whose gonna do it?  You?  You, General?  I have greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.  You weep for my briefings, and you curse my formatting.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know.  That my briefings, while drawn out, probably save lives.  And that my formatting, while complicated and incomprehensible to you, saves  lives.  You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want my presentations, you need my presentations.  We use words like clip art, nudge, and paste special.  We use these words as the backbone of a life spent briefing something.  You use them as a punch line.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain my formatting to a man who briefs and gets promoted using the very brief that I provide, then questions the manner in which I format it.  I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a mouse and keyboard, and build a brief.  Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think the slide should say!”


Filed under common sense, consulting, government consulting, humor, powerpoint

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?


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