Hitting the Reset Button for 2014

Posted on January 5, 2014 | in Change Management, Kaizen, Leadership, Problem Solving, Respect For People, Sports | by
reset button

Significant reflection is needed for 2014, pretty much to the point of a full reset or restart.

As I posted in late 2013, 2013 was both a good year and a pretty tough year. There are three reasons behind why 2013 was difficult:

– One was a health crisis/emergency with my French bulldog Rooster, who I have mentioned in multiple posts, that all but shut down consulting efforts in order to rehabilitate him and had me playing catch-up for almost all of 2013. He’s fine and we’re out of the woods (for the most part).

– The second reason is that promoting change within the sports industry is very, very difficult. It’s not that it’s a lesson I’ve just now had to learn – I’ve known it all along – but the way for me to champion improvement has to be altered.

Change is hard in sports for the same reason it’s hard in other industries, but made even more difficult in that the way organizations try to improve and recruit/promote talent is about 60-70 years behind traditional businesses/industries. That’s not hyperbole. The supply of sports job seekers is so, so great compared to the availability of roles that sports organizations can afford to pay menial wages to interns and temporary labor while still bringing in the employees with the greatest energy. Once you’re in, the way you stay in (for most organizations, not all) is by working really, really hard at tasks you are told to do and not making waves. I’ve been there and I know this is fact. This doesn’t necessarily promote a culture of Kaizen thinking.

Because so much of the dealings in the sports industry are in the public eye, so many on-field and off-the-field problems come to the surface and get fussed over on sports talk radio or SportsCenter – coaches having decisions questioned, signings/hirings/firings, off-the-field issues affecting awards and victories, concussions in football, steroids in baseball, and on and on. There is so much that COULD be covered by the blog that it’s overwhelming to choose topics.

– The third reason is that the statement of value proposition needs to be clear and communicated to the right individuals, and I have not yet accomplished either of those successfully. This blog is to serve as a training and communication medium on how Lean and continuous improvement principles can serve the sports industry.

Leadership is not about maintaining the status quo – leadership is about implementing and managing change. Sports organization leaders have typically come up the ranks from the lowest levels of organizations – NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell started out in the mail room at NFL Headquarters – and they lack knowledge about continuous improvement principles. Leaders want change and improvement, but maybe don’t have awareness of what continuous improvement methods exist. This blog needs to provide that awareness.

Reflecting back, I have tightened up the scope of blog post topics (staying within the bounds of continuous improvement and sports) but I also have not set the foundation for what Lean and continuous improvement is.

Melky Cabrera San Francisco Giants PED Suspension 50 Games Major League Baseball MLB Lean Blitz Consulting

(Photo from Bleacher Report – Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

So what the blog has evolved into is a mish-mash of evaluating problems popping up in sports and reported by the media. I’ve been taking articles, interviews, reports, and game accounts and discussing Lean/CI tools that could have helped produce better results…without properly explaining the significance of the tools or where in the great hierarchy of continuous improvement the tools and techniques lie.

I’ve been writing as if my target audience is only CI practitioners who like to read about sports – knowledgeable about the tools already but interested in reading about the application in sports. My target audience has to become the sports industry and anyone seeking knowledge about the CI tools.

As a result of these three things, I’m basically hitting the reset button in the third year of writing about Lean in sports. A framework for approaching continuous improvement and setting the foundation for the approach to educating/writing about Lean in sports organizations will be coming soon.

We have to get back to basics here at Lean Blitz Consulting.

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