Challenge the old 1. Abandon conventional rigid thinking about how things should be done
2. Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done
3. Question and abolish old, traditional concepts
Just do it 4. Do not seek perfection – do the improvements now
5. Correct mistakes immediately
6. There is no need to spend money on Kaizen
Use the wisdom of the crowd and research problems deeply 7. Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship
8. Find the root cause of a problem by asking 5 Whys
9. Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one
Never stop once started 10, Opportunities for Kaizen are infinite

Challenge the old

Past processes need to be constantly challenged to ensure they are relevant for current and future operations.

Importance of Peter Drucker’s Abandonment

From the time we were at kindergarten we have had a fear of ever admitting we were wrong.  If I was to go into a reader’s garage what would I find?  Maybe an exercise machine that started off life in great excitement as we envisaged a leaner me.  After a couple of weeks in the lounge it started its inexorable journey to the garage.  There to rest under the dust cover for a day in the future when we would use it again, so we could say “I told you so.”

In the world of commerce this trait is equally damaging.  We will hold on to systems, keep going with projects, keep writing that report that nobody reads because to remove it would mean a loss of face.  Let’s get over it.

Management guru Peter Drucker who I consider to be the Leonardo de Vinci of management, frequently used the word ‘abandonment’. I think it is one of the top 10 gifts Drucker gave us all. He said,

“Don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’ve stopped doing.”

“If leaders are unable to abandon yesterday, they simply will not be able to create tomorrow”

“Without systematic and purposeful abandonment, an organization will be overtaken by events. It will squander its best resources on things it should never have been doing or should no longer do. As a result, it will lack the resources needed to exploit the opportunities that arise”

An organisation that embraced Peter Drucker’s abandonment earmarked the first Monday of every month for “abandonment meetings at every management level.” Each session targets a different area so that over the course of a year everything is given the once-over. This process would work well in the finance team except we should meet once a week to discuss at least two abandonments.

The act of abandonment gives a tremendous sense of relief to the finance team for it stops the past from haunting the future. It takes courage and conviction from the CFO.  Knowing when to abandon and having the courage to do so are important leadership attributes.

I have included in the electronic media a book review of Elizabeth Haas Edersheim’s The Definitive Drucker[i]. Read the book for more on abandonment and other great advice. I consider this book one of the top 10 management books I have read. I hope, like me, you will be become a follower of the great Peter Drucker.

The Importance of Challenging The Status Quo a Key message from Steve Jobs

In an interview, called “The Lost Interview”, Steve Jobs, was asked, “As a 22-year-old worth $10m, and a 25-year-old worth $100m, how did you get your business acumen?”  He said that over time he realized that most business was pretty straight forward.  He talked about when Apple had its first computerized manufacturing plant for the Apple II and the accountant sent Steve Jobs his first standard costing report.  Jobs asked, “Why do we have a standard cost and not an actual cost?” The response was “That is the way it’s done”. He soon realized that the reason was the accounting system could not record an actual cost quick enough. When that was fixed, standard costing reports vanished.

In business Jobs believed that few in management thought deeply about why things were done.  He came up with this quote which I want to share with you. I believe it should be on every wall and in front of every work station in the finance team work area.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped into living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown your own inner voice.” Steve Jobs

I believe this quote should be on every wall and in front of every work station in the finance team work area.

[i] Elizabeth Haas Edersheim, The Definitive Drucker: Challengers for Tomorrow’s Executives — Final Advice from the Father of Modern Management, McGraw-Hill, 2006.

To find out how to surmount these barriers purchase David Parmenter’s working guide which is on sale at USD 29.90 and comes with 15 electronic templates.

Special offer, Innovation working guide ( Paper +Etemplates) reduced from US$50 to US$ 29.90.  To purchase, click here

A Look inside the Innovation working guide:

A perfect storm.. 2

Understanding Gemba Kaizen Innovation. 3

  • Housekeeping. 3
  • Waste elimination. 5
  • Visual management 7
  • Adopting winning methods 7

Blue Ocean Innovation. 8

The five-step Blue Ocean Shift Model 9

  • Step 1: Get started. 9
  • Step 2: Understand Where You Are Now.. 18
  • Step 3: Imagine where you could be. 22
  • Step 4: Find how you get there. 24
  • Step 5: Choose and make the blue ocean move. 28

Selling and Leading Change. 31

  • Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan. 31
  • Harry Mills’ Self Persuasion. 32
  • John Kotter’s Leading Change. 32
  • Selling A BOS Project to the Senior Management Team.. 33
  • Learn to Sell by Using the Emotional Drivers of the Buyer 34
  • The Elevator Speech. 34
  • Deliver a Compelling Burning Platform Presentation. 35

Wisdom from the great management thinkers. 37

  • Peter Drucker’s Lessons on Innovation. 38
  • Jim Collins’s Lessons for Innovation. 42
  • Jack Welch’s Lessons for Innovation. 42
  • Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman’s Lessons for Innovation. 43
  • Gary Hamel’s Lessons for Innovation.  . 43
  • Jeremy Hope’s Lessons for Innovation. 44
  • Tom Peters’ Lessons for Innovation. 44

E-Templates include

  • Post-it re-engineering
  • Understanding where you are now
  • Establishing a BOS Project Team Checklist 48
  • Establishing BOS Team Questionnaire. 50
  • BOS Team Applicant Questionnaire
  • BOS Team 360-Degree Questionnaire. 53
  • “Just Do It” Culture and Process Checklist 55
  • Job Description for the BOS Team Leader 56
  • Workshop Preparation Checklist 58
  • Guidelines to Running Workshops. 60
  • Pioneers, migrators, settlers template
  • Six pathways exercise
  • Step 2 scoring factors
  • Buyer utility map
  • Four actions framework

The working guide can be purchased from