Pass the Herring Muffin, Please

By John Evelyn  |  September 22, 2011  |  Agility,Alignment,Capability,Diets,General,Leadership,Lean,Six Sigma

I wonder what a red herring and muffin breakfast sandwich would taste like?

This week’s story about the US Department of Justice’s fiasco over the cost of muffins and coffee at conferences made headlines over most newsfeeds. More fascinating was the outrage of congressmen about the costs and the call for heads to roll in order for the issue to be resolved. OK, so maybe they were expensive, but they are a miniscule bump on the back of an ant when measured against the levels of imbedded waste in our Federal spends. To continue debates about debt limits and keeping government moving resemble the chest pounding of gorillas on the opposite side of the river … lots of noise, but nobody’s going to actually get wet. I, for one, have lost much confidence that the folks accountable for spending on my behalf are capable of changing the game and reducing waste.

There are many reasons, many, creating two symptoms, institutional blindness and organizational gravity.

  • Institutional Blindness. Looking at the performance and behavior of government, or business for that matter, through a budget lens will blind the viewer to the inherent waste. The fundamental reason is that the waste resides in the processes, not in the bank accounts.
  • Organizational Gravity. The greater the mass, the greater the forces against changing, resulting in enormous pull against whatever is trying to leave. When size of budget is a measure of importance … well you can figure out what happens.

Mike George, founder of Strong America Now, brings an alternative, one that he has brought to business leaders and has transformed how performance effectiveness and efficiency are achieved, Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma has the capability of recapturing over $5 trillion that is embedded in the  life-ending process obesity in our public service world. We have good people dedicated to serving us the taxpayer fighting a system that is designed to and, therefore, operate wastefully. I can only point you to  <>. I suggest that we skip the muffin and digest how we can change the game.

My motto for Lean Six Sigma is: Fitness Precedes Performance.

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