This week I said good-bye to my father-in-law Mario Rognoni. It was a time of remembrance, celebration, and reflection. As best I can describe him, Mario Rognoni lived life to give life. He cared more about personal interactions than personal possessions. He cared more about giving money to those in need than making money for his own needs. He cared more about the possibilities of the future than the failures of the past. Mario was an eternal optimist. He saw possibilities where most people saw none. He embodied the phrase “Carpe Diem”. May your soul rest in peace Don Mario. You left the world better than you found it.
I have fond memories from my youth when I was with a group of friends and we picked teams for a game. The games varied; baseball, kickball, capture the flag, football, or war. But the act of picking teams usually followed the same process. Two captains were selected and then each captain would take turns picking team members from the rest of the group. The order of selection was based on skills and the kid the captain thought provided the best chance to win. Sometimes it was based on friendships and alliances made outside the field of play. Then we played. When I select members for a technology department today, I have a different perspective. I like to look for team members that can contribute beyond a specific technical skill set. A base technical skill is required, but it is not enough to be on the team I would pick.
I don’t travel on airplanes often. For me this is a good thing. The airport routines of parking, security checkpoints, boarding, and rental cars typically leave me feeling like herded cattle. For the most part, all the players involved in each of these steps do a good job moving masses of people onto the next station. But this past week I was reminded about one of the peculiarities of air travel that makes me ask wonder why doesn’t someone change this. The airplane boarding process My experience: About 20 minutes prior to the first call passengers start forming a mass of people near the gate to board the plane. First call is for those needing extra assistance or time to board. Second call is for families traveling with small children. Third call is for the premium cabin ticketed passengers. Fourth call is for priority status members. Fifth call and subsequent
In 2015, I started on a lean production system journey. My aim is to improve my personal level of leadership by learning to focus on reducing waste activities and increasing customer value-add activities. One concept in lean philosophy is leader standard work. It’s not easy to set a baseline for metrics and desirable activities without first having a play card for leaders to follow. Without a play card, the actions of a leader will be random and more subject to putting out the fires that pop-up each day. I documented my first draft of leader standard work by first writing down all of the recurring activities that I already do. Then I examined each activity to see how they aligned to lean principles and noted what visual controls I have to measure and control each activity. If my activity didn’t align to a lean principle then I eliminated it.
Labor Day is a tribute to the contributions American workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The US Congress designated the first Monday in September as a holiday in June of 1894. On this Labor Day, after completing a do-it-yourself home fix-up project, I reflected on my day-off from work. A look behind me. I appreciate past relationships with co-workers and managers because the experiences with them shaped and molded my professional career. When I think about my past teams, I am reminded about interactions, coachable moments, managerial decisions, and putting laborers in the right job to contribute to team results. I appreciate my first manager who hired me after college graduation. He gave me a chance. He extended trust and let me establish a work routine. I appreciate the manager that removed me from an assignment when I was failing and repositioned me to