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Improvement is about helping you make more money—it’s not about change for the sake of change. Many organizations try to apply the tools of improvement to things that don’t make a difference—like shuffling deck chairs on a sinking ship. Real improvement gets to the root of organizational problems and addresses those problems with lasting solutions.
The principles of improvement apply to every kind of organization—regardless of size or structure. There is no organization anywhere which can’t benefit from improvement. As my late friend and mentor Bill Conway used to wryly say, “The normal state of everything is all screwed up.” This statement is axiomatically true because we tend to accept “screwed up” as the normal state of things. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Finding waste usually involves a significant change in mindset—and a willingness to question the way we do things now. To paraphrase a famous quote from Einstein, we can’t solve our problems without first changing the way we think. Or to use Bill Conway’s expression, we can’t do improvement unless we “get our squash right.” With that in mind, the exercises in this workbook are designed to help you uncover areas where significant improvement is not only possible, but absolutely necessary. You may find opportunity in places you never would have expected.