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The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition [Anglais] [Relié]

Steven J. Spear

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Generate Better, Faster Results Using Less Capital and Fewer Resources!

The High-Velocity Edge contains ideas that form the basis for structured continuous learning and improvement in every aspect of our lives. While this book is tailored to business leaders, it should be read by high school seniors, college students, and those already in the workforce. With the broad societal application of these ideas, we can achieve levels of accomplishment not even imagined by most people."
The Honorable Paul H. O'Neill, former CEO and Chairman, Alcoa, and Former Secretary of the Treasury

"Some firms outperform competitors in many ways at once cost, speed, innovation, service. How? Steve Spear opened my eyes to the secret of systemizing innovation: taking it from the occasional, unpredictable ‘stroke of genius’ to something you and your people do month-in, month-out to outdistance rivals."
Scott D. Cook, founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit, Inc.

"Steven Spear connects a deep study of systems with practical management insights and does it better than any organizational scholar I know. [This] is a profoundly important book that will challenge and inspire executives in all industries to think more clearly about the technical and social foundations of organizational excellence."
Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

About the Book

How can some companies perform so well that their industry counterparts are competitors in name only? Although they operate in the same industry, serve the same market, and even use the same suppliers, these extraordinary, high-velocity organizations consistently outperform all the competition and, more importantly, continually widen their leads.

In The High-Velocity Edge, the reissued edition of five-time Shingo Prize winner Steven J. Spear’s critically acclaimed book Chasing the Rabbit, Spear describes what sets market-dominating companies apart and provides a detailed framework you can leverage to surge to the lead in your own industry. Spear examines the internal operations of dominant organizations across a wide spectrum of industries, from technology to design and from manufacturing to health care.

While he investigates several great operational triumphs, like top-tier teaching hospitals' fantastic improvements in quality of care, Pratt & Whitney's competitive gains in jet engine design, and the U.S. Navy's breakthroughs in inventing and applying nuclear propulsion, The High-Velocity Edge is not just about the adoration of success. It also takes a critical look at some of the operational missteps that have humbled even the most reputable and respected of companies and organizations. The decades-long prominence of Toyota, for example, is contrasted with the many factors leading to the automaker's sweeping 2010 product recalls. Taken together, these multiple perspectives and in-depth case studies show how to:

  • Build a system of "dynamic discovery" designed to reveal operational problems and weaknesses as they arise
  • Attack and solve problems when and where they occur, converting weaknesses into strengths
  • Disseminate knowledge gained from solving local problems throughout the company as a whole
  • Create managers invested in developing everyone’s capacity to continually innovate and improve

Whatever kind of company you operate from technology to finance to healthcare mastery of these four key capabilities will put you on the fast track to operational excellence, where you will generate faster, better results using less capital and fewer resources.

Apply the lessons of Steven J. Spear and gain a high-velocity edge over every competitor in your industry.

Biographie de l'auteur

Steven J. Spear, five-timewinner of the Shingo Prizeand recipient of the McKinseyAward, is a senior lecturerat MIT and former assistantprofessor at Harvard. Asenior fellow at the Institute for HealthcareImprovement, he is the author of numerousarticles appearing in academic and tradepublications, including the Harvard BusinessReview and The New York Times.


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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  21 commentaires
29 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Read the description closely - same as "Chasing the Rabbit" 28 août 2010
Par B. J. Wahba - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I was disappointed in Spear's "Chasing the Rabbit." 364 Drawn-out pages to state some pretty common management knowledge that good companies learn and problem solve better. I was hoping for some deeper insights in "The High Velocity Edge," but it is almost word for word the same book. The only obvious differences were new pages 365 & 366 which basically say "despite all the wonderful things I've said about Toyota, they are having some quality issues now...but they'll be ok." It would have been nice if the author and publisher kept the original title and just called this a revised edition - it's not very lean to make the customer work to figure that out.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great explanation of a necessary core for continuous improvement 6 août 2011
Par Karen Wilhelm - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
In this book, originally titled "Chasing the Rabbit," Steven Spear's years of observing Toyota* and his studies of other companies, both successes and failures, have led him to distill a set of principles other organizations can use to be more successful. Spear indicates that great leaders seem to practice them instinctively, yet it is not easy for them to articulate exactly what they do. That makes it difficult for the rest of us to understand what makes them good leaders.

Spear says that simply copying what Toyota does, for example, is not going to replicate the thinking behind how Toyota manages its business. Do you have to be steeped in the culture of Toyota, as Spear was, in order to fully absorb the way it does things? That's an option that few people have.

Spear says that it is possible to discover patterns in Toyota's practices, to make explicit what is implicit knowledge at Toyota. When Spear and Hajime Ohba, general manager of Toyota's Supplier Support Center happened to go on some of the same factory tours in Japan in 1995, Spear paid close attention to what Mr. Ohba did. He saw that Mr. Ohba asked the same questions on every tour, and asked them of the people working as often as of the executive guiding the tour. Whenever possible, he asked to start the tour where the end product was being shipped to customers.

What was he looking for? Pathways, connections or handoffs, and what work was being performed. Mr. Ohba was looking at process and how processes combine to form systems. That's different from saying that the only way to learn how Mr. Ohba looked at a plant is to spend years accompanying him.

As a scientist, he observed what leaders at Toyota and at other organizations did until he could see patterns and derive a theory to explain the phenomena. From that theory, he extracts a view of complex processes and systems and an explanation for why organizations can't make them work effectively. Then he tells us of four capabilities he found in great leaders and great organizations.

The first thing he establishes in the book is the character of complex systems. Our typical experience is that some group of people will create a system that accomplishes some goal - basically, they will think it up. It's guaranteed that things will go wrong because no matter how much study these people do, they can't think of everything. Then they get the blame for producing a flawed process. In turn, they blame sponsors for not including everything in their specifications, or users for not following processes as they envisioned them.

Spear says, face it, there will be unanticipated problems in any system, so have a process for identifying them and responding. In the book, he shows us how Toyota, Alcoa, and the Navy Nuclear Power Propulsion Program approach that reality successfully, and how an unnamed hospital, NASA, and others ignore flaws in their systems with tragic consequences.

His other fundamental observation of most organizations is that they are divided functionally, while processes don't respect those boundaries. (This isn't news to lean thinkers, of course.) People in one silo don't know much about what happens in another or how their action may create problems for them. I spoke to Steve Spear a few weeks ago, and he offered a great illustration. In one hospital he visited, the carpeting in the administrative offices was a different color from that of the clinical departments. If you crossed the boundary, you were well aware that you were in someone else's territory.

Spear tells readers that if you want to improve processes, you have to fully appreciate that systems are complex and problems are normal. Because they span those functional silos, problems are difficult to solve unless you can bring people from different parts of the organization together and they learn good team problem solving methods.

Actions of separate departments can be integrated, but only if leaders at a level that includes them in their scope of authority don't sit back and leave problems to someone else. They have to own them and get involved in the problem-solving process.

Four capabilities
Spear tells us that high-velocity companies like Alcoa and Toyota accept that systems are complex so problems are normal, and, because processes cross boundaries, so must problem solving. He says these high-velocity organizations have four capabilities in common, and any organization can develop them through never-ending learning.

In a way, Spear leads the reader in probing deeper levels of each capability by giving them more complex names in successive chapters. After a first encounter with Capability One, in an introductory chapter, where it is described as "Specifying design to capture existing knowledge and build in tests to reveal problems," it is framed much more simply as Spear begins to develop his theme. The next time the reader finds Capability One, it is called, "Seeing problems as they occur." In a later chapter, its description has evolved into "Capturing the best collective knowledge, and making problems visible." When we get to the chapter that focuses solely on Capability One, it has become "System design and operation."

This name changing has its positive and negative effects. It causes the reader some difficulty in recognizing the principle when it is phrased differently so often. On the other hand, it may develop that ever-deeper thinking needed to understand how organizations like Toyota continue to vault ahead of the competition.

Whatever the effect, there you are. The four capabilities (as described at their simplest in the chapter on Alcoa) are:

C1 - Seeing problems as they occur.
Noticing a problem seems like a given, but not all problems are easily seen. Some have been there so long that they seem like part of standard practice. The key is to look at processes and design them to show problems. From sophisticated instrumentation on complex equipment to mistake-proofing devices in simpler processes, mechanisms are necessary to make problems visible and surface them for attention.

C2 - Swarming and solving problems as they are seen.
No workarounds! Don't require someone to report a problem to be solved by somebody else at another time. For one thing, critical information is lost quickly--scrap or defective parts thrown away or commingled with others, containers or remnants of materials mistakenly used in the process, lost or discarded. Swarming means that if a process crosses boundaries, problem-solvers from each area have to be ready, able, and willing to get together and share their knowledge to find a solution or countermeasure. The problem is corrected, and prevented from recurring.

C3 - Spreading new knowledge.
A process improvement in one cell or one plant can be implemented in many, if the new knowledge is shared. Does the company have frequent training programs, networking or exchange opportunities, communication among leaders across functional areas? Constant attention to learning and sharing is required. It takes more than building a little-used database of best practices. Communication about them must be active. They should be tested for improvement constantly, and those new methods fed back into the loop.

C4 - Leading by developing Capabilities 1,2 and 3.
This one's interesting. It doesn't mean signing off on a training program. It means having leaders at the highest levels understand the work done by the organization in enough detail to communicate with the people doing that work.

Leaders need to be teachers themselves. They need to be coaches. It might be a regular Socratic exchange as Admiral Hyman Rickover was known for, or VPs teaching frontline workers about problem-solving and engaging with them in practicing what they've learned. It might be the way Paul O'Neill, as CEO of Alcoa, using a focus on safety to lead to all sorts of improvements. He was known to personally explain to visitors where to find emergency exits and what to do in case of an emergency.

From theory to practice
The test of theory is whether it works consistently when applied to different situations. That's going on through the Toyota Supplier Network (TSN) and Bluegrass Automobile Manufacturers Association (BAMA). The extended Toyota supply chain is learning about continuous improvement incorporating Spear's model.

One such company not described in the book is DTE Energy, a gas and electric utility based in Detroit. When I spoke to four senior leaders there in September, they were quick to rattle off the phrase, "C1 to C4." That "everyone knows what this means" assumption must have come from a constant repetition of those principles among peers and employees. When these leaders had spent a week learning about the four capabilities in classroom and shop floor training at Autoliv in Utah, they were excited enough to drop everything, to get out of their offices and into the field to institute a new approach to solving problems and improving processes. Many, many small incremental gains have been made. Sticking with the principles over the long haul will be the challenge for DTE, but executives are well aware of the risks involved in letting the process fall by the wayside.

Could the book have been improved?
What do I think could have been better in this book? I wish there was an appendix with more details about Spear's research methods and the data that led to his conclusions. The extensive endnotes are helpful and the list of references is superb. His reading has clearly been comprehensive. (I, for one, can't wait to read more about Admiral Rickover.) I take it on faith that Spear has done his homework, given his reputation, writing, and his work with the Toyota Supplier Network and Institute for Healthcare improvement.

Conclusions?
I agree with Paul O'Neill, former CEO of Alcoa. On the back of the book, he says, in essence, that everyone aged 15 and older should read it and apply the principles everywhere. I'd add that everyone should read it at least twice, and again as their experience with improvement grows.

Serious recognition and practice of the four capabilities have saved lives, money, and all sorts of waste, and there's a whole lot of improving to be done. Getting a handle on the nature of complex processes and the four capabilities of companies who consistently outperform others should be a priority for all lean champions and practitioners.

My greatest wish is that leaders in President-elect Obama's administration find the book, invite Steve Spear to advise them, and find a way to deliver on the perennial promise of improving government.

___________
*Spear is known to many students of lean for the insightful Harvard Business Review article he wrote with Kent Bowen, "Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System."
Posted by Karen Wilhelm
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The business book for the 21st century: MUST READ 30 décembre 2010
Par Michael Balle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I believe every one in business has, by now, experienced personally the accelerating pace of change and disruption, with its opportunities and looming threats. The increasing role of knowledge in modern business is also largely acknowledged. Not surprisingly most common business theories now sound quaint or irrelevant, and few ideas have broken out beyond "Who moved my cheese". Until this book.

Steve Spear has written the one profoundly innovative, and probably definitive business book of the 2010s. His framework is both daring and the best fit-to-facts I've yet to come across to explain how corporate giants can retain entrepreneur-like qualities and perform in turbulent markets. In doing so, Spear redefines the very act of management, from decision-making and coordination to discovery and coaching.

High-Velocity Edge is action research at its best. It provides an elegant theory which is tested in live, varying contexts (as opposed to applied posthumously to data sets). The approach is innovative, profound, and more than anything else: robust. Read it and change your mind about the fundamentals of what management is supposed to do.

This is one of the rare seminal books that shed a different light to confusing situation and suddenly makes it all clearer. The book also sketches out clear capabilities to acquire in order to transform one's own business into a high-velocity powerhouse. As a business leader, not reading this book is simply not doing one's job. it's the definitive MUST READ to face the challenges of the twenty tens.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Small Changes Can Makes Big Differences 21 décembre 2010
Par Timothy C. Tyler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I stumbled across Dr. Spear and his work listening to a Clayton Christianson interview on IEEE radio [...]

Dr. Christianson said the following:

1. "Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System", Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System "Best thesis ever written at Harvard."
2. Doctoral student of Clayton Christianson
3. Alcoa stated in their annual report that they saved over 1 billion dollars in costs working with Steven Spear
4. University of Pittsburgh Medical System saves over 70 lives, because of Steven Spears research, no infections
5. "Root cause of TPS (Toyota Production System)"

"The difference between Toyota and its competitors was neither more tools nor more diligent application of tools."

So how do they do it and where did they start?
There is no end of research and benchmarks that will articulate the problems, but rarely do you read something that identifies 'root cause' and the means to 'cause change'.

The principles that Dr. Spear has identified span industries and processes. He has taken these principles learned and developed from his work at Toyota, one of the most studied companies in business, and has successfully demonstrated their portability.

The Language of Trade-Offs
"To get something more out of a system, you had to either spend more or give up something else. Crosby and the others showed that this belief was rooted in a perverse combination of arrogance and pessimism. It is arrogant to believe anything we have created cannot be improved. It is pessimistic to believe that we are incapable of ever improving something that is flawed."

This language was used prior to the safety movement, the quality movement and is currently the language of security. These are symptoms of complex systems.

"This is true in the world of manufacturing. The idea that cars can be safe, reliable, high-performing, and tailored to a multitude of customer needs once seemed fantastic. Now it is the norm, the least one would expect of a car. Does it seem fantastic to think that we could live comfortably while still leaving a lighter footprint on the natural world? Of course we can. We just haven't quite figured out how. Yet."
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Essence of a sustainable performance edge 29 janvier 2011
Par Ken McGuire - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Steve Spears's book captures the essence of the 'process, pattern, rule-set,or whatever' an organization needs to embed into it's culture in order to surpass the competition. His analytical prowess at capturing the root cause of why some succeed and others fail sets an example for others to emulate. The Toyota example is superior because there is none of the usual confusion that citing the TPS tools introduces. Spears articulates what pattern of ordinary practice repeats which generates continuous learning. He then compares that remarkable Toyota process to that of Alcoa and the US Navy Nuclear Submarine program. His analysis drives home the point that "it's not about the tools, it's the culture, and the culture trumps tactics every time.
Read it with a blank pad to take notes on some of the priceless insights included. Grest read!
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