Management by Spreadsheet

Improvement Insights Blog

Management by Spreadsheet

Too many companies use management by spreadsheet which just doesn’t work anymore. Here’s why:

“I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“I think far too many companies do management by spreadsheet or leadership by spreadsheet: They look at spreadsheets and they think, “Why’s this number up? Why’s this number down?” Blah blah blah blah blah… They don’t really understand that it’s all in statistical process control and you should stop talking about it. Right? Stop chasing Wild Goose chases, all right?

“So what do we want to do? We want to go from this ‘hindsight spreadsheet mentality,’ where they have heat maps and they think, “Well, this one’s too high, this one’s too low, this one’s below our target…” Right? No! You don’t know that’s just what the process does, right?

“Forget heat maps. Stop attending to hindsight. Let’s take that data and turn it into control charts and Pareto charts, histograms and so on, which gives us some foresight. Then we can start making some progress, and that insight will lead us into foresight. Does this make sense?

“Stop living in the past; start analyzing and looking forward to the future. What do we want to become, and how would our data have to shift to get that outcome? That’s Quality Improvement. That’s Process Improvement.

“Start with the worst first, start fixing stuff. We can start today, you don’t have to wait, all right? He who hesitates, waits. No! All right? I forget… there was some quote, I think it was from… probably Abraham Lincoln, that said, “[Good things may] come to those who wait, [but only the things] left by those who hustle.” (That might have been Henry Ford; I take it back.)

“Let’s go out and improve something this week. That’s my Improvement Insight.”