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November 05 , 2007

The Improvement Engine

The Physics of Success


The Improvement Engine SummaryIn The Improvement Engine, you will be introduced to a set of equations called the “Physics of Success.” They will show how the foundation of success depends on learning and improvement. Once you are familiar with these equations, you will see that they form a rational basis for the concentration on learning and improvement that has been at the heart of the “quality revolution” in organizational (particularly business) practices since the latter half of the 20th century. While there is much to be learned from the equations themselves, their purpose in this book is fairly simple: to ensure that you are convinced of the need to pursue learning and improvement at least as vigorously as you pursue productivity and profit, since the latter are a product of the former.Armed with this conviction, you will then be ready to learn about the Improvement Engine. The Improvement Engine is a phenomenon which manifests itself in every person, process, and organization. It is running right now inside your own mind, and it should be part of the reason you bought this book in the first place. It is running in your business. It is running in your family. It is running in every group with which you come together to pursue any common purpose. As presented in this book, it is a fairly simple diagram that shows the foundational elements of the Physics of Success in action. The Engine is fueled by knowledge, curiosity, and hope, and it drives people to seek and act toward change. By searching and acting, they discover new knowledge, and the cycle repeats. As a model, it explains not only what works, but why the engine workssomething often overlooked in the literature of continuous improvement. Perhaps most importantly, it comprehends the human portion of the improvement process, explaining, if you will, the psychology of improvementor at least the psychological factors which affect it. Organizationally, the Engine explains the connections that must exist to mesh Organizational Development and Human Relations issues with improvement tools and methods most commonly associated with Quality, Design, and Manufacturing issues. Without such a meshing, adoption of improvement processes such as Six Sigma or attempts to “change culture” tend to be unsuccessful. The Engine makes the reasons clear.Analysis of the working of the Engine along with working your way through the accompanying Workbook, will lead to several specific actions that you can take to better manage improvement in any context, personal or organizational. Additionally, you will be able to use the Engine as a model to trace why your current efforts toward improvement areor are notmeeting your own expectations. The Workbook is designed to be used by an Executive Leadership Team, or any other management team, while reading and discussing the book.This unique combination of a book and a coordinating workbook set The Improvement Engine apart from other continuous improvement “how to” materials.By providing a self-facilitated approach, The Improvement Engine fills a much needed void or niche as it describes not only the what, but also the WHY and the HOW of success!
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