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By August 24, 2014 5 Comments Read More →

Proof That Nelson from The Simpsons is Not a Good Kaizen Coach

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of The Simpsons. The show has been on TV for 25 of my 40 years.

The cable channel FXX is having an “Every Simpsons Ever” marathon, showing all 552 episodes over 12 days.

I’m watching it here and there, especially my favorite episodes from the early to mid 90s.

I’m nobody thinks Nelson, the bully, would be a good Kaizen coach, working with employees on constructive continuous improvement activities, but this clip made me chuckle:

What mistakes does he make?

First, he tells Lisa she’s “doing that the stupid way” (that being drawing lines on the chalkboard for musical notation).

Secondly, he gives her an answer, telling her to use “the deal with the five chalks” (like this).

He does tell her “why” at least (she’ll be able to do it faster). Nelson ignores the quality aspect of drawing five equidistant, equally straight lines all at once.

Lisa pushes back (there’s some plot and subtext here of her having a crush on Nelson).

Nelson blows her off comment with a “whatever” and walks away.

The next time you go to the Gemba, don’t be a Nelson.


mark graban lean blog Proof That Nelson from The Simpsons is Not a Good Kaizen Coach leanAbout LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Customer Success for the technology company KaiNexus.

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5 Comments on "Proof That Nelson from The Simpsons is Not a Good Kaizen Coach"

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  1. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    There was another episodes on where Mr. Burns was getting what could literally be described as “assembly line medicine.”


    Mark Graban recently posted..Why “More Nurses” Isn’t the Best Way to Solve What Ails HealthcareMy Profile

  2. Simon says:

    Hey Mark,

    there´s also a ‘Gemba walk’ shown in The Simpsons which I saw yesterday on German televison. Enjoy watching it!

    Season 14 Episode 15 [07:50-09:26]:
    http://seekcartoon.com/watch/26937-the-simpsons-season-14-episode-15-c-e-doh.html

    Greetings from Germany ;)

    • Mark Graban
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks!

      From the description of the episode:

      Homer decides to try for a promotion at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and suggests several ideas to Mr. Burns, all of which are rejected.

      Ah, typical suggestion systems… most of them are rejected!
      Mark Graban recently posted..New KaiNexus Education Videos – #9: Identify, Report, and Solve Small, Local ProblemsMy Profile

    • Mark Graban
      Twitter:
      says:

      At about 7:25 into the video, Homer does some Kaizen (he doesn’t call it that) at home (installing a key hook on the wall for Marge (although the previous method of putting the keys in a bowl right underneath seemed OK)

      Homer is inspired to put up a poster of the “Swedish Efficiency Team” (covering up a bikini team poster):

      At 8:02, Homer’s life improvement book says to “point out problems to your boss.”

      So he goes on a bit of a “Gemba Walk” to look for problems and idea (although his book suggests he “tattle on the cattle,” which isn’t very Kaizen-like). He does find a number of safety problems, including a “safety shower” that shoots fire.

      Homer then famously discovers that the coffee room, cream room, and stirrers room are three separate rooms that people have to walk between!

      Funny stuff!
      Mark Graban recently posted..Funny Video about Lack of Labeling… or is it Lack of Training?My Profile

  3. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    More from that Simpsons episode:

    Homer says: “Mr. Burns has never given me a thumbs up or a ‘way to be’ or a ‘you go girl’. He steps all over everyone who works for him and takes pleasure in making us feel small.”

    He wants some recognition for his ideas.


    Mark Graban recently posted..What Bad Managers, Good Managers, and Great Managers DoMy Profile

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