Great Comment on the Blog


Hi folks — one feature of this blog (and most blogs) is the ability for visitors to leave comments, either anonymously or under their names.

I got a great comment today from Charles H. Green on my post about the impact of bad labor/management relations at American Airlines.

Charles wrote:

Five years ago, a month after 9/11, I attended my 25th Business School reunion. One of the people addressing a special session was a section-mate of mine who happened to be Chairman of Singapore Airlines.

He reminded us what the US airlines' response to 9/11 was–basically to lay off a ton of people to meet the global decline in air traffic.

Then he told us what Singapore Air's response was: he took a 40% cut in pay, and management took something like 15% cuts. And they didn't lay off anyone.

Now let's check the stats as to the world's most respected airlines–by travellers, that is. Oh gosh what a surprise, Singapore outranks American.

Ask an automotive supplier who they'd rather deal with–Toyota or GM? I'm sure readers of this blog can ratify what I suspect is the answer.

IMHO, a lot of this is rooted in the fundamental subconscious beliefs driving American business: that the purpose of business is to make a profit, that business is done by corporations, and that the nature of business is to compete with other corporations.

The driving model behind other, increasingly more successful economies, is that the purpose of business is to serve a number of constituencies; that business is done by people and communities; and that the nature of business is to make commercial interactions between buyers and sellers.

Lean seems to me to integrally linked with this “commerce not competition” school of thinking, which is far more trust-based than the usual western MBA-based culture.

That's great. I'd invite more of you to share your experiences, perspectives, and opinions by clicking on the “comments” link below a post. That's what I'm hoping this blog becomes — more of a discussion, not just “the Mark show” or “the (insert other Lean Blogger name here) show.”

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Comments are the life blood of a blog, for which the writer provides the skeleton.

    Thanks for the posting on comments, Mark…they are key. And easy to do!!

    Plus, you are configured to allow anonymous comments, so one need not fear a “spam attack” by making a comment. Well done!

  2. Excellent comments by Charles. I was reflecting this morning about my decision to leave a job with a manufacturing company and join healthcare. Charles’ last 3 paragraphs sum up those thoughts. In healthcare, I can have a positive impact on my entire community, where in manufacturing, the impact is pretty much for the benefit of the company – not that that’s bad, but it’s a different mindset. Some of that is the nature of capitalism and competition, but it’s sad to see us stray so far from a feeling of community as we pursue the quarterly profit projections and the almighty dollar.


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