Learning from the Past


LinkedIn: Answers

A good friend of the blog, Bryan Lund, asked this question on LinkedIn.com, you can go there via this link or share your answer here via the blog comments (reprinted with Bryan's permission):

How important is the past in learning about how to handle the future?

Specifically…I think that the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” is especially true in the realm of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma improvement initiatives. For example, Lean Manufacturing has its roots well grounded within the Gilbreths' work, Frederick Taylor, Deming, Juran, and even in our WWII production ramp-up programs such as “Training Within Industry” where supervisors were taught three critical business improvement skills: 1) how to instruct standard operations, 2) how to improve operations and 3) how to lead people. Do you think, if we brought ourselves back around to the basics, that we could be a more successful at the local, regional and national economic levels if we just practiced, “the basics” of management?

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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. Yes! I do think this will increase the likelihood of success. This idea struck me hardest while completing my black belt training when I realized that I hadn’t learned anything new, I simply put a framework around skills I already had in the form of DMAIC.

    Besides, many of those basic ideas and tools have been around for a long time, are simple to understand and to use, and can have a powerful impact.


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