The Patriots are like Toyota?


    Unbeaten Patriots see room for improvement – NFL – Yahoo! Sports

    The above headline blew me away this morning. The Patriots have basically been perfect this year. Tom Brady is completing 80% of his passes. They've won every game by about 3 touchdowns. Experts think they will 16-0.

    Yet the coach says:

    “It could be better.”

    Is that the key to their success? Do they have an attitude that pushes them toward the pursuit of perfection?

    Isn't this very Toyota-like? Recognize, “yeah, we're good,” but never rest on that, always try to get better.

    That was the story my GM plant manager told us in 1996 — we are going to get better with Lean (I mean “competitive manufacturing,” don't say Lean!!), but Toyota is still getting better. They have the lead. We have to improve faster than they are improving, if we're going to catch them.

    Toyota never stops improving. They are their own harshest critics. Pretty amazing, huh? They aren't perfect, they are first to admit that, if you listen to their executives.

    I think that attitude is one of the hardest things to copy when we're trying to get Lean.

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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. Yeah, most teams would be 16-0 when they cheat by recording their opponents hand signals!

      Wait… maybe they were using TPS principles of video to study the process… you know how Toyota studies changeovers, etc.

      Nah… they were cold cheating.

      And just wait till old Romo lights them up for half a hundred in a couple of weeks!

      Ha! Just kidding. I could care less about the NFL. It’s all about college football!

      GO BUCKS beat Meatchicken for the 6th time in 7 years… but first beat Purdue on the road in a night game. Yikes… this one if gonna be a tough one.

    2. Yeah, I was going to say they need to improve their method of stealing opponents defensive signals (competitive benchmarking?) now that they don’t have real-time video, but Ron beat me to that one.

      Maybe they can improve in the area of ethics and awareness of the rules (“we didn’t know we couldn’t do that”)


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