John Seddon Comments on Managing Costs

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A Scottish business conference will be featuring a favorite of this blog, John Seddon, author of many books including “Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The failure of the reform regime… and a manifesto for a better way“, and (I hope) a future podcast guest.

Professor John Seddon, who in the past has been described as a ‘reluctant management guru', is famous for challenging the orthodoxy of many leading management change programmes which are still in use today.

Here is a post with links to Seddon's view on targets and programmes for ambulances in the UK.

This quote below is brilliant and sums up a lot of the Lean mindset (a branch that traces back to Dr. Deming):

“At times like this the knee-jerk reaction is to manage costs, little knowing that managing costs drives costs up. Managers need to learn how to manage value; then costs fall naturally.”


Do you examples of where “managing costs” has helped drive costs up in your organization?



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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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