Recent Dilbert Cartoons Related to Improvement & Recognition


Two recent Dilbert cartoons resonated with me on themes related to improvement and employee recognition.

Below is the first part of the strip (view the whole eight-panel Sunday cartoon here) talks about a comment Lean and Kaizen theme of having a “bias for action.” This is often talked about in a week-long “Kaizen Event.” Having a bias for action means the event week isn't spent just analyzing and brainstorming… actions are important, but need to be taken in a systematic way, as opposed to just wildly trying things.

Dilbert bias for action

We also tend to say “don't let perfect be the enemy of good” to try to help prevent “analysis paralysis” or the fear people often have about trying something that doesn't work perfectly. There are rarely perfect solutions or countermeasures to be found.

It's all about balance. Of course a carpenter shouldn't cut first and measure later. A carpenter shouldn't measure 43 times, either.

If we're following a systematic PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Adjust), we Plan before we Do. We don't plan, plan, plan, plan, plan.

Dilbert loyaltyWhen Kaizen improvements are made, it's important to give recognition to the people who were involved (something we talk about a lot in our book  Healthcare Kaizen). Even the cynical Dilbert seems to want such recognition, as shown at left.

Wally has a unique way of countering this desire (see the entire strip here).

How does your organization find the happy medium between just throwing stuff against the wall and analysis paralysis? Does your organization do a good job of giving recognition? If so, how?

See more Dilbert strips I've collected on themes related to Lean and Six Sigma.

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  1. Robert Drescher says

    Hi Mark

    A carpenter taught me a simple rule measure twice cut once. But the measuring twice is all just part of planning in fact. Good planning involves looking at what different outcomes can occur before doing something. Good planning you at least have better odds at seeing success than failure, but both can happen. Good planning also means you are ready for those failures and can quickly see them and make adjustments.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Right. That’s why the expression isn’t “measure five times and cut once.”

      Healthcare tends to react to problems by adding inspections. Double checks or triple checks – that’s not always more effective.

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