Every year, countries around the world pause to remember the bravery and courage of those who preceded us—the thousands of men and women who fought and died for the freedoms we take for granted. For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the wars of old. My great grandfather walked among a band of brothers who sacrificed their all to defend the liberties we have today. A resilient, brave man, he grew up on the rugged landscapes of rural South Africa. He joined the military as a young man and worked his way up to become one of the elite Spitfire pilots of his time. He fought hard with toughness of spirit, eventually being shot down over Italy. He was held a prisoner of war for several years before being released.

There are many similar stories of men and women who sacrificed all—their lives—to liberate those of others: you and me. Their broken bones lie peacefully within the rich earth of foreign fields. Their rendezvous with death never once held them back from forging ahead. Against grim conditions, their fortitude and strength of character was unequalled. Their calls for freedom can still be heard within the concealed dust, not by their fellow man, but rather the partridges and humming birds that have made their final resting place home. Lest we forget.


My mother used to laugh telling me how I kicked and screamed while entering this fantastic world. I am a twin and started the battle for dominance over my brother while still in the womb, frequently offering a left jab to his chin while floating in embryonic fluid. I love my brother dearly, sharing a very close bond. We are, however, very different people with our own uniquely crafted personalities and opinions. The same applies for my younger sister.

The improvement fraternity adopts and applies many different improvement models. The most prominent of this cluster would be the brothers Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints. Although my knowledge and experience primarily focuses on the Lean methodology, I am certainly not hung up on Lean being the single, explicit blue print for the deployment of an improvement framework. I am far more interested in claiming the core essential ingredients of a broader range of approaches and then internalising these under a uniquely crafted, location-specific operating model. I prefer not to segregate Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints as independent deployment approaches. It can be draining dealing with people who believe that their approach......


Who can forget the devastating magnitude-nine earthquake off the Pacific coast of Japan on Friday the 11th of March, 2011? I was sitting in an airport lounge about to board a flight back home when I saw the news on the television station. The earthquakes epicentre was about seventy kilometres east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku. Its hypocenter was located at an underwater depth of around thirty-two kilometres. It moved Honshu two-point-four metres east and shifted earth on its axis by an estimated ten to twenty-five centimetres. The energy released by this earthquake was equivalent to the amount needed to power Los Angeles for a year. The powerful tsunami waves it produced were as high as forty metres, killing thousands of people as entire towns were destroyed.

A similar event unfolds daily within many companies around the world. Organisational earthquakes cause mini tsunamis to wreak havoc on people and processes. These earthquakes, more commonly referred to as the ninth organisational waste (managerial variability), have a devastating impact on the prosperity of a workplace. This vulgar waste emerges like a looming boil from the decision making of the self-centred leader.