The Systems Thinker Blog

Business Improvement: Some Ideas that May Disturb Your Thinking!

Posted byRon Carroll

Occasionally, I like to ponder on the words of people who truly understand the “nuts and bolts” of business operations, and how to get exceptional results. I especially like statements that bring new insights to Systems Thinking. Below I have included a few quotations that might give you a big idea to improve your business.

Keep It Simple - Einstein

“The most effective way to improve productivity is to eliminate [unnecessary] work” (Bill Conway, self-made billionaire), and similarly, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all” (Peter F. Drucker, management consultant and author).

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency” (Bill Gates).

"Continuous improvement is not about the things you do well—that's work. Continuous improvement is about removing the things that get in the way of your work. The headaches, the things that slow you down, that’s what continuous improvement is all about” (Bruce Hamilton, continuous improvement educator).

“Where there is no standard, there can be no improvement. For these reasons, standards are the basis for both maintenance and improvement” (Masaaki Imai, father of continuous improvement).

“Four goals of improvement: 1) make things easier 2) better 3) faster and 4) cheaper” (Shigeo Shingo, pioneer of Lean Thinking).

“There are two reasons why we change. We learn enough that we want to, or we hurt enough that we have to” (Shigeo Shingo).

“A relentless barrage of ‘why’s’ (see 5-Whys Analysis) is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo.  Use it often” (Shigeo Shingo).

“You are surrounded by simple, obvious solutions that can dramatically increase your income, power, influence and success. The problem is, you just don't see them” (Jay Abraham, marketing consultant; ...unless you're a Systems Thinker - Ron Carroll).

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed” (Henry Ford).

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” (Henry Ford).

“If management is not removing the obstacle, management is the obstacle!” (Author unknown).

“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job! The business owner should be devoted to business development, not doing business” (Michael Gerber, E-Myth Revisited).

“Customers always seek the ‘best deal.’ They reward companies that serve them best and allow the others to fail. It is how the customer feels about your business as a whole that matters most. Everything about your business—advertising, cleanliness, return merchandise policy, courtesy and knowledge of employees, product selection, price, location, delivery time, and so forth—is what they are choosing. Your entire business is your product and it must shine throughout. When it does, YOU become the “best deal!” (Ron Carroll)

“Real waste lurks in places that don’t look like waste” (Shigeo Shingo).

“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time” (Taiichi Ohno, considered father of Lean Manufacturing).

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand” (Chinese Proverb).

“Reward those who Do, Train those who Can’t, Replace those who Won’t” (Henn’s Creed).

“In God we trust. All others, bring data” (W. Edwards Deming, Total Quality Management), and similarly, “Without data, it’s just an opinion!” (Author unknown)

One good idea—IMPLEMENTED—could soon put more money in your pocket! Which idea above can you leverage for greater success?

You can read some other thought-provoking statements about business systems and processes at


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Tags: Systems Thinker, Improvement, Laws/Principles