Government service is to be judged on equity as well as on efficiency.
Nothing can do you so much harm as a lousy competitor. Be thankful for a good competitor.
Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.
Stamping out fires is a lot of fun, but it is only putting things back the way they were.
Putting out fires is not improvement of the process. Neither is discovery and removal of a special cause detected by a point out of control. This only puts the process back to where it should have been in the first place.
One gets a good rating for fighting a fire. The result is visible; can be quantified. If you do it right the first time, you are invisible. You satisfied the requirements. That is your job. Mess it up, and correct it later, you become a hero.
I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this:
94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management)
The greatest waste in America is failure to use the abilities of people.
American management thinks that they can just copy from Japan—but they don’t know what to copy!
the system that people work in and the interaction with people may account for 90 or 95 percent of performance.