Tuesday, December 7, 2010

John Seddon's Ugly Jealousy on Display

In this newsletter from November 2003:

Seddon writes about a former client, Stephen Parry, who had "transformed" Fujitsu using Vanguard methods. Seddon shares a quote from something Parry wrote about not relying on lean tools.

Seddon ends his newsletter with:
"Here here. But it gets them in the Harvard Business Review."
Jealous much? Someone has his feelings hurt that HE wasn't in HBR (since he thinks he invented everything related to lean, or was taught it directly by Ohno). John Seddon is a naughty boy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dan Jones is Naughty, but John Seddon is an Arse?

Is John Seddon's grudge against the lean world just a personal issue run amok?


He says "Dan Jones is a Naughty Boy" (how demeaning and arrogant is that?). He writes:
Many readers have written to me to tell me Dan Jones is ‘nicking’ my stuff.
Ah, just as Seddon has "nicked" Brian Joiner without giving credit (that means "ripped off" to you Americans). Joiner's book "Fourth Generation Management" is the origin of "start with check," an idea Seddon claims as his own.

What goes around comes around? Jones claims he didn't rip off Seddon. Seddon claims he did.

So John Seddon is pissed at Dan Jones. So he posts portions of an email exchange with Jones that I'm sure weren't intended to be public.

Again, another example of bad behavior from John Seddon. He doth protest too much. People tend to protest most loudly about the things they do themselves. If you rip off the work of others, you're going to be aware that people do that, hence you complain about it when you think it's happening to you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SHOCKING: John Seddon Changes His Story on What Ohno Said

On the Lean Blog, this is the post that inspired me to speak out:


Mark Graban took Seddon to task for claiming that "Ohno never that" about standardization being the first step of improvement. Graban implied that Seddon was lying and he was torn a new one by the Vanguard crowd.

Turns out that Graban is correct - Seddon either lied or conveniently changed his story. I just posted a comment there. I hope the Vanguard crowd reacts to it. Actually, I hope they'll stop their petty fight with the lean world.

From July 2004:


Seddon wrote:
Ohno said you cannot improve without first standardising work. That is undoubtedly true in manufacturing; but is not true in service.
So which is it, John -- Ohno DID say that or Ohno NEVER said that?

Exclusive story. Do not nick my work. Must credit this blog.

John Seddon is All About Marketing and the Brand

John Seddon gladly took the lean brand name to describe his work, when he thought it benefitted him.

Once the brand got "damaged" he ran with his tail between his legs. From this newsletter:

These days 'lean' is becoming such a bad brand that I am going to drop 'lean-service'
and return to systems thinking. That, after all, is what Ohno's innovation was
all about.
At least he is transparent about that game. The name "lean" didn't suit him anymore. If lean is such a bad brand, why does he continue to devote so much energy to rubbishing the name of lean and those who participate in it? 

And once again, he's claiming himself to be the sole and best heir to Ohno. Ohno would be spinning in his grave. You can't make this stuff up!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Imitation = Flattery

Ah, the creative Seddonistas have a new Twitter account: @LeanWatch. It's clearly the new account for @Systhinkreview, since he's channeled his anti-lean blather into this new account, posting the same links over and over. John Seddon pays a man to do this full time?

Welcome to crazy town. They've gone from annoying and rude to unhinged.

Love the "fires of hell" graphic they are using. Nice touch. (update: they've changed this. instead of looking crazy, it shows pictures of the guy they obsessively link is behind this site).

They call this website a "hate campaign." Far from it. This website presents their own material and their own words. We're not trying to shut them up. Just highlighting what they're saying. There's no attacking of the Systems Thinking or Vanguard approaches. The bloggers here, we just they are rude and intolerable (and their blanket attacks against lean are self serving and childish).

It grows sadder, or more entertaining, each day (depending on your view).

Howard, I'm not @LeanBlog. Keep guessing, chap. You have an older, more clever adversary here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

John Seddon's Site Has Picture That Mocks Eating Disorders

I don't know where John Seddon's team comes up with this stuff. A reader emails to tell me that his "lean toolheads" article page has an illustration that mocks women with eating disorders.

I wouldn't say it "mocks" them, but the picture is in poor taste, to say the least. They are implying that somebody can be "too lean" with THAT picture? I wouldn't say it's offensive, but it's rude and just sort of stupid.


The picture (in case they take it down, which they should) and a screenshot of their site

Thursday, November 11, 2010

John Seddon Site Admits "Systems Thinking" Is Just Another Term for Lean

The Seddonistas LOVE to yell about how lean and their brand of "systems thinking" are fundamentally different.

That's not what Seddon's own website says:

"Lean or systems thinking as Seddon prefers to call it..."
The piece then continues with more distortions of Lean, but that's another story:

The full quote:
Lean or systems thinking as Seddon prefers to call it (lean leads managers to think primarily of cuts and not improvements in service capability) is a way of thinking about and seeing work.
Lean leads people to think cost-cutting? What? That's what traditional management does.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

John Seddon Admits He Has No Healthcare Experience

John Seddon likes to talk about how lean healthcare is a bad idea. How would he know?

He says the following in a Quality Digest comment:
I have no experience in health-care organisations...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

John Seddon Wrongly Accuses Womack & Jones of being "Command and Control"

John Seddon and his followers love to portray James Womack and Daniel Jones as top-down command-and-control thinkers.

One piece of evidence about this being wrong is this quote from the Womack, Jones, and Roos book "The Machine That Changed the World":

In a lean setting:
"Responsibility means freedom [for workers] to control one's work - a big plus."
See the quote on google books.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tripp Babbitt's (@tribabbitt) webpage is labeled "Lean Six Sigma"

Tripp Babbitt is John Seddon's American lackey, a foaming-at-the-mouth sort of chap who makes Seddon look calm and reasonable.

Tripp loves identifying himself as a "reformed lean six sigma black belt," as if that puts him above everyone else who is not reformed.

He mindlessly rips lean at every chance (never making a very compelling case), but yet his website is labeled "lean six sigma" in the browser header, as you'll see below. Click for a larger view (look in the upper left corner) and proof in case he decides to change his web page (if he knows how). If you're going to rip lean, at least don't have that be the label for your site.

Monday, October 18, 2010

John Seddon Says Not to Give your Method a Name, but he does

John Seddon loves to complain that if you give a method a name, like "lean," that progress stops and you're codifying method.

His beloved Taiichi Ohno actually gave Toyota's method a name in 1973, calling it the "Toyota Production System", as you can read about here: http://www.gembapantarei.com/2006/07/words_of_taiichi_ohno_sensei_p_1.html

Did Toyota cease to continue evolving TPS after giving it a name?? I think not.

Does Seddon's Vanguard method cease to improve after he adopted the "systems thinking" name or called it the "Vanguard Method"? Seddon publishes training and manuals - does that codify method???

Saturday, October 16, 2010

John Seddon Complains about "Pretend" Systems Thinkers

John Seddon and the Seddonistas love to bitch and moan about how lean people make a distinction between "fake lean" and "real lean."

To the Seddonistas, the existence of any "fake lean" implies that lean is inherently bad, that there is no such thing as "fake lean."

Being a hypocrite, as he tends to be, Seddon complained in a newsletter about "pretenders" or what we make call "fake systems thinking":

Pretenders screw up

Vanguard's unique contribution has been the creation of a method to help organisations change from a conventional 'command-and-control' design, to a systems design. Because it works so well we have created a market - all sorts of people have popped up claiming to offer systems thinking. It takes us at least a year to train a Vanguard consultant; they have to learn how to work alongside managers as the managers employ the method.

The pretenders won't have our method, and, as I have said here before, perhaps the best way to spot a pretender is to ask them about their method of intervention - training people in 'systems tools' is an obvious indication that they are purveyors of the wrong answer.

But of course training in tools appeals to managers. And so it has been in three cases reported to me last month. Managers bought 'systems thinking', did their training, set up their projects and it failed. So now they think systems thinking doesn't work. They just got duped by a pretender. Tragic.

So there are "tool heads" in the systems thinking world? Obviously the Vanguard method is inherently evil. Right, "Professor" Seddon?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

John Seddon is NOT Really a Professor?

John Seddon loves to call himself a professor.

He does not have a PhD.

His professorship is a three-year honorary appointment, which is now actually over (as a reader emails to tell me).

So why does he still call himself a "professor"? You can't make this up!

John Seddon is So Arrogant That...

John Seddon is so arrogant that he expects the government ministers to call him begging for help:

From a 2001 newsletter:

Will the minister call?  

Last month I joined a radio programme ('You and Yours' - BBC Radio 4) discussing the value of targets in improving public sector performance.
During the programme I described how targets had, in practical and detailed terms, worsened performance in the Police and Fire services. The government representative - pro targets of course - is the man responsible for scrutiny of the public purse.
So I got to thinking. I just told the man how we currently waste millions and I indicated - again with examples - how there was a better way. Yes, we could reduce the costs of public services and at the same time improve them. 
Do you think the minister called?

I'd assume the answer is not, because the minister had either never heard of John Seddon or wrote him off as a prat.

John Seddon Says Lean is a "Wicked Disease"

Another outrageous statement from John Seddon in this article:

John Seddon: Why Lean is a Wicked Disease

John used to sell and peddle this wicked disease himself...

John Seddon Used to Sell an Audio Tape Promoting Lean

John Seddon of 2010 would loudly criticize John Seddon of just a few years ago.

From this old newsletter:

New audio-tape: “Introducing lean service”   return to top
A new audio-tape has been added to our series. “Introducing lean service” runs for 27 minutes and explains how we have taken the concepts of ‘lean thinking’ and applied them to service organisations. Click here to order.
I thought lean doesn't work in services, John?

John Seddon Was Happy to Sell You a Conference on Lean for Services

John Seddon hollers about how lean does work for services. Well, that's the NEW John Seddon.

The old John Seddon was happy to run conferences (see this old newsletter:

Lean Service Conference - October 24th 2000   return to top
Buckingham Conference Centre.
The Lean Service Conference. How to improve service and cut costs. What is 'lean service'? Lean service takes the principles developed in world class manufacturing ('lean thinking') and applies them to service organisations. The consequence is rapid change, for little is 'made' in service organisations.
New John Seddon says lean doesn't work because he wants you to buy HIS new "Vanguard" branded services.

John Seddon Used to Say Lean Worked in Services

Although he screams today about Lean being "a wicked disease," John Seddon was happy to sell you Lean "for services."

From an old newsletter:


We are pleased to announce the completion of our new web site:
Why 'lean service'? Many people will have heard of lean thinking - it underpins world class manufacturing operations. Lean service takes this thinking and applies it to service organisations.
Funny how he changed his tune on this. Self serving and opportunistic.

John Seddon Had "Senseis" to Teach You About Lean

Again from the Internet Wayback Machine:


DVD - An Introduction to Lean 
"Are you ready to change the way you think?"

John Seddon Claims He Developed "Check First," Not Brian Joiner

From the Evolving Excellence blog, a comment on this post... http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2010/02/thanks-craig.html

The video in question can be found here.

The comment:
I was watching the video you linked to and I was aghast at what Seddon was taking credit for.
At about 19:15 he says:
"I developed the model of Check Do Act."
Actually, Brian Joiner published that Check Do Act model in his 1994 book "Fourth Generation Management."
Joiner shares this Check-Act-Plan-Do model on page 49 of his book, talking about why it's more appropriate to start the cycle with "Check."
At best, Seddon is derivative of Joiner (I saw that Joiner's book is curiously missing from his of recommended books, this can't be an accident) or Seddon is ripping him off and not giving credit where it's due.

Read more: http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/blog/2010/02/thanks-craig.html?cid=6a00d834521be169e2013488050ec2970c#comment-6a00d834521be169e2013488050ec2970c#ixzz126hCypsp 
at Evolving Excellence 

John Seddon Used to Embrace the Word Lean

From a comment on Mark Graban's blog about John Seddon:
With a final comment on this blog, all one has to remember is that John Seddons original site was lean-service.com.
Seddon, at that point in time, was in a market that was becoming saturated with “lean” so the two possible outcomes were to “ante up” or to “fold”. Seddon “folded” and at some point changed his companies domain and distanced his self from “Lean”.
The problem he has is that his site was “lean-service”, clearly he has since had a “crossing the rubicon” “moment”, or subsequent “epiphany”, but let no one here forget for one moment when posting that his original site was “LEAN-service.com”.
For all those acolytes, if you’d been paying attention your “chosen one” was as bought in to “lean” as Dan Jones, Jim Womac or the the next consultant. It simply turns out that at some point post 05/06 he felt that “systems thinking” would more clearly reflect his personal offering. A cynic, on the other hand, might think that it was needs must, and that you’d exit a saturated market, change the offering, and disparage a methodology that works (to whatever extent) for some organisations.

Read more: The One Where John Seddon Might Be Lying (or Has His Facts Very Very Wrong) — Lean Blog http://www.leanblog.org/2010/10/the-one-where-john-seddon-lies-or-has-his-facts-very-very-wrong/#ixzz126eMHBxE

John Seddon Used to Trumpet Lean Tools

"Professor" John Seddon (we should say "former Professor") is one of the most obnoxious bashers of the lean methodology out there, pushing instead his "Systems Thinking" or Vanguard Method.

Thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine, you can see clearly that John Seddon, as recently as 2008 was trumpeting his "lean" approach and offered "lean tools" in 2004 - an offering that would get you or me labeled a "tool head" in an angry Vanguard newsletter.

The page offered:

What are the benefits of going lean?

Practical tools for action

What a hypocrite! See screen capture below (click for bigger view):

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why "Anonymous"?

Why is this blog anonymous?

Well, I'll be attacked as a coward by the John Seddon crowd, his blind followers, the "Seddonistas," but it's much better than being sued, as Seddon is quite litigious you might know...