Thursday, July 30, 2015

What's Eating John Seddon? Who Knows.

Here is a good post and analysis by author and consultant Michel Baudin:

"What's eating John Seddon?"

As often happens, Baudin is gracious and points out that he likes some of Seddon's work (although he calls him out for not attributing people like Deming and Ohno in that early work).

He criticizes Seddon's "personal attack" behavior, including his disgraceful insults of Bob Emiliani, another author (and a real professor, by the way).

He adds:
There is a good reason while the etiquette of on-line discussion groups forbids personal attacks: they cause discussions to degenerate into trash talk and name calling. It may be briefly entertaining, but quickly turns off readers who don't have a dog in these fights and just want to information. Besides insulting Bob Emiliani, Seddon has steamed up patriot Bill Waddell with derogatory comments about America. You reap what you sow.
Criticizing behavior is different than personal attacks or ad hominem attacks.

In the comments, there's the predictable defense of Seddon.... "he's rude, but he means well."
Seddon needs to be let go. We need his anger and we need to listen to his counterintuitive views and understand the essence of what he has to say as Bob seems to suggest. We can all learn. Ironically, Seddon is deeply respectful of people but he is rude...I can live with that. We all should.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Even Tripp Babbitt has Tired of John Seddon's Tactics

Bill Waddell's blog post recently took John Seddon to task for his attacks on Bob Emiliani and for being, well, ignorant.

A comment that was posted by Seddon's American attack dog, Tripp Babbitt (we assume it was him) on this post... in part:
Unfortunately, John continues down this path of calling out UK public figures and people that are associated with Lean. This strategy worked for awhile as people love a good, hotly contested debate and this gets attention. The problem is that there has been no advancement from this point. Good debate is one thing, learning is quite another. The name calling gets old after awhile if it doesn’t lead anywhere . . . new knowledge. The tactic rings hollow.
Tripp recently redid his website and no longer refers to Vanguard or John Seddon.

Maybe we should say "former attack dog." Good luck to Tripp in what appears to be new, positive efforts to spread the teachings of W. Edwards Deming -- somebody we can all agree was a good man with a great message.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bob Emiliani Strikes Back at John Seddon's Attack

Bob Emiliani has, perhaps unwisely, struck back at John Seddon after Seddon attacked him in his latest email missive.

See Emiliani's thoughtful takedown here:

Kudos to John Seddon

Bob writes, in part:
John sees “Respect for People” as not relevant because “culture is a consequence of the system.” My research shows the reverse to be true, but no matter.

Nobody can rightly say that the “Respect for People” principle is not a point of intervention – either before my work or after. The future of Lean is bright as people begin to expand their comprehension of the ”Respect for People” principle and focus on both the system and the people. It looks like it is time for John to update his Vanguard Method, once he absorbs these six new seminal moments:
  • It’s the system and the people.
  • The “Respect for People” principle is not a “conventional Western management interpretation.”
  • The “Respect for People” principle was not manufactured recently by Americans to save Lean.
  • The “Respect for People” principle is not a ploy to make money.
  • The “Respect for People” principle is a point of intervention.

Monday, November 11, 2013

John Seddon Attacks and Insults Bob Emiliani

From Seddon's November 2013 newsletter, he attacks Bob Emiliani (without calling him out by name, but "Fake Lean" is a phrase Emiliani has used and spread).

More dumb lean

I’m going to Sweden this month to speak at their annual public-sector jamboree. It will be my third time. I’m speaking alongside a public-sector client that has made profound improvements in adult social care.

Every time I have been to the jamboree they have had an American lean guru spouting nonsense and this is no exception. This time it’s the guru who claims lean fails because it is what he calls ‘fake lean’ and his lean is the way to go! His ‘real lean’ starts with ‘respect for people’. I can imagine ‘respect for people’ events and tee-shirts (he sells tee shirts) while there is no change to the system conditions that drive misery and other forms of sub-optimisation. Only in America; the home of the terrible diseases.

What would you call a profound idea in this guru’s head?
A tourist!

This tourist will be going on from Sweden to Norway, for their big annual lean event. They know lean isn’t working and they know I know why ;-)


It's very ironic since Seddon's game plan, for years, has been to:

1) Attack the rest of the Lean world for doing things wrong
2) Saying his (Seddon's) approach is the only true Lean way

Remember, Seddon used to embrace the "Lean Services" label.

What do you call a moment of self awareness in Seddon's head? A tourist.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

John Seddon's Mickey Mouse Tactics

Seddon and his team LOVE putting people's heads on the bodies of animals and characters as a way to mock them. So much for being a serious academic.

He is mocking Sir Michael Barber. Seddon is right to criticize the targets and command and control approach. But this is a "Mickey Mouse" way to do it.

The image is a screenshot from this video.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just Listen to John Seddon (via a Shared Email) Tell You How Great He Is...

To borrow a Seddonism... you can't make this stuff up!

From his latest missive, with emphasis mine.

Me to a T

I have been nominated as someone’s ‘favourite quality guru’. He’s right that I don’t like the term guru, and I want to show readers the nomination statement because he has me to a T:

“My favourite quality guru is Professor John Seddon. Although he is no shrinking violet as many in the quality profession will know John doesn't waste his time jostling for position in the gurusphere, so I suspect that he will dislike the term being applied to him.

My choice is probably influenced by the fact that my background is in management, not quality. Seddon's fluff-free approach appeals to the busy manager, intolerant of fads and fashions and impenetrable textbooks, who wants to get on with improving the business via reduced costs and improved levels of service. Ordinary managers can understand what he is on about.

And his principles and methods actually work; they are being used by a diverse range of organisations all over the world with consistently positive practical results. We know this because of the evidence published, particularly in the public sector, by those ordinary managers themselves rather than by the quality department.

I think John Seddon's commitment to, and visible success in, changing management thinking and, crucially, in changing management behaviour, deserves to be recognised.”

And I am most grateful to him.

So this is how he starts his newsletter... sharing an email about how great he is.... because he supposedly doesn't care about jostling for a position as a "guru." Ha. John seems obsessed with telling the world how much better he is than the other lean "gurus." So ironic. So painfully unaware of the contradiction.

He doth protest too much.

If he really didn't care about being the best guru, he wouldn't have thought to even share that self-serving email in his newsletter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Lean Service to Systems Thinking to Vanguard Method

Ah, it's the monthly arrival of Tripp Babbitt's email newsletter. His "December," er January, newsletter arrived today.

Just as John Seddon and company bailed out on the term "Lean Service," they have now walked away from the term "Systems Thinking." They used to embrace the term Lean, before they decided that they had to smear the rest of the Lean community to differentiate their dear leader and "his" method (a warmed over version of Lean, as it is).

He writes:
"Systems thinking" has now become a phrase associated with copying and those that believe they too can be just like Vanguard.  So, we abandon "systems thinking" in favor of the Vanguard Method (tVM).   
Why the change?  Recently, I ran into some folks claiming systems thinking.  When I looked at what they had done, it was process improvement.  
Ironically, there are many in the real "Systems Thinking" academic field and professional community who blast Seddon and company as being pretenders, that it wasn't real Systems Thinking and that, as Seddon admitted, it was just Lean that they were doing anyway.

Everyone will be better off with them calling it "Vanguard Method," but it's comical that Tripp says they are bailing on Systems Thinking, when the Systems Thinking community bailed on them a long time ago (and never welcomed them, frankly).