Call Me Aesop

If you are engaged in teaching, whether formally in classes or informally as you facilitate projects, you probably have a few favorite sayings that you like to use toremind people of important points.

I take my blog title today from the ancient teacher Aesop, who liked to close his fables (usually stories with animal characters) with a saying or teaching. Most of us have heard, at one time or another, fables such as “The Tortoise and the Hare.” In this story, the speedy rabbit brags that he can win a race with a turtle. After he reaches a point far ahead of the tortoise, helays down for a nap while planning to wake up just in time to win. The tortoise plods on and crosses the finish line just as the hare wakes up -too late. Aesop’s moral was “Slow and steady wins the race” but which of us would not hear, “Go slow to go fast!” ???

I’m going to list a few phrases that I use frequently – sorry that I don’t have attributions, some of these are “time-honored” – and I’d be very interested to hear your own favorites!

“Proper planning prevents poor performance!”

“People treasure what their bosses measure.” (Or, sometimes, “People measure what they treasure.”

“In facilitating, you should be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.”

“Don’t jump to solutions!”

“The customer feels the variation – not the average.”

“If you can’t master 5S, forget all the rest” (Taiichi Ohno)

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“Eight times, eight ways!” (for how to communicate effectively)

What other sayings or phrases do you find yourself using when you talk about process improvement? Please add to the list with your own favorites!

Comments 5

  1. Mellophone

    "We only know what we know".

    Regarding the common complaint about not enough time to work on process improvement: "The most successful people in the world and the miserable failures all get the same amount of time in a day – 24 hours. You decide how you will use your time".

    "If you need a helping hand, check the end of your sleeve".

    Regards, Roger Ellis

  2. Fabio

    "The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability
    to learn faster than the competition." (Arie de Geus)

  3. philjoly

    Some more (Translation from French to American-English may not be perfect) :

    Minds are like parachutes : They work better when opened.

    Systematic innovation requires a strong will in considering changes as opportunities (Peter Drucker 1909-2003))

    It’s not the most robust or most intelligent specie which survive, it is the one that adapt the best to change (Charles Darwin 1809-1882)

    A person that never made any mistake had never tried to innovate (Albert Einstein 1879-1955)

    One that never applies new remedies must be ready to face new diseases, as time is the greatest innovator. (Francis Bacon 1561-1626)

    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind. It may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the state of science.” (Lord Kelvin)

    Regards from rainy Rumania

  4. DSmith

    Those who fail to plan can plan to fail.

    There are three kinds of people in the world; those who tell the truth, liars, and statisticians.

  5. Sue Kozlowski

    Thanks to all for your additions to this little list of sayings! Roger, I especially liked your time saying – very pertinent. Fabio reminds us of a basic truth! Philippe, you’ve given me quite a few that I will add to my personal collection, and I hope it’s not raining anymore in Rumania! DSmith brings up the "S" word (statistics) and I just had to go take a look at my books, "How to Lie with Statistics" and "How to Lie with Charts" which should be required reading (not how to lie, but how to avoid being dazzled by numbers and pictures).

    Many thanks, I hope we get more to add to the list!
    Sue K.

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