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About Schmidt

By Art van Bodegraven | 11/10/2017 | 7:10 AM

Please enjoy the thoughts and musings of our friend, supporter, and long-time contributor Art van Bodegraven Jr., who passed away on June 18, 2017. Art was a prolific writer and had amassed a collection of unpublished blog posts he had planned to run well into the future. To honor his memory, we will continue to post these remaining blogs as he had intended. If you’ve been a fan of The Art of Art blog, check out our tribute.


When we compare and contrast the roles of people, process, and technology in modern performance management, the disconnects become painfully obvious.  The always-brilliant Jack Nicholson starred in this obvious tale of a displaced worker some fifteen years ago.

Today, we like to debate the roles and interplay among people, processes, and technology.  Reality is, to repeat myself, that technology forces new processes, and that people must try to execute them.

Some credit W. Edwards Deming with the axiomatic observation that bad systems can kill good people.  The citation is actually that good people can overcome bad systems.

In the abstract, though, these elements become increasingly important as Lean and Six Sigma, and galloping robotics capture more and more mainstream attention in highly competitive supply chains.

The keys to integrating human assets, talent, into new worlds are:

  • Designing organizations, with right mixes of skills and styles, to get talent into the right place, putting it where it can do the most good for the enterprise.
  • Allowing, permitting, encouraging talent to be responsible for its own improvement; you are not the imporvement motivator; you are merely responsible for establishing an environment in which talent can grow and develop - and improve.
  • Leading talent, being the coach and trainer that every colleague can benefit from; becoming the leader who knows how to develop talent and talented behaviors.

The real secret of talent leadership lies in a couple of largely ignored facts.  One, to make the leadership of human capital work, is to weed out those who are not life-long learners.  Warm bodies are no substitute for genuine talent.  Another is to recognize the valuable part of the enterprise DNA, and keep it on for the value, context, and history it serves.  DNA that is no longer useful, that we have evolved beyond, is of no value in and of itself.

In About Schmidt, we - and Jack (Warren) must pay the price for being neither a contributing DNA fragment nor a continuous learner.  A

And that's how aged functionaries wind up in hot tubs with Kathy Bates.



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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