Readers may recall a study I did a few years ago attempting to identify the most reliable predictor of future new home sales activity.  The closest predictor turned out to be the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Study (MCSS).

After last weeks blog  about the great match up of Lean and custom homes I received the following inspiring "boots on the ground" letter from reader and fellow Leanista Roger Bess:


The 5th article in my series on Quality Management was just published by Professional Builder Magazine and appears concurrently on

Yes we are making lists again!

Make two lists.

In one list the elements of company cultures that you have experienced and liked.

In the other list elements of company cultures that you experienced and did not like.

“It is leadership, that recognizes that structure and goals are not effective without the corresponding tactics and that neither will generate strong and positive business results without effective implementation.”

Armand V Feigenbaum & Donald S Feigenbaum

Forming, storming, norming and performing are the four key stages in team formation.

I'm a sucker for a good love story. I get emotional at the end of Pretty Woman, and will watch Can't Buy Me Love over and over again. However, one story that really gets me misty is the love story between custom home clients and Lean Design.

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Tony Fadell. But I would bet a very large sum of money (okay, $100) that you’ve heard of his most notable creation.

Some customers can be “impossible to please” (IP), but keep in mind, when open to the public, a home building company is exposed to all personalities within the public.  After all, that idiot that cut you off on the highway this morning lives somewhere!  This means, on rare occasions you will sel

“Management has to give direction to the institution it manages. It has to think through the institution’s mission, has to set its objectives and has to organize resources for the results the institution has to contribute.”

While both open cell and closed cell spray foam insulation are proven and effective commercial solutions, each product has its own unique set of qualities and is more ideal for certain applications.

One of Demings ‘Seven Deadly Diseases’ is ‘The Emphasis on Short-Term Profits’ and therefore on short term thinking. Despite the lessons of the recession, so much of corporate thinking is still driven by the short term view.

Here is a simple exercise to help you reflect on your leadership.

Make two lists.  One is headed, ‘leadership I respected and valued’, the other will have the heading of ‘poor leadership’.

“The overall purpose of a site visit is to reveal the truth about the organization and provide a thorough assessment.” Brown, Baldrige Award Winning Quality, 2005.

The ACORN test is an easy to remember way to evaluate the charter of an improvement project.

A  Accomplishment. Does the goal actually focus on results?

We can all relate to great leaders, but we may fail to note what makes them so.  Harry Truman is quoted as saying, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  Such is the case with last year’s Professional Builder Magazine’s Builder of the Year, DSLD Homes and their lead

“The stories, apocryphal or not, that circulate in an organization reveal its devotion (or lack of it) to quality, and serve to inspire its people to live (or not live) the quality message.”

What stories are being told in your company?

I have spoken at PCBC, the big West Coast building conference most of the past 15 years and I always enjoy it. The event has been very well-run, quality of programming is excellent, the staff is great and you can do a lot worse than hang out in downtown San Francisco for a few days.


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