1st Edition

Compression Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises

By Robert W. Hall Copyright 2010
    268 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    COMPRESSION: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises sounds a clarion that we cannot afford to ignore. Global crises are squeezing us from all directions. Mostly they have to do with not enough: not enough natural resources to maintain our standard of living, not enough carbon rich soil to grow crops enough to feed the world, not enough fresh clean water, nor air or ozone.

    A founding member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Robert "Doc" Hall has dedicated much of his career to redefining business practices in ways that are feasible and transferable. For lasting change to occur, we need to provide stakeholders with access to new tools and new paradigms that eschew outdated learning methods. While the book does elucidate the problem, the main emphasis of its pages is on what leaders can do to change the mindset of stakeholders at all levels. Specifically, Hall shows how the Toyota model, the most successful and enduring manufacturing system ever implemented, can be applied and adapted to help identify roots of problems, eliminate waste, and create a new vision along with the path to realizing that vision.

    • We must rethink our perpetual devotion to old ideals such as continual growth and more are always better
    • We need to recognize that we are quickly reaching the point of critical mass where the inequities of society will force the have-nots to take matters into their own hands
    • We need to learn to learn more effectively, in terms of individuals, organizations, and processes
    • We must embrace the paradigm culture shift required to implement lasting constructive change that we can live by

    To implement the sort of changes that will allow civilization to prevail rather than merely endure requires a resourcefulness and ingenuity beyond any the world has ever employed. In this volume, Doc Hall shows us how to learn to learn more effectively both as individuals and organizations, and in terms of processes. He invites us to rethink our perpetual devotion to old ideals and welcome the shift in thinking that must be our first and immediate step.

    Stay current and become active in helping to Meet the Challenges of Sustainability Through Vigorous Learning Enterprises. You will find action steps and discussion at compression.org


    Chapter 1 Understanding the Challenges of Compression

    Challenge #1: Resource Shortages

    Fossil Energy

    Fresh Water

    Challenge #2: A Precarious Environment


    Freon and the Ozone Hole

    Oceanic Plankton

    Challenge #3: Excessive Consumption

    Challenge #4: Pushback from the Have-Nots

    Challenge #5: Self-Learning Work Organizations

    Meeting the Challenges

    Vigorous Learning Organizations

    Health Care as an Example

    Rethinking Expansionary Assumptions

    Taking on the Challenges of Compression Endnotes

    Chapter 2 Learning from Toyota

    The Toyota Way

    The Toyota Production System

    TPS Techniques

    Objective of TPS: Eliminate Waste

    Creating a TPS Learning System

    The Role of Standard Work in Kaizen

    The Seedbed: An Economic Microcosm

    Ohno’s Method

    Toyota’s Supplier Association

    The Toyota Product Development System

    Expert Engineering Workforce

    Responsibility-Based System

    Set-Based Engineering

    The Chief Engineer

    Ethnic Culture and The Toyota Way

    Lean Manufacturing

    Learning and Work Culture

    Lessons from Toyota Today Endnotes

    Chapter 3 Learning to Learn

    Improving Your Learning Processes

    Part 1: Individual Learning

    Neural Learning Mechanisms

    “Natural” Learning

    The Limits of Rationality

    Integrative Learning

    Absolutism and Denial

    Part 2: Compression of Process Learning

    A Broader Definition of Waste

    Big-Step Innovative Learning

    The Implications of Learning Curves

    Compression and Increasing Complexity

    Energy, Information, and Process Learning

    A Tree Doesn’t Grow to the Moon

    Scientific Learning

    Self-Similar Scientific Process Learning at Work

    Broadening Your View of Waste

    Mapping Your Opportunities

    Life-Cycle Analysis

    Practicalities of Measurement

    Action Steps to Start Learning

    Part 3: Organizational Learning

    Creating a Learning Language

    Innovative Learning

    Forming Bonds of Trust

    Higher Context Learning


    Chapter 4 Dispelling Our Expansionary Habits

    Compressed in the Cosmos

    The Blinding Mind-Set

    Dysfunctional Assumptions

    Unlimited Growth

    Economy of Scale

    Short-Term Bias

    Results Bias

    Specialization and Inflexibility

    Fragmentation and Tribalism

    Inability to Simplify Complexity

    Complacency and Panic

    Commodity Traps

    Market Rationality

    Model Fixation

    Ownership Dominance

    Money as the Common Language

    Inability to Simplify Complexity

    Commercial Competition; Commercial Reciprocity

    Health Care and Bioscience

    Commercial Journalism

    Spin Doctoring

    Commercial Conflict and Reciprocity

    Questioning the System


    Chapter 5 Creating Vigorous Learning Enterprises Vigorous Learning Enterprise Overview

    Common Mission and Goals

    Behavioral Skill Building

    Change the Environment, Change the Behavior

    On Becoming Professional

    An Integrated Learning System


    Roles of Core Leadership

    External Leadership

    Leadership: Sustaining Trust

    Leadership: Developing Others

    Leadership: Defending a Learning Culture

    Performance Measurement

    Compressing Your Learning Processes Endnotes

    Chapter 6 Developing the Constitution for Vigorous Learning

    Deep Challenges

    Toward a Stronger Constitution

    Why This Approach?

    A Global Tribe

    Implications of Tribalism at Work

    Trust and Tribal Bonding

    A Process Theory of Value

    Problems with Existing Theories of Value

    Attempts to Overcome Weaknesses

    What a Process Theory of Value Must Do

    Process Evaluation

    New Considerations

    New Consideration: Accumulations

    New Consideration: Life-Cycle Energy

    New Consideration: Life-Cycle Operations

    New Consideration: Thermodynamic Currency

    Implications of a Process Theory of Value

    Thermodynamic Efficiency

    Financing Missions

    Rapid Adaptability

    Allocation of Commodities or Permits

    Flat Age Demographic Profile

    Employment and Unemployment

    Little Distinction between Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Work Organizations

    An End to Hot Wars Using Resource-Intensive Weaponry

    Auditing Vigorous Learning

    Committing to the Learning Constitution


    About the Author



    A founding member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Robert W. Hall, Ph.D., is the Professor Emeritus of Operations Management at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, and the Editor-in Chief of Target Magazine.

    Strategic leaders of private and public organizations in the 21st century are faced with unprecedented challenges. The principles and practices that helped them compete and grow in the past, no longer work. … Many of the problems are beyond complicated. They are problems generated by interlinked systems that prevent us from clearly defining the root cause. Their resolution requires reflection on the assumptions of the past and counter intuitive thinking.

    In the 1980s and 90s Robert Hall (Doc) helped North American manufacturing and service companies address the competitive challenges of imports. Doc was a thought leader, articulator, and guide to hundreds of CEOs, presidents, operations managers and process engineers on the principles and practices of Lean, continuous improvement, and productivity.

    Today, with Compression, Doc gives us a new perspective on the challenges of the 21st century. He gives strategic leaders a way to put their arms around the complex issues facing their companies, markets, and communities.

    Compression is a practical management tool. Strategic leaders should not labor under the misconception that they will learn by reading this book. It is through using what they read that the real and important learning will occur.
    —John (Jack) Ward, former CEO, Gabor International

    Learning how to survive in this new Era of Sustainability will require a new way of thinking and working ... . Compression: doing more with less of everything by becoming a vigorous learning organization.
    —Glenn Marshall, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Benchmarking & Sustainability Champion