The Process Mind: New Thoughtware ® for Designing Your Business on Purpose, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Process Mind

New Thoughtware ® for Designing Your Business on Purpose, 1st Edition

By Philip Kirby

Productivity Press

315 pages | 117 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781482228953
pub: 2014-10-24
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429256103
pub: 2014-10-24
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What if you could double your productivity without additional capital investment? What if you could outperform your competition by changing the way you think? What if you could be fast, flexible, and low cost?

In The Process Mind, Philip Kirby not only opens your mind to these possibilities but shows you how it is done. The book emphatically makes the case that the new thoughtware® of process thinking is imperative if you are to compete in the twenty-first century.

Business performance is rooted in your processes, and superior performance depends on how you think about and run these processes. To improve and sustain performance, you need a process mind.

With game-changing thinking, thought-provoking principles, and eye-opening examples, Kirby brings to life the operating intelligence of a process mind and demonstrates why process is the most innovative product you can build.

This book covers the downside of old thoughtware and the upside of new thoughtware. It sets out the principles on which thoughtware operates, describes its application at every level of work, and illustrates the impact of new thoughtware with real-life examples and case reports.

Kirby presents insights gained through decades of successful implementation of new thoughtware practices across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Kirby’s track record is so exceptional that by following the proven concepts discussed in this book, you can expect a 50 percent improvement in performance.

The game-changing principles and practices covered in this book, from the shop floor to the corner office, make it a compelling and inspiring must-read.


We wanted to take our success to a new level and continue to improve WestJet’s on-time performance—critical in the airline industry. Phil Kirby and new process thinking have been instrumental in helping us achieve higher performance. A must-read for anyone who wants to find the only ‘real’ sustainable improvements in their business.

—Brigid Pelino, Executive Vice President People and Culture, WestJet Airlines

The Process Mind sets out the invaluable thoughtware you need to rejuvenate and revolutionize your organization. It’s a must-read—you owe it to your teams!

—Tony Soumas, Director-Distribution Operations and CI Strategy Consultant, Tim Hortons Inc.

Table of Contents

The Chennai Paradox

See the Process, See the Problem

Extreme Immersion

Paradoxes Abound

Idle Time Is 95% of the Process

The Wager

The New Thoughtware

A Hundred Year Obsession

There Is a Price to Pay

A Précis on How the Model Works


Apple’s Little Secret

Dumbest Idea in the World

Innovation Is an Undependable Process

Process Defined

Reliable vs. Cogent (Valid) Processes

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Process

End-To-End Process Value

Smart Processes: Apple Is Not Alone

The Process Mind at Southwest Airlines

Process Thinking and the Process Mind

Think About It

Old Thoughtware Sticks Like Glue

A Cautionary Tale


History Repeats Itself—Unfortunately

Five Hundred Years of Theories

Crushing Old Allegiances

It’s Not the People, It’s the Functions

Process Thinking Is Not New

The Toyota "Thinking" System


The Quality Revolution

The Evidence Is Underwhelming

Program Addiction

We Got Some Things Right

Total Quality Management and Process Thinking

Keep It Simple

Simple Is Hard

It’s More Than Empowerment


The No. 1 Root Cause

Fifth-Grade Math Exposes the Problems

Lessons from the Shirt Factory

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Root Cause

The Imperative Is Imperative

Upgrade the Organization’s Thoughtware

White Space


More Root Cause: No Problem Is a Dangerous Problem

Cash Flow: The Mother of All Processes


Process Design and Respect for People

Bad Process, Bad Blood

Stop Riding a Dead Horse

Seeing Is Believing

Let’s Go for a Walk

The Engineering Castle

Costs Reduced 44%, Time 74%

Process Capability

The Linchpin: Respect for People—A Right and a Responsibility

Employee Rights

Information, Authority, and Skills

Continuous Improvement Usually Isn’t


The Primacy of Process: Strategy Deployment and Financial Performance Depend on It

A Plan Is Not a Strategy

Process Thinking Begins with Strategy

I Am Not a Strategy Guy

The Primacy of Process

Skills, Authority, and Information

Winning Sports Requires a Process Mind

One of the Most Influential Business Ideas of the Twentieth Century

A CEO Perspective

Value Creation: Manage Workflow, Not Resources

Inventory and Cash Don’t Lie

Interested in a 35% Reduction in Labor Costs?

Working Capital Productivity Ratio

Experimenting with Credit Cards

Banking on Process Thinking

It’s Not a Matter of Technology


Performance on Purpose

Three Critical Elements

Entitling Your Business Process

The Customer Defines the Purpose of the Process

Customer Demand Defines Customer Value

The Culture of Process

Back to the Future

How We Got Here

Forty Years Later

Real Demand vs. Forecasting

Shareholder Value Is a Contrived Purpose

The Dangers of EOQ Thinking

Stop Making Processes Usable and Start Making Usable Processes

Building Variety into the Process

Reliability Versus Validity

Targets Versus Capability


Measure What Matters, Not What Is Easy

It Isn’t Weather Forecasting

The Navigational Scorecard

Measures: Lead and Lag

Purpose–Measure–Action Model

Measuring Purpose

Measures: Evaluation and Navigation

Navigating the Future

Does the Measure Incite Action on the Process?

A Thoughtful Exercise

What and How Are We Doing?


Action: Experimentation and the Scientific Method

Stop Bumping and Think

The Scientific Method

Fear of Failure Is the Enemy

The Cornerstone of Continuous Improvement


How to Conduct a Treasure Hunt

Economists Hide Problems

Getting Started

Step 1: See and Learn the Process

A: Select the Process

B: Prepare for the Treasure Hunt and Assign Roles

C: Conduct the Treasure Hunt

Step 2: Analyze the Current Condition

Treasure Hunt Findings Report

Step 3: Visualize the Target (Future) Condition

Making a Difference

Step 4: Experiment and Learn

The Freedom of Experimenting

Waste, Waste, Waste … and More Waste

The Seven "Deadly" Wastes—Plus One

1. Waste of Overproduction

2. Waste of Defects

3. Waste of Conveyance/Transportation

4. Waste of Over-Processing

5. Waste of Storage (Excess Inventory)

6. Waste of Waiting

7. Waste of Motion

8. Policy Waste


The Experiment: Creating a Process-Focused Organization

Let the Experimentation Begin

Eight-Step Methodology of Process Redesign

From Bad to Worse

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Getting Started


Carrots Aren’t for Everybody

If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It

The Carrot Secret

Technology Is Not a Panacea

Technology Can’t Replace Air Traffic Controllers

What the Process Mind Sees—At a Glance

Think About It



About the Author

Phil Kirby is a recognized expert on Continuous Process Improvement. Known as "The Process Guy," Kirby has more than two decades of extraordinary operations management, business coaching, and consulting experience in all business sectors around the world. He has helped hundreds of companies of all sizes—from SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) to Fortune 500s—discover their hidden treasure and save billions of dollars. His engaging presentations inspire audiences worldwide.

Kirby believes your business can be not only fast, but flexible, and low cost. The secret is to focus on your process, not your product or service. He is the author of several books, including Thoughtware: Change the Thinking and the Organization Will Change Itself (Productivity Press, 1997) and The Future: You Can’t Get There from Here (OTI Inc., 2004). He is the founder and CEO of Organization Thoughtware International, Inc. based in Guelph, Ontario, near Toronto, Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture