This month – August 2012 – we start on the First Friday with another of my favorite gurus…
I had a great relationship with Geary. He was one of my many mentors.
I first met Geary at an NSPI Conference in Dallas in April 1980. I was working alongside his brother-in-law at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw and two who had worked with his brother Rick at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Detroit. When I left Wickes and joined Motorola in the spring of 1981 I got a chance to work with Geary (and Carol Panza) on a bunch of projects – as they were “my” consultants – meaning I got to carry their pencils. Here we are in Phoenix at my boss’ office in 1982.
Here is my copy of “Serious Performance Consulting” which I bought at the ISPI Conference bookstore at the Tampa Conference in 2004 – which happened to be “my” conference – for as President it was my job to pick a theme and pick the Keynote Speakers.
One of the Many Things I Learned From Geary
I think perhaps his most famous contribution, something he developed with his college buddy, Dale Brethower, is the General Systems Model. Once I asked Geary why Dale and he had separately published this model with their own copyrights on it. Who created it, I asked. Geary told me that he believed that Dale was holding the marker pen when they were creating this on flip chart paper.
Here is a version of that, created by my graphic artist on staff for the CADDI Winter 2000 Newsletter, available – here.
What I Also Learned From Geary
I learned from Geary many things in projects when I was at Motorola in 1981-2. We worked on a half-dozen or so efforts – and they were always a great learning experience. The adaptable mental models he used for analysis data – that he drew out on paper; and the daily debriefings and postulations and planning for confirmation. He bought books for me that he thought I should read. We worked together on several ISPI Committees and Task Forces. He gave me work and I found work for him with a couple of my clients.
He reviewed my book “lean-ISD” face-to-face with me in his Tucson office and then by himself after I left. He wrote a great review for the book and my ISD methods – and he also designed a new book cover – without my prompting. He was always so generous.
Video: Geary A. Rummler – 2008
- The Performance Design Lab
- Rummler – Founder at PDL
- Books by Rummler at Amazon
- Video from 1981 – MTEC – Performance-based Training – 46 minutes
Video: Geary Rummler at MTEC – 1981
- Linking Organizational & Individual Performance Through Measures – Rummler 1994 – 90 minute audio file
- Video from 2008 – ISPI – HPT Practitioner Series – 6 minutes
- The Rummler Award at ISPI – new in 2011
- 2003 Article in the ISPI PIJ – co-authored by Geary A. Rummler and Guy W. Wallace – that kicked-off a Society-wide, multi-year effort that I began as President-Elect of ISPI; an effort that became known later as the Presidential Initiative to “Clarify HPT.” Based on a 1983 article by Rummler on using Technology Domains to define HPT, which Geary allowed me to pick up and re-start (after warning me of his view of the futility of the effort – yet he joined with me and got very involved in the multiple F2F and virtual meetings conducted over the span the entire effort).
- White Space on Wikipedia
- Rummler – Handbook of Business Process Management
- The Gartner Fellows Interview with Rummler
- Article about the roots of Six Sigma at Motorola and Rummler’s role in that by Alan Ramias, who was a co-worker at MTEC with me, and inherited several projects when I left that were with Geary, including what Paul Heidenreich, my boss, called: The DIY Rummler Consulting Kit” – the result of my 1982 White Paper on integrating Rummler, Rackham and the Quality stuff from Deming and Juran, Crosby.
- Finding Business Issues – with Geary Rummler – CADDI Newsletter Summer 2001 – here.
Another Video: Geary Rummler on Needs Analysis – 1986
More Video: Geary Rummler on Performance Engineering – 1986
My Favorite Memories of Geary
Debriefings about the day’s discoveries/confirmations – before, during and after dinner. And chats about fictional books we were reading, including the Travis McGee Series (John MacDonald). He bought a copy of The Right Stuff for me in a Florida airport so we could discuss the book.
He sent me my first Robert Parker book, a few months after I had left Motorola …
Many of us recall the stick figures he drew representing “people.”
Dinners with him at NSPI/ISPI Conferences (Spring and Fall) over the years.
Walks around the block where his office was located in Summit NJ after lunch.
Walks on a desert trail in AZ after lunch.
And many, many more memories.
And – he (re)designed my 1999 book cover – unasked for but gratefully accepted – for lean-ISD…
And he wrote a great quote for the book’s marketing.
And one of his most famous quotes…
Share Your Stories
If Geary has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below. And thank you for sharing!
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