Learning Like Lightning: Lessons From JSF F-35 Sustainment Activities



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Based in Fort Worth, Texas, the JSF F-35 program provides several important lessons about financial management:Projected Costs

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Measurement inversion happens—manage it
  • Don’t set arbitrary targets and then manage to them
  • Develop adequate information before making decisions
  • Use interval rather than point estimates

The November/December 2015 issue of the Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance breaks down these lessons and sheds light on the world’s largest project to date, the trillion dollar to develop the F-35 Lightning II family of single-seat, single-engine, multirole fighter aircraft.

Here’s a closer look at the third lesson: Don’t set arbitrary targets and then manage to them

In his 1986 book, “Out of the Crisis”, W. Edwards Deming laid out 14 key principles for managing. Deming’s eleventh point: Eliminate arbitrary numerical targets…Substitute aids and helpful leadership….

Deming based this point on the idea that it is useless to specify a goal without developing a method for achieving it. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has been critical of Department of Defense (DOD) affordability efforts:

When the DOD established affordability targets for the F-35 program in 2012, the methodology…was not informed by actual resource constraints….Specifically, DOD officials stated that targets were determined by arbitrarily lowering…estimated F-35 Cost per Flight Hour by 10 percent….

The JSF F-35 program is massive—unprecedented in size. It has scored many successes.

Along the way, it has offered many lessons for us to consider.  You can read about them in the Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, 2015 (November/December) and also here.

Tips to Surviving the First Year as an Expat/Trailing Spouse

Jump in!

Joy is Found in the Small Things

Jump In!

Lake art. Vevey, Switzerland Lake art. Vevey, Switzerland

You may be on an expatriation of limited duration or an indefinite time; however, the truth is that no one knows certainly what the future holds. The fact that you are living in a different country from the one in which you were raised is a testament to this reality. Sometimes an employment assignment continues for longer than expected or is cut short unexpectedly. Therefore, jump all the way into your new home and location.  As a child, I moved often in the United States with my parents. Exasperated at one point, I asked my Mom in a sarcastic manner “well, how long are we going to live here . . .two years?”.  Her wise response, “you will only be happy if you act as if you will live here for the rest of your life”.

     Relocating to a new country can…

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Surrounded by Excellence: Laura Zizka



May 14, 2014 5:45:29 PM

When EHL’s Executive MBA Class received their first significant writing assignment this past September, they received a jolt—it had been some time since they had to write an essay to a high and exacting standard.  Dr. Marc Stierand made it clear that he didn’t want to receive the kind of quick-and-dirty writing that passes for sufficient in many business settings.  Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne employers expect crisp-thinking, clear-writing leaders, and Stierand’s expectations were high for this first writing assignment.  For some in the EMBA Class of 2014, the assignment was a blast—like the icy waters of Lac Leman, swimming in early Spring!


Hearing the challenge was Laura Zizka, veteran instructor and longtime faculty member.  Having worked with hundreds of EHL students – both native and non-native English speakers – Laura had seen this reaction before.  Without hesitating, she sprang into action, revising her Business Communications seminar and workshop to directly address the needs of the Class of 2014.  The next several hours she spent preparing everyone to meet Dr. Stierand’s high expectations for his Economics of F&B Hospitality coursework.

For the Class of 2015, Laura Zizka has bold plans that include September sessions on writing skills and January sessions on oral presentation skills.  Laura’s devotion to Ecole hôteliere de Lausanne student-scholars and, in particular, our EMBA in Hospitality Administration candidates reminds me of a somewhat-obscure jewel of a Jimmy Buffett song about a chance encounter with a street sweeper —“It’s My Job”…

Till the lights go on and the stage is set
And the song hits home and you feel that sweat
It’s my job to be different than the rest
and that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
and that’s a tough break for me
It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
and that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
and that makes the day for me

Demanding excellence, delivering excellence.  It’s an honour for me to work with Laura Zizka, a leader by example.

Never one to rest for long, these days Laura spends her “free time” completing a PhD in Management from Walden University with an emphasis on communications in the hospitality industry.

Je vous remercie, Laura Zizka!

Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine


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“Chefs’ personal creativity is often guided by intuition, whilst innovation is a process of social evaluation, greatly dependent on the perception, knowledge and value judgement of the testers”—concluded Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne Assistant Professor of Service Management, Marc Stierand and his fellow researchers, Viktor Dorfler and Jillian MacBryde from the University of Strathclyde Business School.Portrait_Stierand-Marc_2013_100x100

The March 2014 issue of Creativity and Innovation Management features a special section on facilitating creativity and innovation in hospitality organizations, Dr. Stierand’s specialty.

In “Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine”, Stierand, Dorfler, and MacBryde describe what they learned from in-depth interviews with chefs from noteworthy restaurants in Michelin’s Guide Rouge and the Gault Millau restaurant guide.   The specific challenge of this study was to examine the nonlinear nature of innovation which is often described as a straightforward, sequential process.

In concluding the authors noted that:

the ‘personal creativity part’ of the innovation process is an embodied experience that is often guided by intuition and that the ‘social evaluation part’ of the innovation process always depends on the perception and knowledge of the domain gatekeepers to recognize the quality of an idea.

Marc Stierand joined the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne faculty in Fall 2013; he teaches Economics of Food and Beverage Hospitality in EHL’s Executive MBA in Hospitality Administration programme, emphasizing the role of innovation.

Stierand, M., Dörfler, V. and MacBryde, J. (2014), Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine: Towards a Systemic Model. Creativity and Innovation Management, 23: 15–28. doi: 10.1111/caim.12050