Finish Strong® Podcast Series The journey to excellence is not a simple one, nor does it follow a straight line. This podcast series addresses issues important to manufactures worldwide. Becky's insights include commentary on global, strategic, and tactical issues, as well as observations on current challenges and opportunities in manufacturing businesses. Feel free to suggest topics of interest to you; no doubt Becky will have something to say that will make you think.

But Will it Work in My Business?

You work hard in your business, and are intimately familiar with all the distinctions that make your company special. But you’re really not all that unique. The business processes for most manufacturers are very similar and you can learn from others no matter how dissimilar they appear to be on the surface. Here’s what you need to walk away from ideas you don’t need and leverage those you do.

Strategic Relevance

It might seem that competitive advantage is a good thing, a key to success. But not all are created equal. In fact, a competitive advantage can undermine your vision. Consider these ideas to determine if your strategic relevance position. You may be wandering, dreaming, irrelevant, or in the optimal “innovate” quadrant. Learn how to tell, and consider specific examples of businesses in each circumstance.

Creating Profitable Innovation

Consider these 6 building blocks to successful innovation. It’s not starting from a blank sheet of paper, nor waiting for lightening to strike. It’s a process that you create and improve, learning from what others have done and being clear on what you need. Consider these specific recommendations. And check out my friend and colleague Norbert Majerus’ book on lean innovation at Goodyear – a journey to world class profitable innovation.

Dangerous Assumptions

Executives make dangerous assumptions. Too often, in a hurry to move along to the next thing, they assume a decision made is a decision implemented, and an order given is an order executed. Most of the time, neither is true. This propensity to keep going without confirmation is why so many manufacturers struggle becoming good, much less great. Finish Strong™ is the process I developed to solve that problem. Invest 2 minutes in considering if you are making dangerous assumptions.

It sounded good at the time

Short-term, biased, egotistical decisions can be very expensive for any organization. Political leadership has led to the US Military, the best in the world, losing wars and killing millions of people. In 2017 military leadership enabled expensive deadly decisions by the Pacific Fleet. None of those choices were made expecting the massive costs that resulted. But those painful losses weren’t given sufficient credence when making the decisions. While politics can influence your business decisions, who really owns them at the end?

Culture: A Critical Success Factor in Mergers and Acquisitions

Have you ever wondered why some cultures morph into their surroundings, while others do not? Failure to sufficiently consider differing cultures during a merger and acquisition contributes to the breakdown of operational integration that plagues many deals. My earlier podcast series on successful integration of operations provided a strategic look at integration of cultures. In this podcast, I supplement those with tactical steps to create a culture that enables every employee of the joined operations to reach their full potential.

Profitable innovation while executing a merger

How do merging operations balance the need for speed, throughput and quality of their multiple innovation processes during the difficult first 18 months? Innovation was one of the 8 key factors I addressed in my earlier series on successful integration of operations in a merger or acquisition. Here I answer the questions I received from executives on those recommendations, specifically on why the innovation processes should NOT be immediately integrated.

Rationalization: Successful Integration of Operations Requires It

M&A deals rarely accomplish the great financial success outlined in the agreements. Failures in integrating operations dominate those unsatisfactory transactions. About 2 years ago I developed a series of podcasts suggesting how to succeed in merging 8 key operational categories. This podcast helps you prepare for rationalization considerations described in one of those earlier podcasts before the ink is dry. Parts, customers and suppliers are just a few of the arenas to examine.