We all agree that speed is important to business success. Yet, when it comes to making decisions we seem to take forever. Why is that? We want everyone who could conceivably be impacted to be in the discussions, and we act like decisions are permanent. The reality is most decisions can be modified as we gain more knowledge, and that people want to be heard but don’t have to be heard all the time on everything.
The Pareto Principle is well known but our changing world now requires us to truly understand what is behind it. In many cases what was 80/20 is now becoming 90/10 and 95/5. It’s never been wise to try to be all things to all people, but the future of your organization now depends on how well you truly understand your niche. Correlation and cause-and-effect are very different, and that difference is now too important to casually ignore.
In August of 1981 a massive assault on the music business model began when MTV went on air for the first time. It’s inaugural video: Video Killed the Radio Star. And indeed, it did.
Now the speed of technology advances, collectively referred to as Industry 4.0, is drowning many in the manufacturing industry. While large manufacturers are studying, testing and implementing numerous new capabilities, many small manufacturers continue to struggle with their ERP system. Will technology kill the small manufacturer?
The variety of challenges you face today can easily be overwhelming. Tariffs. Low labor rate countries. China. Shortage of skilled people. But none of those is the most important for you, the leader, to address right now. That one is complacency. It can easily become insidious as small fires consume your time and energy.
By changing what we call something, we don’t make it any more valuable. Yet in many companies today we use popular words like transformation and innovative when that’s not at all an accurate description of what we are doing. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet, but calling a skunk cabbage a rose has no effect on its smell.
Phillip Crosby stunned many when in 1980 he published the book Quality is Free. In manufacturing we believed there was a choice between quality and quantity. He proved us wrong and now few challenge the experience that both come together. Now some executives are afraid to invest in employees because they might leave. Another false choice.