Low Expectations in Manufacturing

You face numerous external obstacles to success, and those you identify and address. But your internally generated obstacles are often overlooked entirely. Surprising to many of you is the fact that low expectations is one of the most common.

When John F. Kennedy established the goal of sending a man to the moon and returning him safely home, no one knew how. But the expectation was set.  And importantly, resources required to accomplish this seemingly far-fetched goal were supplied.

Working with one Operations VP to define and implement an operations strategy, we agreed to a 3-year goal of reducing product cost by 25%. We didn’t know how, but we had a few ideas and commitment. His boss, the COO, reduced that goal to 20%, believing it to be unreachable. The expectation placed on operations was lowered.

Wishful thinking is very different from high expectations and high expectations cannot emanate from frustration or anger. High expectations that are important to the larger picture and are supported by invested resources should be the norm for every manufacturing business that intends to endure.

Kennedy said: “…not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

Look at the expectations you have placed on your organization and team. Do they “measure the best of our energies and skills?” Does meeting them propel your business and team forward into new potential?

While your business faces many impediments in becoming an enduring one, do not let self-induced obstacles like low expectations be among them.

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