Volume 15 Number 12 - December 5, 2017


Three weeks remain in 2017. Take one of those days to outline and prioritize your operations strategy for next year.

Go to a place where you can think. Refuse any and all interruptions, including email and phone. These steps can and should be completed in under one hour each. Success, not perfection.

  1. Lessons Learned:
    • Reflect on 2017. What worked? What didn't? How should those lessons be incorporated into 2018 and beyond?
  2. Prerequisite Priorities
    • Reflect on business and industry trends. Which operations accomplishments were insufficient? Have you built the foundation to springboard to breakthrough?
      1. If not, problem solve that failure. Experience tells me a short-term outlook, internal focus, lack of trust, and distraction are likely culprits. What is holding you back? The answer is sitting there waiting for you to say the words. Your number one priority has to be resolving that issue.
  3. Precious Few
    • Reflecting numbers 1 and 2 above, clearly state no more than five reboots or adjustments operations must execute.
  4. Prioritized Framework
    • Verify that your prerequisite and precious few are consistent with company mission, vision and values. Now sequence them in order of importance—no ties.
  5. Indispensable Actions
    • Label high-level actions indispensable to executing those strategic priorities. Look for commonalities and dependencies. Document clear accountabilities for each.
  6. Clear the Deck
    • List every major project under way and previously planned for 2018. Park every project that doesn't align with these strategic priorities.

Including two breaks and lunch, in a single work day you have set the course for next year. The next day share it with a few key peers and direct reports, requesting suggestions for overcoming perceived weaknesses. Document needed adjustments and roll it out.

Enjoy your time off during the holidays.

When you return, stick with it. Every day. After all, you've learned lessons, considered lapses, set clear priorities and accountabilities and cleared the deck. It's up to you to keep operations between the bumpers and moving the direction you've set.

Transforming Operations. Transforming Business.®

Let's discuss how Manufacturing Greatness can help you become a better manufacturing operations leader. Additionally, my latest book, Start Smart, Finish Strong: Forging Your Path to Operational Excellence and Long-Term Success in the Manufacturing World is available at Amazon, Kindle, and iBooks.

Business Behaviors Impact Business Longevity

The Starting Pistol

Arthur L Kaplan:
"One prosecution for insider trading will have more deterrent effect than all the seminars, media reports and policy reforms combined.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"Policies are a crutch. Accountability and corresponding consequences reflect the actual core values of any business."

February 28-March 1, 2018: Boston, MA: Harvard's executive education series includes this Design Thinking workshop. The methodology and tools of design thinking will be discussed and practiced. If you think innovation is important to the future of your business, design thinking is a topic I encourage you to understand.

March 6, 2018: Hagerstown, MD: AME is presenting this one-day workshop, led by the executive team at Meritus Health, on the Improvement Kata. Kata is a term mostly known from its marshal arts reference; it refers to a repeated pattern that creates mastery. This is a great opportunity to see how these leaders learn and leverage the Improvement Kata in their operations.

April 23-27, 2018: Hannover Messe, Germany: If you want to learn about Industry 4.0 all in one place, this is the conference for you. Cobots, smart supply, machine learning, AR/VR and much much more. Exposure to global actions and potential will vastly improve your decision making. The rapidly changing ways we produce and learn will change the requirements of leadership. Start the process!

April 23-27, 2018: Oxford, England: We can learn from anyone. This is an opportunity to learn from and with a small group of your peers in a rich experiential environment. Oxford University's Scenarios Program is a 5-day deep dive into strategic scenario planning. Leading your manufacturing company into a very uncertain future with success and confidence requires preparation for unstructured environments. Non-college-credit course with application required.

May 8-10, 2018: Raleigh, NC: Industry Week will host its annual conference in North Carolina this year, no doubt reflecting the substantial growth of manufacturing in the SE states. You can count on the high quality content and exhibitors, as always.

Check out the Events page on our website for more information.

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