Volume 16 Number 1 - January 9, 2018


The Fourth Estate was trusted for years to tell us the truth. Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite were our rocks. Now the internet funnels so many opinions and sources that it is difficult to know who and what to trust. More fundamentally, it has become difficult to agree on the facts.

Your company is likely steeped in fake news too. It may be coming from the leadership team, from informal leaders, or from external influences. The confusing part is that those same groups can be the source of factual news. Who should people believe? It's extremely hard to be 'aligned' or 'operationally excellent' or 'world class' if we can't even agree on the basics.

My colleague Steven Gaffney is an expert on honest communications. He points out "a big problem is not what people say but what they don't say." Maintaining radio silence until you know all the answers is not only ineffective, it's dangerous. Instead tell people what you do know. At critical junctures that is often "we don't know what's going to happen, but as soon as we do we'll share it with you."

Common human conditions that impact fake news in every organization:

  • What we don't know we make up, and we never make up good things.
    • To counter, focus on the basics. Communicate clearly, consistently, and completely.
  • Seek bias confirmation: decide whom to trust and listen only to those sources.
    • To counter, facilitate professional disagreement and truly open discussion filled with respect.
  • Reject input from others. This is also known as breathing your own exhaust.
    • To overcome, actively listen to all perceptions. Do not assume silence is agreement. It's usually not.
  • Conversation and professional disagreement are underdeveloped skills.
    • To correct, build executive competence in these arts as you develop a culture of independent thinkers.

Nature abhors a vacuum; so too organizational conjecture. Don't let fake news fill the vacuum within your business.

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.

Total Cost of Ownership

The Starting Pistol

Atul Gawande:
"It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"...and good at anticipating and solving customer problems in ways that increase value to them."

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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