Volume 6 Number 6 - June 10, 2008

Our source of new business is referrals from friends and clients. If you know a company -- customer, supplier, friend, or even your own -- that could benefit from improved operations, please forward this e-newsletter to them using the “forward” button at the bottom, or ask us to contact them directly.

Your best interest is our best interest.

The Finish Strong� monthly e-newsletter helps business leaders examine issues important to taking operational performance to world-class levels. Do your Operations deliver your company’s espoused brand promise to every client on every order?

Finish Strong� is about developing an appropriate Operations strategy, and effective execution, dotting operational i’s and crossing operational t’s as you go.

Your company cannot afford to be sloppy if you want it to be great.


Using W. C. Howell’s model of learning:

Unconscious incompetence: A baby doesn’t know how to tie a shoe, but is unaware of what s/he doesn’t know.

Conscious incompetence: A toddler doesn’t know how to tie a shoe, but realizes s/he doesn’t know how.

Conscious competence: A toddler knows how to tie his/her shoe, but needs to think about it while performing the task.

Unconscious competence: A child knows how to tie his/her shoe without even thinking about it.

The more long term employees, the less visiting other operations, the less attending top shelf conferences, the fewer bright experienced personnel you hire, the less looking to benchmarks, the higher the odds that a company and the baby share current state for best practices in operations.

At a minimum, strive for conscious incompetence in all areas of operations that drive your success. It’s one thing to choose not to utilize methodologies proven successful by others; it’s quite another to be unaware of them.

Read, visit, attend, talk, listen. Exciting improvements are being made around the world. Undoubtedly some could strengthen your operations. After all, someone invented Velcro.


We are very proud of all our clients, companies committed to delivering their brand promise. We love it when any of them are publicly recognized for their accomplishments. Congratulations to Aexcel Corporation, Libra Industries, Valtronic Technologies, and Zircoa for being 2008 Leading Edge award winners. The award honors mid-market companies making an impact on Northeast Ohio.


It’s a word with one meaning.

“ Green” is all about sustaining the Earth. The 5th S in 5-S, Sustain, is all about sustaining improvements. Make it last.

Continuous improvement requires standardized work -- a single way that something gets done. If an improvement is tried and proven successful, but not sustained, the idea is merely an additional option. More options mean more potential variation, which likely impacts quality negatively.

Sustaining, whether the Earth or your latest operational improvement, is all about paying attention to details. It is about tossing out invalid assumptions. It is about positive reinforcement. It is about understanding and commitment.

It would be much easier if “green” didn’t require me to change my behavior and thinking. It would be much easier if employees would sustain improvements without any reinforcement or explanation from management.

No such luck. If sustainability progress isn’t happening as fast as we want, we each need to take a look at our own microclimate.It is about tossing out invalid assumptions. It is about positive reinforcement. It is about understanding and commitment.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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