Volume 8 Number 1 - January 5, 2010

If you know a company — customer, supplier, friend, or your own — that could benefit
from improved operations,
from improved operations, let us know.
Your best interest is our best interest.

The Finish Strong® monthly e-newsletter is for business leaders who recognize Operations as a strategic function that creates competitive advantage, profitability and brand loyalty to the marketplace.

As we remove our shoes, coats, sweaters, laptops, and plastic bag of small liquids and move through the metal detector on our way to a flight, it's not uncommon to hear "I don't mind as long as it keeps us safe."

TSA methods are reactionary, costly, slow, and do not assure safety. Increasing inspections, inspectors and rules in response to the recent Amsterdam to Detroit flight experience will add inconvenience and cost, and will still not assure safety. Perhaps we could learn something from Israeli airport security.

Flights into and out of Israel's Ben Gurian International Airport have faced numerous terrorist threats long before 9/11. Yet security there is unobtrusive, fast and effective.

As customers of the airlines and TSA, we have accepted the high costs of extensive ineffective 100% inspection. None of us would agree to longer lead times and higher prices so suppliers can increase inspections. We expect a fast effective process that reliably delivers quality.

Why do we accept personally what we would never accept from our suppliers? What else do we accept as "given" that costs us dearly? Myopia can hide competitive disadvantage less obvious but more significant than managed exchange rates, mandated employee benefits, or environmental requirements. Don't accept any systemic cost as "just the way it is." Eliminating them may be difficult but ignoring them can be disastrous.

You may be returning from a long weekend, two choppy weeks, or a two week shutdown. Its natural for people to spend time catching up with one another as they begin the work week, and certainly after a relatively long break. An effective resumption of operations is also important.

The two are not mutually exclusive. Respect the basic human need to belong and to feel part of something. Include one-on-one personal conversation as you help employees get back into the rhythm of work. Laugh and listen to stories as you bring focus to work.

Start fast, and then:


The Starting Pistol
Mark Twain
“New Year's Day - Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Make real improvements, not promises."


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