Volume 8 Number 10 - October 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.

When someone asks how I'm doing, I frequently respond: "Great; ignorance is bliss." That is always intended as a joke, and I think taken as one.

As an executive, it may be easier to be ignorant of many of what seem to you to be details, but it's sure not blissful for the employees.

What you say matters. How you look at people matters. How you follow up matters. When you choose to become involved and when you choose to stay uninvolved matters.

I am the last person to advise micromanagement; it can kill an organization quickly. I do advise that you keep your ear to the tracks and recognize a train when its coming.

"Who is responsible for..?" is a question that you shouldn't need to ask. If you don't know, how can they? Have you ensured responsibility is accompanied by the tools to succeed? What is in the way?

Don't fall for "they don't report to me." Clarity in reporting relationships is important, but reporting relationships themselves are less important than consistency in leadership. Reorganizing the company may be necessary, but it may be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Does it really address the root problem? Bifurcated direction is not a reporting problem; it's a management problem.

As leader, you must be aware of enough detail to detect problems that others may accept as "just the way it is around here." You must ask questions that help you detect leadership problems, not ones that the recipient perceives as instruction to change priorities or methods.

Success depends on a consistent message from leadership. Your ignorance of inconsistencies is not bliss for anyone.

Où est le métro à partir d'ici ?
I just enjoyed 2+ weeks traveling among London, Normandy and Paris. I got lost once in Paris, but my iPhone GPS came through like a champ. Otherwise, the signs, the sun (that rise east/ set west thing is very reliable), and my extremely weak French got us where we wanted to go.

Would I have that same success walking your operations? I've been in hundreds if not thousands of manufacturing facilities. That should at least equate to my weak French and the sun through cloudy skies. How clear is the flow of information and of product and services in your organization?

Could I find accounting? Production areas by the names you call them? Oh sure, everybody who works there knows where things are. But a clear visual system certainly saves time of the new employee, the office person walking the factory, and the visitor.

In reality, many of your current employees don't know where everything is. Not even everything that they may need to do the job today. They'll look until they find it, but time is wasted.

Your employees should be able to find everything they need faster than I found the Metro station, and it didn't take me long, because the hand signal response led me to the sign.


The Starting Pistol
Mahatma Gandhi:
"Action expresses priorities."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Don't simply tell your organization the priorities; your actions must leave no doubt."


Connect with me on Facebook Follow me on LinkedIn Follow me on Twitter
Copyright 2003-2014 Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, just give Rebecca a call at 216-486-9570
or e-mail her at [email protected]