Volume 9 Number 11 - November 8, 2011

If you know a company — customer, supplier, friend, or your own — that could benefit
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.

These brief articles, list of events, and amended quote will make you think.
Go ahead: test us


The CEO of a client company recently contacted me to help him identify his replacement over the coming months. The background he is seeking is all about character, with no other specific requirements. As he simply said, "we can teach him/her the rest." Character is much tougher to ascertain through an interview than is technical knowledge, but so much more important.

Companies talk about "making our employees accountable." Can that really be done? Isn't accountability really something that an individual believes in and feels, or doesn't? Certainly, a company can create a culture of accountability, simply by the leadership team demonstrating it themselves and expecting the same from others. But making someone accountable may not be possible. Holding them accountable is a different issue.

Your bank doesn't call you every time a payment is due to "make you accountable." They expect you to pay on time as agreed, and there are consequences if you do not. But the bank cannot make you accountable. You either believe that doing what you said you would do, in this case making a payment on time, is the right thing to do, or you don't. Over time, your credit rating reflects your sense of accountability in that arena.

If you want your employees to feel accountable, start by holding yourselves accountable. Follow up. Make your word reliable. Demonstrate accountability in all you do. Expect no less from others.

We cannot make others caring, honest, ethical, trustworthy, conscientious, or accountable. But we can be all those things, and create a culture that reflects those attributes of character. We can't make someone be something they are not. We can only show them how and why.


The recent AME international "Excellence Inside" conference hosted over 2000 attendees from over 30 countries. Industries represented include healthcare, government, financial, service, as well as the full spectrum of manufacturing.

"We're unique. That wouldn't work for us. We don't make cars."

I don't recall a single attendee who "makes cars." There was one from a company that makes specialized vehicles. Operational excellence isn't confined to the auto industry.

2011 AME Manufacturing Excellence Award winning companies represented electronics, energy (well drilling), orthopedic implants, automotive safety devices, and chemicals. We can learn so much from others if only we will listen and try.

While your culture may be unique, it's highly unlikely that much of what your company does is unique. At least 80% of what you do, others do, and some of them better than you.

Don't let what makes you unique prevent you from becoming excellent.




The Starting Pistol
Abraham Lincoln:
"I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Expect greatness of your team."


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]