Volume 9 Number 2 - February 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.


Regardless of which methodology you use for continuous improvement (CI), it involves finding and addressing problems. But addressing them is not the same as driving them permanently from your organization, and getting good at finding them can easily overwhelm your CI processes.

It is natural to want to solve every problem we see. It is also natural to want to feel accomplishment. But actually getting to root cause and putting in a permanent countermeasure that eliminates a problem takes time. That conflict is why many companies are better at "whack a mole" than at eliminating the mole!

The problem with finding problems is what frequently doesn't happen next.

Leveraging your ability to identify problems requires prioritization. Which problems are simply accepted for now, which deserve a temporary countermeasure with a follow-up plan, and which deserve the time and energy to get to root cause and implement a permanent countermeasure? How do your employees know which problems are in which category?

Without communicating these decisions, it is easy to believe that management is ignoring problems. That impacts trust, which reduces employee energy in identifying and addressing problems, which creates an entirely new set of problems.



The Green Bay Packers were beaten 6 times during the regular season. The Pittsburg Steelers lost 4 games during that same period. Yet those two teams met in Sunday's Super Bowl to determine who was the best team in the NFL.

The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons had the best regular season records, but didn't play Sunday. They didn't win the important ones.

Your company faces competition all the time. Some opportunities are more important than others.

New England's loss to the Cleveland Browns didn't cost them a chance at the championship. Nor did their first loss to the New York Jets. It was the second loss to the Jets that prevented them from playing Sunday.

How do you know which opportunities are most important to your company's success in the long run? Are you wasting resources that you will be needing when it really counts?

Not all games are equal. Nor are all markets good markets or customers good customers or orders good orders. Learn to choose so you can play in your big game.



The Starting Pistol
Albert Einstein:
"Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it"

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Question even those things you think you know."


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