Volume 10 Number 2 - February 7, 2012


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


For most of us it's about the game, the party with friends and food, or the ads. But for the players, it's about being recognized as the best.

Your employees may not be as competitive as professional athletes are, but they likely will perform better "when there's something to play for." A paycheck is good, but it's rarely the prime motivator of outstanding performance.

While the owners' goals may be financial -- the highest EBIT in the industry; the fastest sales growth -- it's a rare non-owner that gets revved up about those things. Do you really expect your employees to go the extra yard and stay away from their families to get you from a 10% EBIT to 11%?

To reach the goals of ownership, leaders must understand what supplants the Super Bowl for their team. Most people just want to be appreciated. It may be as simple as "thank you for everything you do for us." For a production worker, it may be a business trip to a customer to see how their output is used. Just knowing that they won't be second-guessed, that their professional opinion is trusted, is all others want. Don't underestimate the importance of working for an admired and trusted coach.

Almost every NFL player not on Sunday's winning team is disappointed in their season because they didn't win it all. But most can take pride in attaining some of their goals. Those not retiring are already getting ready for next year by working out and practicing, trying to get better.

Do your employees know what they are "playing for?" Are they passionate about it? Outsiders may not plan a party, schedule their calendars, or create ads around your Super Bowls, but wouldn't it be great if your insiders did.


You order an expensive steak cooked medium rare. It comes out well done. The restaurant's mistake (whether it was the server or the chef doesn't really matter to you) is irritating and unacceptable.

It's rarely good when the customer is negatively impacted by mistakes.

In your organization, an employee has an idea he wants to try, with very specific reasoning and expected outcomes. You encourage him. He was wrong, but a team invests time finding out where the logic failed. They learn. They change the experiment, and this time it is successful. More learning. Your organization is better now. Only because you weren't afraid of mistakes.

Internal mistakes are a good thing. If none are made, your organization must already know everything, which means it is both lying to itself and losing ground.

Make mistakes. Protect the customer, but make mistakes.


The Starting Pistol
Tom Krause:
"If you only do what you know you can do- you never do very much."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Stretch, grow, learn. Otherwise you already are all you will ever be."


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