Volume 10 Number 3 - March 6, 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


In school, some teachers gave partial credit for doing much of the work correctly on a test; others took an all or nothing approach to grading. The first group valued learning to think; the second only the "right" answer.

I've heard more than once: "I don't want to drive over a bridge designed and built by people who got by on partial credit." I, on the other hand, do not want to drive over a bridge designed and built by folks who only focused on THE answer and don't have anyone around to help them understand the variables not covered in school.

As your team addresses problems, are you most concerned with them reaching the same conclusion that you do, or with the reasoning process they use?

As a consultant, it is my job to transfer as much of my knowledge and experience to my client as possible so that when I leave the progress continues. In 21+ years of consulting, I've found the only effective way for that to happen is for me to support them as they experiment, and gain understanding. I have to allow them to scrape their knees, while never letting them break a leg.

So how does that happen? By coaching them through their thinking, letting them try things that they believe make sense, even if it's not "my way." People learn more by doing than by simply being told. They need to experiment with their own thinking.

Allowing them to build a bridge that will collapse under minimal weight would be dereliction, but never letting them learn how to recognize and consider the many factors involved in safe bridge design would be equally irresponsible.

Letting a model bridge collapse once in a while creates learning. Making them build it your way and only your way does not.

Create thinkers; not doppelgangers.


I just returned from 2+ weeks of vacation in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The comments on my selected location ranged from: "Are you crazy?" to "Were you afraid?" to "Why on earth would you go there?"

In response: yes, I may be crazy but traveling to the UAE and Oman doesn't provide evidence of that; no, I was in a very safe place with some of the lowest crime rates in the world; and, because it's warm and sunny and I hadn't been there before.

It was a fascinating trip. While I still understand little, I know so much more about that part of the world, the Islamic faith and Muslim lifestyle, and the emerging economies of both nations.

My comfort zone may be larger than most, but I've found that my greatest personal learnings have come from being outside it.

Travel outside of yours.


The Starting Pistol
Jules Verne:
“Travel enables us to enrich our lives with new experiences, to enjoy and to be educated, to learn respect for foreign cultures, to establish friendships, and above all to contribute to international cooperation and peace throughout the world.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Whether to customers, suppliers, new markets, or an interesting sounding place just down the road, get out and learn."


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or e-mail her at [email protected]