Volume 10 Number 7 - July 10, 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


Many companies complete an annual SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis as part of the strategic planning process. The "SW" part is usually fairly straightforward for the self-aware organization, as it looks internally. The "OT" aspect looks externally. Requiring an active awareness of innovation and change happening outside our walls, it is much more difficult to complete.

"SW" looks at what is; "OT" looks at what could be.

New materials, new technologies, new ways of providing customer value. Doubt met the prediction of a computer in every home. Laughter met the prediction of a computer in every hand, but current phones are just that.

Advances in 3D printing can change the world. This additive manufacturing process is contrary to typical subtractive processes and allows anyone to create prototypes or single items effectively. As this technology develops further, think of the impact on your operations and those of your supply chain.

Opportunities and Threats are there for all of us. We just have to look around.


Effective leaders know when to utilize their ego and super-ego, and when not to. Managers depend on ego and super-ego. Effective coaches build the egos of those around them, disallowing interference by their own super-ego. Why the distinction?

We've asked managers to become coaches, without helping them understand the distinction. We've encouraged one form of behavior for years, and now expect them to change their mode of interaction with the rest of the team.

Leaders utilize ego and super-ego to set clear vision and direction, but then never let it get in the way of team progress. They focus on the goal and key decision points along the way, but not the details.

Managers are like puppeteers, pulling the strings to ensure things, processes and people are always in the right place to execute as instructed. They are all about execution, brick wall be damned!

Coaches are responsible for developing the thinking and technical skills in team members. They make sure that the team doesn't cause serious damage, but understand that learning is an iterative process that involves mistakes. There is always more than one approach and the one the coach has in mind may well not be the best one. They listen, they question, they reinforce learning from failure, and they take great pride in team member development.

Each has a place in an organization, but confused interactions by people in those key roles can destroy a team.



The Starting Pistol
Steve Jobs:
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Innovation requires imagination, creativity, and a willingness to experience failure as key to the learning process. Leading organizations foster that environment."


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