Volume 11 Number 6 - June 4, 2013


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


I have been long struck by the failure of most manufacturing companies to actually finish what they start, ergo my focus on Finish Strong®. I simply cannot bear companies squandering opportunities to stay ahead of the competition.

Why do so many manufacturers demonstrate that weakness?

Common causes include a lack of process to create management focus, unwillingness to make difficult prioritization decisions, and a delusional belief that delegation means done.

Just because you tell someone to do something, doesn't mean they will.
Just because you follow up to verify that they took action, doesn't mean the action will stick, or should.

Expediency and urgency are nice, but the fundamental follow through of Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) is much more effective. Leader Standard Work is a focusing tool used by many successful organizations.

Of course you have a lot on your plate. So do your employees. You put most of it there.

Your employees are not irresponsible; they try to accomplish what they believe you see as important. If their impression of your priorities changes frequently, or if they perceive them to be too numerous to successfully address, they bring little or nothing to completion in trying to do some of everything.

Attention Deficit Disorder: "A disorder characterized by a difficulty in retaining focus, especially on tasks, for long periods of time." Don't subject your organization to it. Instead, focus on the right things and Finish Strong®.


Long, long ago (late 1970's and the 1980's), I was employed by several large companies. I had been raised to work hard, so I did. I focused on learning everything about my employers' businesses, and took every opportunity to learn from fellow employees. Sounds responsible so far, doesn't it?

But while working for those companies, I rarely glanced out the windows or opened the doors to learn what everyone else in the world was doing. Luckily I worked for some high caliber organizations, so the learning was valuable, even if internally focused.

When I chose to walk out those "employee" doors forever in 1990, I found an exciting, fast-paced, every-changing world around me. As owner of a consulting business for 23 years, I have the joy of learning more every few weeks than I did in 6 months as an employee. I'm no more curious; just more focused on looking everywhere as I learn every day.

You don't have to run your own business to learn from everyone; you simply have to look and walk externally frequently. Find people smarter than you, who think differently than you, and listen and learn.

And live happily ever after.


The Starting Pistol
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"It is the mark of a uneducated mind to be unable to entertain a thought other than its own.

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.


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