Volume 12 Number 1 - January 14, 2014


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


Name a potential root cause of inconsistent product quality. "Change suppliers."


Effective problem solving requires a sequence. The first step is always to understand the problem. Then, and only then, do solutions become relevant.

Yet in brainstorming potential root causes, change-oriented phrases frequently dominate the list. Why? Because it's easier to make assumptions about what the problem might be and announce a possible change than to articulate the assumptions inherent in that option.

The idea of "change suppliers" is based on the potential of a current supplier in some way contributing to the inconsistent quality. But how? What conditions would we have that would make changing suppliers the right action to drive the problem from the business? Well, that's a bit harder to think about and much more difficult to articulate.

Reasoning is a critical part of the learning process. The inability to describe the reasoning behind an idea limits learning, and limits success.

Innovation and improvement suffer as education systems focus on "job-oriented" subjects and reduce the availability and emphasis of the liberal arts. The efficacy of creative ideas is severely limited by the widespread inability to communicate concepts.

It doesn't matter how brilliant your idea if you can't explain it to others. That should be enough to make language skills a "job-oriented" subject.


I admit I don't read as many books as I used to, and rarely read one from start to finish. Some would argue that I am no longer well-read, yet ego and self-defense argue that I am.

My iPad supports varied interests by keeping magazines, professional journals, books, podcasts, MIT university course materials, and best of all, access to the internet, at my fingertips.

I read opening paragraphs, scan, check Twitter for links to interesting concepts, and frequently read a chapter multiple times to deepen my level of understanding. Annually I peruse the Time Magazine Top 100 influencer summaries, if only to be reminded of how little I know about what's going on in the world and who's doing it. Today's surprise? Time now has a "person of the moment." (Janet Yellen, for those who wonder, and I'm guessing she'll be a "person of many moments."). Fifteen minutes of fame shrunk to a moment.

Today my internet wanderings found this insightful communication tip from Shane Snow: "The #1 tip for asking better questions? Cut them off at the question mark."

While considering the legion options available for scholarship, I think: "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."


The Starting Pistol
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"Then I must have real knowledge, as there's so much I do not know."

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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