At a recent Rotary meeting, the speaker was the CEO of a manufacturing company. He said his company does not hire outstanding workers; they manufacture them. This is his solution to the dilemma that our society seems to have with a high number of people out of work and at the same time a high number of job openings. Finding the proper match seems to be difficult. Finding the people ready to step in and do an outstanding job immediately may not be the solution.
Owning your own business can be the most satisfying, exasperating, enjoyable, frustrating, exhilarating, tiring, experience of your life. In all honestly, it is probably all of the above, maybe in the same day. It is hard work and you can expect to put in long hours, but if you enjoy what you are doing it doesn't seem so long or hard.
Do you aspire to be a good manager or a good leader? Is there a difference? Webster defines management as, "the act, art, or manner of managing, or handling, controlling, directing, etc". He defines leadership as, "the position or guidance of a leader, the ability to lead, the leaders of a group." That may not be as helpful as his definition of lead, "to show the way to, or direct the course of, by going before or along with, conduct, guide". It is popular today to extol leadership over management, but which is right for your organization?
It has been said to err is human. Maybe making mistakes is part of being human but we don't have to accept that nothing can be done to improve our workers' (and ourselves') pattern of making mistakes. They occur because of the interaction of people with a system. The outcome can be improved by redesigning the system to make the occurrence of mistakes less likely.
In order to realize the potential of their organizations, many leaders need to radically change their work environment. Changes to the environment, in which people work, study, and live, can often provide leverage for improvements. As organizations work to reduce waste, rework, and redundancy to reduce costs and increase the value of their products and services, they may run into roadblocks because the work environment is not ready or supportive of these efforts. Changing the work environment can be a high-leveraged opportunity for making the other changes more effective.
Excess inventory is evil; not much good can come of it. It can become obsolete, damaged, lost, pilfered, and cause costs such as interest on capital invested. Management even has a name for it, called shrinkage, which doesn't sound so bad. Inventory of any type can be a source of waste in organizations. Inventory requires capital investment, storage space, and people to handle and keep track of it. In manufacturing organizations, inventory includes raw material waiting to be processed, in-process inventory, and finished goods inventory.
We all say we want loyal customers who come to us first with their needs, but what exactly is loyalty and how do we build that? The dictionary defines loyalty as a strong feeling of support or allegiance. In business we think of it as continuing and increasing business with the company and saying good things about the company. The first two points are obvious but the second is exponentially growing in importance. In small towns, people talk and word spreads, either good or bad. Everywhere people talk on the Internet and words spreads faster and farther.
There are two dominant forces that impact the actions of the organization-leadership and culture. Much has been written on leadership but not so much on culture.
Is your sales process working to your satisfaction? Could it be improved? How effective are your employees in making sales? Any process can be improved, especially the sales process, but sometimes we need to go back to the basics.
Much has been discussed about product and service improvement, and the processes that make them. But what about the equally important factor of innovation of product, service, and processes? Equal investments in training and management focus must be given to continuous improvement in innovation.