I love taking a look back through history as I prepare for these daily videos. Here’s what I found for today:
• In 1636, Harvard College is founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
• In 1793, Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his Cotton Gin, a device that dramatically changed the economics of growing cotton in the southern United States, which I think allowed slavery to expand because the Cotton Gin made plantations profitable.
• In 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated Liberty Enlightening the World, also known as the Statue of Liberty. She was a gift from France celebrating our Centennial in 1876.
• In 1927, Pan American Airways launches the world’s first scheduled international flight.
• In 1955, Bill Gates was born. Happy Birthday, Bill!
I encourage you to take a step back every now and then and take a look around. This quick review of the past always sparks some desire to learn more. I use the Eli Whitney example of one of the seminal events that enabled the transition from the Craft Age to the Mass Production Age.
We are still trying to make the jump from Mass Production to Lean Production – and when I say production, I don’t mean just manufacturing. We “produce” services as well and the principles are just as applicable.
Today, we still have problems, whether caused by a system failure or a decision to be better.
To me problems are NOT bad things. They teach us. They challenge us. They drive us forward. We only think they hold us back because our heads aren’t always on right.
I’ve had a few conversations with people about framing this and here’s what I’ve learned.
The fundamental problem for business is “how can we be successful.” In most cases, success = growth. But there are a variety of ways to shape success, and there are a variety of reasons to grow.
• Maybe we want to keep high paying manufacturing jobs in your region.
• Maybe we want to have some positive impact on the community – one client of mine that makes medical devices said they want to reduce overall healthcare systems costs through improved patient outcomes.
• Maybe they are focused on providing a reward those invested in the success of the company – following the old “Maximize Shareholder Wealth” purpose.
How can you grow your business? To me, there’s really only one way:
• Be more innovative. That means to learn and act faster than others. This can lead to 2 basic things:
○ New processes for higher quality and productivity (including a faster process for launching new products, better processes for sales and marketing to reach new markets, etc.)
○ New products for market growth
How can a company be more innovative?
• Get more ideas from more people. In other words, improve employee engagement and confidence so they are willing to share their ideas. We can do that in several ways:
○ Give them ownership (leadership has to let go) and rewards (not necessarily money) for sharing their ideas
○ Give them better thinking skills to improve the quality of ideas (teach them how to think critically)
○ Give them a structure that allows them to experiment with their ideas quickly: Give them structures so that they can more quickly see problems that might prompt ideas (structures that make them more aware of what is going on)
○ Give them practice at doing these things
I’ve designed the C4 system I’ve been talking about to do all of these. Let me help you put it in place. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or send me a direct message on one of my social media platforms.
I’m David Veech and this has been Elevate Your Performance.
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.