Art Byrne is the author of "The Lean Turnaround". Art shares a story where the CEO of a small jewelry business asked him to help the company. The industry lead time for a typical order was eight weeks. Unaware of, and unconstrained by, a knowledge of jewelry industry norms, Art helped the firm implement changes consistent with his career experiences with Lean. Working with factory personnel, changes raised productivity 64%. More importantly, the new Lean flow was able to reduce factory lead time from the industry norm of eight weeks down to two days.
What would provide your company competitive advantage? Perhaps being able to turnaround quotes in a day, when your competitors take three weeks would be a benefit? If your lead time from order to ship was one week, while your competitor was six weeks - would that provide your company meaningful leverage?
Often, when searching for talent or advice, we naturally have a bias in favor of industry experience. How likely is it that someone with jewelry industry experience would have seen the potential to reduce the lead time to two days? Is it time to consider some inputs and perspectives from sources outside your industry.
Are you setting SMART goals?
Perhaps you have already heard that in 1953, researchers at Yale University polled the graduating class and found that just three percent of the graduates had a set of clearly defined, written goals. Twenty years later, these researchers re-visited the class of ’53 and found that this same three percent, the graduates with the set of clearly defined and written goals, had amassed a net worth that was greater than all the other 97 percent combined.
It may be hard to believe that such a simple tactic can be the cause of the effect. Perhaps, more important than the written goal itself, is the mindset that accompanies such a practice. It may be that the lifetime habit of establishing objectively measurable goals provides a level of selection and prioritization that provides focus in a world filled with so many distractions.
How does one go about learning to set goals in this manner? It has been proposed, and broadly accepted, that one should follow the acronym “SMART”.
S: goals should be very specific
M: goals should be objectively measurable
A: goals should be attainable with the desired direction of the organization
R: goals should clearly indicate an individual who is responsible to lead it and be accountable for it
T: goals should have timelines with deadlines and milestone dates
Is it be possible that such a simple practice can make the difference towards accomplishing your vision and aspirations of success? If this is not already a part of your normal regimen, what is holding you back? If some experienced, objective help will get you started, give us a call. You may be surprise to learn how powerful this concept can be.