[Sorry, I was dashing out the door this morning to head for Chicago and hit the wrong button. Thought I was saving a draft.]

I ran across these comments from Bill Waddell on the Evolving Excellence blog. He’s a manufacturing consultant and Lean expert. Some of his conclusions match some current news reading I’ve done. Saw something about the current CEO of Toyota who does not seem to have the same drive for Lean and excellence as his father and grandfather. Notice Toyota has had some slight problems creeping into its vaunted production processes.

Waddell notes, “I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to achieve excellence – for some impossible to achieve mediocrity – until the leadership of the company decides what it is trying to accomplish and communicates that objective to the entire company.  The goal of the company and its reason for existence has to be spelled out.”

He continues, “When there is no clear statement of the objectives and purpose, confusion, conflict and chaos reign.” I have seen this time and time again. It’s a pain to get old, I guess. I still see people who just cannot define what business they’re in and what the optimum outcomes are. What about you? Are you building a business, or milking some short-term cash?

“Lean is a philosophy and a strategy aimed at profitability in the long term, and it assumes that the critical value creation activities will be kept in house,” he says. “In most companies, however, no one ever said that making money in the long term was the paramount objective – and there is ample evidence that making money now – this period – is the higher priority. So people advocating long term ideas run smack into those who think this month is the highest importance.”

Have you ever run into these conflicting objectives? I have. It’s not pretty. I’m also not really interested in people not building for long term prosperity (except some technology startups find their best exit as a sale to a company hungry for technology).

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