Walk into just about any workplace these days and you’ll find the same motivational posters, with ubiquitous themes like "synergy," whatever the heck that really is. The scenes are quite nice, but employees at organizations that display those posters are generally daydreaming of those far-off idyllic beaches instead of figuring out how to really add value to their customers. Some of those employees become so cynical that they sneak in posters with similar scenes, but with themes like "despair." Who can blame them? In most cases the posters promote messages that are 180 degrees from the actions of management.
Those of us that were at the AME Conference in Chicago a couple weeks ago got to see a series of promotional posters for next year’s 2008 Conference to be held in Toronto. They were all geared around Jim Collins’ tagline of "good to great" (yes, with permission), driven as "disciplined people use disciplined thought to create disciplined action," which is the theme of the upcoming conference. The posters featured great scenes, great people, and great lean-oriented messages. I’m guessing the quality of these posters contributed to a record number of paid registrations for this event… over 800 with 11 months to go. At this rate this conference will sell out even earlier than the last couple, so you may want to register now.
The 2008 Conference committee has graciously provided Superfactory with downloadable copies of each of the 30 or so posters, which we’ve made available at no cost. The downloads are high resolution, for printing from letter to full poster (30"x38") size.
Over the next several weeks we’ll take a look at some of the themes of the posters. They are all oriented toward lean enterprise and lean manufacturing leadership, but some are also intentionally controversial. Below are just a couple examples.
The primary message on the Tiger Woods poster is,
It takes disciplined play to be at the top of your game. When you’re under pressure to excel, will your hard work and training pay off?
With the detailed commentary reading,
Tiger Woods pushes the limits of creativity and risks everything to improve his game because to be good is just not good enough when your destiny is to be great. At age 21, Tiger became the youngest player ever to win the Masters and the first golfer of African or Asian descent to win a major professional championship – all in his debut year. After a tough spell in 1998, he Leaned out and revamped his swing with coach Butch Harmon, Tiger won eight titles in a golden run on the 1999 PGA tour, including his second major at the PGA Championship. Did you know? Tiger shot 48 for nine holes at age three. At age six, Tiger listened to the motivational tape series “I Will Make My Own Destiny”, while practicing his golf swing in the mirror.
Similarly the poster with the great photo of the Golden Gate Bridge has a primary message of,
No bridge, no matter how grand is built until a leader says ‘why not’? Do you build bridges that span contrary ideas, or do you put up walls around them?
With the detailed commentary reading,
There are good bridges you go over and then there are great bridges you go over. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest span in the world until the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built in New York in 1964, proving length is not the measure of greatness. The Golden Gate Bridge project was completed in 1937, a prominent date in San Francisco history. What made it great was not just its construction but that it pioneered building safety – including hard hats and daily sobriety tests. It’s an iconic San Francisco sight and one of the world’s most beautiful spans. Did you know? One of the Golden Gate Bridge’s safety innovations was a net suspended under the bridge. This net saved the lives of 19 men during construction, and they are often called the members of the “Half Way to Hell Club.”
That sure beats seeing the same posters, with the same scenes, on the walls of most traditional organizations.
Take a look at all 30+ posters, download and print a few, and drive a different, lean-oriented message to your organization. Even more importantly, think about the message and live it.