Just finished the last stop on a seminar/workshop tour that has taken me over 30,000 miles over the last three weeks talking to folks on two continents and in three countries about the Lean Business Model. Before I begin the long trip home I thought I'd share some of the key points I have been trying to make with the hundreds of senior executives I have been fortunate enough to meet and speak to along the way.
If an employee asks you what the purpose of the business is – why everyone gets up every day and comes to work there – how would you answer? To make money? To earn a profit for the owner?
If you were that employee, would the answer inspire you to give everything you have to help achieve that goal?
What is your commitment to your employees? … your suppliers? … your community? … your customers? Are you willing to abandon any of them – all of them – if an opportunity to replace them with a more profitable alternative comes along? What is the price of your loyalty? What would it take for you to abandon them? $100? … $1,000? … $10,000? At what point is money more important than they are? Can you succeed if all of them make exactly that same level of commitment to you?
If you want to join the ranks of the excellent companies like SC Johnson which has survived and thrived through wars, depressions and recessions for over 120 years without laying anyone off, driven by old Herbert Johnson who said, "The goodwill of people is the only enduring thing in any business. It is the sole substance. The rest is shadow;" or to gain the admiration and respect reserved for the few leaders like Barry-Wehmiller's Bob Chapman who says, "We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people;" then maybe you ought to rethink the way you would answer that question.