Newsletter – April, 2012

On My Mind

The reputation of a company can take a long time to build, but it can be severely tarnished in a very short amount of time for a variety of reasons. British Petroleum, Toyota, Hewlett-Packard, News Corporation, Olympus, Motorola, Kodak, Research in Motion, Miami Marlins, etc. Whether it is because of safety issues, quality problems, scandals, leadership turnover, bankruptcy, or poor strategic decisions, an organization’s good will can disappear quickly. Therein lies the danger in placing any organization on a pedestal—the use of the world class descriptor for a company should be done with caution due to the potential transient nature of that status. The business media seems to select at least one company per decade for glorification: General Electric in the 1990s, Toyota in the 2000s, and now it appears to be Apple in the 2010s. We should certainly try to identify excellent organizations and learn all we can from them, but we should do so with caution because their stay at the top might not last long and what is happening behind the curtain might be different than what we read about in the papers.

Interesting Stories

There was a happy ending indeed. Two brothers who lived on an island in the Pacific Ocean were about to go off to war and so they swam to a nearby island and planted two trees at the top of the highest mountain on the island. They did this so that their parents could look at the two trees and think of fond memories of their sons in the event they didn’t return home from battle. However, they returned home safely and now there is a grove of trees on the top of the mountain. Switching gears–I mentioned Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks professional basketball team in an earlier newsletter. His amazing career is now on pause as he recovers from season-ending knee surgery.

Company News

The Advances in Hoshin Kanri public seminar has been scheduled for August 15, 2012 and so mark your calendars. It will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN. A detailed brochure will be available in two weeks.

Intriguing Reads

I have studied Michael Porter’s books on competitive strategy and so I hesitated in purchasing the book by Joan Margetta titled, Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy. This is an extremely useful book because the author summarizes Porter’s central ideas and frameworks in a very readable way.