Friday, December 6, 2013

Shooting for the Moon
From the "Really Leading" Series
by Robert B. Camp

On September 12th, 1962, John Fitzgerald Kennedy stunned an audience at Rice University by announcing that the United States would go to the moon within that decade.  That challenge was fulfilled on July 20th, 1969, when Apollo II successfully set down on the moon.

One of the attributes of great leaders is that they challenge us.  They challenge us to give the full measure of who we are.  They find in us courage and skill and passion far beyond any we see within ourselves.

When we’re around such leaders, we are often frustrated by their unbending desire to achieve the impossible, yet they seek the impossible not for themselves, but for loftier reasons.  In some cases, like Kennedy’s, they seek it for all humankind.  We sometimes resent them because they require more of us than is easy, more than we had intended to give.

I had a high school football coach like that.  I was gifted to be the fastest player on my team.  I was also big and well muscled.  I should have been a natural, but my head told me that I wasn’t as good as others, and that held me back.  My coach pushed me.  He put me in situations in which I was forced to overcome the very obstacles that my mind had set.  He extracted from me more than I thought I had to give.

Great leaders do that to us.  They refuse to accept what we think we can do and push us to achieve what they somehow know we can do.  They have a vision for us and they passionately challenge us to reach it.

So, two attributes of a leader:

  1. They have a vision.
  2. They ignite within us skill & passion far beyond what we thought we possessed.
Kaikaku - Quantum Change (Part 1)

Kaikaku, what is it?
What can we do when we find ourselves trailing the our competition by a lot?  Kaizen could achieve the necessary change, but it would take take forever.  We need a tool that will take us from where we are, to where we need to be, in one step.  BAM!!!  KAIKAKU.  

The use of Kaikaku is often indicated when we need to change a whole system.  For instance, what if:
  • it takes six weeks to simply enter a new customer order into our Sales system?  
  • we have an Accounts Payable system that takes three to four weeks to perform the three-way match between PO, Receiver & Invoice?  
  • our Purchasing system requires as many as 20 signatures on a purchase order before it can be executed?
  • the cost to update the Engineering Change Order system, before the engineer can even set pen to paper (or mouse to CAD screen), costs over $600?
  • your inventory backflush system doesn’t work and constantly creates mismatches between physical inventory, MRP and your Accounting systems?

If you think those examples are fanciful, I have worked with clients who had each of those problems.  In the case of the signatures needed to execute a PO, one client had over 100 signatures on  a PO.  Why?  Because their procedures required it.

Okay, those may not be your problems, but I can assure you, you have systemic problems.

Whatever the indication, there comes a time when we need to make some major changes to your business model.  The Lean tool used to make these changes is Kaikaku.  

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to conduct a Kaikaku event and what you can expect from it.  

Meanwhile, Get Lean, Stay Lean.