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South Burlington, VT

Value Creation Blog

Want to Succeed?...Start Small

Posted by Josh Patrick

Start small & stay focusedI’ve been working with a client of mine on installing a Lean system in his company.  I noticed that when I got his agenda for our most recent conversation that Lean as a topic was left off.  Instead there were a few parts of what would be a Lean installation but not the whole thing.

I thought this was a brilliant move on his part.  He has a relatively small company and putting a complete Lean system in a company can be overwhelming.  Instead he’s being very wise and focusing on two things that he thinks will provide the most value.

Eating an elephant starts with one bite at a time.  We’ve all heard the saying that the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  Making improvements in your company is a similar activity.  You want to improve in a way that will have a positive effect and at the same time not overwhelm your company, resources, or systems.

Trying to do too many things at once will often result in projects not getting done well.  My client has shown a great deal of common sense in slowing down the entire process and focusing on what he thinks will provide value.

It’s not how many changes you make but it’s making the changes you do permanent.  An awful lot of strategic development in a company is hit and miss.  We try things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.  We want to make sure that when things don’t work we stop what we’re doing and stop quickly.

For those things that work we want to understand why they work and find strategies that will institutionalize the change and make it permanent.  If we’re working on one or two projects at a time this is possible.  If we’re working on more projects it becomes very difficult to get a result that is meaningful.

Overwhelming our internal systems often leads to bad results.  We’re not trying to overwhelm what we have going on right now.  We still have to make products, ship products, and keep customers happy.  We can’t spend all of our time on company change.

We want to integrate change into areas in our company that will have a nice long-term result.  That means focusing on where we think our largest benefit can be.

My client who decided to slow down did a really smart thing.  Do you find that you take too many projects on?  If so, think about reducing those new projects to ones that will a high probability of success.

Josh Patrick

Part of focusing on the right thing is having an easily understood annual plan.  I’ve written a special report on Four Tiered Budgeting that you might find useful in focusing on the important things in your company.  Click on the button below to get your special report.


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Topics: cultural change, value creation, Focus

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