I, like many who grew up during the development of Lean and Six Sigma, are intrigued by where the market has evolved.
What started as a model intentionally different from the McKinsey’s (BCG, Ollie Wight, et al.) we had seen growing up at Motorola and Compaq has evolved to people who just sell training and have no real execution experience. They also have canned solutions that are just perfect for your problem, no matter what your problem is. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few companies, like MoreSteam that are doing a phenomenal job of training and they don’t pretend to be anything else. But there are not many.
We are also seeing another wave of executives from highly successful Fortune 50 companies going to other companies where their solution is to be just like their former company. They have no feel or regard for the underlying culture development or time that it took to facilitate Motorola, Toyota, GE, P&G,… They also have no appreciation that what they experienced was a point in time and a confluence of lots of things (not just Lean or TPM or Six Sigma) that began to fall apart the moment that Galvin or Welch or Lafley walked out the door.
In the meantime, companies need an edge today to survive in this slow growth economy. Companies not performing well will be looking for results – this year. Companies that buy Capital equipment will be looking to launch that investment on time, on schedule, on cost, and on quality – this year. Companies will be rethinking Asian supply chains where the cost of entry back in North America is low because long supply chains means lots of capital tied up – this year. What is the number one failure mode of all of these? They never live up to their promise.
Execution is everything because money is tight for the foreseeable future and the world’s economy remains skittish. Everyone will have to make money by being smarter, not by training and not by relying on your new executive from __________ (GE, Toyota, P&G, … take your pick) to make your company just like the company she just came from. Training and cloning a culture takes time and probably will not succeed; there are just not that many Bob Galvins, Jack Welchs, or Larry Bossidys in the world.
“There is no instant pudding” – W. Edwards Deming