replace siding vinyl siding cost hardie siding cook county siding installation cement board siding .. Chicago Drug testing

Troubled Waters Require Capable Leaders at the Helm

Canada's lean leaders need to look beyond the horizon and chart the future

In stormy times, true leadership skills emerge, says Larry Cot?, the President of Lean Advisors Inc. (

The rumbles on our economic outlook are troubling. The dollar is still up, foreign investment, profits and sales are down. Low cost Asian competition is eroding our market share. Financial scandals and corporate governance issues keep flaring into the headlines. Disasters such as terrorism, possible pandemics, and war continually reshape the world in which we work and live. There are so many "big" global issues, so much apparent chaos, that our minds are often distracted from the day-to-day jobs we do leading our businesses.

The world as we know it has changed - both economically and socially. What hasn't changed however, is the customers' insatiable appetite for more value, faster delivery and better service.

Most business leaders are eager to return to their pre-recession profits and growth. But even when the economy is robust again, we may find the bounce back to previous profit levels is not a "slam dunk" in spite of a revived and thriving economy. During the past couple of years, while business executives have been making short-term decisions to survive, customers and markets have continued to change at a rate never seen before.

If we turn our worries and blame for new shortfalls to the currency fluctuations and Asian competition, it starts to sound like the same old "blame game" with different players. It's easy to fly high on adrenaline when you look at these global issues and threats. But, for a moment, let's step back and look at our business challenges from a lower altitude and a more local focus.

In doing this, we need to disregard the factors affecting our businesses that we can't influence and begin to look at those we can. The ones we have little or no influence over are things like the recession, currency fluctuations and major disasters. The area we can influence and affect is our own long and short-term strategies for transforming our companies, making them more competitive and customer focused.

The bottom line is let's stick to our "knitting," do our jobs and focus more on our roles as organizational leaders.

In North America we've proven that we can provide products and services competitively through innovation, inspired product development and comprehensive efforts to eliminate waste. But it does require a prolonged and concentrated effort. Leaders aren't hired to cry wolf when chaos threatens. The terms of employment are to use our leadership talents and drive improvements that will be seen and sustained on the bottom line.

We need to readjust how we use these talents and not be distracted by global factors, which are out of our control for the most part. We must accept the role we were hired for and focus on the business operations where we can have a real impact.

We are leaders, so let's lead. Most activities, whatever the company, can be classified as waste of one kind or another once you start to see it. As leaders, it is our responsibility to set the direction and motivate our staff to understand how to remove this waste properly rather than making incremental or point improvements.

This requires seeing and analyzing the process from end to end, not just at points or segments of the process. That becomes your road map to success.

Beneficial change happens in a very structured, sequential and organized fashion. Your teams aren't caught running around chasing low hanging fruit while creating what we call "exciting chaos." When everyone rushes reactively to improve their individual areas they feel virtuous, after all they are helping the company, aren't they? In fact, they are only improving their areas or departments, often at the detriment of the entire process. It's your leadership and your measured future state plan that will bring order to chaos. Reactive flurry kills profits faster than any big external threat!

Striving to improve our own competitiveness by providing customers faster and better products or services will accomplish more than worrying about the next global crisis looming just around the corner. The only futures game we need to be in is the one that cuts waste so the customer sees more value.

Science tells us that nature likes order - it's human agents that generate the chaos. There are things that we can control - so let's get busy and do it!

Larry Cot? is president of Lean Advisors Inc. You can reach him by email at: Larry is also a key organizer of the Lean Conference Canada event being held Sept, 15-16, 2004, at the Ottawa Congress Centre. For event details visit: (

For information: or Contact: info@leanadvisors.comPhone: 613-821-4545

About The Author

Larry Cot? is well known for his penetrating analysis and creative energy. He was employed by the Lean Enterprise Institute in Boston for almost two years as C.O.O./E.V.P. He was the Founder and President of the Lean Enterprise Institute Canada.

Over the years, Larry has worked with 100's of companies at various stages of their Lean journey in many different business sectors. He is particularly skilled at working with senior executives in the boardroom to plan, problem solve and create Lean corporate strategies.

His research and development work along with his past 'hands-on' experience has led to new ways to teach and communicate Lean across North America. These methods used in the past by Lean Advisors Inc. have proven to be very successful in promoting 'sustainability' within the organizations where they have been applied.

Larry has specialized expertise in Toyota Production System concepts, diagnostics and assessment of Lean readiness. He works with the corporate leaders to develop effective plans for transforming entire organizations using Lean and adapting it to their particular culture.

In The News:

Dotcom Business Plans Archive Project

One of the most important initiatives in the domain of... Read More

Mastermind Your Way to Success

What do Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Allen, Anthony Robbins, Andrew... Read More

In Business Planning, Competition is Good

When developing the competition section of your business plan, companies... Read More

Completing the Annual Planning Process

Imagine an office without a desk, or lights, a computer,... Read More

Financing Business Expansion for Your Small Company

How you finance the expansion of your business is important.... Read More

Your Business: Will It Have A Happy Ending?

"Begin with the end in mind," says Stephen Covey in... Read More

Pressure Washing Entrepreneurs Can Help With Government NPDES Permits

If you own a pressure washing business one of the... Read More

Business Plan Long Term Goals

Writing a business plan is not an easy endeavor, nor... Read More

How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

It is always said "If you Fail to Plan, you... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains Implementation: Healthcare/Hospital example ? overview for consultant

Microsoft Great Plains fits multiple services market niche and healthcare... Read More

Three Easy Ways To Know Thy Competitor

"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question... Read More

A Backup To The Internet Is Vital & Now Cost Effective

It doesn't take a Terrorist Act, Tsunami or Earthquake to... Read More

Sales Planning and Business Plans

Writing a business plan can be tricky when all the... Read More

Defining Go for It Business Goals

Many business start-up kits or consultants will tell you one... Read More

Connecting Your Offline Business to Your Online Business

These may sound like no brainers, but you'd be surprised.... Read More

Pave the Way to a Successful Strategic Plan

Many very successful business owners may never have had a... Read More

TQM Total Quality Management, the book

Every decade we seem to come up with a buzz-word... Read More

To Go or No Go, That Is The Question

Last week we talked about a few of the ways... Read More

25 Ways To Find Companies To Buy

When you start your program to purchase your "ideal" company,... Read More

Becoming Wise - Wild & Free - Writing A Successful Business Plan - Part 2 - Do It In Steps

So you've decided to write your own business plan because... Read More

College Students and Graduates to Run Company Outlets or Franchises

Does your overall business strategy include the recruitment of college... Read More

Describing Intellectual Property in Your Business Plan

Most companies that are worthy of raising venture capital have... Read More

Business Disaster? Wont Happen to Me

As fast as you can say business disaster, your business... Read More

Have You Identified the Enemy?

One of the most powerful driving forces in human nature... Read More

Three Steps to Give Your Strategic Plan Traction

We all agree Strategic Planning is a critical part of... Read More

street light bracket street lights kayne Pete's produce ..
street light bracket street lights kayne Pete's produce ..