One of my favorite cartoons growing up was “A Far Side” by Gary Larson. Incredibly hilarious stuff because it always made you go “hummmm”. I’ll beg forgiveness for using this image, but it was always one of my favorites.
So how many of you worry about what is coming up on you or breathing down your neck? I’ll guess it is probably all of us (including me). The problem arises if we focus too much on what’s behind and don’t bother to look where we are going. Honestly, there are a lot of things chasing us. Budgets, FM’s, staffing issues, costs, rework, schedules, our bosses, and probably the real world. I can see where folks could lose their way or easily miss a turn. Nobody can ignore the rearview mirror and only look forward. But you must find the best balance so that nothing sneaks up and you keep the operation heading in the right direction.
We can control the things chasing us thru better planning and communications. Plans are good although they can be time consuming to develop. Communication is always good especially when it includes the higher ups. IPMA’s recent study “The Future of the In-Plant”, revels that planning is the single biggest contributor to success and growth. Failure to plan does not necessarily mean failure, but not knowing where you are going may make you look behind more than you should. Communication with bosses, customers and staff are key to smoother operations. When everybody is on the same page it simply helps reduce questions, conflict, costs and more importantly customer complaints.
I know there is no great hidden revelation exposed here. My goal was to remind each and every manager to do the things necessary to minimize those things in the mirror and plan ahead for those things coming down the pipe. Failure to do these fundamental management practices may result in being caught from behind or running off the road.
Drive defensively while staying on the offense!