Keeping in touch with my E-letter
This is another "Messages from Mike" E-letter and I hope you'll find it helpful - after all, I AM an award winning educator, author, Emmy-winner, Oscar-nominee - let's see, what else? - oh, a highly sought after speaker and seminar leader! ;-)
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Little Things Mean A Lot
I saw a movie some time ago that taught me an interesting lesson. In "the Secret of My Success," Michael J. Fox plays a mail room employee at a huge company who tries to win the girl by pretending to be an executive. Of course - after all, it's the movies - he's a huge success, ends up with the girl and saves the company. The reason this guy succeeds taught me a lesson.
Here's the story line. The company is in trouble and the top managers are focusing on broad, sweeping changes. Some of their ideas were plant closings, mergers, and such. Michael J. Fox's character, the fake executive, focuses on details, from rerouting trucks to helping personnel with their individual problems. He steadily chips away at the small problems, and, of course, saves the day.
Sure, it's an over simplification of the real world. But the movie touches on an important lesson for all of us . . . Succeeding today means paying attention to the little things!
Typically, top managers have been trained to focus on big ticket items, the single million dollar problem, the next big thing. And that makes sense. After all, a person can only focus on so many problems at a time, so go for the big ones.
The result is that problem solving emphasis at top management, as in the movie example, tends to run toward arranging mergers, consolidating or closing plants, arbitrary budget cuts, massive lay offs and other big things.
But those aren't the only "real" problems that mean a lot!
What has held American industries back is not the one million dollar problem, but rather one million $1 problems.
Would the top management of a company be able to make a decision necessary to solve small problems? They might have the authority, certainly, but if we're talking about a large company with locations around the world, top management simply can't be aware of every employee's problems. Most General Managers, Plant Managers, and in some cases, even shift Supervisors aren't tuned into this level of detail. In fact, the person who best understands the problems of a machine operator is the machine operator! And they almost always know of at least two solutions, if asked.
When we talk about solving one million $1 problems, we have to delegate both the responsibility for those problems and the authority to solve them to the employees that have the answers.
The problems facing top management are very real, but it's important not to overlook the one million $1 problems while tackling the one million dollar problem.