Owning a manufacturing company taught me it’s not all about the journey.
My first business manufactured and exported a line of women’s clothing. We were small and yet we were filling orders for 320 retailers in the U.S and 130 across Canada.
We had a lot to learn.
One of the most memorable lessons was from a manufacturing consultant we brought in from Montreal. He took one look at our production line and started moving stations. I didn’t quite know what to do. It was chaotic and he was very determined, working quickly and silently.
When his masterpiece was complete he said, “ There you go!” as if presenting us with a work of art. And I said, “imagine that” which is my default comment when I haven’t a clue what is going on. “Your efficiency, rate of production and morale will double,” he continued. I wasn’t quite getting it but I liked the sound of the potential results.
The answer was changing our production line to a production circle, so that everyone could see and be connected to the finished garments. Previously those at the start of the production line never saw the finished goods, which caused a disconnect with success and made their tasks seem endless and unimportant.
I have never forgotten that lesson, and although I am no longer a manufacturer, when I connect people with “finished goods”, the end goal, the results achieved, there is always a well-deserved and deep sense of accomplishment. Humans need that. We are wired to want to make a difference, to be part of success.
You might not be able to create a circle but I bet you can find a way to connect your team to success, whether it’s front line staff, mid level management or at the executive level.
Because although we often say, “it’s all about the journey” some days it has to be all about the finish line!