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Transformation – the Art of Becoming MoreButterfly

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour

We have been considering the various Pillars and Practices of Sustainable Wealth Creation in manufacturing. In this post I would like to bring our attention to an obvious but often discounted fact – to get from where you have been to where you can be in any sphere of endeavor involves change. There is no improvement without the pain of transformation.

At this time of year, many of us resolve to make changes in our lives, to become more or better in the future than we are now by adopting some new personal practices or dropping some bad habits. The disciplined will persevere because they envision the result – how their lives will be improved after they have endured the difficulty of the transition. Perhaps one imagines how wonderful it will be to finally be in one’s dream job after they have done the hard work to make it reality.

In the same way, improvements in the manufacturing enterprise always involve fear, effort and loss:

  • Fear – because the pain to be endured is always more certain that the gain to be achieved. You can measure the money it will cost, the time it will take and the effort that will be required to transform the organization much more accurately than you can estimate the improvements that will actually be attained. There is fear that the result will not be worth the cost.
  • Effort –the work of transformation is hard and demands extraordinary effort from the best people in the organization. But how can you spare those people at this time, when there are so many critical priorities they must attend to? In transformation projects the dilemma always exists that the people who can best assure the desired results are exactly those whose efforts you can least afford to dedicate to the program.
  • Loss – change by definition means you not only will be something new, you will also no longer be what you were. There is a necessary loss to transform the enterprise. Even if the new stage in unequivocally superior, there is an inevitable regret that will occur in the minds of those who invested a portion of their lives creating and working with the old order of things which is no longer. I wonder if the butterfly ever pines for the day when he was curled up eating a leaf as a caterpillar?

Those who can best envision the resultant future state of the enterprise after the changes are most willing to begin and persevere until finish of the transformation and yield the benefits: greater profits, more engaged employees, higher quality products, a safer and more respected workforce, and the satisfaction of creating greater opportunity and a more positive impact for all stakeholders of the enterprise.

Our job as leaders of the manufacturing enterprise is to help people envision the potential future. We need to bring a vitality and enthusiasm to the organization to continuously help our people see the opportunities ahead and how much better we can be, to keep our eyes on the prize at the other side of the transformation. Only in this way can we bring the hearts and passions of our employees to overcome the fear, invest in the effort and discount the loss in becoming all our organization can be.

What a celebration it will be when we are flying above the trees that used to bound the upper limits of our reach!

What has been your organization’s experience with transformation? Leave a comment.

I would love to have a dialogue with you to discuss how ECI can assist you on your transformation adventure!.

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