A Resolution For A New Beginning

h4 { font: bold 14px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000; } .byline { font-style: italic; margin-bottom: 4px; } .caption { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; margin: 4px; } .sup { position: relative; bottom: 2px; font-size: smaller;" } A Resolution For A New Beginning I certainly don't take issue with the concept of self-improvement .

I certainly don't take issue with the concept of self-improvement ... what strikes me as problematic is that improvement starts from an artificial point on the calendar

For me, the funniest part about the New Year is the idea of a 'resolution.' Somewhere in our collective history, January has become consistent with long lines at the gym, fad diet advertising, and half-empty packs of cigarettes. This is the time of year that society as a whole has decided to become 'better.'

I certainly don't take issue with the concept of self-improvement. Rather, what strikes me as problematic is that improvement starts from an artificial point on the calendar. While it may be as good a time as any, think back to the past: Have your New Year's goals been consistently achieved, year after year? Or have they mostly sputtered to a stop because maybe what you're buying into is not the improvement process itself, but the tradition of the attempt to improve?

The same can perhaps be said for a plant's process improvement initiatives. Mike Collins, author of Saving American Manufacturing, and an IMPO monthly columnist, discusses some of the pitfalls of strategic planning in this issue's installment (see page 48). Collins describes the ways in which traditional planning sometimes becomes "platitudes that make people feel good."

Does this ring true of any of your recent initiatives? In planning for 2008, do you have specific goals in mind that are manageable? Do these goals also address the necessary building blocks to ensure a solid foundation for success (i.e. Have you cleaned the junk food out of your refrigerator)?

Don't make this another year where you employ a new buzzword training method-based on the broad expectation to 'be better'-and watch the effects slowly fade over subsequent months because there was no buy-in from your employees.

Make 2008 the year that becoming 'better' is not relegated to a date on the calendar, a business planning session, or training program. Make it the year that buy-in comes from the top and permeates the culture of your organization- buy-in in the process improvement method itself, not just in the fact that you're doing it in the first place.

From our perspective, IMPO does its best to provide you with consistent content to help you in your facility's process improvement efforts.

As I step into a new role as editor of IMPO, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and invite your feedback. In the spirit of the New Year, we'll make it our 'resolution' to help you become better- and in turn, we will become better.

Going forward, please feel free to contact me and let me know the ways in which you're improving your operational efficiency, maintenance programs, employee safety record, or even if you've lost ten pounds. In addition, if there are ways we can help you find the answers you are looking for- these roadblocks to becoming 'better'- please let us know as well. We'll do what we can to help by providing the kind of content that will be of the most value to you.

Happy New Year!