Leadership: Ordinary to Extraordinary

“People who are content with what they don’t know; happy to remain ignorant about what they don’t understand; complacent about what they haven’t analyzed; and comfortable living with problems they haven’t solved…such people cannot lead!”—John MacArthur, from his book, Twelve Ordinary Men.

Wow! When I read the quote above, a myriad of conversations I’ve had with business owners over the years came flooding back to my mind, and I thought—now, that’s my blog for this week!

Time and time again our system trainers and I have actually been dumbfounded, frustrated and at times disappointed with business owners’ excuses and lack of leadership when it comes to improving their businesses, by removing the chaos, step-by-step.

Let’s break down MacArthur’s quote into four parts:

1. “People who are content with what they don’t know; happy to remain ignorant about what they don’t understand…”

I’ve seen business owners almost in tears concerning the chaos overwhelming them in their day-to-day operations. We’ve often counseled them for hours on how to fix various issues. We have suggested books and white papers to read on the subject, and in the end some will say, “It’s too hard, and besides, I don’t have time and I don’t like to read books.”

What they’re actually saying is, “What I don’t know doesn’t hurt me” (emphasis on the “me”), not thinking about the others around them, like their employees and family. They seem oblivious to others’ pain in having to deal with the chaos in the company, and they often bring home their frustrations, negatively affecting their family, as well. However, I can only assume the pain is not bad enough for them to take the necessary steps in order to get relief and be cured.

2. “Complacent about what they haven’t analyzed…”

In conversations with owners and managers, concerning REWORK in their businesses, they often tell me they “don’t have that much rework.” When I ask them if they track and document their rework, in order to KNOW how much they’ve had for a given period, the answer is usually, “No!” The ones that DO track rework are generally tracking only jobs that they have totally redone. They are NOT tracking ALL the waste occurring in their businesses.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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