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11 How and Where to Get Started

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11

How and Where to Get Started

What we call the beginning is often the end.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

—T. S. ELIOT

Congratulations! You now have a new perspective on what I believe will be the next wave to sweep over the business world. But unlike the many passing management fads we have seen come and go in the last decade, Profit Building is here to stay. It is the vital piece that has been missing from organizational design—a continuous process for profit improvement and cost reduction that should be a part of every business.

Now that you have finished reading the chapters on Profit

Building, you are ready to begin. You are about to find out just how quickly one person can start to make a difference in an organization. The beauty of the PBP is that it can be applied to any organization, large or small. International organizations, large corporations, small businesses, individual departments, and franchises are all awaiting its arrival. Getting the process started will be an easy sell. The most difficult part will be overcoming the organization’s resistance to this new approach.

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Contents

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8 Reviewing Progress and Following-Up

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8

Reviewing Progress and Following Up

Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and regression, of evolution and dissolution.

—GOETHE

As stated throughout this book, PBP is a dynamic, continuous process. Its management concepts, when systematically applied, result in continuity of profit improvement and cost reduction. Reviewing and following up is the essential last step that keeps the process going. Its critical role is to create a perpetual improvement process, while keeping innovations current with today’s business needs and ensuring longevity.

In many organizations, management has the habit of dropping a change or innovation from its agenda once the action steps are under way. Managers are so sure of their success and so eager to move on to the next item that they forget to follow up on their latest innovation. Consequently, the organization forgets, too, and the innovation fails.

Other management teams adopt the opposite approach.

They work so hard on developing a change or innovation that they can’t let go. They try to force it through the organization, ignoring any feedback that suggests the action steps they developed no longer apply. Once again, the innovation is doomed.

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2 Improving Profits: Better Ways Than Layoffs

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2

Improving Profits: Better

Ways Than Layoffs

Business must be profitable if it is to continue to succeed, but the glory of business is to make it so successful that it may do things that are great chiefly because they ought to be done.

—CHARLES SCHWAB

One of the first times I witnessed the power of a team in action was in 1975, when I was a manager at Procter & Gamble.

It was approximately two years after the Charmin paper plant in

Oxnard, California had opened, and sales had failed to meet our projections. It was a typical scenario: All managers were called into a meeting and told about the shortfall in revenue. Because sales had slipped, we were instructed to come up with a plan to cut costs by

10% in each of our departments.

I was among 20 managers in this meeting. Each of us had a team of employees who had been hired over the last year. When we reconvened to present our plans, 19 out of 20 of us proposed to cut costs through layoffs. Thanks to my team, my plan was different.

When I had taken the problem to my team to solve, the scope and variety of their answers had amazed me. Through brainstorming and teamwork, we had developed an action plan that significantly cut costs without cutting jobs. The plan we came up with included the following recommendations:

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5 Preparing Your Team and the Organization

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5

Preparing Your Team and the Organization

Make thy Model before thou buildest; and go not too far in it without due preparation.

—THOMAS FULLER

In 1987, I accepted a position with Imperial Savings, a

100-branch savings and loan organization. My title was senior vice president, branch banking. I was responsible for making this 100branch network more profitable.

Before I accepted this position, I had been with Pizza Hut, Inc., where I was responsible for more than 1000 company-owned and franchise-operated restaurants. Taking on Imperial’s 100 bank branches should have been a piece of cake. After all, these branches were large facilities, made of marble, glass, and brass and fully staffed by tellers who spent a third of their time serving customers.

But instead of my new job being easy, I found I had many obstacles to overcome.

The branches were managed by vice presidents who had years of experience and tenure in the industry. I quickly learned that years of experience and tenure do not necessarily translate into ease of transition or ready adoption of new ideas.

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