Memorial Day 2010

Some where over France 1944-5

Tom Barton (my wife’s father) flew a P-47 over France in WW II. After the war….Tom (and my wife as a child) continued on in the Air Force.

His career took him throughout the US and to Panama and Germany….and eventually to San Bernardino, CA (Norton AFB).

In San Bernardino, Tom was in the Thor (ballistic missile) program office….and where I entered the picture. After retirement, he continued on in the aerospace industry with TRW and the Apollo program…especially the Apollo 15 mission to the moon.

Memorial Day is our day to remember Tom Barton and all those departed members of the armed forces.

Business Sense

Sustainable business is “about taking the conventional business of financial returns only and looking beyond financials to the win-win opportunities,”

The above quote is from a recent business presentation (link below). Certainly it is a single sentence from an entire presentation.

The question …. just what does it mean?

I really don’t know….

What I do know is that business is common sense….it’s about:

  • + Customers
  • + People
  • + Products/services

While the presentation may have had some nice business jargon…what did it really say?

Good Will

Dick and Annie – Part 2

A little over two years I wrote a post on Dick and Annie and the local Kroger store. Dick and Annie are the store’s good will ambassadors.

Kroger in our area has a little less than 10% of the grocery store market….Food Lion (positions itself as low-cost) has 39%. So what role do Dick & Annie play at our Kroger….and differientiate this Kroger store from all the other grocery stores.

Simply they welcome people. They are outgoing and friendly. They make the shopping experience pleasant. Grocery shopping may not be the most desirable event in our lives….Dick and Annie add a sparkle to shopping that is worth a whole lot of good will.

I am not sure the corporate suits understand the importance of this good will….it’s an intangible and may not even show up on the balance sheet.

However, Dick and Annie’s good will shows up every day that they are present….because they make shopping at this Kroger a little better….and a little nicer for the customer.

Isn’t that what doing business is all about?

“The purpose of business is to make and keep a customer.” (Peter Drucker)


The only thing that will make you remarkable is being worth remarking about. – Seth Godin

What’s really remarkable? What business/organization could be considered remarkable?

A friend (former naval aviator) sent along two video clips on carrier landings. That in itself is remarkable….even more so these were landings on a pitching deck at night. That is remarkable!

If a business/organization is trying to compete with others….for the most part….it is being average. Average isn’t going to cut it. If all an enterprise does is average….why would folks recommend that business to anyone?

There are plenty of average businesses/organizations. It seems like leaders/managers find a medium that is average and believe that is all that needs to be done.

Looking back over the years….our family business was not average by any means. We were always trying something new/different to set us apart. Some of these ideas worked….some didn’t. We were daring to be remarkable.

Not just any (average) pilot can land a F-18 on a pitching carrier deck at night.

Yet businesses/organizations….managers/leaders can dare to be remarkable and outdistance themselves from competitors….in their own way of landing on a pitching deck.

Like a navy carrier pilot:

Be the only ones who do what you do.


Carrier – Landing on a Pitching Deck Pt. 1 
Carrier – Landing on a Pitching Deck Pt. 2   


Metal to Electronics

For years, many of West Michigan’s automobile suppliers churned out millions of stamped metal parts.  While some continue to stamp metal products….others have reinvented themselves. One of these is GHSP. GHSP, a leading supplier of metal shifters has entered into electronic shifting. Shifters being the assembly that tells the transmission what gear to engage the engine.

GHSP stated in 1924 as a metal stamper….on Nov. 16, 2009 it made its last stamped part.

The real story is the change from basic metal shift parts to high-value electronic shift systems….and the willingness to make that change.

GHSP use to be Grand Haven Stamped Produts….new name….new products


Imperative: Always on Target

Here’s where businesses/organizations falter:

Being Consistent.

Not delivering the product/service that the customers expect. Two recent encounters showed where a business/organization took for granted that whatever they deliver will be OK.

OK is not good enough. Not only does a business have to deliver a quality product/service it also must:

Get Consistently Better

An example: McDonald’s French Fries. Making those fries is a complex process stating with growing the potatoes to processing the fries and then the final deep fry and delivery to the customer.

McDonald’s has to make those fries consistent….that’s what customers expect. Does McDonald’s get consistently better….sometimes yes….sometimes no.