In 1958 Leonard E Read wrote an essay about making pencils.
- The growing of trees
- The work of a lumberjack
- The operation of the saw mill
- The making of the saw
- The transportation of the logs
- The mining of the graphite
- The production of the rubber
- The mixing of the paint
- The sourcing of the chemicals
- The manufacture of the pencil
- The development of the machinery
And countless other tasks.
His point was simple, nobody can make a pencil from scratch. No one person has more than the faintest understanding of all the technologies, activities, supply chains and markets involved.
We live in a very complicated and connected world.
So if you manage a pencil factory
And you want to improve the cost, quality and service you give to your customers there are two ways to manage your business…
Option 1: Run it from inside your board room:
Make that complex system bow to you:
Option 2: Run it from outside your board room:
Wander around and see what you can discover:
Which option is the best option?
No two pencil businesses are the same, so to work out the best way to run your pencil business try answering this simple question:
What could you learn about making pencils?
- If the answer is “nothing” see option 1
- If the answer is “plenty” use option 2
This is all fascinating but most of us don’t make pencils for a living
No we don’t, so let’s have a conversation about the computer I’m typing this on, in the coffee shop I am visiting, with the power that was generated…
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Image by @doug8888