'Plays' for moving business forward

Frequently, sports analogies are used in business. Football seems to be the most used sport. The most recent use of the football-business comparison that I came across was keynote address by Daimler Trucks North America’s senior vice president of parts Jack Conlan to the recent Technical & Maintenance Council Fall Meeting and National Skills Competition - TMC SuperTech 2009. His talk entitled, “Driving from the Red Zone to the End Zone,” outlined five key “plays”  to developing and maintaining a winning game plan for 2010. “2010 will be the time to execute proven plays at the line of scrimmage. It won’t be a time of improvising, last minute audibles or Hail Mary’s,” said Conlan. “By developing and maintaining renewed levels of discipline, experience, preparation, partnership and transparency, 2010 will simply become the time to drive the ball into the emissions ‘end zone,’ safely and profitably for your companies, your teams and the entire industry.” His five game winning principles: - No time for costly penalties. A team must maintain a “disciplined approach” to get to the end zone so as not to waste time on costly penalties. He suggested developing  operational metrics that are transparent to all managers so they can be involved and open to solving problems as they occur. - Go with the best prepared players. He said now is not the time to question if one of your “players” has had the right training or not. Partner with manufacturers, suppliers and technologies that not only meet the standards, but exceed them. - Winning coaches value experience. In the current high-stakes environment, do not underestimate the value of experience and proven outcomes. - Have all the right gear and equipment. Now is not the time to question if you, or your service provider, has the right tools and parts available. All of the appropriate “gear” must be available. He said that OEMs should make available online and instructor-led educational and certification emissions compliance programs for trainers and technicians. Training needs to include both the after treatment system and on-board diagnostics, including additional “hands on” experience in diagnostics for the aftertreatment system. - The entire team must be on the same page. This applies to not only the “players” and “coaches,” but to suppliers, employees and support personnel. “To be successful, build a strong, committed and knowledgeable network.” He summarized his address and then ended with: “Thank you.” That was disappointing. I was expecting him to conclude his address by saying: “Now let’s get out their, kick some a-- and win.”