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The Road to True North – A Postcard from Matt

Oct 26, 2016 | Posted by Matt Elson

Hi Jake,
I’ve finally arrived. I’ve found success following the road to True North. After numerous failed attempts, and getting lost with those ‘get there quicker guides’, I’ve final arrived. This road I ended up following was tough and long, but the further I walked, it became easier and more rewarding. Where are you in your journey?

Let me share my experience with you, so you can follow the same path and achieve success for your business. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let’s take this one step at a time.



Step 1: Standardize and Stability
First step is to stabilize your process, standardize where you can. Use visuals to guide you. Use job instructions written by your team, as they know how best to do the job. Once the business has an established standard, abnormalities could be spotted easily, your quality will increase, and your cost will decrease. Most people stop here and 6 months later, they slide back to where they started. There is still a long way to True North. Let’s continue onward.

Step 2: Improving Efficiency & Error-free
Once your process has reached a level of stability, look at improving efficiency. Everything should have a consistent rhythm, a steady pace in which work could be completed in a leveled manner. Establishing this helps enhance design of flow in the process, removing non-valued steps and creating a pull environment. Consider how a kitchen in a restaurant works; instead of the chefs cooking food and waiting for the customers to buy, a more efficient process would start with a customer making an order that is placed into the system by the waiter, thus triggering the chef to make the meal. This is a more efficient process that ensures no wastage and better flow. There will be challenges along the way. Embrace them, learn from them and don’t give up.

One of the main challenges is the occurrence of errors ,  which can create a disaster and cost a lot of money to fix if they are not spotted early enough. Make sure you guide your team in spotting errors early. Build in quality checks to create the process of eliminating errors before they begin. Get in the habit of finding out what caused the error, and fix the root cause to make sure that it does not occur again. There is no prefect formula. You have to continue to  work relentlessly at perfecting improvement with your team. No magic, just honest hard work. Keep your chin up. You’re getting there.

Step 3: Leadership Development & Operational Management

Now that the process is stable and improved a bit, success is in sight. Next is to build a team of people like you to continue spread and maintain the gains. Embrace success through the building of others around you. Give your team the opportunity to learn and do as you did. Two heads are better than one.

The last and important thing to tie all of this together is a transparent operational management system, a structured approach which creates a smooth flow of communication from the bottom to the top and vice versa. Everyone has a set role to play within the system of equal importance. Daily pain-points, issues will be quickly identified, improved or resolved, and escalated in a timely manner. The journey towards True North is long and winding, and like any journey, solid steps forward will move you closer and closer to True North.

The road to True North is neither fast nor easy and at times discouraging. I have confidence you will take one solid steps forward at a time. I’m here to guide and support you.  Ask yourself, “Where are you on the journey?”

Let’s talk soon.




Learn Four Strategies To Start Improving Any Area Of Your Business