In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek tells a story of a group of American car executives who went to Japan to see a Japanese assembly line. At the end of the line, the doors were put on the hinges, the same as in America. But something was missing. In the United States, a line worker would take a rubber mallet and tap the edges of the car door to ensure that the door was fitting perfectly. In Japan, the job didn’t seem to exist. Confused, the American auto executives asked at what point they made sure the door fit perfectly. Their Japanese guide looked at them and smiled sheepishly. “We make sure it fits when we design it.”¹
In the Japanese auto plant, they didn’t examine the problem and accumulate data to determine the best solution — they engineered the outcome they wanted from the beginning. If they didn’t achieve their desired outcome, they understood it was because of a decision they made at the start of the process.
At the end of the day, the doors on the American-made and Japanese-made cars appeared to fit when each car rolled off the assembly line. The only exception, the Japanese didn’t need to employ someone to use a rubber mallet to hammer doors. They made sure the pieces fit from the start.
Every result we desire, every course of action we set, begins with a decision. There are those who decide to manipulate the door to fit to achieve the desired result and those who start from somewhere very different. Though both courses may yield similar short-term results, it is what we can’t see that makes long-term success more predictable for only one. The one? The one that understood why the doors need to fit by design and not by default.
Following are some thoughts to consider:
- Is your selling process aligned with your buyer’s buying process?
- Is your content marketing built on a strategy that solves a problem for your customer?
- Do you know how your customers are using your content? Who are the prospects who are likely to raise their hand for your help?
- What specific measurements do you track regarding your content marketing analytics?
- Are you able to change on a dime if you find something broken or will it cause major disruptions?
- How do you measure success and tie content to revenue?
Resources and References
¹ Simon Sinek, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action – Portfolio / Penguin, 2009