The Voice of Experience in Business Management One Size Does Not Fit All

In management as in life one size seldom fits all. What is appropriate for a given company, firm, organization or set of employees at one point in time, or their growth state or maturity may well not be appropriate or the best at a given point in time. Yet many companies, firms, organizations or management structures still apply a cookie cutter one size fits all.

Where does this come from? Lack of depth of understanding is one cause. Often in business – the flavor of the year – used elsewhere and in other settings is taken totally out of context by staff or management with little frames of reference and depth. Take just in delivery of supplies as one example taken to extreme. In Japan with small distances this may well have made sense. Yet taken to North American manufacturing it was often taken out of context to ridiculous levels. Distances and logistics are certainly different in North America – that is the US, Canada and Mexico. Whereas in Japan the country is fairly small and distances large, in the US distances and the span between suppliers may be on a vast scale. Thus American business and manufacturing was often laid out on a practice of storing large amounts of manufacturing stock and supplies. To specific cases of American business and manufacturing it made good sense to have stock on hand.

Enter Japanese style “Just in Time” delivery practices as an important basis of how the “Japanese are beating American businesses” and you have examples of a philosophy, tactics and strategies of business and management practices taken totally out of hand and context. Stories avail and are now routine of courier drivers having a plum job of driving one small part from a factory in the Canadian parries all the way to the American Midwest just to deliver that one part “Just on Time”. In the same manner it is no accident that high end just in time courier delivery services flourish.

What is the lesson of all of this? In management it is seldom a case of one size fits all.If something is working in your business or even if its not working 100 % it is not a good idea to jump on the latest fad or favor of the year just because either “everyone is doing it “, “it is hot” and as well to put new & potentially exotic well meaning ideas as well as innovative and far reaching procedures of doing business in context. Next take the time, effort and energy as well to apply apply some depth of understanding and context into systems of analysis and eventual integration if so chosen. In solid truth and practice the lessons of experience teach that overall you can count on the fact that one size in management does not fit all.