Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Need to Experiment and Learn from our Mistakes

Stick with Your Vision.
By: Eskew, Mike,
Harvard Business Review,
July/August 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 7/8

You cannot simply create solutions for your customers week by week. You have to prepare for what they will need in five or ten years from now, too, and that takes research, effort, and scenario planning.

It took more than 20 years for (our) international operations to produce consistent profits, partly because of our heavy investments in the expansion during that period. Another reason, frankly, was the need to experiment and learn from our mistakes.

Three pillars of our culture are training, employee stock ownership, and promotion from within. We're famous for the extreme care we take in designing job processes and measuring performance (if it moves, we measure it). But this approach works only if people know how to do their jobs, which is why we spend more than $400 million every year on training. Our highly trained workforce is a crucial element of our business model.

MIKE ESKEW is the chairman and CEO of United Parcel Service, a global provider of logistics and delivery services headquartered in Atlanta.

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