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Robert Crandall headed engineering and manufacturing at Eastman Kodak during the “copier wars” with Xerox back in the 1970s. He faced two problems:
  1. Kodak was too hierarchical to respond quickly to marketplace trends.

  2. He couldn’t rebuild the company overnight.
As a quick fix, he created “structured business meetings” and cycled all 1,500 of his employees through them every year. They would meet directly with management to talk about problems in inventory or production.

By the mid 1980s, quality had improved 100 percent, inventories had dropped by half and on-time deliveries had risen from 82 percent to 95 percent … all without radical restructuring.

The message: If you can’t implement a perfect solution to a problem, do a great job of implementing a good solution, instead.

—Adapted from “What Leaders Really Do,” John P. Kotter, Harvard Business Review on Leadership, Harvard Business School Press.

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