Americans have never fully learned the lessons of quality.
Consider the fable of the tortoise and the hare.
U.S. firms are the hare, leading the race with hotshot innovations. Gradually, the hare tires of anything that’s not brand spanking new, and eventually, the total-quality tortoise catches up. That’s because the tortoise is making constant, incremental improvements, revving up the quality in everything he does.
The hare, on the other hand, would rather chuck out the old device and start something new. That’s how Americans invented the transistor, the computer chip, 32 flavors of ice cream, and even global-positioning systems. But we often lose those markets as fast as we gain them because we don’t improve on the original article.
To overcome this cultural blind spot, focus less on the snazzy new flavors and more on the quality of every, single ingredient that goes in.
— Adapted from The Ice Cream Maker, Subir Chowdhury, Currency/Doubleday.