Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Audacity of Improvement

"Shorten your lever," the coach told me, "if you shorten your lever you'll get more power."
So I fixed my goggles and swam off trying to adjust my stroke to a 'shorter lever.'

It was in that moment that the idea of improvement requiring audacity came to me. After all, I'm 59 years old, and have been swimming since childhood. To think that I could improve at this point requires some audacity, at the very least!
Audacity is defined as:
boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
So is the alternative to audacity; complacency? Settling for what's good enough or something comfortable and easy? In Masters swimming we do a lot of laps. If improvement isn't the goal then I'll be practicing the same bad stroke over and over again?! Drilling and mapping something less good repeatedly starts to resemble the infamous quote about insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I believe the same audacity applies at work too. The company started 23 years ago and has many goals – profitability, secure employment, safe workplace, and more. Within all that has been the constant striving for improvement, for doing better; and rejecting complacency as acceptable. Fenway Group is undertaking Lean Six Sigma processes and the training that will further establish a commitment to continuous improvement.

I've been a part of an industry that has changed rapidly over the past two decades. If  I've learned anything I've learned that within those changes is where opportunity for improvement exists. 

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change."  ~ Charles Darwin

P.S. After weeks and weeks of practicing my new stroke with a shorter lever, I'm happy to report shaving 5 seconds off my 100 yard interval. Look out Michael Phelps!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Best Print Job Ever!

I've been involved in design and print for the past 23 years. To be honest I've never thought about which job, of the thousands of jobs we've done, was the best. Perhaps it’s not a matter of reflection as much as it is being open to receiving it...and when this order came in I recognized it instantly.
Oddly, it’s not a project that I'd spent much of any time thinking about, reeling in, or anything like that. It's not even a large order by most standards; as a matter of fact this order was for printing one. Yes, one.

This was an order for printing diplomas and certificates for a college. We've done it before for several of the schools in Boston, but this contained my wife's diploma. This June she will be ordained as a rabbi after seven years of study.

That alone is an accomplishment worthy of note. For me part of what makes this so special is what it took to get there. What started as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream turned into a long and unexpected journey.
Studying Talmud while
receiving chemotherapy

Not only did my wife start her studies at age 60, an age that most people do not embark on new careers, but two years into the six-year program she was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout it all she never doubted the completion of her studies! In the process she was transformed into a wellspring of wisdom and spiritual awakening, while exhibiting grace and gratitude. I was witness to her finding blessings throughout the whole experience. She has truly earned the honor and title for which she has worked so hard. How fitting, for me, that a symbol of this work is represented with a printed document!

I've often spoken of the role of print in the age of the internet of things. Of all the examples that can demonstrate the importance of print, a diploma…especially this diploma is the epitome of the power of print!