Laminate It

I was chatting away with a chief exec about his emergent new business sales process. As the jargon goes, we wanted something simple and snappy to wrap up all the critical success factors and key customer gateways for any bid.

As we were in his office, he pulled open a drawer and said,

we must laminate it!

He then revealed a handful of shiny cards he kept.

They were from all manner of disciplines. Consultant expertise and quick how-to guides. Each on a finer point of business performance.

I instantly recalled when I first came across the wisdom of Deming whilst at Uni. Shunned by his American compatriots, he went to Japan in the Fifties. The fact that they eagerly embraced his thinking was said to be a major reason behind their economic revival.

I saw a video where a disciple of his (in England at HP’s plant on the M4 corridor) pulled out a laminated card from his inner jacket pocket. It listed each one of Deming’s famous 14 guiding principles so that he could always remind himself of them. The assembled class laughed in derision.

This disdain though was not at the content – elements such as create constancy of purpose, drive out fear and make transformation everybody’s job are indeed world class ambitions – it was rather the pride and pleasure the Deming devotee took from showing off his laminate.

Yet, now I see the merit. Not necessarily in holding a card kept closer to your heart than say a pic of your kids, but in having such a succinct, visual constant refresher at hand.

In this case, having a diagram of the sales process, with all the parts you cover to make success probable, jumping through the glossy cellophane, is indeed a good thing. Whether you keep it in your wallet or pin it to your cubicle wall, to draw it, to laminate, is a winner.

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