Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Good Models Build Better Businesses

In the last few days I’ve heard several examples of what I call "crossover concepts" that I want to share with you as a reminder.

One of the troubles with building thriving mediation practices is that we have an intangible "product" to promote and a consumer base that’s uneducated. Using crossover concepts can help us get closer to our goal, or at least my goal, of having mediation become a top choice for resolving disputes.

I’ll break up this discussion into two posts to avoid a very long one here.

Part 1 - Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has long been touted for its innovation in the airline industry in terms of operations and human resources. They strive to be better and actively search for ways to improve.

Southwest wanted to decrease its plane turnaround time - the time it takes to clean and refuel a plane - even though they were already the fastest in the industry. Where did that great idea come from? It was a crossover concept.

One of their employees was a NASCAR fan. While watching a race he realized that the pit crews were experts in rapidly prepping a car to get back into the race. Long story short - Southwest learned their methods and decreased its turnaround time.

What can you take from this?

Keep your mind open and actively search for great ideas in different fields. Mediators aren’t the only ones to struggles with challenges of credibility, education and demand.

Even great ideas can be improved. Mediators manage the process of communication very well. However, I’m sure that communication and the vehicles we use to communicate have evolved. Are we just keeping pace with these changes, or are we behind? Where’s the next innovation in communication and problem-solving?

That’s a lot to think about…

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.



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