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Another First Day

I would venture to say almost all of us celebrate first days. What exactly do I mean by the term first day? In my thoughts I divide the concept into distinct pieces.

  1. Going to a new job or giving birth to a new child is a first day. In these cases the date is memorable and recognized in the future.
  2. The other is what we create when we need to clean slate. This could be a part of our life or the entire inner workings of our very being.

The most common first day follows the end of the previous year. Yes I am referring to the often employed New Year’s Resolution. We plan in later December, put or thoughts to paper and envision what we would accomplish in the next 12 months. Whether these resolutions are personal, professional or both we prepare our game plan to meet these objectives. We clearly define our first day and work through the details. We ready ourselves for the coming struggles and prepare for the many changes required to be successful. As an aside, many of us begin our trek to excellence on the 2nd of January. After all January 1st is a holiday and we must honor it! As the year progresses our intensity wanes and the first day is a distant memory. In some cases the original plan has been modified or abandoned. We moved on to other issues or revert back to the dreaded status quo.

So you may ask where I am headed with this discussion.

I believe each and every day is a first day. From a business perspective we have financial budgets with quarterly, monthly and daily targets. These are important upper level plans. We also have goals related to safety, quality, delivery, cost and growth. The use of Daily Management enables success of each first day. Yes, historical results have value but dwelling on the past provides zero benefits.

Daily Management allows you to refresh your data, define your goals and objectives for that one and only day! You may say, “This is great for redundant tasks such as the manufacturing floor but projects are quite a different story.” My thoughts, even in a project setting work break down schedules are the same as daily management. Why is this important? In either one’s personal or professional life, success should be driven by incremental daily improvements rather than rely on resolutions.

So have at it. A first day awaits us all!

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About the Author

Pete Papantos is an operations director at a Fortune 500 company. He is responsible for the global execution of their strategic plan and driving operational excellence using lean methods. In addition, Pete is a graduate instructor with emphasis in operations and strategic management — both in traditional and online settings.