Substance over style Featured

7:00pm EDT January 29, 2008

Iheard a disturbing comment on the radio last month. It was the morning of the Iowa caucuses, and while describing the U.S. presidential election season a caller said it really didn’t matter who garnered either political party’s nomination because most of what the politicians say they’ll do is nothing more than lip service.

When asked why, the gentleman chucked and said, “Well, there’s an old saying: ‘If given a choice between doing a good job and being perceived as doing a good job, I’ll take being perceived of doing a good job any day.’ That pretty much sums up U.S. elections these days.”

Clearly, the comment was made in jest as a poke at politics, where lip service rules. But it unfortunately rings far too true and applies to more than just politics. Today, perhaps more than ever, perception has become reality. If you think something is true, it is, whether that’s the case or not.

Consider your workplace. Do your employees care more about doing a good job or being recognized by management for doing a good job? If it’s the latter, perhaps it’s time for a change. Try including some sort of recognition that comes from peers, which often have better insight about who’s actually doing a good job rather than appearing to do so.

So that is why this issue of Smart Business, which you hold in your hands, is a tribute to more doing and less talking. Beyond our head-to-toe redesign, which you can read more about in CEO Fred Koury’s column, our two Northeast Ohio editions feature profiles of a group of manufacturing companies that have done more than create the perception of change.

Our 2008 eVolution of Manufacturing honorees have actually done a good job adapting their organizations to compete — and win — in the modern global economy, where action rules.

Our cover story on The Timken Co. Chairman Ward J. “Tim” Timken Jr. describes how even a 108-year-old company can’t allow itself to get by on what it says. It actually has to back up the claims because beyond performance there’s a reputation to uphold. As Timken says, “Don’t ever put your name on something you’d ever have cause to be ashamed of.” <<

Contact Editor Dustin Klein at dsklein@sbnonline.com