Puzzle logic Featured

7:00pm EDT January 31, 2007

My 3-year-old son, Sam, and I did a lot of picture puzzles over the holiday break.

Sam’s pretty darn good for a 3-year-old, solving 100-piece puzzles without much, if any, help from his old man. At first, I thought he was just memorizing where all the pieces went. But the more puzzles we did, the more I noticed him looking at the finished picture on the box for a moment before beginning, then gazing at all the pieces spread out.

After that, he simply built the big picture he saw by analyzing all the smaller pieces and determining how they fit together in the correct way.

In business, it’s no different.

To build a successful company, you must first understand and recognize the big picture, then be able to answer the question, “What is it you’re trying to create?”

That big picture is made up of getting the right smaller pieces in the correct places — the rollout of a new product or service, sales growth of an existing line, driving efficiency and cost savings through a segment of operations, developing new leaders, making a smart hire. Together, they add up to something greater.

When you focus on the big picture, you have a finalized goal in mind that you can aim for and, if done correctly, smaller milestones along the way that you can check off as you achieve.

This month, Smart Business and MAGNET are proud to recognize the 2007 eVolution of Manufacturing Award winners for their ability to adapt to a global manufacturing economy.

Our honorees are successful not just because they increased sales, became Six Sigma Black Belts or introduced a new product to the marketplace. They are successful because their leaders were able to see the big picture. They understood what they wanted their companies to become and, just as important, they recognized the smaller pieces that needed to be put together to achieve the goals.

Like Sam, they didn’t look at 36 different pieces and become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity, odd shapes or incomplete picture that stared back at them. Instead, they bore down and focused on manufacturing one larger picture out of many smaller ones.

And their ability to do so is worth recognition.

Contact Editor Dustin Klein at dsklein@sbnonline.com.