“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford
When Henry Ford made that famous statement, he may well have been referring to his company’s early attempts at reinventing the traditional assembly line in the pursuit of mass production. After all, meaningful change is rarely achieved on the first try. It takes a certain degree of focus and resilience to keep working on a problem, even when initial efforts have fallen flat.
Today, just as in Ford’s time, we’re at an infection point in industrial production. And, parallel to the early 20th century, companies seeking to transform their operations are likely to face several false starts before they get it right. A ‘false start’ can take various forms, and while there is no single reason why businesses succumb to one, it’s important to recognise and learn from them. Typically, it’s not the case that the concept was wrong, rather the execution didn’t align with objectives.
While it may be difficult to come to terms with a false start, those companies that recognise when things aren’t going to plan, take reconciliatory action and get on the right path will typically bounce back stronger.