Monday, October 06, 2008

Open letter to Chet Richards

Certain to Win by Chet Ricahrds Chet: Please accept my sincere apologies for not taking the time to completely and thoroughly read your book over two years ago when I bought it. It was my birthday present to myself, like so many other books in my library. Little did I know its true value. As you know, it came highly recommended by none other than H. William Dettmer. Three of his guest posts here (on SKI on Throughput) contained one or more references to your book, Certain to Win. I should have known better. There is a concern among some in business community that the use of military examples should not be used in business. I brought some of that baggage with me when I skimmed your book. Yes, I am a USMC veteran (served two years as 0844, advancing to E4, and received a Letter of Commendation). Yes, I have used military examples for profit in my businesses and those businesses of my clients. Yet on more than one occasion I have heard world renown business educators share of their concern, "that business is not war." Perhaps they seek to reserve the term "war" for describing the death and destruction that accompanies war. I cannot say. I will not guess. Allow me to simply suggest that I am sensitive to the issue. I was overly sensitive. I would ask that others seek to understand the matter for themselves. Gather facts and make an informed decision. I love to make "snowmobiles" as Colonel John Boyd called it. This post by Dettmer, Destruction and Creation: Analysis and Synthesis, does a great job of exploring that process of creating snowmobiles. As does your book, Certain to Win. Over the next few days, I will share some out takes from your book with my readers, and show how they have influenced my thinking. Or will.
"Not only were their processes quicker, but Honda knew or learned how to exploit this advantage to achieve a decisive result in the marketplace" —Page 27, Certain to Win
This passage was in regard to Yamaha's 1981 attempt to become the world leader in motorcycle manufacturing. As I am sure you recall, during this battle for the marketplace (approximately 18 months), Honda introduced over 110 new bikes to Yamaha's 37. In the first chapter, your point that victory is not always to the strong is well taken. Your introduction of "time" as a construct throughout the affairs of all business starts to take shape. The highest praise that I can bestow is simply that having just completed a thorough reading of your book, I will begin to read it afresh tomorrow morning. Again, thanks for taking the time to share your unique insights with the world through this book. I now understand how little I have understood the power of Boyd's work. You have made it come alive in ways that I am only now beginning to appreciate. Thank you. I am a new person today, because of Certain to Win. Enthusiastically, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey
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