How Successful Companies Achieve Excellence

by John Toepfer

Creating a Culture of Success

This article originally appeared on the Synthesis Technology Blog.

As a business owner and consultant for nearly 25 years I’ve become a keen observer of businesses and love to learn what makes them tick.  I find myself filling out a mental evaluation card on just about any business I encounter. I’m particularly inquisitive about what makes a company truly great (or not) and what the key drivers of the business are.

Every once in a while I encounter a business that really catches my attention for the excellence they exude.  I know for a fact that excellence doesn’t happen by accident so when I see an organization behaving in this manner I immediately start looking for root causes and asking questions: Continue reading


Smudge control: 6 tips for taking a company from good to great

by John Toepfer

Smudge control: 6 tips for taking a company from good to greatThis article originally appeared on the Synthesis Technology Blog.

I spent time at the Chicago Auto Show this weekend.  I enjoy getting a look at all the latest feats in automotive engineering; the new Corvette’s design, the economy of the plug-in Focus Eco, the luxury of the Jaguar XF.  Finding a billion dollars of R&D on display for close inspection under one roof is pretty close to heaven for me.  I also enjoy studying merchandising and marketing of cars.  There is enormous effort put into the presentations at this show and what we see tells us a lot about the manufacturers and the market.

As I wandered the rows of gleaming and carefully positioned vehicles, I couldn’t help but notice how many of those pristine polished paint jobs were besmirched by smudgy hand prints – sometimes in the oddest places too. (Timmy, did you have to smear your churro on that rocker panel?)

This is an auto show; land of first impressions and shiny fenders.  Shouldn’t someone be circulating the Chevy pavilion, polishing rag and spray wax in hand, ready to mop-up churro grease and dropped popcorn bits without delay?  So I began to take note of what brands did indeed have “smudge control” in their auto show game plan.  Which ones anticipated the problem and had the solution planned and staffed?  Acura and Ford accomplished this as well as a handful of others.  Good for them. And shame on those who didn’t. Continue reading