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The Slope of One: Optimize, Never Compromise

You’re a decision-maker.  You make things happen.  The stalemate here


Figure 1.


is frustrating to you.  You want your employee to be safe.  But shutting down the factory and waiting for the pandemic to go away is not going to satisfy the needs of your customers or those of your employees. You have a business to run.  People are depending on you.


Yes, you have official “dot gov” and “dot org” rules, but those are only minimally directive. You need a way of addressing the challenge in the way you are accustomed: as problem to be defined and solved.  Enter the Slope of One


The Slope of One strategy reframes the challenge from a one-dimensional stalemate to 2-D addressable and solvable problem by performing a simple rearrangement.



Figure 2.

Where once there was no solution, now there are choices… many solutions.  How much safety?  How much productivity?  And what do you have to do to get more of each?  Slope of One provides specific guidance in each of those two areas – more safety, higher productivity – to put you back in control.  Your factory; you get to decide. 


But there’s one more element necessary for success.  It is sometimes called compliance, but enthusiasm is a more desirable target.  During the pandemic, the penalty for non-compliance can be disastrous.  A strategy that inspires voluntary commitment to the oft-used phrase “we’re all in this together” would help direct behaviors in a healthy, life- and business- enhancing way.  What all stakeholders – owners, managers, employees – need is a sense that their personal needs and the needs of the business are the same. 


The metaphor Slope of One, seen graphically in Figure 2, indicates a fair balance of both

  • Health and safety – employees need it for themselves; employers need it to keep the plant operational

  • Productivity and profitability – businesses are created for those purposes; owners benefit as do paid employees.


When everyone knows Figure 1 is a false statement of the challenge, and that a balanced Slope of One approach is in force, factory personnel are turned into a self-directed, motivated and enthusiastic team.

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