A tailgate every 45 seconds

That was the goal a customer I visited stated. They make tailgates at the facility, and the goal was to pump out a finished product every 45 seconds. Incredible!

Really, it’s an impressive feat. His job was to keep those systems running, or finding ways to make processes more efficient. I didn’t have time to ask him his thoughts on how he liked the job, or if he desired a job that was more “visionary.” But I looked at his job as an “optimizer.”

His job is the exact kind of work that built the industrious society we live in. The kind of work that allowed more people to have homes, cars, access to clean water. However, with those needs met already, “optimizer” jobs, aren’t the ones that create tension with society as whole and say, “We can do better. Here’s a new trajectory.” Instead, “optimizers” say it to executives, and end up with a tailgate produced every 40 seconds.

Ideas that push society forward are things like fuel cells allowing Semi-trucks to run on hydrogen, 3D printers allowing increased creativity and manufacturing never before possible, I’m sure the list could continue ad nauseam. If there is a vision floating in your head, share it with society. Start creating some tension. It will create a path for it to come out of your head.

P.S. I think both “the optimizer” and “the visionary” are necessary, however, I think one has a more clear career path, so I share what I’ve witnessed and learned about the less clear one.