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Cultural IEDs

By Art van Bodegraven | 08/14/2016 | 7:24 AM

We faced a bit of a dilemma a few months ago. The Kid had undertaken a comparison of the corporate lifelines of Samsung and Apple for a school project. He, no techno-geek, was fascinated by the organizational and leadership styles involved.

So, when Steve Jobs, the film, was released, he wanted - beyond mere wishing - to see it. The R rating was an obvious immediate challenge.

But, research disclosed that the issue was solely language - no starlets were violated in the making of the movie, and AK-47s played no role in the plot and its outcome.

Off we trouped to the nearest mega-plex, and entered the auditorium fortified with dead popcorn and super-annuated Twizzlers. Language did, in fact abound, but it was authentic Jobs. And the story was mesmerizing, quintessentially limning the protagonist, powerful in his dismissal of all disagreement and opposition, and littered with gratuitous, now banal, crudity.

Look, I ain't no Dana Carvey playing the Church Lady. It was genuine, real, and representative; I've no problem with that. The Kid later observed, "I don't know if Grandma heard them, but there were seventeen f-bombs in that movie."  Grandma has since invested in hearing assistance.

Personally, I think there were more than seventeen. The point is that we, and The Kid, have become inured to a pervasive societal crudity. We accept it as a matter of course; it becomes part of the background noise.

At work, as the challenges of supply chain execution wear us down, we might succumb to an inelegant noun or adverb. We'll all live through that. But, we cannot allow genuine problems, shortcomings, unmet requirements, or sub-standard practices and processes to become part of the background noise.

We've got to be better than that.



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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