Over the last 4 years we have developed a penchant for continuous improvement, and once you decide to take that journey, you go down a lot of pretty enlightening roads, one of which was a presidents class that I just took.

I spent 2 days in the “Class for Presidents” at The Aileron Campus in Dayton, OH, and just ate up the experience. It was about envisioning what the future state of Oregon should look like, and that’s a tough one to put into words. The fact really hit me last night when my wife asked what I learned, and even though I took in so much I felt like I was going into overload, I had a hard time putting what I learned into words or specifics, I just had a vision of the future Oregon.

To begin, it really helped me to learn what Aileron was and what their mission is. That helps so you don’t think it’s another flavor of the month management system. The whole idea started out as the Iams Management training program, and over time it grew to became Aileron. Clay Mathile was concerned where would people work when GM, Delco, Mead and NRC were not the major employers in town and who would carry the payrolls. It would be the small businesses, and they would need entrepreneurial expertise to grow and be profitable enough to carry all the payrolls to keep Dayton thriving. Knowing that really helped put me in the right frame of mind. I guess that I have read so many management books and been to so many seminars that I just take it all with a grain of salt. But this was real and I was very impressed.

I learned how much is up to me. And that’s not to take anything away from all the people that work at Oregon, but it’s my job to be able to visualize that state of the future and what its going to take to get there. That’s not to tough until you figure out it all needs to be based in reality, and then you really need to think about it a little deeper.

I took a course like this 7 years ago, right after buying the shop and it’s amazing how much more of it really makes sense after 7 years in the trenches of doing the presidents job. And the facilitator of the course ran a large manufacturing company and his stories from experience wove right into the material. It was good stuff.

There was a whole lot more I learned, but instead of going into details, if you’re interested in hearing more give me a call and I’ll talk to you about my experience at Aileron. If you are the president of a company I would highly suggest that you take a look at it, especially since we are so lucky to have this resource right here in Dayton. I believe that a professional management system along with a desire for continuous improvement through out any company is one more key to sustainability.