Starting or running a business can be both exciting and daunting. It can provide you with the freedom to pursue your passion, experience fulfilment and the flexibility to work on your terms. It also brings with it a constant set of challenges for you to solve. What if more of those challenges were the ones you actually enjoyed solving?
Lean manufacturing is a methodology that aims to minimise waste and maximise value in the production process. The origin of Lean is that it comes from the Japanese car manufacturing industry.
Lean was so successful in revolutionising and growing the Japanese car manufacturing industry that Lean developed an enormous amount of international interest. It has been found that within the Lean methodology there are many universal principles that are relevant and which can be applied to other industries.
One of these Lean manufacturing principles is push and pull drivers. In Lean manufacturing a push driver refers to producing goods in advance, based on a forecast of demand. It often leads to waste as more product is produced than is often required for customer demand.
In Lean a pull driver involves producing only what is needed when it is needed, based on customer demand. A pull driver also has the added benefit in than it can lead to reducing bottlenecks and creating improved flow within a business.
Push and pull drivers are not limited to just manufacturing, these drivers can also be found in the reasons for starting a business or starting a new project within an existing business.
These type of push drivers can be things like, to escape a dead-end job, overcome debt, constant product errors or customer complaints. Push drivers are mostly negative in nature and can lead you to a positive outcome. They can provide you with an initial burst of energy that gets you moving. However longer term, constant push drivers can hold your business back or create constant havoc in your business.
Examples of these push drivers are, starting a business to escape debt, you may find that as your debt reduces, your motivation wanes and so too does your business. You may develop the habit of only working on improving your business when customers start complaining or something breaks. It can lead you to feeling like your business is just one drama after another.
Pull drivers are those things that draw you towards doing something as if being pulled by an invisible magnet. They can sometimes be a little scary but are positive in nature such as an inspired vision for your business. Pull drivers are enjoyable and energizing, unlike push drivers are principally to avoid some form of pain.
An example of this type of pull driver may be that you started your business because of an inner feeling of having a mission to help people. As your business begins helping people you likely experience feeling fulfilled and energised. You’ll want to continue experiencing this and likely look at how you can further improve what you offer. By default, it will lead you to proactively improving your business operation and lead to increasing efficiency and reducing unnecessary stress.
Motivation vs Inspiration
Another way to view push and pull drivers is to think of a push driver as motivation and a pull driver as inspiration. My definition of motivation is something that requires an external stimulus to cause you to take action. The language that is typically used by someone responding to motivation is I should, I need to, I’ll have to or I must do.
I define inspiration as something which is internal, it’s constantly present without stimulation, and it feels uplifting. The language used when describing inspiration is it’s something I feel called to, I enjoy, I like, I’d love or I want to.
If you find that your business is running mainly on push drivers, then the chances are that you and your team aren’t really enjoying working in the business as much as you could. The business may be plagued with things like equipment breakdowns, problems, and staff frequently taking personal days.
On the other hand, if your business operates mainly on pull drivers then it’s likely that you and your team enjoy and look forward to going to work. The team will constantly be finding new ways to improve what is done and how it’s done.
By using pull drivers in your business, you can create a sustainable and fulfilling venture that provides value to your customers and allows you to achieve your goals. If you’re feeling stuck or burned out in your business, it might be time to reevaluate your approach and see if you can incorporate more pull drivers into your strategy.
Remember, it’s possible to create a business that is both successful and fulfilling. If you’re interested in learning more about how to incorporate pull drivers into your business strategy, I invite you to schedule a free discovery call with me. Let’s work together to help you achieve your goals and build a business that you love.