Sushi

How Sushi and Automobile Production Can Improve Your Sales Process

What do sushi and automobiles have in common? The answer is simple. Both the art of masterful sushi creation and the efficient production of high-quality cars share the need for constant improvement and refinement. As professionals, we should create a plan for constant improvement in business and in our personal lives. There is much to learn from an 85-year-old master Sushi chef and from a world-renowned organizational consultant.

LESSONS FROM A MASTER SUSHI CHEF

Jiro Ono holds the distinction as the oldest recipient of the extremely coveted Michelin 3-star designation in the Guinness Book of World Records. As a Japanese national hero with a humble and purist approach to Sushi, Ono has elevated his Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant to almost mythical lore. Widely considered one of the premier sushi restaurants in the world, Ono’s culinary achievements stand in rare company.

So how has Ono accomplished such feats?

His success is predicated upon a combination of deep personal belief and an inward drive for professional excellence. His lifelong pursuit of process improvement, dedication to industry-specific education, commitment to discipline and unwavering eye for quality have secured his success, and, if properly immolated, may guarantee your own.

INSIGHTS FROM AN ORGANIZATIONAL CONSULTANT

Ono’s standardizations are reminiscent of another leader from a different era: the late W. Edward Deming. Deming was a famous post-World War II organizational consultant and statistician who masterfully developed a visionary methodology for manufacturing. His idea was simple: Check for quality throughout the process and improve the product continuously in incremental steps.

His views were snubbed by American companies and first tested, ironically, in post-war Japan. Deming’s 14 Points, a collection of managerial philosophies for effectiveness, are lauded as best-practices and have been applied to many products and services worldwide. The theories have provided key insights into the general field of organizational leadership.

EXAMPLE OF PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFECTIVENESS

Ono is a living example of Deming’s theories on productivity and effectiveness.

Ono literally dreams of Sushi, and constantly envisions new culinary techniques. His personal dedication to his craft has made his restaurant and his product an extension of his personal mantra.

For example, in years past, Ono and his team kneaded a particular fish one way to gain a certain texture, but now, because of Ono’s relentless search for excellence, his artisans massage the fish for over an hour to produce a superior texture.

Another example rests within the vinegar rice—a simple and tasty key part of great sushi. Before, Ono and his team used standard rice and standard techniques. Now, the apprentices use the highest value rice with devised high-pressure methods that add to the overall experience of the sushi.

4 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SALES PROCESS

So what can you do to improve your process as a sales professional?

DO NOT REST ON PAST SUCCESS

Ono does never takes vacations, even after winning the Michelin 3-star designation. Likewise, it’s important to remain motivated by the desire to become better, to do more. Make sure to continually set new standards of excellence that will serve as the momentum needed for future growth.

FIND THE CRITICAL PROCESS OR VALUE ADD

Find the points within your process that are the most critical for success. These points of value can be found by removing certain components from a workflow and studying the changes. Is your work more efficient without these parts? Is your work more effective without these distractions? In every process, certain key actions bring more value than others. Study your particular process to learn which key points lead to your desired results.

INSTITUTE A METHODOLOGY FOR IMPROVEMENT

Do you focus only on your mistakes? Or do you think about the ways you can improve and implement goals in which to foster improvement? Pay attention to your work and, using Deming’s model, create a strategy that limits negative variation while increasing the replication of positive processes.

STRENGTHEN THE WEAKEST PART OF THE PROCESS

Once you have located the strongest parts of your process, locate the weakest areas. What are the weaknesses within your team and organization? Don’t be afraid to perform a critical analysis of your shortcomings. Like Jiro’s kneading technique or his selection of rice, once you isolate the weaker components within your process, the opportunities for advancing your product, and your work, are endless.

Striving For Improvement

Improvement should be the goal of every business person, manager or consultant. Whether you follow the tested methods of W. Edward Deming, or the life example of Jiro Ono, improvement should be a neverending push for excellence. There is always more to be done. Ono once said: “I’ll continue to climb and try to reach the top. But no one knows where the top is.”

After 50 years of reinventing, re-imagining and improving his culinary technique, he is not satisfied with “good enough,” and neither should you.