Here’s a riddle:

A merchant has a fox, a rabbit, and a head of lettuce and sits on the edge of a river. He has a small raft capable of carrying only himself and one item at a time, but without his supervision, the fox will eat the rabbit, and the rabbit will eat the lettuce. How can he successfully transport all goods from one side of the river to the next without losing the lettuce or the rabbit? The dilemma persists regardless of which side of the river they are on and there is no other way across.

If you took any time to contemplate the merchant’s quandary or worked out a way to aid him across the river—whether as a fun distraction, a powerful thought exercise, or because you just could not stomach the thought of that furry, little rabbit being left alone with the fox—you were strategizing.

The benefits of having a strategy are evident and highly touted in just about every aspect of our lives, whether you are heading up a Fortune 500 company; leading your team down the field in the Super Bowl behind by a touchdown with two minutes left; or attempting to organize your closet.

As is popular nowadays, particularly on the Internet, an approach or strategy can be narrowed down to a list of three or five or 10 items and their benefits. In business strategy, there are five popular steps said to be important. Dismissing differences in semantics, they are planning, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, knowing the capabilities needed to achieve your goal, proper allocation of resources, and knowing your environment.

Even at a cursory glance, these steps would strike one as applicable to just about any venture, including tackling that closet. But nowhere could it be more effective than in our manufacturing quality systems in the unprecedented times we are currently navigating with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read all about it in “Future-Proof Your Quality Systems” and “Training in the Age of COVID-19,” as well as everything else we have to offer in this month’s Quality.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

p.s. Share your solutions for the merchant on our social media pages.

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