There has been much written and said about the Foxconn project that is currently moving forward in Wisconsin. There has been much speculation about what will be produced, about the amount of jobs that will be created and at what rate of pay. And much like the current landscape of the entire country, there have been major supporters and major detractors to this undertaking. I spent Wednesday morning, in Madison, at an event put on the the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and I was able to listen to presentations involving executives from Foxconn. I make no attempt to sway any individual’s opinion on the subject matter, I am just reporting on what I experienced.
Having spent decades in the workforce, I have sat in on countless seminars, information gathering sessions and sponsored symposiums in conference rooms, in nice hotels, all over the country. In other words, Death by Power Point. Three hours usually seem more like three days when sipping bad coffee and checking emails and wishing you were anywhere but there. This gathering was nothing like that…by leaps and bounds. If the quality of the presentation and the simplistic depth of the message of the presenters is any indication of how they handle operations, the likelihood of success is great.
In that discussion, Point A lead into Point B which led directly to Point C which tied back into Point A. Everything from the Industrial Revolution to a spider web was used as an illustration to create a window into the operation of a massive and profitable organization. The commitment and re commitment to the state of Wisconsin was evident. And maybe most impressive, was the fact that nothing was “dummied down”. It was as if they were politely saying, “we are going to assume there is no need to start at one-plus-one equals two and quite frankly, if our starting point of this conversation is past you, we might not be a good fit together”, Man, that was refreshing!
The message was as simple as it was deep. It was detailed but had few details and it came with the underlying theme that in order to survive and thrive in this age of information, one must be willing to embrace the future and be part of the solution, not part of the problem. One must employ their A Game for their own good and potentially for the good of others. Action items were clearly defined, hands were shook, questions were asked and answered and it is probable that the majority of the 100 or so business leaders in the state of Wisconsin walked away from that meeting with a positive outlook on their chances to eat at the table…regardless of size or services offered. And that is rare.
There is no real way of telling how the Foxconn project will end because it really isn’t even out of the starting blocks…yet. To try and dig into specific details from this gathering would be irresponsible and far too speculative because it really wasn’t that type of conversation. And I am not seeking to editorialize my three hours and speak out about why this project will or will not be successful for everyone involved. My biggest take away from that meeting was simple…these folks have their act together, they are here for the long haul and if any business in Wisconsin wishes to ally with Foxconn, the steps are well laid out for that to happen. Don’t let some talking head or a reporter who have never spent one day in the business world convince you that this is anything but what it is…an extraordinarily advanced example of Business 101.
For more Foxconn news, check out foxconnwi.com