CHAPTER 12Same Principles, Other Uses

Some years ago one of us consulted with a candy company whose policy was to shop daily on the world market for the finest sugar and cocoa. Whatever the price, they paid it. What they feared most was “incremental degradation,” a slippery slope of small cost reductions. “Probably nobody notices the first one,” said a staff member. “It’s tiny. So we make another. Then we make a third. One day we wake up to discover that our unique quality—the soul of our success—is gone.” So the company stuck to one standard only: to make each candy bar as perfect as possible.

On the other hand, hardly a person has lived who has not thought that if something is good, they can make it better. We and hundreds of colleagues have ...

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