National Governors Association Annual Meeting, Thomas Friedman Remarks Thomas Friedman, 3 time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, spoke at the recent National Governors Association Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. His book The World Is Flat is required reading. Amazon link: The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first CenturyInternational Relations Books)

He makes a lot of points and the video of his speech is an absolute must watch. But I'm going to focus on one of his points. We need to be better.

It's not good enough to just show up anymore. You cannot continue to remain average. Average businesses, average non-profits, average employees. You need to be above average. You're not competing with the company in the next town that does the same thing you do. You're competing with the company in China, in India, in Indonesia, that does the same thing you do. And we feel that here very strongly. For goodness sake, we're an electronics manufacturer. Ever heard of Foxconn before? Yeah that Foxconn. The one that employs nearly 1,000,000 workers and provides manufacturing services for Apple, Dell, HP, just about any consumer electronics companies you can imagine. 20 years ago, if you wanted to have a circuit board manufactured, it wasn't very easy. You either had to do it yourself, which takes a huge capital investment, or hire a contract manufacturer. And how did you find them? A business listing in your local area. How about today? How would you find a contract manufacturer today? Google. You'd type in "contract manufacturer" and get 2.52 million results. Worthington Assembly is one tiny little itsy bitsy result in all of those 2.52 million results. So no, we cannot be average anymore.

What exactly does that take? Creativity. We employee extremely creative people. They might just not realize it yet. Or maybe we've done a poor job of letting their creativity blossom. As we've learned from the Mass MEP, we need to empower our workforce. Allow them to be creative and come up with the best ideas that we could never think of on our own.

We're not sitting down. We are not standing by idly or waiting for Washington to fix our problems. We're taking action and making a difference. We are going to have an impact. We are going to show people how it's done.