I went back again to watch the film “Joy,” which was originally released at Christmas 2015.Joy_TheMovie.png


JOY is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces. Jennifer Lawrence stars, with Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Elisabeth Röhm and Dascha Polanco. Like David O. Russell’s previous films, Joy defies genre to tell a story of family, loyalty, and love.


All the drama of real life—because it is real life

This film encapsulates all of the supply chain drama that, I am certain, you and your company have gone through in various stages. Maybe, these dramas are being repeated over and over in your real life:

  • Betrayal
  • Treachery
  • Loss of innocence
  • Intense emotional and human comedy
  • Facing a world of unforgiving commerce
  • Allies becoming adversaries and adversaries becoming allies

Without too much exaggeration, I can say this sounds like some of the companies I’ve visited and worked with over the last couple of decades.


Okay. Maybe “betrayal” and “treachery” are too strong. But, there certainly were company politics at work with people saying one thing behind closed doors and quite another thing in the more open meetings.


To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, “a company divided against itself” will find surviving and thriving to be all the more difficult.


All real success begins with a dream

At the outset, the dream is just to start a business and become successful.


However, year after year, the executives and managers usually go through some kind of planning exercise in which they are invited to dream about what the future will look like for the company in the coming year, two years, or even three to five years.


The film, Joy, opens with Joy’s grandmother, speaking as the narrator, saying,


“Everybody starts out with some kind of dream….”


I can tell you this, I have never, ever sat with a team of managers and executives who said, “Next year, or in the coming five years, let’s make plans to be mediocre, just like we have been for the last five years.”


Nevertheless, I can tell you that is precisely how the vast majority of companies end up.


Why is that?


Joy asks that same question in the film. In a heart-to-heart conversation with her best friend, Joy asks, “What happened to us, Jackie; all the things we used to dream about? I think they keep getting further and further away.”


In a flashback, Joy recalls a conversation with her then soon-to-be first (and ex-) husband. In the conversation, Joy enumerates many of the things that had gone wrong—certainly differently from her dreams—that seemed to be keeping her from moving ahead.


He consoles her by saying, “Maybe your dreams are on hold, right now. Huh?”


Smiling halfheartedly, Joy replies, “That’s a nice way of putting it.”


Are your supply chain (or corporate) dreams on hold right now?

We are sure you didn’t dream, or make your plans, to achieve mediocrity. We are almost positive that you’d like to reach higher than that.


So, what’s holding you back? Why are your dreams “on hold, right now?” Huh?


In the book Scaling Time, the authors write:


“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” [1]


In a crucial scene from the film, Joy has a discovery moment. While cleaning up spilled wine and broken glass, she cuts her hands again and again as she wrings out the mop. But, despite the apparent hardships she is facing, she thinks what no one else is thinking!


Her discovery in that moment became the basis of all the future success for herself, for her family, and even for her friends.


No spoilers here

I’m not going to give away the story-line here. You really ought to watch this film yourself.


Nevertheless, I will tell you this: that moment of discovery did not bring instant success.


She faced opposition from within her own family—much like those trying to bring new ideas often face opposition from within their own enterprises. There was no shortage of nay-sayers and “Doubting Thomas’s” surrounding her—even openly telling her that she could never succeed.


When success came, however, all those who opposed her were more than willing to jump on board and join in celebrating rewarding outcomes.


Real success comes from dreaming that the future can be different from today

Real success comes from dreaming that the future can, indeed, be different—better, even dramatically better—if we stop doing the same things we have always done and the way we have always done them!


If any of the methods we have been using could dramatically improve the performance of our supply chains, and dramatically increase our return on assets (ROA), then they would have done so long ago (since it is likely we’ve been trying small variations on the same methods for many, many years already)!


Everybody is seeing the same things.


But only those who learn to think what others are not thinking will break out of mediocrity.


It is time to get out of the day-to-day angst in your supply chain management and operations and find some real joy.


We are firmly convinced that becoming truly demand-driven (as advocated by the Demand Driven Institute) is the new thinking that can bring you, your company and your supply chain the joy you have been seeking.


What is “joy,” by the way?


Joy is "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying." [2]


Isn’t it time you got some of that in your enterprise and in your supply chain?


We can help you dream and bring into reality some joy—and help you bring an end to that nagging angst.


Your turn

Tell us about your dreams, successes or angst. We would like to hear from you. Leave your comments below, or contact us directly, if you prefer.



[1] Weilert, Matthew; Watau, BonnieRobin. Scaling Time: How I Learned to Love Logistics: A Straussian Adventure of Cross-Disciplinary Insight (Blue Two™ Series Book 7). Skerja Press, an imprint of STI Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/joy


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