My favorite Saturday morning plan is brewing a pot of dark joe from freshly ground beans - with the goal of settling in with my cozy pajamas by around 8:00 am to watch a favorite news show. If my husband isn’t golfing, he grabs a plate of fruit and joins me. I love my laid-back Saturday mornings.
This past weekend, while waiting for Mike to get his cup of coffee, I turned to the wrong channel and caught a “The Mo You Know” survey on Mo Rocca’s Henry Ford Innovation Nation.
His survey question displayed the picture below and asked what it was called. In my mind, I answered “Bottle Cap!” And, after waiting through a commercial, I discovered I was right.
Mo shared a bit about the bottle cap inventor, William Painter. And suddenly, I didn’t miss my news program at all!
William Painter was a civil-war era, self-taught engineer working in the carbonated beverage industry – beer bottlers. At the time, carbonated beverages were capped with a single-use cork. Bottles were rounded on the bottom requiring they be stacked on their side, like wine bottles today, so the cork wouldn’t dry out and lose its seal, leaking the carbonation.
A very practical problem to be solved! Painter’s solution: a metal cap with 24 flutes - resembling a crown - sealing the contents of the bottle.
Called the Crown Cork, Painter’s invention was patented in 1892.
What “Mo-stly” caught my attention in Mo Rocca’s Saturday morning vignette is that William Painter’s invention resulted in the international standardization of bottlenecks so that any carbonated beverage would be sealed by the Crown Cork. Initially for bottled beer, then during prohibition, for soft drinks. His simple Crown Cork became the cornerstone cap that shaped the bottling industry over a century ago - and continues today. Go ahead, check out the bottle cap on your Leinenkugel Summer Shandy or Miller Light.
I reflected on how a single change-oriented leader can implement a seemingly insignificant tool or practice that transforms a culture – just like the Crown Cork shaped the bottling industry. I call these “cornerstone shifts.” Simple, easy to implement practices that, in the short-term, may not seem significant. But in the long-term, culture is shaped by those cornerstone shifts.
Here are five no cost and proven examples of cornerstone shifts any Crown Cork Leader can easily implement:
As a manager, I respond to three questions: 1) Your greatest strengths and major contributions, 2) opportunities for growth and learning, and 3) a summary statement.
The consistent practice of any of these five simple tools will begin to transform your culture – like the Crown Cork shaped the bottling industry.
When leaders intentionally shape culture with simple, replicable tools, cool things can happen. In Painter’s case, the Crown Cork is considered an early form of a disposable product. A decade later, the Crown Cork inspired King G. Gillette to invent – you guessed it – disposable razors.
It’s common to imagine an innovator like Painter to be brilliant, tough, unwavering. At least, that’s the portrait that formed in my mind. Until I came across a memoir Painter’s son, Orrin, published in 1914. While reading, I found myself growing fond of Mr. Painter.
What’s a Crown Cap Cornerstone Shift you can implement this week? Want help? Our methods are time-proven and incorporate scientific techniques for helping you break through the status-quo and focus on results. Click here to get started.