Stimulate Your Business
by Jerry Scrivo
Business is a Multi-Facetted Activity.
Any business operation embodies a number of distinctly different functions which are broadly classified as Marketing, Product/Service, Pricing, Operations, Communications, or Finance. These are all connected and coordinated by a Planning and Implementation function as shown in our “Business Puzzle” on the opening page. Each of these areas can be subdivided into a number of familiar categories. For instance Operations includes activities related to producing and delivering product; these include sales, materials, production, quality and delivery. In practice, each business has its own unique blend of functional elements. This only increases the difficulty and confusion experienced by those seeking to answer specific business challenges. In truth, one size does not fit ALL!
Why Businesses Fail
Businesses fail for many reasons, but the root cause is always a shortfall in one or more of the key functional areas. This often occurs because the owner is skilled in the “Operations” arena having a depth of knowledge and experience in producing and delivering a product or service to customers. He then incorrectly believes that this expertise is sufficient to successfully operate his business. However, sooner or later as the business develops, new needs arise in other functional arenas. If the business is unable to meet these needs, growth stalls, decline sets in and if uncorrected, the business will eventually fail. In short, business owners and mangers need HELP. First they must understand that they need help, and then learn how best to secure the required assistance. A key challenge for company leaders is selecting a method and sourcing for meeting new functional requirements.
The Challenge of Growth
A problem that business owners face is that as the business grows they become overwhelmed, frustrated and feel like prisoners in the business. An unfavorable economy puts even greater strain on the business, its owners and the top level managers. They find themselves working IN the business instead of ON it. They work harder but can’t resolve their most critical challenges. Whether they know it or not, their number one challenge is to effectively managing their own time. Sometimes even hiring additional personnel doesn’t help because training new workers is an additional burden. Other times, poor hiring decisions result in loading the company up with the wrong people doing the wrong jobs which ends up causing catastrophic problems.
Strategies for Success
Let’s look at six deadly myths which often limit entrepreneurial success, and the reality that you must build into your business strategy.
1. MYTH: A GREAT product or service will sell itself.
REALITY: The truth is that customers must need, want and be able to afford your product. When a market for the product exists, it must be large enough and you must take enough market share to generate sufficient profit. The wise entrepreneur always does marketing before committing funds to a new venture.
2. MYTH: Rapid growth is the key to success.
REALITY: Frequently rapid growth is what kills an otherwise promising business. When sales outrun the capacity to produce, failure is just around the corner. It’s not ALL about sales!
3. MYTH: I need to do it ALL myself.
REALITY: If you’re the expert, and the performance of others has disappointed you, or if you feel like you can not afford to hire employees, it is easy to develop the attitude that you must do it all yourself. The problem is that you are the limiting factor in the growth and development of your business. No one person has all the talent and skills needed for the business to grow and prosper. Even if you had the skill and talents, you would run out of time and energy long before the business grew into a significantly entity. The wise entrepreneur knows his strengths and weaknesses. He spends his precious time on his HIGH payoff activities, and he employs others to do everything else.
4. MYTH: All cash out is EXPENSE and must therefore be minimized.
REALITY: While a penny saved is indeed a penny earned, not all cash out is actually an expense. In fact, the most important expenditures are INVESTMENTS in the future. As such, they must be carefully weighed in terms of their expected ROI and monitored to assure that expectations are met. Without wise reinvestment of time and treasure into your business, you can not expect it to grow and prosper.
5. MYTH: It is necessary to find a simple competitive advantage, such as customer service, systematization, high quality, or a good location.
REALITY: Ordinary competitive advantages don’t work because other business owners seek to duplicate what their competitors offer. For instance, most businesses will tell you that excellent customer service is their competitive advantage, but frequently their customers will tell a different story. The fact is that customers expect the basics to be available from everyone. They are considered to be entry level requirements. To achieve a real competitive advantage, your differentiation must be unique, of high value to customers, and something competitors can’t or won’t emulate. Success requires that you do what others won’t do!
6. MYTH: The size of a business is CRITICAL due to the efficiencies of scale.
REALITY: This myth is based on the economy of purchasing in large quantities, and on the learning curve where increased production results in decreasing unit costs. These observations while correct are only part of the story. As your business grows, its overhead expands and vertical integration moves you outside your core competencies. These growth characteristics severely impact flexibility making it much harder for the business to react to changing market conditions.
The Better Way
Once you have avoided these six deadly myths, a wise entrepreneur will focus the business on his passion, what he can be best at, and on the activities which clearly drive his economic engine. When any activity addresses all three core values, a synergistic outcome is achieved that far exceeds ordinary performance. But what about all the other functions involved in operating the business you may ask? A wise entrepreneur will off load non-core functions to others, focusing his firm on what it does best, and out sourcing the rest. This maximizes flexibility, treats these cash outflows as INVESTMENTS which are then monitored for ROI. Outsourced overhead is cash efficient, and easier to adjust in light of changing economic conditions. At MasterMind Consulting Network, we are a one stop shop for all our clients’ outsourcing needs. Problems come in many shapes and sizes, but fortunately so do solutions. We enable clients to gain clarity, set goals, achieve success and gain a balance in their personal lives. We specialize in helping owners to aim high and grow both their business and their bottom line. We work with them to develop a clear VISION, detailed PLANS, and key GOALS that are then fully integrated, aligned and deployed throughout the organization to achieve their ultimate success. Most importantly, we work with clients on a continuous basis, successfully implementing GOALS and updating plans whenever necessary. We do this by providing a full range of services including but not limited to the following offerings:
• Shut Up and Listen – Communication Breakthrough
• Ultra Communications Services Plus – Appointments, Collections, Training and much more.
• Bankruptcy MasterMind – Considering Bankruptcy?
• Financial MasterMind – You can’t CONTROL what you don’t MEASURE!
• Fund Us! – Sources & Uses of Capital
• Banking MasterMind – Differentiation in a ME TOO banking world
• Brand It! – Establishing your marketplace identity.
• International MasterMind – Looking Internationally for New Markets
• Marketing MasterMind – Your virtual Marketing Manager
• Strategic Marketing Initiative – Focusing on your strategic target markets
• Direct Sales MasterMind – Your virtual Direct Sales force
• Employee Handbook – Defining practices, policies and procedures
• Employee Workbook- Employee record keeping system
• Focus Groups – The Voice of Your Customers
• Goals Coaching – The leader’s private mentor
• Goals Day – The Voice of Your Employees
• Manufacturing Assessment – Create a baseline for improvement
• Manufacturing MasterMind – Your virtual Operations Manager
• People Power – The Enterprise’s Corner Stone
• Process Improvement Activity – Focus your team on adding VALUE!
• Standardize Work Steps – Defining Employee Job Assignments
• Stress Management Program – Improve morale and productivity
• Systematize Your Business – Ordinary People / Extraordinary Results!
• Virtual Office Service – Your Off-Site Assistant
Planning & Implementation:
• Entrepreneurs Resource – One Stop for Entrepreneurial Needs
• Franchising MasterMind – Need to know about Franchising?
• Jumpstart Your Business – Taking Business to the Next Level
• Pathway to GREATNESS – Consistently Achieving EXTRAORDINARY results.
• THE TRIAD Process – Strategic Planning on STEROIDS!
Product / Service:
• Advanced Product/Service Development – Effectively managing the development process.
• Pricing Methods & Strategies – Understanding pricing options and their consequences.
At MasterMind Consulting Network we specialize in consulting for both start ups and mature companies and we schedule regular reviews to keep your business on track. Our focus is on providing support and infrastructure to companies that do not have or want a large internal staff. You don’t need to invest in permanent staff when you can use us as your offsite staff. We understand the need to reduce cost and our MasterMind can be your cost effective source for unique and innovative ideas. You will find us a continual source for new ways to control costs, improve profits and build a more effective management team. We work with small and medium size organizations which are lean, fast paced and flexible to meet the needs of their customers. They have the ability to react quickly to changes in the market and are able to exploit new opportunities. Our TRIAD Process is a cost effective solution that allows clients to implement change quickly and we are there supporting you to get new initiatives done quickly and cost effectively.
Do you have a challenge or project in mind? Click “ASK THE GURU” to contact us for a prompt, personal, no cost answer to your most pressing questions!
Posted in Business Marketing, Business Strategy, Small Business
Tagged Business Strategy, Communications, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Outsourcing, Pricing, Stimulate Your Business, Strategic Planning
4. Non-Value Added Processing – Performing work on the product for which customers aren’t willing to pay
Many times in the production process, “work” is being done for no known reason. When asked why such activity is going on, a common response is “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “it’s our way”. But such actions are waste if they are not adding value to the customer. Often, these responses mask an inadequate definition of customer requirements or engineering specifications.
When work is being done on a product solely for the purpose of making the next process possible or easier, it is likely that an example non-value processing has been uncovered. Tack welding a part in location prior to finish welding, winding bobbins on a sewing line, gluing parts together that subsequently are mechanically joined can all be indications of operations that are non-value added.
Often the cause of non-value added processing is inadequate design, tool or equipment maintenance, or processing definition. In many cases, non-value added processing cannot be easily eliminated. It takes time and effort to redesign processes, products and tools. Once identified, it is in your best interest to determine the necessary steps and quickly deal with the issues.
While examples of non-value added processing may seem rare, they are really quite common. In fact, in many operations, non-value added processing can account for 20% to 30% of the total direct labor utilized.
5. Excess Inventory – The retention and storage of finished goods, raw materials, or work in process which is not needed now.
The investment in inventory in many facilities can reach millions of dollars. The fact that the capital investment in these products is reaping no returns is bad enough. While we convince ourselves that this inventory is an asset, it is in fact a liability. Much of the material in inventory stores is obsolete, damaged or well past its shelf life. In isn’t unusual to find that 20% or more of the material has no value. But it is still managed, counted, adjusted and moved. Floor space that could be used for value added activities is dedicated to storing this inventory.
Even the inventory stores which will eventually be used cause problems. Time is spent managing, counting, sorting and moving the items. It masks problems within the production system that we should be solving.
6. Defects – Production of components which do not meet standards. These could be industry standards, customer standards, or product which does not meet the expectations of the customers.
Products which cannot be used or sold because of damage or defects have no value to you or your customers. Products that have to be reworked, repaired or even recalled eat profits.
But in many processes defective products are accepted as the norm; rework efforts are integrated with regular production and it becomes difficult to discern where production ends and rework begins. Final inspection stations are established to check products before they’re released to customers. Rework stations are added into the production line, or torque checks are reviewed by the “inspector” to ensure the product meets requirements.
This tacit acceptance of producing defective products is costly. Labor is expended to produce the product; inspectors are paid to find the defects. Depending on the nature of the error, parts are scrapped or time and money are spent to rework or repair the product. If the defect isn’t found and repaired within the facility, it gets even worse. A recall becomes necessary, a repair campaign is started or perhaps employees are sent into the field to fix the defects to placate justifiably irritated customers.
7. Excess Motion – Unnecessary motions, movements, or activities within an individual work station or work cell.
Work cells should be designed so that materials, tools, and equipment are close at hand and easily accessible. Operators shouldn’t have to walk for supplies, reach for tools, or search for materials. Work cells must be designed to prevent injury or ergonomic strains. When workers leave the workcell to retrieve borrowed or lost tools, or go to the storeroom to get materials which should have been ordered and already delivered to the workcell, it is wasteful.
It is the responsibility of management to ensure that the proper tools and equipment is in the work cell and is maintained in good condition so that operators can produce products in the time allotted that meet the quality targets of the customer.
However, a note of caution is called for here. Most of the effort eliminating waste in a factory occurs at the work station or operation level. Projects are designed and capital is expended to improve the output or productivity of an operation. Since most of the past efforts have already drastically improved the operations, the opportunities for great savings can be much smaller.
8. Underutilized Resources – Capital, equipment, or human resources that are not being fully deployed or utilized.
Of all the 8 wastes, perhaps underutilized resources are the worst.
The purchase of equipment which isn’t utilized or effective can cost a company greatly. Even worse, misguided capital acquisitions can prevent us from making necessary process improvements. Who wants to own up to making an ill-advised investment? Once an investment of thousands or even millions of dollars is made, it becomes difficult for managers or executives to have the courage to make necessary changes. Once the investment proves to be under-performing, most managers will redouble the effort in a fruitless quest to make it live up to expectations.
This is so common that there is specific lean terminology to describe it. The term “monument” is applied to capital equipment and investments which are nice to look at, offer little value, and are difficult to remove.
The most knowledgeable people in most manufacturing operations are the production, maintenance, and quality associates. But managers routinely change processes, revise or replace equipment, change designs, or implement other “Continuous Improvement” ideas without utilizing or even consulting these resources. This is a mistake. Even in the unlikely event that the ideas of the managers are superior to those of the workers, the results will be better when the workforce is involved in the decision making and planning of the changes.
So, do you recognize your operation in these 8 wastes?
In many organizations, as much as 40% of the production effort is spent on these wasteful activities. How much of your time do you spend fighting the fires, expediting parts, or other activities which do not help reduce the waste in your operation, but merely allow you to make it through another day? Employees, managers, executives and corporate investors will all succeed when the 8 Wastes are removed from your company.
To learn more about Manufacturing Mastermind, CLICK HERE.
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Project Management- As It Ought To Be
by Brian Kritchabaum
Most of us are beyond the point where we believe that successful project management can be accomplished by following a formula or merely using the right system. It’s not that the tools are unimportant, or that the systems don’t work, because they do. However, the systems and the software only make the job easier; they aren’t the elements of success.
Great ideas aren’t great products until they can be made and sold at a profit. Solid project execution can help bring this about.
1. Pick and empower the right person to be your project leader
The project manager needs to be one of the best managers in the company and picked at the onset of the project. After all, they have a difficult job. They must manage diverse teams with members who all have “real” bosses elsewhere in the company. When picking someone to be a project manager, keep these requirements in mind;
o Project managers need detailed cross functional knowledge.
The development, production, procurement and quality systems at your firm are complicated. It isn’t necessary for project leaders to have worked in all these functional areas, but the more the better. Understanding the workings of these areas is critical to prevent the leader from being bamboozled by the functional experts.
Detailed, first hand knowledge of the product, design and engineering systems, quality standards, manufacturing technologies and the politics of your company is mandatory.
o Technical projects should be led by technical people.
Don’t expect a leader of product development team to be successful if they can’t speak the language of the technical team. A procurement specialist or a logistics expert is unlikely to be able to fully understand the subtleties of the design and specification process; and they will have difficulty separating the critical requirements from the fluff. Engineers have disdain for those who are not technically sophisticated and can unintentionally intimidate others with the knowledge of technology; project managers must be able to ask tough questions to be successful.
Not all projects are technical in nature. Redesigning a service offering or revamping marketing plan projects should be led by those who are experts in these fields.
o Project managers must have superior organizational skills.
The great engineer who can never find the spec book or retrieve the latest test results probably isn’t a good candidate. The management of a project is an exceptionally detailed endeavor – pick someone who loves the detail.
o Make sure that your project managers are great problems solvers.
A project is nothing if not an exercise in solving problem after problem; make sure your leader knows how to deal with these issues
You will have to develop your own project leaders. Given the range of skills and experience required, you probably aren’t going to find the “right” person for the job. Pick someone with most of the skills; start by giving them the experiences needed and groom them until they are ready.
The right project manager will use the systems you have developed seamlessly, and it will sometimes look easy. The wrong project manager will take the greatest system and make it a toilsome nightmare, spending weeks preparing for routine reviews, and delivering substandard results.
2. Make sure that constraints for the project are completely defined
The bane of project management is changing or “updating” constraints once the project starts. Many of these changes are in fact oversights that should have been identified early in the process. Without solid definition of all constraints, it is too easy for significant changes to be made late in the process. Take time before the design process starts to get the definition right.
The constraints, or Scope of Work (SOW), have several elements. Customer constraints lead the list, but manufacturing limitations, market introduction timing, aesthetic concerns, governmental or industry regulations also add to the constraints. In many projects, this process of mapping the constraints is overlooked or underemphasized. Here are some simple rules to keep in mind which may help you identify all the constraints;
o Before work begins, take time to define responsibility for each element of the project. This is especially important when collaborating with outside firms as partners, suppliers, or customers. For example, who has primary and support responsibility for designing, testing, validating, and manufacturing the part?
o Remember: Assumptions are only bad if you don’t document them. Make sure that they are all documented.
o Recognize: Projects always involve change. Be prepared by deciding in advance how SOW changes will be handled. Do approval authorities need to be established? SOW management makes or breaks projects. When the sales department or customer decides that the part needs to be stainless steel instead of plastic – the scope of the project has changed and the parameters need to be updated.
Learn this lesson well. It could save you millions. During one of the major development projects I managed, the customer constantly asked for new or upgraded features to be added to the scope. But we had a detailed, approved SOW, and an effective SOW change management system. At the conclusion of the program, when the customer’s procurement team was trying to pull cost from the project, we were completely covered. All of the SOW changes were approved and we were able to improve our margins.
3. Utilize pull planning rather than task planning approaches
Two difficulties with project management are keeping a project on schedule and on budget. Failures to meet requirements in these areas have resulted in an over reaction in the level of detail put into early project plans. Nice little catch phrases like “He didn’t plan to fail, he just failed to plan” distort the realities of the situation.
Task based plans focus on the work that needs to be done and how long it is expected to take to complete this work. In the more complicated models, we are encouraged to estimate the minimum time, the expected time, and the most likely time each individual task or subtask will take. The more detailed the plans, it is argued, the more predictable the results. The job of the project manager is to make sure that the tasks are being completed in accordance with the plan.
But task based plans break down and subsequently lead to micro-management. The break-downs are seldom because we don’t keep up with the schedule. It is more likely that tasks were omitted from the plan or the resources required were greatly underestimated. In short, the plan becomes a substitute for responsibility and excuses like “We did it per the plan, it just didn’t work out” begin to be heard.
Ironically, the response to these issues is to create more and more detailed plans, which are likely to conclude with similar failures, because the real causes of our project failures have not been addressed.
Pull planning offers a dramatically different approach. Instead of focusing on the tasks, or the work, it focuses on the desired results. For example, when planning a validation test, a pull plan defines the objectives and the timing of the test. It defines the design release levels and the types of tooling to be used. The plan specifies the confidence that the team needs to have in the results and the methods or particular tests to be performed. If there are any secondary considerations or objectives, such as using the build event as a learning opportunity for production associates, these are also listed. The consolidation of these plans for each controlling event becomes the project plan. The project team pulls and manages necessary resources to deliver the results for the controlling events as the project proceeds.
Even with a project using pull planning methodologies, there will be times when task planning is necessary. However, they are short-term, specific events on which the team is currently focused. For example, if a prototype event needs completed to facilitate a validation test, then release of Purchase Orders, delivery of components and planning of lab resources must be done on a micro level and in great detail. It is necessary to the success of the project.
But don’t try doing it months in advance. There are just too many unknowns to make it valuable. Instead, team members will become frustrated as the plans decompose. Project leaders will eventually give up and “re-plan” the project.
Don’t waste your time building a Microsoft Project Plan which defines exactly when specific tasks need to be accomplished. It is impossible to comprehend at the project initiation all the tasks that will be required to complete the project. Focus instead on deliverables and results required at specific, predetermined milestones. Then make sure you have a project team with the expertise, the knowledge, the responsibility and the authority to determine when and how to complete the work to ensure successful completion of the project.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Project management is solely about communications. The project leader that does not communicate well will fail. There must be communication within the team about responsibilities, targets, and requirements.
Additionally the team must communicate with management, customers and suppliers. When people on the team aren’t performing to expectation – or when they are performing well above them – their managers need to know. If there are issues that are threatening success, or newly found opportunities, management must know.
When a roadblock appears due to technical issues, reach out to experts and other teams. It is likely that someone has had experiences that will ease the path to the solution. When innovative ideas are discovered, trumpet these successes.
Good communication skills cannot be learned soon enough. During my first experience as a program manager, we were experiencing a significant issue that was a result of poor design decisions. In order to save face, I decided to keep the issue under wraps “for a couple of days” until we could solve it. Fortunately, after two weeks, with the problem still looming, a team member spilled the beans, and management became fully aware of the problem. I learned quickly that the issue itself was of less importance than the sharing of all information.
Pride or fear cannot be allowed to prevent communication within teams, with management or with other teams. Communication is the primary purpose of project management – don’t neglect it.
5. Develop your own New Product Development System
In the business climate today, the requirements for product development are extensive; environmental regulations or recycling rules mandated by the government, requirements for durability tests set by the customer, building or painting permits required by local authorities, as well as internal corporate requirements… and the list goes on. If you are part of the automotive industry there are APQP and TS 16949 requirements. It is too much for anyone to remember.
Teams need checklists to ensure that the critical developmental tasks aren’t being overlooked. It isn’t good enough to rely on the memory of your project team, management team, or executive team to ensure that everything gets done. Define the requirements, plan the programs around them, then check and report results against the requirements. Use this system as a tool for success, not just a series of tasks that have to be completed.
Formalize the system; allow it to change and grow as it is used – but don’t try to shortcut the process.
6. The executive team must stay involved.
These projects are the future of the business. As such, they merit the attention of the executive team. Stay involved in the projects to ensure things are going as planned.
Good projects have mechanisms built in to keep top management involved. Periodic reviews to provide face to face interactions between team members and executives are key to project success. Such reviews need to be conducted often; at least monthly. Don’t combine the reviews with other staff meetings or strategy sessions – it sends the wrong message. Specific purposes for these monthly reviews include:
o Reporting project status relative to the project plan
o Identifying major concerns, customer complaints, or obstacles to success documented.
o Reporting on changes to the project plan; SOW changes or changes to program risk
o Update financial projections
o Allowing for direct, two way communications between executive team and the project team.
Related experiences of the executives can often be beneficial to the project teams; the review provides the regular opportunity for this type of interface. Conversely, the project team will have the opportunity to directly report obstacles, roadblocks, or other difficulties.
New Product Development Systems (NPDS) establish regular Phase or Gate Reviews to provide formal approval of projects before proceeding to the next phase. The dates for these reviews need to be established during the project planning phase: the review requirements are established by the NPDS itself. These reviews are deep dives into the status of the project and are a critical part of the checks and balances that are required to uncover potential issues to project success.
But these reviews are not enough. Involvement of the executive team needs more consistency than can be provided during these brief, formal reviews. The project team should be supported by informal and frequent visits of the executives. Review the work product of the project team. If the team is in the planning phase; review and comment on the plans. Review the statement of requirements documents – make sure that the definitions are what you want up front. Remember, this is your future business.
So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t developed a NPDS, or if you aren’t satisfied with the one you are using – start working on the new one. If you don’t have a regimen for developing project managers, then why not start today. You will be glad you did when it’s time to start the next project.
To learn more from Brian Kritchbaum, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Lean, visit Mastermind Consulting Network’s website HERE.
IF IT IS TO BE IT’S UP TO ME AND THE COMPANY IS ME!
By Royd Buchele
How every moment is a chance to increase your and your company’s success!
In the past, you did not have to have much concern about the company you worked for or, if you were an owner or stockholder, concern for the people that worked for you. In general, over the past 70 years, it has been rather easy to succeed here in the United States. Our country was, during that time, the absolute number one economic power. We had very little competition here or throughout the world. Demand for products and services were back then constantly increasing.
You really didn’t have too be concerned about the quality of product or service you provided. Demand was so high you could afford to loose a customer or two because others kept on coming in.
As we all know, times have changed. We are in a service economy rather then a manufacturing economy. Through deregulation we have seen many companies buying each other out and the smaller independents becoming more and more of a rare breed. Those with high paying jobs cling to them because these jobs have been reduced by the millions and new ones are at the WalMart or McDonald’s. Most of the new jobs created have little or no benefits. They tend to be part time, unpredictable and unstable. The U.S., instead of being the world’s absolute economic power is now one of a number of economic powers. All of this you’ve heard, and have obviously been concerned about. Now you, me and this company as a whole face two paths we can take in facing an unpredictable future.
The first path is the old path of conflict and blame that our ancestors actively participated in. We can blame somebody else or organization for our troubles. We can focus on things with an attitude of “what’s in it for me.” As owners, we have at our hands the option of using the times to really push fear motivation with a message “improve or else.” We can push fear motivation and take an attitude that people are replaceable.
Or as employees, we can leave the organization and blame our problems on the wealthy or dumb bosses and trying our luck finding a better job. One can see this with the politicians to see a whole lot of this blaming and positioning going on with much viciousness. This path creates nothing but conflict, chaos and disorder within the organization and in our society.
Yet there is another path, a path that is much harder to travel, but as we walk on it, it benefits not just one person, but each of us together. Following this path leads us to a world of security, and growth. The path provides growth in income for us, our families and our company. The name of this road less traveled is IF IT IS TO BE IT’S UP TO ME! And that THE COMPANY IS ME!
IF IT IS TO BE ITS UP TO ME means is taking personal responsibility for your success and the company’s success. It means allowing you to set individual goals for the company’s improvement. It also means a commitment solving your own problems rather then waiting for someone else to solve them. It is recognizing that the only one responsible for our future success is us, because we are the company. No one can help us but us. No outside forces can be expected to help us so we must help ourselves.
THE COMPANY IS ME means that each of us has a large stake in this company. When our company succeeds, we succeed. We share the victory and gain the thrill of self-improvement. When we move the company forward with our thoughts, ideas and actions the company moves forward as does our security and future. IF IT IS TO BE IT’S UP TO ME THE COMPANY IS ME means that in order for each of us to continuously improve the strength of the company each of us must commit to taking personal responsibility on our own continuing success and make commitments to do that on an ongoing basis. To do is, instead of putting the blame at others for our unhappiness we must point the mirror in our own face. Asking: “Were can I improve. Were can I get better?”
What part can I play in making this company continues on, even after I am gone?
We do this, together, not only for our own individual gain but also for the community in which we live. Believe in the company and that it does a lot better job for our family, friends and neighbors then a faceless multinational would ever do.
If each of us has goals we are working on to continuously improve ourselves, our company will move forward at a rapid rate. We have no idea what the economy will be doing in the future. What we do know is that we are here together, in a company with unlimited power and future. Let’s make that first step now in setting our plan to UNLEASH THE POWER OF our company. In committing to take the attitude that IF IT IS TO BE, ITS UP TO ME AND THE COMPANY IS ME there will be no one that can stop us and nothing we can’t accomplish since are united together taking total responsibility for our own success.
LET’S DO IT NOW!
To see more on business strategy, CLICK HERE.
By Jerry V. Scrivo
There has been a lot in the news lately about the need to create jobs. The media complains that businesses are doing well, they are profitable and they have cash reserves that “should” be used to create jobs. Another favorite theme is that the government should “do something” about creating jobs.
In fact, neither of these observations addresses the source of job creation in the private sector. Jobs are created when DEMAND exceeds the capacity to produce. When that occurs, the producer may invest in increased capacity if a positive return on investment can be expected. One component of increasing capacity is having sufficient manpower to produce and deliver the product or service. Jobs are only created with the expectation that the added labor cost will result in added profitable revenue.
The economic analysis that goes into these decisions is always based on many estimates each of which involves some level of uncertainty. The sum of these uncertainties represents the “risk” associated with any projected outcome. If the perceived “risk” is too high, no action will be taken regardless of the possible benefit.
This explains why businesses are so reluctant to pursue a “growth” strategy in our present economic and political climate. For small businesses that typically operate on instinct I strongly recommend that they refuse to be seduced by the superficial arguments seen in the popular press when considering a growth strategy. Now is the time for in depth analysis and well considered action plans.
If you are considering your options and would like some assistance to do a detailed analysis, and if necessary hire the right person click here or e-mail me personally at Jerry@mastermindconsult.netfor assistance.
Mastermind Consulting Network unites consultants into a management consulting firm offering strategic planning, business growth and development coaching.
Statistical Tools for Everyone
By Jerry V. Scrivo
The fastest way to achieving continuous improvement is to get statistical tracking down to the operator level. Too often we rely on overly complex systems. Six Sigma, Total Quality Management and Statistical Process Control are widely used sophisticated tools for high volume manufacturing used by highly trained practitioners. However, the actual machine operators play only a supporting role.
But what about lower volume simple manual operations with limited technology and a lot of variety? These processes are typically highly operator dependent and statistical expertise is totally lacking.
The solution is to train operators on simple tools such as Prato Charts, P-Charts and N-Charts along with simple problem solving methods. In this case, the operators record their own data. The key to these methods is their simplicity and ease of use.
For instance, a Pareto Chart simply charts the frequency of individual defects and their percentage of the total defects observed. By using a chart, anyone can achieve an understanding of the problems being encountered. By doing this himself, the operator achieves a “revelation” of insight where he and the others can take ownership of the issue. Often this insight reveals an answer to a long standing problem and the operator is in the perfect position to immediately implement a solution. You can see that by using this process, many good things are happening at once in a hugely effective way!
Group meetings can then be held to review trends (which are clearly visible) and to resolve repetitive issues as they are identified.
When each operator is responsible for their own process and the results are clearly visible; defects can drop dramatically (as much as 94%) in just a few weeks with the trend line approaching a zero defect rate.
Such improvements are almost entirely due to focusing operator attention on the desired outcome. Sometimes no changes in process, tooling, management or supplied components are needed when operator attention is properly focused by using simple readily available charting tools.
Thru our “Manufacturers MasterMind” group, MasterMind Consulting Network can help you in getting this process started. We have over 100 years of manufacturing consulting experience. Click here for more information or e-mail Jerry@mastermindconsult.net.
By Jerry V. Scrivo
Throughout the day, each of us makes thousand of decisions on a on a minute to minute basis. Most of these decisions are made without conscious thought; either instinctively or through learned responses as habits based on a lifetime of experience.
Unfortunately in business, these habitual decision making patterns are carried over so that owners thoughtlessly respond to changing situations without any real thought. Such behavior is not appropriate in the business environment where change is constant. In today’s environment, every whiff of unsettling news tends to cause a mini panic while any good news is often discounted or ignored. Conversely in a boom economy, every bit of encouraging news stokes a frenzy of optimistic response while negative situations are discounted as abnormal and meaningless.
The reality is that none of these scenarios are the result of logical analysis, they are simply emotional responses based in the moment.
This is why it is important for business owners to focus their attention on their instincts, habits and emotions realizing that automatic responses in a chaotic business environment are fraught with danger.
Many business owners have always relied on their intuition when making key decisions; many times with great success which reinforces their belief in themselves and comfort with the idea that this behavior will always be successful. In some cases intuitive decision makers are truly gifted with extraordinary wisdom and self confidence is warranted. This however, is rarely the true nature of things. Most often past success has occurred from luck, playing in a familiar territory, or just a matter that in a booming economy the tide raises all boats.
Relying on intuitive decision making only, ignores the following sources of error:
First we focus too much on one aspect of a bigger event causing us to believe that we understand the situation and can accurately foresee the possible outcomes of our actions. This occurs because the available information is superficial and we fail to take the time to gather data and thoroughly analyze the situation.
Secondly, we tend to believe in the status quo. We think that the present status is “normal” and that present trends will continue indefinitely. The truth is that trends NEVER continue for long. This bias causes us to avoid decisions that are contrary to the perceived status quo and we miss out on the opportunities that occur when the status quo changes. Lastly, we are all highly adverse to the risk of loss. We perceive financial loss much more strongly than we perceive the value of financial gain. We avoid making decisions in a timely fashion; choosing to wait until we have a perception of minimal risk.
In summary hasty, intuitive decisions are in the moment emotional response based on an inadequate perception of the reality of the situation. In business decisions this is never appropriate.
The appropriate decision making process in business (also frequently in life in general) is the analytical approach. In this scenario, rather than a shoot from the hip instantaneous response, the owner instead says “let me think about it”.
In “thinking about it” a number of things occur. First, it provides an opportunity for the emotions of the moment to cool and a more rational response to be formulated. This involves a thoughtful review of the bigger event with time to gather all the facts, hear opinions of others, and to review the situation in its full context.
Secondly, taking time allows the decision maker the opportunity to consider the strategic situation that will present itself when the status quo changes as it inevitably will.
Thirdly, we need to consider the risks objectively, what are they now? What will they be when the status quo changes? What will be the leading indicators of a status quo change be? And when will be the appropriate time to act?
Once these issues have been studied, the situation will have been analyzed and an appropriate (informed) decision will be possible.
In short, my advice is “Don’t shoot from the hip” always “Look before you leap”. Making appropriate business decisions are the most important function of any business owner. At MasterMind Consulting, we have a TRIAD Process which provides business owners a proven method for developing good decisions. For more information click here.
Technology Consulting in Today’s Business Environment
by Dennis Fisher
The consulting business consists of major international name brand consultants and thousands of small consulting organizations and individual consultants. Consultants commonly graduate from industrial companies.
Consulting is the application of talents, expertise, experiences and other relevant attributes, which results in an improvement in a client’s condition.[i] Consultants must be distinguished in terms of experience and expertise; they should have good skills in listening, writing, speaking, interpersonal communication and excellence in giving presentations. Writing skills are essential to quality consulting. The writing must be precise and to the point. Effective writing is one of the most important facets of consulting. Speaking effectively means being well understood. Ideas and the expression of ideas are the stock in trade for the consultant.[ii]
There are a myriad of practical considerations involved when setting up a functional consulting business, including business planning, taxation options, insurance needs, methods of structuring revenue flow and managing receivables.
The trend toward a temporary or contingent workforce is growing. To reduce expenses companies hire consulting firms to bypass head count ceilings and do not have to pay for benefits or other costs associated with hiring a permanent employee.
Consultants are loyal to their clients, are knowledgeable and objective and protect the client’s interest. They save the client time and money because of their knowledge of the industry and by finding the most effective solution. Consultants supply added technical expertise and provide impartial and independent evaluations. The consultant should be seen as a credible peer by clients and prospects, not as a vendor, salesperson or subordinate.[iii]
Companies hire consulting firms to focus on a specific project or projects to obtain quick results or to handle a variety of technical, legal and contractual issues such as infringement upon others patents or copyrights and to add credibility on a witness stand.
The market for use of consulting firms has been growing at a rate of approximately 200% per year during the last three years according to a study by the Association of Consulting Chemists and Chemical Engineers published in 2010.
There are two types of consultants. The first recommends a solution to a problem and then provides the solution. The second recommends a solution and then helps the client search for the best solution provider.[iv] Consultants are hired either for short term project oriented consulting or for long term consulting relationships. Short term consulting is operated with a specific objective in mind. Companies hire a short term consultant (who is often an expert in a specific area) to advise them on a particular technical project. Long term consulting or relationship consulting involves a long-term commitment to a company.
The most important concept for a consultant to remember is that they are there to serve the client. A consultant must never push its own agenda but must let the client tell the consultant what they want – the consultant must listen to the client. Consultants must be patient and try to think of creative ways to make suggestions and emphasize the necessity of a decision. Consultants must leave final decisions up to the client and should over perform but never over promise.
The obligations and duties of the consultant must be clearly spelled out in a consulting agreement. This protects both the consultant and the client. Since consulting services are intangible, they are not susceptible to testing after delivery, at least in the same manner as tangible products. Therefore, the extent and nature of the consultant’s responsibilities and the responsibilities of the client must be understood and spelled out in detail. The value of clearly written parameters and project criteria extends to all issues of potential conflict, including all ancillary issues such as time frames, project oversight and testing, oversight of training, both initial and ongoing, and any maintenance, support and customization responsibilities expected of the consultant.[v]
Marketing and promoting a consultancy are critical considerations. Consultants must establish a professional website to aid in the promotion and the marketing of the consulting business.
[i] Alan Weiss, PhD: “Getting Started In Consulting”, Copyright 2000
[ii] Harry E. Chandler: “So You Want To Be A Consultant”, Copyright 1984
[iii] Alan Weiss, PhD: “Getting Started In Consulting”, Copyright 2000
[iv] Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin Newsletter: “Selecting a Technology Consultant”, October 2003
[v] Schwartz Manes Ruby & Slovin Newsletter: “Selecting a Technology Consultant”, October 2003
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Goals Day: Selling, Setting Up and Facilitating
by Royd Buchele
Selling the Goals Day
The Goals Day is often a first step with a new client. While we suggest that ideally the first step should be creation of the Vision and Purpose (see Selling the Vision and Purpose), in many cases your client cannot see the need for a Vision but gets very excited about having a Goals Day. This is particularly true for client organizations concerned about creating a clear direction and unity of purpose among team members. The Goals Day, as a rule, shows quick results as compared to the rather difficult task of putting together a Vision. If the client seems skeptical, unsure of you, or unwilling to follow your directions, a Goals Day may be preferable to a Visions Day as a first step.
The Goals Day creates a long-lasting feeling of unity in the organization through focusing on the identified goals. Employees become excited about the future of the organization and the role they can play. Hundreds of creative ideas for company goals are expressed. Employee concerns and suggestions that your clients never imagined come out. The Goals Day dramatically increases the feeling of teamwork within the organization, and it becomes the premier annual event for any organization.
To sell a Goals Day, you need to be very enthusiastic about it. Refer to other clients who have done it. Explain that clearly defined goals will help all their people go in the same direction, “creating a real feeling of teamwork.” Because of your enthusiasm and faith, and because usually your clients really want to improve the feeling of unity within the organization, they tend to sign up quickly for the Goals Day.
The Goals Day Process
Billable amounts for a full fledged Goals Day process can be as low as $250 or as high as $7,000. A lot of this depends on how many hours are spent gathering input from people before the Goals Day. For a larger, well financed company you can meet with participants individually to help them fill out the Goals handouts. To save money you can work with groups of three to eight people rather than individually.
To start, you work with your clients to select Goals Day participants. For organizations of eighteen or less it is best to include everyone. For organizations of a hundred or more, you can either pick out ten to fifteen key people, or you can gain input from all team members via group meetings.
In some cases it is a good idea to give a short presentation ahead of time describing what is going to happen at the Goals Day. This can be particularly helpful in large organizations where the politics and shared power issues are more intense than in small organizations. Each person then receives a copy of the Organizational Goal Setting handout. Here, each participant writes down ideas on such issues as organizational strengths and weaknesses, a personal vision of the company’s future during the next five years, dreams for the organization, areas that need change, and top goals for the company.
A Goals Day produces a catharsis through bringing out concerns, fears, anger, and other negative emotions. You will want to encourage all of this emotion, allowing people to express despair about the company and its management. For the management, this is a wake up call, a slap in the face to help them become aware of real problems within the organization. There is a strong positive dark side to this process.
The Organizational Goal Setting handout is the standard form we use for a first Goals Day. For subsequent Goals Days we have a database of additional questions that can be used. (See Goals Days, An Annual Event). The reason to use a different handout for the subsequent Goals days is that the first Goals Day tends to hit the most pressing, key problems. Later Goals Days tend to focus on more specific issues, particularly those concerning the implementation and refining of goals already identified.
First, you will need to block out enough time to work with participants in completing the handout. As we mentioned, some of this can be done one-on-one if the organization can afford it. In other cases you will have small group meetings to get the job done. (If your client has a really tight budget, you can hold a Goals Day with direct brainstorming of goals during a one- to two- hour session without any advance meetings. This is not as effective, but it does get the job done.)
Once meeting times have been blocked out, tell your client to distribute the handouts and assign a deadline for completion. Explain that it is expected some people will not complete the handouts. That is the purpose of scheduling meetings to work on the handout. There is a strong reality here that you need to explain to your client: this is the first time most people have ever done this type of thing and it is too much to expect them to do it adequately on their own.
With your client, schedule the group or individual meetings, preparation time for the Goals Day, and the Goals Day itself. The Goals Day preparation meeting(s) should include your client and other key leaders. You will prepare the speeches and the agenda at this time. Make sure that all scheduled dates are listed in your client’s calendar as well as your own.
The Goals Day itself can be scheduled in the evening from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Other popular times are Fridays from 12:00-5:00 p.m. or 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Saturdays are also popular. The ideal Goals Day is five to six hours long. It can be done in three to four hours; it will be rushed but still effective. Let your client decide the place. It should be a private, self-contained location with the ability to provide food service. An outside location such as a restaurant or hotel conference space, any other place with adequate privacy, is good. The Goals Day can be held at the company if the facilities are adequate, but it is better to hold the Goals Day elsewhere to eliminate interruptions.
To summarize, there are three groups of meetings to set:
- Goals handout completion, one-on-one or in groups
- Goals Day prep appointment, with top leadership
- The Goals Day itself
With a larger or a more liquid company you can spend many billable hours on speeches and preparation.
Completing the Goals Handouts
The individual meeting allows for each team member to have 45 minutes to an hour with you to complete the entire handout. Adjust your approach to the individual’s personality. For example:
High excitement – tons of ideas: Allow this type of person to follow the golden thread of ideas and encourage them to go deep into the implementation. This person tends to come with the complete handout filled in. Encourage them to expand on ideas they feel very emotional about. Have them write on the back side with “over” on the front if they need more space. Make note of these folks, for you can call on them to keep the Goals Day exciting.
Low excitement – few ideas: This person is a wonderful challenge. “I can’t think of anything,” is their standard response. Ask for one or two top challenges or dreams, and then ask an in-depth question followed by silence. They might say one challenge is “communication”. Ask “What things need to be better communicated?” The individual might respond, “What is expected.” This is a valuable response; it and any other good response should be written on the handout by the participant. Build emotion by asking “Why is this important?” Have them write every response they give you and before you know it you have got a paragraph!! You have also sparked a part of the brain that cannot stop giving ideas. The person tends to be proud of the ideas they have put down en masse, but many times will complain the activity gave them a headache. Allow silence to be your greatest tool. One consultant uses the phrase, “Write that down,” whenever an idea is mentioned. (For more information on this process, see How To Be A Goals Coach.)
The group interview (without your client being present) allows you to fire up many minds at once, creating a mastermind effect where ideas pop out from nowhere. It does not give as much focus on the individual but it produces a lot of good ideas nonetheless. As you start a group interview make note of how many handouts are adequately filled out. You may need to give the participants 5-10 minutes of quiet time to complete the handouts before you begin with the program. Have each participant, one at a time, read the answers to the first page of the handout.
Within a group interview, you can do two things to get more information: First, you can stop the person midstream in a key point and ask “Why is that important?” After hearing the answer, instruct the person to write it down, allowing enough time for this. Then ask the same person to continue. Alternatively, you can have a person read the whole page of the questionnaire, then ask “What key things do you feel strongly about?” And then ask “Why is that important?”
The whole goal here is to uncover the emotional core and capture it on paper. In particular, you need to encourage people to write down shocking and controversial items such as “The boss does not care at all about us,” “John loses his temper too much,” “Profit sharing,” “No input from the employee,” “People fighting.” This is the reality that needs to be recorded. In addition to collecting information, this exercise builds faith in team members that they can bring up controversial items without being fired.
In the group there will be one or two very negative people who feel that the company or owners have wronged them. These people are bitter, angry, and quickly disruptive. You must at this time honor their anger, asking them to write down all the negative things they can think of. Encourage them by saying “What else, tell it all.” This allows for a beginning of catharsis. It is hoped that as the organizational change process occurs, this person will align him- or herself to the company and work toward positive change. If we truly walk our talk we will recognize what a gift the negative person can give the organization. Rebels, by virtue of their personalities, often reveal the truth. We do not want the sickness of “only thinking positive” in our organization. This is like admiring the emperor’s beautiful new clothes because no one has the courage to say that he is naked. Negative, rebellious employees provide more useful information than followers that are only positive-thinking. Encourage the participants to write down all negative ideas, anger, and feelings. This is where the wealth is to be found.
As you go through this process, you are going to discover the emotional truth that exists within the organization. If ideas are coming that could cause your client to go on the defensive, here is what to do: Approach your client and very seriously, in a grave tone, say, “It is going to be important that you show no anger toward the ideas being shared. You must show your team members that you are open to their concerns. If you do not do this, trust will be abolished. Do you understand?” Emphasize this point again and again. This has strong positive dark-side results that catch an owner’s attention. Explain that it is very important for the owner or manager to show the face of the leader.
What you are doing at this point is using the Lewin Change Model. You are unfreezing the organization, thawing it into the chaos of possibilities. Then, with new systems installed, you are re-freezing at a higher level, and at that point turning it back to your client. While unfrozen, you are in charge of the company’s future. This is a key to being a successful change agent. If you fail in your role here the organization can be left in chaos and despair. That is why it is imperative that you maintain an aggressive focus in keeping the organization aligned to the future.
Once the goals handout is completed, make two copies of each team member’s handout, one for yourself and one for your client. Bring these copies to the Goals Day, since most clients forget them.
Goals Day Prep
At the Goals Day prep meeting you need to set up the agenda with your clients as well as help them work on their speeches. In some cases, you may decide not to have speeches due to time concerns, or the intense shyness of your client. In most cases, having the leaders speak can be very progressive to the Goals Day.
The President/Owner generally gives the State of the Union speech. Other speeches should be aligned with the way the company is organized. Suggested speeches include:
- State of Marketing
- State of Service
- State of the Office
A history of the company is also a good topic. We have prepared speeches that can be adapted for use in a Goals Day.
If the budget permits, a large number of hours can be spent working on the speeches with the presenters. Many leaders feel that this is a major statement and they want help preparing it. Take all the time they wish.
Once the agenda has been set, arrange to have copies prepared and brought to the Goals Day.
Set-up for The Goals Day
Bring to the Goals Day:
- Copies of the Company Vision Statement
- Marker board and markers with easel
- Roll of masking tape
- Index cards
- Marker pens for index cards
- Goals Day speech notes
Distribute the index cards (hundreds of them) and markers around the tables where participants will sit. Set up the marker board with the message, “Welcome Company XYZ, Goals Day ’98”.
THE GOALS DAY
Here are some suggestions for running a successful Goals Day.
As a Goals Day facilitator, you are the main time captain. Things can be easily cut off or expanded on to fit the time limits. For example, if you are only given three hours for a Goals Day and breakfast is first, give the speeches during breakfast and go right into reading the goals handout as soon as breakfast is finished. To speed things up, simply ask fewer questions about the ideas. Allow people only to read what they have written, without additional comments.
Creating an Atmosphere of Excitement
A key to success and an exciting Goals Day is enthusiasm. A great tool for building enthusiasm is clapping. From the first speech on, have people applaud the speakers. Any good ideas should be applauded. The office (the center of great mother energy) should be applauded. An older worker should be applauded. Get people in the habit of clapping on clue. This continues to other meetings and the next Goals Day. Hey, they use clapping on the game shows and sitcoms – why not at the Goals Day?
Intuitively feel the rise of enthusiasm and electricity among the members of the group. As Emerson says, people become possessed with the feeling of enthusiasm. Note who is excited and build on their excitement. Allow it to electrify others. As Napoleon Hill pointed out, each mind is a receiving and transmitting station to the other minds. When the mind heats up new ideas pop out at amazing speed. This is the true mastermind in action. Your role is to help the team capture all important ideas, using these urgent words: “Write that down”. Unless we honor all ideas, the flow may cease.
Distribute copies of the Agenda.
You will usually begin with formal introductions and speeches.
Once the speeches are done have each person pick up a stack of index cards and a marker. At this point, talk excitedly about the mastermind effect, that “ideas will pop out of nowhere and every idea should be captured on these cards!” Emphasize again and again that they should write one idea per card. Make sure people know that it does not matter if everyone writes down the same idea. This simply means the idea is significant and will gain more attention when we decide the top goals. You must check to make sure each team member writes down ideas. Some will capture ten times more ideas than others, but everyone must write something. Get very excited about this. The only purpose for this meeting is to capture all the goals that come out. Sometimes you will have to force someone to write down some items and that is OK.
In a 5-6 hour Goals Day, you will gain a majority of the ideas and concerns in the first 3 hours. You will find that the change exercise gives you a huge number of key concerns. In this phase (the first 2-3 hours) you are intense in your question asking, intense in your emotion. The goal in the first 2-3 hours is to find out the very top concerns and get them all down on cards, to dig for the cure. In the first 2 hours, 80% of the top goals will come out. The last 3-4 hours you will search for the other 20%.
The mastermind effect quickly sorts out the clearly defined path of the organization for the next 12 months. It burns it into the psyche of most everyone there. The giant mind of one consisting of all the minds now clearly sees the direction the organization will go. Thus hundreds of goals have been identified and now the team can fly in formation.
On a mystical level you are the grand wizard dealing with powers unseen. Like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, you hold the magic wand and wear the magic robe. It is as if the organization transforms itself before your eyes. A new truth has been spoken and all have heard. The catharsis has occurred.
The Goals Day is a ritual event. The Goals Day fully connects the group to infinite intelligence. The Goals Day honors all powers unseen. We are bound by spiritual laws that execute themselves. Honor whatever forces wish as you go through this event.
At the End
At the end of the Goals Day, gather all the cards. It is helpful to do some general prioritizing. The best way to do this is to have each participant pick out 2-3 goals that they feel are the most important. Have them sell the group on why they feel these goals should be in the top ten. Then put these goals up on a board and vote with fingers:
- Medium hot
- Hate, do not want to have happen
This quickly separates the goals and creates a prioritized list to be used immediately. At end of one Goals Day, the client commented, “After seven years, we finally have a clear direction for our company.”
Gather the cards and either you or your client, or both of you together, sort them out into sub-categories to be placed under the prioritized goals. Have the goals typed up with their categories.
The Goals Day has come to an end.
Follow-up to the Goals Day
Once the goals are typed, review them with the client in order to get them more clearly defined and prioritized. You now have a great wealth of items to focus on for the next 12 months. The alignment of you, as a consultant, and the company has taken place. You are now ready to show your implementation skills. The goals created in the Goals Day may result in some quick changes. People may quit or be fired since now the expectations are clear. Do not be alarmed if this happens. Once the goals are clear, certain people may not feel aligned to the organization.
In general of all goals identified in the Goals Day, 80% are low cost. These goals are systematic changes that have little or no monetary cost, but dramatically help the organization. Work on these goals for quick victories. This encourages everyone.
Arrange to meet at least bi-weekly with your client and company leaders to work on the goals. At this point, a time management class or leadership class may be needed. Suggest this if the company can afford it. Do not let bad leadership or time management skills undermine the faith in the goal setting system. The implementation phase is crucial, as expectations of improvement have been raised and must be met. A good Goals Day will provide you with significant billable work for the next twelve months. The client will be excited about the goals, and willing to make the investment to make them happen.
This is where you bring in your associates from your computer division, policy and procedures analysts, ISO-9000, etc. as needed. This expands billable hours for others in your organization, and expands your own earning potential, while implementing the goals of your client.
Make sure to promote Goals Day as an annual event. It is OK to schedule the next Goals Day well in advance. By doing this, you are encouraging an on-going process of improvement that never ends.
The Goals Day is the centerpiece of your consulting strategy. It not only provides significant billable work, but gives birth to new billable opportunities in many directions.
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Posted in Business Strategy, Human Resources, Lean Manufacturing, Managing Employees, Small Business, Team Building
Tagged Brainstorming, Facilitating a Goals Day, Goals Day, Selling a Goals Day, Setting up a Goals Day, Strategic Planning
Summary-Kaizen Team Approach
By Chuck Davis, Sr.
- Obtain management commitment and Support – whatever cost data are conveniently available from the accounting system. Use this information to gain management support to make a full cost of quality study.
- Establish and train a Kaizen Quality Cost Team – this should be a cross functional team.
- Obtain the cooperation and support of users and information sources Secure comments and revise to totally reflect their inputs and expertise.
- Operationally define quality costs (to limit the scope of the system). Request authorization to proceed with a broader company-wide program of measuring the costs and pursuing projects.
Take ACTION! Quality cost measurement (only) does not solve quality problems. Some organizations publish it in the form of a scoreboard but these efforts fail because of lack of action. The first and foremost action is to take the quality issues identified and using Pareto attack from the most costly on down using Kaizen Problem Solving methodologies?
*Kaizen Tools Examples: 5S, Work Sampling, FMEA, Line Balance,
Visual Workplace, Skills Matrix, Kanban, 8 Wastes, Pareto, ect.
· Some Basic Definitions in regard to “Quality Costs”
o Quality Department – Depending on who you talk to you will get different definitions of what quality is and what the costs associated with it are. Some only think of what it costs them to have a Quality Department and therefore think it is overhead they would like to get rid of.
o Not meeting the specifications – Other think of it as the cost of making a part or producing a service that does not meet the specifications agreed upon.
o Preventing problems – Others think of it as what it costs them to keep problems from happening.
o Scrap, rework or replacement costs – While some look at it as scrap, rework or replacement costs.
o Lost or missed sales – And some think of it as lost sales or market share.
· All of the above and even more.
Hidden costs – Don’t limit the scope of quality costs.
Quality costs include other unmeasured costs such as lost sales due to poor quality. We call this a hidden cost because we cannot easily measured it
Subjective – Much of the information is not objective,
Omitted – Information missed
Imprecise – Information regarding scrap and rework
Varying activity – Making comparisons difficult
Effort and accomplishment cycles not matched
Cost of Quality-Areas of Concern
- Cost occurring in house – The costs of quality issues discovered before delivery. Non-conformities costs failure to meet the requirements or needs of external or internal customers. (Internal)
- Costs after shipping – The costs associated with quality issues found after product is received by the customer. These also include warranty costs and lost sales. (External)
- Costs in identifying quality issues – The costs to determine the degree of conformance to quality requirements. For example, inspection and quality engineering costs. (Appraisal)
- Costs to prevent quality issues – The costs incurred to keep failure and identifying quality costs to a minimum. For example Product Design or Mistake Proofing costs are prevention costs. (Prevention)
The total cost of quality is the totality of the four issues listed.
Conclusion: TAKE ACTION NOW
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