Posts Tagged ‘management’
Saturday, February 11th, 2012
How would you like to transform your progress? You need Clarity to succeed!
I’m sure you would agree that we would all like to transform our progress in 2012, right?
At the time that I’m writing this, we are at the beginning of another new year. As always, we look forward with anticipation to the opportunity to set a new business direction, develop new products and services, and chart a new course. Truthfully, though, we often find it challenging to shift gears and make the course adjustments we desire!
We all encounter the need to change. We know that change is needed in our businesses and even on a personal level. Who among us has never said, “I need to start doing this or that” or I need to stop doing this or that”… but never got around to it?
The key is that before we can change any behavior, we have to change our thinking. My goal is to give you the tools you need for your own personal empowerment. The ability to begin to see business challenges through a different lens means having a sustainable method for changing your direction.
You need Clarity to succeed, and I have developed a program that will help you retool your thinking for success!
Introducing Get Clarity, Succeed Faster!
“Get Clarity, Succeed Faster” is a new four-step method for developing and maintaining a change-friendly, success-oriented mindset. I am offering this program that I have personally designed with professionals and entrepreneurs like you in mind!
During this program, you will learn strategies for transforming your paradigms and mindsets in a way that will revolutionize your progress. You’ll learn how to leverage your rich experience base and your strengths to develop a mindset that is change-friendly as well as success-oriented.
In Get Clarity, Succeed Faster, you will learn how to unlock your ability to understand how paradigms influence your capability for making the course changes needed to take your business and professional life to the next level. You will walk away with important insights on how to get beyond just saying, “I need to start doing this or that” to saying “how can I transform my thinking so that I can do this or that.”
This 16-week online program covers a four-step process that will help you enhance your skills in recognizing, identifying, evaluating, and transforming the paradigms that are governing your business decisions. You will learn how to develop your own personal empowerment database that will give you a sustainable method for transforming the way you view business challenges.
I have incorporated four modules in this program to address each section of the four-step Get Clarity, Succeed Faster process:
Module 1 – “Recognizing the Presence of a Paradigm” is designed to help you spot the fact that you have a paradigm or way of thinking about a given situation. This is based on my experience which indicates that the first step in changing a paradigm is to realize that you have one in the first place!
Module 2 – “Identifying the Paradigm” involves some thought and exercises intended to help you “Get Clarity” on the underlying paradigm or assumptions that are driving your choices and decisions.
Module 3 – “Evaluating the Paradigm” gives you the tools to step back and really determine whether the paradigm you’re operating with is helpful or a hindrance, and whether the underlying assumptions are reasonable and accurate. This is a way of detaching emotionally from these assumptions in order to be more objective about them.
Module 4 – “Transforming the Paradigm” puts you on a course of progressing toward changing your paradigm in ways that make it serve you better. Now that you have some new information and insights about your underlying assumptions and the way you’ve been viewing a particular issue, you are in a better position to change the way you think about that issue going forward.
Downloads of the following materials will be available on a weekly basis so you can go through the material at a time that is convenient for you:
- MP3 audio
- Slides in pdf format
- And best of all: your action guide that you can use as a blueprint for moving forward.
Register now and get started! Go to getclaritysucceedfaster.com to register and get your first lesson today!
Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Leadership: Are executives and managers trained in quality and process improvement (Baldrige, Six Sigma, Lean Management and/or Manufacturing, others)?
- Leaders who are not trained in these areas are not committed to quality and continuous improvement, nor can they create an organization that can effectively implement such systems. This is reflected in the quality of the product or service.
Process Reviews and Documentation: Are there periodic reviews of processes, including business and manufacturing processes? Are these processes properly documented? Is the documentation maintained and updated as needed?
- Periodic reviews and well-maintained documentation suggest a degree of awareness of needed changes.
Data Management: How is process data handled in terms of collection, analysis, and maintenance, and storage?
- Data management is the lifeblood of any manufacturing process irrespective of the product type. The same can be said of business processes with relatively high volumes, such as invoicing or call center activities. Access to data will drive the ability to measure and improve process performance. Inadequate collection, analysis, maintenance, or storage of data suggests inattentiveness to quality.
Visibility of Process and Quality Culture: Is there visible evidence of the implementation of process and quality principles?
- Work areas, particularly in manufacturing, should display visible signs of basic process and quality discipline. Examples include work procedures documented at each workstation and implementation of 5S (Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain).
- The absence of such things is a visible sign that the organization lags the industry in basic quality procedures.
Individual Training and Certifications: Have employees been trained in critical quality disciplines?
- Training and certification in quality disciplines such as Six Sigma and Lean empowers and equips employees. This training is critical for continuous improvement.
- Such skills are essential to supporting quality and customer satisfaction, and ultimately, shareholder value.
Organizational Certifications: Has the organization earned (and does it maintain) general quality and industry-specific certifications such as ISO 9001 and others?
- ISO 9001 is a well-known and foundational standard. Documentation should demonstrate the organization’s aptitude for and commitment to the tenets of ISO 9001.
- Other industry standards may also be in order, such as AS9000, the Aerospace Basic Quality System Standard used by defense and aerospace companies.
Occupational Safety: Does the organization have a history of compliance with OSHA and other standards?
- Past infractions and/or fines will suggest a degree of risk depending on the severity of the problems. The extent of the financial risk could be mitigated in the eyes of customers by demonstrating that plans are in place to prevent further incidents. This would include training, reviews, inspections, and adequate data to indicate that improvements have taken hold.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Many organizations are interested in improving collaboration across business units and functional groups, as well as with external partners. To do this requires a culture that is effective and entrepreneurial in nature. Clarity has defined a model for effecting this kind of cultural change. This model consists of five areas that require attention: Training, Networking Technology and Events, Tools and Templates, Policy, and Metrics. These areas are described below.
MODEL FOR IMPROVING COLLABORATION
|Employees will benefit from participating in training programs that reinforce critical success factors and provide for skills development in collaboration.
|Networking Technology and Events
|Existing technology offers a number of tools that are designed to enable the communication and knowledge sharing/transfer that are critical to successful collaboration. There are also industry best practices such as internal networking events that foster collaboration as well.
|Tools and Templates
||These may consist of process maps, articles, assessment tools, leadership aids, templates, and/or other tools that can be used in developing a collaborative approach to a given project or program.
|Management policies such as performance appraisals, intellectual property guidelines, and organizational boundaries affect the way teams work together within an organization and with other companies. Some policies will need to be modified, added, or deleted to enable greater collaboration.
|Organizations that have been successful in developing a collaborative culture cite the fact that they incorporate measures in their performance appraisals to ensure collaborative behavior.
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
“…you can’t make men work for money alone – you starve their souls when you try it; and you can starve a company to death the same way” – from the movie “Executive Suite” (1954, Robert Wise, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
I had never seen the movie “Executive Suite” until one day last week when I caught the last few minutes on one of my favorite cable stations. In 1954, this masterpiece of a movie captured the essence of the conflict that many companies still face decades later.
Across industries, strategic decisions in many companies are influenced by concerns about the way Wall Street analysts will interpret them. Corporations have focused on short-term gain in the hopes of affecting share price. Auto manufacturers’ incentives, which are designed to pull sales forward simply to make monthly or quarterly numbers, are but one example of this dilemma.
These observations are reflected in a variety of studies on similar issues. Several papers by Mary J. Benner, Assistant Professor of Management at Wharton, assert that Wall Street analysts are reluctant to embrace the innovative efforts of companies when they are designed to expand their technological horizons. The bias is for extending current offerings as opposed to breaking away from the pack. This is remarkable given the fact that one of the top commandments in marketing is that an entity must differentiate itself from its competitors.
Wall Street analysts, of course, are not to blame for the effect they have on a company’s product decisions. Analysts are constrained by the need to be able to quantify the effect of any given action. As such, they must evaluate every decision in terms of its financial impact, particularly the short-term results. Net present value and payback period are critical financial metrics that must be accounted for, and rightly so. That said, corporations cannot live on near-term success alone. Yet leaders are still rewarded for the current month, quarter, or year despite the fact that their short-term success often comes at the expense of the future.
It is up to the management of every company to settle these matters for themselves. Strategic product moves must reflect a willingness to be true to the corporate mission, vision, and strategy. Ultimately, customers will judge such product choices. If leaders take the easy route and construct product portfolios to match analysts’ expectations, they will likely fail to satisfy customers who are the real arbiters of their success. The commitment to the corporate vision must serve as the counterweight that keeps the desire to please financial markets in its proper context. It has to be the overriding factor if a company is going to enjoy long-term viability beyond the next quarter, the next decade, or the next century.
Saturday, August 21st, 2010
This week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released some interesting findings for 2009. An Associated Press article reported that the Bureau documented a 17 percent drop in workplace fatalities last year. The article notes that much of the decline can be attributed to a reduction in hours worked as a result of the recession.
This is good news when taken at face value. However, occupational health and safety practitioners know that the number of fatalities can start to climb as the recession subsides and more people join the ranks of the employed. Now is the time to consider new strategies for elevating safety as a primary workplace concern in the competitive business environment. One means of accomplishing this is to provide an entirely different frame of reference for the safety debate.
Safety is, very simply put, a quality concern. An incident is really a defect produced by a failure in a process or work flow. Process and layout designs should reduce the risk of such incidents just as they should reduce the risk of defects. Safety advocates can gain support in their organizations by using this context to discuss workplace concerns.
Lean and Six Sigma techniques can be used to assess and mitigate the risk of injuries and other incidents. These methods are used together to facilitate the improvement of a wide variety of processes. Examples include manufacturing and assembly, medical services, financial transactions, and environmental testing. Other disciplines such as project management can be used in concert with Lean and Six Sigma to ensure the success of improvement efforts.
Lean techniques are used to: (1) identify the portions of a process that create waste, and (2) facilitate the process redesign. The first step is to map the process to understand how it works and to highlight problem areas. In the safety arena, this translates into looking at the process flow and the physical layout to determine where hazardous conditions exist.
Six Sigma encompasses a variety of tools that are used to reduce process errors and quality defects. Six Sigma can also be used to gather and analyze data on safety incidents and dangerous occurrences to evaluate possible causes and improvements. The approach consists of a series of steps known as DMAIIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Implement, and Control. These steps address each phase of a process improvement effort, and all are required to evaluate potential sources of errors, defects, or hazards. From there, improvements are recommended, implemented, and evaluated. The tools used in Six Sigma include Statistical Process Control (SPC), design of experiments, and individual statistical analysis tools, to name a few.
Using Lean and Six Sigma to assess hazards and safety incidents provides an opportunity to evaluate these issues in a broader context. Treating incidents as a type of defect or process failure allows workers and managers to see the business impact of safety as well as the personal impact. This analytical, performance-based methodology provides an excellent framework for the due diligence needed to make safety improvements and enhance the overall health of the work environment.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
A friend of mine recently initiated a transformation in his physical health. One day he learned that his cholesterol was dangerously high. He realized he had a choice to make. He could take incremental steps and hope for a prolonged period of improvement, or he could make radical changes and improve his condition very quickly. He took charge of the situation. He changed his eating and exercise habits so dramatically that his cholesterol level dropped by 20 points in less than a month.
This story is analogous to the challenges that corporations face daily across the global marketplace. Some have stepped up to the plate and made the radical changes needed to become financially healthy and maintain their viability in the market place. They decided that they wanted to live and not die.
Historically, individual budgetary concerns and department performance have weighed too heavily on work processes in many corporations. This behavior helps organizations optimize at a functional group level, but sub-optimization is the result for the overall entity. If a company is to avoid the iceberg of corporate mortality, then everybody had better start moving the ship – and they better be moving in the same direction. Serving customers and succeeding as an enterprise must drive decisions and, consequently, work flows.
Does your organization reflect the sub-optimization reality? Don’t feel badly – you’re in good company. Where should you start so you can experience your own transformation? Glad you asked. Keep these two things in mind:
1. Prioritize Carefully
Project portfolio management and prioritization are imperative. No organization can do everything that comes across the radar screen. Your team needs to be allowed to focus on the “critical few” items in order to accomplish its strategic goals. The list of the critical few should be populated with projects that address customer-driven products and services, quality, safety, and compliance. This list should also be limited in scope. Furthermore, items on the list should be important enough to be fully resourced.
2. Eliminate or Reduce Non-Value Added Work
Non-value added work can consume a disproportionate amount of time each day. Tasks that fall into this category typically are driven by departmental requirements, not by the needs of your customers. Figure out how much time your organization spends on activities that serve your customers versus those that only serve the bureaucracy. Empower your organization, and charge them with eliminating or at least reducing the latter.
Sunday, August 8th, 2010
Organizations are using supply chain management as a means of creating value and managing cost. Companies are using their supplier partnerships to drive innovation and are pushing greater responsibility upstream to their partners. Consequently, performance expectations are increasing and supplier selection activities must yield stellar results. An organization can transform its supply chain by selecting real value partners who support the strategic direction of the enterprise.
The right sourcing tools can play a critical role in identifying and building value-based relationships. My article “How to Select Innovative Supplier Partners Using a 5-Step Project Management Approach” offers a step-by-step approach for ensuring success in your sourcing efforts. In addition, check out the “How to Select Innovative Supplier Partners” presentation for detailed tips as well as helpful templates.
Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Changes in Management Styles
Management styles have evolved to meet the challenges of a tumultuous business climate. The global environment has been in flux for well over five years. The financial meltdown of the last three years exacerbated this. The managers who have been effective during this period are those who were either adaptable already, or who learned to adapt as things changed more rapidly. In turn, they helped their teams become flexible as well.
The Role of A Manager
Managers must realize that they play multiple roles. Managers are part of the team and as such, they have to know when to play a collaborative role. They also serve as coaches when needed. On the other hand, they must communicate the overall strategic direction, as well as defining boundaries and required outcomes. Teams are rendered ineffective when a manager is not proficient in juggling these roles or does not recognize what is needed in a given situation.
How to Identify the Impact of Your Management Style
You need to find out how you are affecting your team members, and the only way to do that is to ask. 360-degree feedback is indispensable. The approach can vary. I recommend that managers do things to cultivate relationships with direct reports so that healthy communication becomes the norm. This will help ensure that feedback comes naturally rather than just being part of a formal discussion.
Ways to Change Your Management Style
Build a level of trust with a few key direct reports who can serve as sounding boards. These people will benefit the most from any improvements in your behavior. Conversely, they will suffer the most if you do not change. Why not get their input on how to change? A simple approach would be to ask a team member to observe various behaviors and report the observations, with some thoughts on how to be more effective. This will provide some critical and, perhaps, surprising insights.
Saturday, July 31st, 2010
Global Sourcing Strategies: Quality vs Price?: Outsourcing spending has con… http://bit.ly/cjJcO7
Saturday, July 31st, 2010
Clarity Management Consulting transforms businesses from the inside out by improving quality and productivity as well as reducing waste and cost.