You are the Platoon Leader – Any Change in Business Starts With You

We are called leaders in business or managers. Personally, I prefer leader. In my interpretation, a manager is the one who has to make sure the processes are working and the procedures are followed. Leadership kicks in when you actually have to change procedures and make them better, make your people better, make the company better.

So at work, you have to be the platoon leader, leading the troops to battle to concur new grounds. People will naturally look at you like that and will follow you like that. What you also have to realize that they copy you, what you do how you act etc.

So if you want to drive change in behavior, change in attitude, change a process that they have to see that you care, you follow the new way yourself. People will change when they see you as a leader change, doing and being consistent about the new thing what you want to push through.

Yes, it is pushing it will take effort, a great deal of it to push changes through. Some companies it is easier, some are greatly difficult. The stronger the culture is the most years served in a company the workforce is, the stronger the resistance will be. Also, it is somewhat different by region of the world, countries with more pride and stubborn attitude, you will have a hell of a job to drive a change through.

So, when you have a chance to lead, have a think how can you demonstrate to your troops that you care, you do it yourself too. Pick a behavior, an act and follow it consistently. Explain it with patience, one hundred times if required, pick a good compelling story to tell and grab every possible venue to tell that story. People love stories, although we all collect birthdays every year, most of us remain kids to a certain extent and love the stories and tend to believe in them.

If you are having difficulty in driving a change, have a think what you have to change in yourself first!

Enjoy the ride and deliver the results!

G

start changing yourself

How to Outsource Any Problem Solving – FMEA de-mystified

People were trained in school to wait for the answer from parents and teachers at home and at school. So when at work, you often meet the attitude of “You are the boss, you tell me what to do!”. Than they complain about what you say. Those 10+ years of schooling and childhood habits are hard to kill.

Is there a solution…. Yes grow you patience nerves stronger, and call for help. There are a couple of tools that will help you with, but today I want to share a tool for the braves. Even in sophisticated improvement cultures it is usually the privilege of Engineering of some sort to use such tools, but I am a strong believer of that everyone can be a master of this.

The tool is FMEA…. Failure Mode and Effect Analysis. The basic principle is to ask 4 questions, and use a scoring system to rank the importance what comes out.

Questions:

  1. What can go wrong or how the thing can go wrong?
  2. When it goes wrong how severe is the impact to the thing or process?
  3. How often does/can it go wrong?
  4. How easy is it to find that before it goes wrong?

The firs question is a simple brainstorming, so for example if it is a machine, that you list out what can break in it.

Than you use the later 3 and score them on a 1..10 scale (agree on criteria before) and multiply the 3 numbers you get for each line to establish the ranking order. For the scoring you either search for some standard, hundreds are in Google, pick your favourite, or you can come up with yours too, the key to success is consistency of interpretation.

I have used this tool many times in all levels of the organization, it is great as you can involve everyone related to the process in the scoring process and once you have the results it is a powerful communication tool to higher levels to gather support to fix the problem.

You can also use the outsourcing bit on the problem solving as promised and ask your group the question in a brainstorming format:

What could we do to change the impact/ score of:

  1. How severe
  2. How often
  3. How easy is to find

You can again rank the ideas by if I were to implement them how the scoring would change.

If you do this in a group setting with your team or the team involved with the process it is fun, engages good thinking and involvement.

Any questions…. Feel free to comment or reach out in contacts page!

 

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

G

FMEA Mouse 512x512

How to select the right data to make improvements

Mondays are the one and only kind of days, when it is statistically proven that the best business decisions are made. You had a good relaxing weekend, away from the pressures and if you have set your mind up on Friday to think of something great through your reflections time, your subconscious mind has worked for you in the background while having a great family lunch or being out in a bar with your friends and of course while you were sleeping too.

So, you had a dream about a solution to a business problem you have and you want to test it out. You can go based on your gut feel and try to do something, or you could try something that engineers with a mix of statistician’s blood in their vanes do.

So you got a process, let’s say it is your revenues / sales in your business. If the number is fluctuating up and down, and you think it is a correlation to the direction and strength of the wind outside…. Than man, your process is out of control. But also I can tell that you process inputs is out of control, not the process itself. So if your brilliant idea over the weekend was to hire more sales people, than stop right now, because you will not only will have a sales but also a cost problem too. So have to start collecting data around the inputs of the sales process. Where you get your leads, how many, how many gets an offer, how many your sales guy gets to meet etc. Collect as many data points and inputs to the sales process as possible. Also collect market and whatever other data you can. Once you have that, ask the question How can I improve the “xxxxx” (put the process input here by 10%… You will see magical results.

On the contrary, if your sales are much lower than expected, but they are constant, than you have something wrong with your sales process itself of the people. Hiring another salesman or firing the sales director might be the best bet you have. Or just work with them and understand based on the inputs they have how come their results are so low. Can be your product or themselves, or the belief they have about your products.

So when collecting numbers, always look at the graph first, it will tell you where the problem comes from, and than collect the true numbers, and make sure you always ask the question why are they that much. Statistics are always hiding something intentionally of accidentally.

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

g

100consultants.com

How To Sell Yourself Made Easy…

Every one of us has at least one product to sell, ourselves. If you choose not to do it, no one else will do it for you. You must value yourself that much, be proud of yourself and sell. Once you start, it makes you feel better, makes you want to do it more, and as any good self-fulfilling prophecy, actually makes you achieve better things… Some will say you improve yourself over time, so will say the universe is helping you. Not really sure, I think it is all of the above. However, you have to make the first step. Why not do it today? In the next 2 minutes while you read this post I will show you what makes it super easy to do on a regular basis.

For most of us, it is not easy and not natural to promote ourselves. Unless you have been trained well in sales, it is not a natural strength. However, you can make your life slightly easier, by preparing a little bit every week, or at least every month.

We have talked about reflections in a previous post (The Friday Game Changer – Reflection Time) It is all logical, when you do that you have to carve out some time to make a presentation page on tracking results, documenting achievements. This will give you the advantage when you have an opportunity, someone wants to talk to you about a project you have done, big boss comes to town, you want to praise your team and thank them for the hard work, or you just simply want to feel good and tell everyone, you already have a 95% ready page to send. Makes making a decision and actually doing the self-marketing easy. We all know well ,we have to do it, but also we can do ourselves a favour to make it simple. (Have to give you a tip…. Writing a post is not natural for me either, if I would have no collection of ideas jotted down…. It would be much harder to create a post topic almost every day)

You say… well, tell me how do you build the communication slide…. PowerPoint, brochure, post whatever. First, start with the message…. The title what do you want the audience to remember. Write that on the bottom of the page. Choose some supporting evidence graphic to communicate the message (PowerPoint has this brilliant Smart Art built in, great for most occasions). Put a few sub-bullets that explain the context…. Job done. What you will find that most of the time, compiling data takes the most of your time. To figure out where to get it from and how, because you forgot to document in the first place…. That brings us to a separate subject(… Which I am now adding to my list of post ideas to choose from. ….) With this type of presentations, the good thing is, that you can reuse them multiple times, update the data, the next month and just remind the audience… look I am still great we are doing a super job.

Page built, ready to show, ready to tell how you add value, how you create a compelling message to yourself and others how good you are!

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

G

motivational

How Can I Ensure a Change Does Not Fade Away?

In life and in business we are making changes, and as always we do our best. The biggest fear of all changes in business people makes, is to make the change and after months or years it just gradually goes back to where it was or even worse.

There is one solution (if done well) that can prevent this from happening. We all remember the saying “Burn the Bridges” as a military tactic, it was utilized by warriors and warlords for thousands of years. Basically building a gap so great that there is no turning back.

When applied to business, as a manager you have the obligation to find a way for the organization to sustain what you have tried to achieve. Your leadership and willpower can not assume, that it will be there forever.

You almost have to honour the work you and the team have done by also coming up with a method to lock it in.

There are multiple ways to achieve this, and the good old-fashioned brainstorming and prioritization tools will help you do that. From the list of ideas…. A 6M chart (Ishikawa or Fishbone) will help you to generate them (Man, Machine, Material, Measurement, Method, Mother Nature). Then you can prioritize them by Impact and Effort.

Remember the question you need to ask:

“How can we make it almost impossible to revert back the change?”

You can think along the lines of hiring or firing, moving, change policies, eliminate or buy something, sign a very strong contract, make it “uncool” to do the old way and anything else. Go creative and burn that bridge!

Challenge me, give me a change problem, and will come back with ideas…. Put it in comments. Or drop me an email on business.wisdom@100consultants.com

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

g

100consultants

The Strongest Magnet in Business

Everyone agrees on setting goals and expectations are the best people management tool ever for performance. I agree with that statement, but how do you maintain the power on the day-by-day basis?  After all, you do not have time to micromanage everyone, nor that you should.

Here is the answer… a line.

I found this tool has a pretty big power of mindset and focuses individuals and teams to achieve the goals. It has its history with the foreman drawing the targets on the floor with a piece of chalk and surprises the performance has improved just by doing that.

So what I am suggesting here is that once you have done your homework and established the realistic goals, and the timeline to get there, you get to draw the most magnetic object in the business world, the agreed target line. It has to be realistic and agreed upon. You can not say to a team that I expect you to perform two times better from tomorrow and draw a target line, you will achieve the opposite. But you can draw a linear line from today to the agreed performance target and make them draw the actual on a daily or weekly basis next to it.

I see this working on a daily or weekly basis in multiple ways. The power is with the line, but magic touch lies in the pre-discussion of goal setting prior to that.

This is an area where you can try it out, can be yourself, plotting a weight loss program chart for yourself and plot the actual reads on a weekly basis (on that front daily would be less of impactful and also discouraging)

The quote is from my favourite corporate leader/inspiration Jack Welch. I had the fortune to meet him a few times while working for his company.

“IF IT ISNT’S MEASURABLE, IT CANNOT BE MANAGED”

100 CONSULTANTS

 

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

G

 

 

What does a leader do on the weekend?

You work very hard during the week and you definitely deserve a bit of break for the weekend. And yes, you do need to take a break and make sure you recharge your batteries.

However, many of you know the story of the lumberjack busy cutting the tree with a blunt saw, and the person walking by can not stand it and ask him “ Why don’t you sharpen the saw?”… “ I am too busy sawing…” comes as an answer.

If you have not read the book of Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits… Please take the time to do so this weekend. So when you take your weekend into account, you have to make sure that you do a bit of sharpening. It is essentially goes into four categories:

  • Body – Exercise, Eat Well, Relax
  • Mind – Learn, Write, Educate
  • Heart – Relationships
  • Soul – Meditate, Journal, Pray

One bit you have to remember is to keep the balance of all this, you can not do a 200% job on Body and only 10% on heart. Imagine if these four categories would represent a quarter in a wheel, and that wheel would be carrying your life. With that imbalance, your life would fee a pretty bumpy ride. Also you have to maintain the balance of how much time you put into all this. It may sound crazy, but if you exercise 2 hours every day, than over 10 years you spend almost 1 year exercising. Well my point is, keep the balance as it may add that 1 year to your life expectancy, but you have not really gained much in the process…

Take this weekend, journal, read, write and go socialize a bit, sharpen your saw, so you are even more productive than the week before!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!

g

100consultants.com

The Friday Game Changer – Reflection Time

We have gone through the week, it feels great that it is Friday…. But does it?
Friday is just another day and you can decide how you live it. You can be happy about that the week has ended, think of going out have a beer or a glass of wine and do not think about work… lock it out and forget about it for a few days…. The chances are that you will feel terrified or sad when Monday comes.

There is another way…. And as usual it takes not much, just 30 minutes or so, and you will feel great, and will even be excited on Monday. This is not smoking weed…. It is reflections time.

Simple thing you can capture any of the following, and I guarantee you, you will feel happy, you will feel fulfilled, and will feel excited on Monday to continue. This is the list I use for my reflection time…. But feel free to alter as you see fit, it is more important to do it, rather than how you do it.

  1. What was working well from my plan for the week
    Yes you should have a plan of outcomes for a week and you have to reflect on that, what was working well… so you can have this cleared up
  2. What was working not so well
    What did I learn from it… What is worth to remember.
  3. Who has accomplished something that I should recognize
    Capture some moments, individuals…. Even if they do not work for you or with you, who are worth to recognize… Maybe you can even post on Social Media about the lady in the Post Office who was super helpful and cheerful
  4. What was the best moment of the week…
    Here focus on something that I was grateful for to have… One thing I will remember for whatever reason…. It will help you to lift your spirit

Please make sure you capture these in writing…. As words fly away and what is written stays there forever.

So you decide…. Head to the pub and forget or 30 minutes more and remember.

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!

g

100consultants.com

How to Build a One Page Summary of Anything

We are communicating every day, whether you want it or not…

When you type an email, you write a report, make a presentation, verbally or non verbally you are communicating!

Today we will be focusing on how to make your written communication even better than now.

You have to be considerate of 2 things: the audience and you.

Let’s Start With You… Your work is the reflection of yourself. Anything you do is the external manifestation of your qualities and capabilities. The fact is that some are written, therefore remains makes it more important. In verbal settings, your performance is not retained elsewhere than the memories of the participants, but the written ones, you will never know where they might surface later on, so you better focus and do the best you can.

The Audience… It’s not you, so when you write the message has to be constructed for them, tailored and carefully crafted. Also, you have to show your respect for being concise and well targeted. You cannot waste their time or your time, with an improperly compiled message which does not achieve its intended purpose.

Great…. Now we are all scared to write an email…. Not at all the case. As anything in business (or life) to create a great one-page summary you’ll need to follow three steps:

Step 1 – Create the Ultimate Message

This is the most important part: what you want to achieve with the message? Inform, take action…. These are the major categories. So basically you write the last part of the communication first, make sure that it is crystal clear, what the message is. If we are talking email, this is a last sentence before the ending part…. What do I want the audience to do or remember…? One thing no more.

If you talk in PowerPoint terms this is the sentence on the bottom of the slide, preferably one line text with roughly font size 20…. If it does not fit to one line try to reconsider unless you are using super long words for whatever reason like “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis”, which is a lung disease as I was told…. Try to avoid these unless you are a scientist and you are talking to a group of other scientists, but even with them they will not have to remember that word, they would have to remember the thing about it or the thing what they have to do.

Step 2 – Create Your Entry

This is your opening sentence in your communication, almost as summarized as the message that leads the audience into the chain of thoughts from where they are into the comprehension of the final message.

If the piece of work is an email, that it is a situational summary, if it is part of a longer presentation, you have to lead from the previous section into the page you are on. Imagine this as the “opening statement” of a lawyer in court, it has a powerful message on its own and gets the jury focused.

Step 3- Build the Logical Chain to Your Final Message from the Entry point

You have to support your information with facts, data, emotions and whatever to make the Final Message stick in the audiences head. They will not have to remember these, they have to remember the final message. But these have to be powerful enough to make them remember or make them do whatever they have to do. Again the courtroom analogy, this is all the pieces of evidence and witnesses the lawyer presents to support the case and influence the judge or the jury to make their final call.

Bonus Track – If Any of you Remember from the DVDs we Used to Use….

If this is an email, the subject is a message on its own. You are fighting with the massive overflow of emails, so you have to be very good at formalizing the subject line for people to open your email at all. What I found interesting on this in the corporate world is that if you use similar tactics that the marketing people use on the emails when they try to convince you to buy something then it becomes much more effective. Again, remind yourself that if it is important to you, than you want to make sure that it gets opened and read to the end, better be short than…

Enjoy the Journey and Deliver Results!

g

100consultants.com

Best Ever Question for Leaders

We all get very busy every day, focusing on problems to be solved, people to talk to and tasks to be completed. In 90% of the time, we live like machines, reacting to inputs we receive or slaves of the moment.

Our mind, however, is destined to achieve so much more. You must have read studies on how much of the brain capacity we use and sure there are some myths around that. However, we can all agree there is much more in the reserves in there, should we decide to use it?

For that the best ever question is: “Why?” … This can be a stimulating question to ask in any situation. Breaks you away from the moment and the complexity of situations, and focuses you on a forward-looking state. It feels like a switch to the brain…. “Time to work!”.

This is an excellent tool to formalize strategies, create motivation, solve complex problems and a lot of others.

I am posting this on a Wednesday, so if you have gone through your manic Monday, when everyone seems to have downloaded all the great ideas they had over the weekend, every person who wanted to follow up on something had sent the emails to you. And the Tuesday, when you took care of all what came about on Monday…. It is time to set aside a bit of time and work on the “Why?” a bit. I find it most efficient to set aside time to work on a project, strategy anything important on Wednesday. I even had some jobs, when I took some part of Wednesday off and did not go to the office I was working on things where thinking was required. It is not to be confused with planning time when you have answered the question already, but take time aside and ask the “whys”…

So let’s walk through an example of how would this work:

You are a leader and your team needs to do a better job on whatever your team is doing. You take your Wednesday morning off, switch your email, set an out of office, turn the mobile off, or forward to someone else’s number. Get yourself a table at you favourite coffee place…. The background is all set, your mind is free, you are in a familiar but not an office environment, so your brain is being reminded that something unusual and great will be taking place.

Why are we not doing a good job? And list out the things that come to your mind in the next minute… Do not spend too much time, your brain will be more or less coming up with the important stuff in the first 30 seconds, the minute is only required for your hand to catch up with the writing

Then, ask the question Why again on the items on the list. This way you will build a logical chain. After you finished the thinking I would encourage you to come up with a document, preferably one page to summarize your thinking. This will be required to explain what you have come up with to the key members of your team and continue the thinking together. The document has to be clear enough to be printed and put in front of anyone and without you saying a word the other person should understand the message.

Once you have the one-pager, you can reward yourself with another coffee, cake or whatever you like, pack your things and go back to work. Although Wednesday is the lowest point of the week, you have just built a piece of strategy and could proudly be the leader you deserve to be.

If you wish to post your ideas in comments, we are happy to help you with any questions you might have!

Enjoy the Ride and Deliver Results!

g

100consultants.com