Archive: April 2010

When flat is not enough!

April 20th, 2010

I espouse the virtues of encouraging the heart of each employee and asking them frequently what they have learned about the marketplace and their customers. Today this is even more paramount as leaders have such a limited supply of time. Leaders do not have the luxury of simply planning and strategizing any longer.

Leaders have had middle management and supervisory roles stripped out of their organizations to stay lean and lower costs. Also, because those roles were often not creating as much value as needed to exist in the business! The consequence is that leaders are doing and producing more. Sales Managers are selling. Operational Leaders are helping in more hands on way. Never has there been more of a need for Leaders to encourage staff to “think like owners” and to help you collaborate on simple and complex problems and opportunities in the business. Stripping out the layers is not enough!

This makes me think of a new television show, where CEOs of big organizations get out from behind the desk and go “experience” their organizations first hand by performing many difficult front line jobs. Many of the CEOs can’t meet the very performance standards they set. Perhaps more leaders should “get out from behind their desk” and lead and work side by side with their staff to find out what is really going on. And of course, to learn what they need to learn to make their organizations a better place for employees and customers alike.

What strikes me as funny is the reaction of the managers who have to hear the report from the Boss after he/she has been out in the field. It is a difficult thing to hear when you supported ideas that don’t work in the field and that leadership is difficult today. Sort of “Darned if you do” and you know the rest… Makes me think that these organizations have too many layers!

Have you asked for help from your staff today? You are producing and doing more. Are you leveraging your team for strategic input? Start that dialogue today!

Why we do the wrongs things perfectly…

April 14th, 2010

Doing Right Things

Did you ever go to work and wonder why your company does something a certain way? Is it because that way was decided on long before you took over? Or is it human nature to simply want to please and not rock the boat? Are we doing the right things wrong? Imagine an office environment that encourages the challenging of the status quo. Find a better way! Did you determine that no one ever looks at that report that takes all day to do and you stopped the waste – fantastic! Did you ask why? Even better. We should do the right things right and create a culture that stomps out anything that does not create value. Doing right things means focus. Focus on everything – energy, resources, time, and money on doing activities that create results and lead to productivity. With all the time, energy, money spent on getting companies to make profit, why not look within first? What can you and your team do, simply by looking at the work you do and giving yourself and your team permission to decide what adds value to your customer. Stop doing everything else.

I propose that all of us, given permission (and time) would come to work tomorrow with a different perspective. Imagine if you could come to work with fresh eyes and look at every work project, every process, every thing you do and evaluate if it the right thing to be doing. Stop doing the wrong things perfectly. Embrace the cultural freedoms you have and take the risk and do it. If your leaders let you down and protect old ways, challenge them again. If that does not work go to your President. I guarantee if you share that you are concerned about helping the organization improve, speed up, be more productive or more profitable, that someone will appreciate the thinking.

Here are my top five ways to Do Right Things today where you work:

  1. If you lead people ask them there opinion. What do we do around here that we should stop doing?
  2. Set a meeting whose agenda is to identify “Things we do perfect that do not add customer value”. The next steps are obvious.
  3. Recognize your team for making these suggestions.
  4. Reward your team for making changes when you DO the RIGHT Things Right.
  5. Go do the Right things right. Stop doing perfect work that does not matter or add value.

The Schizophrenic Marketplace

April 7th, 2010

I think you would have to be living under a rock lately to not have noticed the sudden shift and change in the marketplace. The jobs report from last Friday was extremely positive. Temporary jobs are up again   now four months in a row. Service jobs have spiked; manufacturing is up; almost all sectors saw some spike. Yes, some are government census jobs, but even construction made solid job gains. We still have a long way to go. We have lost over 8 millions jobs over the last few years, however, momentum is just that – momentum. We will take all of the good news we can get!

If it is all good news how can the marketplace be considered schizophrenic? Because there is so much ground to make up! Because of the depth and breadth of the challenge ahead. Because organizations continue to be cautious and careful. Because there are still a record number of unemployed on employment for more than six months. And the good news? Less newly unemployed each month over the last 6 months.

Generally speaking, jobs come 6-12 months after the stock market corrects. Well, the recession officially began to end in the second quarter of last year according to those that know. And one year later, jobs begin to happen!

The great thing about business is that no one likes to be left behind. No one wants to miss a wave. If your business has survived; it is most likely somewhat weakened. Every business needs each new project, every new customer. No leader wants to miss opportunities when they have been so few and far between! And hopefully we can pull out of this a little faster with all of us afraid that we might miss something!

Are you ready? Times are a-changing? This is why we hunkered down right? To get back to good times. To be there when the opportunities re-emerged. I, for one, am ready! Thanks to my lessons learned during this recession, so is my company.

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