Thursday, August 17, 2017

This Changes Everything

I was channel surfing again the other day - good thing my wife was not home - she'd have grabbed that remote right out of my hand.

I stumbled across this history story about, of all things, the automotive industry. It talked about how it all got started and, more interestingly, how this industry has changed the shape of the world.

Then I got to thinking about other products that have revolutionized and redefined our world and more importantly, our lifestyle. I starting thinking about how now, YOU can change our world …

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Looking at it backwards

Tuesday insights ...

I spent the long weekend reading a new book. May long weekend lived up to its reputation - rain, rain, rain. So while everyone declared "movie day" and headed to the big screen in the basement, I got comfortable on the couch with the kindle reader on the ipad.

An interesting quote from Aristotle in this book stood out in my mind -

the mark of an educated mind is being able to entertain a thought without adopting it.

That thought adequately described this book. Lots of ideas to challenge the mind - perhaps a few to adopt.

For years I've been advising folks that the best place to get started is by just doing something - like the Nike moto, Just do it. The deeper meaning here is that you will discover a way to solve your problem by simply jumping in and working on it. Many get stuck in analysis paralysis and they never get to actually working on the problem.

Well, it turns out there is a "Do Something Principle". This principle says that action drives inspiration and inspiration drives motivation.

That sounds backwards. Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivated only when we feel emotionally inspired. If you want to accomplish something, but you don't feel motivated or inspired, you're screwed.

Turns out that's just wrong. If you want to learn to play the piano, but are not inspired to take lessons or lack the motivation to practice, just play. The more you play, the more you become inspired to learn. And that inspiration motivates you to practice and take lessons.

If you're trying to write a book, but you have writers block, just start writing stuff. The simple act of writing will inspire great thoughts and motivate you to get to work on the book.

It seems counter intuitive - even backwards, but it works. And that is the premise in this book - that the reason we don't get to where we want to be is that we are working at the wrong stuff and looking at things the wrong way.

So just do it. Get started on what it is that you want to do. By getting started, you'll be inspired to create a way to make what you want a reality. It all starts with taking action.

Want more information about this? Send me an email and I'll tell you where to get this book I'm reading.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Does Lean Not Work?

So I did this quick Google search "lean does not work" - 3.9 million results. It seems it is not working. Or at least people are talking about that.

When you dig deep, there are really only a few companies that can be considered lean. Many that embark on a lean journey seem to dabble with the tools, when it is convenient. The effort fades with time.

What most fail to recognize is that lean is a philosophy, not just a bunch of tools. And most leaders either do not understand its value or do not have the patience and discipline to implement it.

Slow, steady continuous improvement does not lead to immediate recognition, quick promotions or soaring share prices. It's no silver bullet solution. Successful implementation requires something that is very rare in both people and organizations: constancy of purpose.

Click to continue reading

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Lean On Me

When I was a young boy, my Mom taught me how to ride a bike. At first I was terrified … "Don't let go".

She held the back of my seat and walked along beside me. Then, as time went on, she started letting go. Right before I would fall, she'd grab the bike to steady me.

Then one day, she just let me fall.

Here's Why ...


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Insight over coffee.

A large coffee at Timmy's, Canada's favorite coffee stop is 2 bucks. 

I like to take my clients out for lunch or coffee. Of course, it's your turn to buy. The soup and sandwiches at Tim's are cheap and quickly fill the void. And it provides a break from work life's constant demands to explore what's been happening, how they responded, what's been tried and where the struggles are. Barriers come down over food and drink. In a few moments together we develop a strategy for progress before our next session. 

The consistent three barriers to progress? Click here to continue … 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Want Freedom? Start With Systems!

Most businesses run by rote. Someone knows how to do each task. That person teaches the new guy. If you are a small business, you're likely that guy or gal.

Sorry to be the one to tell you, but that's not scale-able. If you are going to grow your business and enlist help to get things done AND ensure that things get done the way you want them done, you'll have to create systems.

It may feel slightly ridiculous to write out a step-by-step procedure for the simple tasks you do. But when you do this, you'll thank me the day you bring on hired help. You'll already have the basic outline for your operating manual.

Here's how to get started quickly and easily (and with a system)


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Steal Shamelessly

So, I got a little feedback about my earlier post about lean and six sigma. I love the feedback - it tells me people are actually paying attention and this stuff does not just disappear into the internet back hole.

Anyway, the feedback was that there was a tone of sarcasm and cynicism in the post that the reader wanted to point out. I’m glad they did. Because I had intentionally put those remarks in.

If you are posting on-line or coaching or consulting, you can’t be wishy-washy. You can’t be middle of the road. You need to have an opinion. You need to take a side. It’s like the daytime talk show hosts - they are there and successful because they take a side and express their opinion. The fact that you may or may not agree creates the dynamic. That’s what sells - that’s what creates traffic (viewers).

One of the keys to becoming successful very quickly is to find someone who is where you want to be, observe what they have done, and model their behavior. It goes with my moto in an earlier post - steal shamelessly - find what works and apply it in your business - fast.

There are two sad parts about this process that I have observed.

The first sad part is when someone takes the ideas, forgets where they came from and claims it as their own. Now I understand that our thoughts are simply a mashup of our education, experience and readings, but outright plagiarism and corporate ladder climbing by stolen ideas is inexcusable. Unfortunately in this world we have to rely on Carma to correct this injustice. Just don’t do it - give credit where credit is due.

The second sad part is when we “fix” the idea before we apply it. “Great idea, but I’ll just apply these few tweaks before I implement it here”. Be careful that you are not tweaking out the very thing that made the idea successful. Remember who is the one that is successful here - it ain’t you - yet. So model the idea exactly as you observed it until you see some success implementing it. Once you see success, then you can tweak it.

Consider lean standard work as an example. We don’t let a new person working in our area tweak the way things are done right off the bat. First you learn how we do tasks by following standard work. It’s ok to ask why, and presumably the people working there can adequately explain why, but follow the standard work. Once the standard is mastered ie: you are proficient in doing the work at takt time and can teach others how to do it as well, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to explore how to tweak it.

The essence of Lean is to continuously improve how the work is done (kaizen) by engaging the people that are doing the work.

Read more here

Norm Bain
NBI - Making sense of business improvement - Blogged