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

How To Implement Lean (Step-By-Step)

If you have been involved with Lean and studying the power of the Lean methodology, you’ll soon realize there is a world of difference between learning the tools, implementing the strategy and changing the culture.

There are many courses and programs on-line that will teach the tools. Fact is, that’s the easy part. A quick search at Amazon will provide a complete library of knowledge about lean tools and the industries where it has been successfully applied. That’s where most people get started. And that’s also where most people go wrong. Lean is more than a set of tools. It is a set of building blocks that, when done properly, fundamentally changes the way we view and do work.

Click here to keep reading and discover how to implement lean step-by-step

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Expert or Explorer

So, I’m seeing lots of chatter in my inbox and on blog posts about how new people get started building an on-line following. One of the big fears seems to be “expert status”. Why the heck would anyone follow me or you if we are not an expert on the subject matter?

Interesting thought - my first response is “because it’s a discovery process, that’s what learning is all about, learn-try-discover-correct”.

Then I’m reading this book by perhaps the best known instant change agent in the world, Tony Robbins. He says that he dislikes “dabblers”, people who are not yet experts, but who post advice on how to succeed by following them through their discovery process. Then he proceeds to talk about how he got started ... before he was an expert and working with Jim Rohn. He talks about setting himself up with no-where to turn but to be successful ... by painting himself into a corner with no escape route and challenging a patient who has been working unsuccessfully with a professional psychiatrist for years.

It’s kind of like Cortes landing in Veracruz in 1519, to begin his conquest. His first action upon arrival was to order his men to burn the boats. Was this bold or insane? Most of us cling to an escape hatch or safety net “just in case”. But Cortes figures burning the boats means they MUST find a way to succeed and takes away the excuses and the safety net.

Same as Tony when he set himself up with the Fast Phobia Cure process. And of course he was successful with it, otherwise he would not be telling the story in his book.

So why are we fearful of following someone who is on a discovery path, rather than an expert? After all, I’m sure we can better relate to the fellow on the discovery path. Most of us never consider ourselves experts. And oh, by the way, there was a time when even the "experts" were starting out - just like Tony.

I’m reminded of one day in a manufacturing plant when I was implementing lean, and the CEO came to the floor. He told me he wanted me to hire a process engineering expert and spend a week off site in a room designing the plant reconfiguration so we could make this happen fast. He didn’t have time for this. It wasn’t much later that I was leading a different lean implementation and watched as the board disassembled and sold the plant assets from the CEO control.

Success with lean is achieved by changing the culture to empower the people doing the work to change how the work is done. It is a discovery process, learn-try-discover-correct.

So perhaps your path to increasing your on-line following is by following someone who is taking the same journey as you, albeit a bit further ahead in progress.

Many of the so-called experts have never successfully done what you are trying to do. Better to observe and learn from those blazing the trail?

I like the advice from T. Harv Eker ...

The most important thing you could do in your entire life when it comes to success, especially with a new project, a new business, a new situation, or whatever it is, is get in the game.

“I need to make more connections first.” Is that the game? No. That’s preparing for the game. “I need to save up more capital first.” Is that in the game?

Listen, you can practice, you can warm up, you can prepare, you can get the baseball uniform, you can watch baseball, you can watch baseball videos, you can get the bat, and you can get the ball.

You can do all those things, but it’s not until you’re standing in the arena at home plate with someone throwing you the ball, and you taking a swing with the bat, that you’re actually in the game.

Norm Bain

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How to get more done today than most do in a week

Taking massive action! What does than mean? Conventional wisdom says to get ahead you have to knuckle down and work harder. I totally disagree. We need to work smarter.

Most people are too busy to be productive. All their time is taken up on tasks that don’t make a difference.

Tony Robbins teaches the RPM method. The Results-Purpose-Map. It’s a great tool to get stuff done. If you watch his video, you’ll get the basics of the system. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how it works.

That’s the essence of my steal shamelessly philosophy - seek out ideas, concepts and systems that work and figure out how to apply them to your advantage in your unique situation. Each situation is unique - that’s why you can’t just apply cookie cutter approaches. You and I don’t think like Tony Robbins - if I did, I’d be leading a much richer life! But we can apply his ideas and techniques to our own unique situation!

Step 1: The Dump - Empty your head.

People carry great ideas in their head. They solve the problems of the world in their sleep. They have awesome ideas for moving forward. But they store them in RAM upstairs. And as the day goes by, that idea or thought gets lost. It needs to be captured.

Keep reading

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A taste of reality

In most organizations, the leaders assumption about what is happening in the workplace on a daily basis does not align with what is really taking place. Does that sound surprising?

I hope not. If you are becoming involved with lean thinking in your organization, I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the gemba walk. When was the last time you were in the gemba - the place where value is added for your customer? Go there - you may be surprised at what you find.

Most leaders in organizations are really good at:

1. Setting direction with challenging targets

2. Spotting abnormalities, waste and opportunities that others fail to see.

That can sometimes lead to big frustration and stress. A feeling that you constantly have to "babysit" and subscribing to the stress reduction kit to hang on your office wall - "bank head here".

Continue Reading by clicking here ...

NBI - Making sense of business improvement - Blogged