Sunday, March 9, 2014

What is your hook

Is your marketing working? Is your web site converting visitors to buyers?

Your hook, in 10 seconds or less, better clearly explain (1) what is it that you are offering (2) who is this ad for and (3) what’s in it for me. No confusion. No mumbo jumbo. Don’t stress my brain. Just grab my attention. Fast.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Thought for today - The Secret Key To Success

When you shift your actions from THINKING about what needs to be done, to DOING what needs to be done, your profits will soar. NOTHING is accomplished until ACTION is taken. 

Read The Full Post Here


Monday, February 10, 2014

It's been quite some time since I've been posting on this blog.

I'm back - with a new focus and new found energy. I've created a new blog about website and effective marketing and am moving posts from this blog on that subject there. Stay tuned for more!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Robin Sharma has a new post ( that's worth sharing:
20 Best Quotes for High Achievement


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random Thoughts

When I was a young software designer, I ran across a great program for capturing random thoughts. It was a way to put sticky notes on your desk and recall them by keyword. It was pretty awesome, but was not available when I was not at my desk. When I traded up my computer I lost the software and have not found a comparable product.

When I became a manager, by mentor showed me the power of a bring forward file. He was relentless in following up on commitments, suggestions and directives as his BF file kept everyone on track.

When I became a consultant, my secret was to remain one step ahead of the client. Study was the game. I read more books in my first year as a consultant than I did in a lifetime of high school.

I found a great book by David Allen. It was definitely a winner. Getting Things Done is a national best seller about stress free productivity. In it is a flow chart that shows how to  get stuff done. It suggests that we ask ourselves a few simple questions about everything that comes into our life and then define some actions that keep us moving toward to get results. It’s solid gold. I’ve thought about it for years and finally figured out how to apply it practically. I’m not a strapped to a desk guy. I see young folks tied to their cell phones sharing their world on-line. Blink – a light went on. Lets take facebook and twitter to a new level.

Random thoughts + the power of the internet + a system to get things done + social media. Sounds like a winner.

Here’s the system; David Allen’s book says that stuff that comes into your world should be examined to determine if it is actionable. If not, it should be trashed unless you think that it may be useful some day, in which case it should be filed for easy retrieval. If it is actionable, you need to determine what the next action would be to move this toward completion. If that action can be done in less that a few minutes, then do it! Otherwise, delegate it or defer it to the appropriate time. If you delegate it, you better have a BF file to follow up. If you defer it, set up a reminder to tell you when to take care of it. That’s a pretty awesome model.

If you want to learn the nuts and bolts of the system, you can buythe book on Amazon.

If you want to learn how to apply it in real life, check this web site. Never forget that random thought and use a great system to make it happen!

The site is not yet compete. One thing I’ve learned is not to hold a good idea back while you perfect it. Let it evolve. So here it is. Feel free to give it a try!

Norm Bain


Monday, May 27, 2013

Visual Management Meets the check sheet

Having grown up in the maintenance arena, checklists are a way of life. Mobile equipment requires a walk-around check prior to use. There are periodic inspections on dozers, trucks, graders and loaders with 250 hour, 500 hour and 1000 hour intervals. Fire extinguishers and equipment need to be inspected. This creates a mound of paper to be filed and tracked.

When I went to work in automotive, visual management was king. Cards describing each of the tasks performed in station hang on a peg board and appear RED at the start. As each task is completed, the cards are flipped to the GREEN side. Walking past the station, we have a clear visual indication from the board of the status of the build – just by observing how many RED cards had turned GREEN at a glance. At the completion of all the tasks, a new unit arrives in station and the process is repeated.

This RED/GREEN indication can be carried forward to a monthly calendar that shows the status of defects as the month progresses. Good days are GREEN and not so good days are RED. This visual indicator has been the starting trigger for many valuable discussions and learnings in the Gemba (where the work is done).

In the restaurant industry, I wondered how an opening and closing checklist could be created using this philosophy. In the hotel industry, could room housekeeping checks be verified on a tablet and recorded using this RED/GREEN visual indication? Could the daily liquor counts be verified the same way?

The world is full of check lists – how can we simplify the process. Can we combine hand held technology with visual management and create a checklist application?

If your world is as full of checklists as mine, have a look at

Any other apps that you've run across to manage check lists?


Friday, May 4, 2012

Go to the Gemba

It's been a while since I've posted in this blog. Every once in a while, a colleague contacts me with a great story. That happened today (Thanks Ed !) so I thought I'd share it here. Its the heart of what Lean is all about.

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem.

Six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution - on time and on budget. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decided to have a look at the project. No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place...very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. "That's some money well spent!" he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turned out the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. It should've been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. After some investigation, the engineers came back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, and walked up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin.

"Oh, that," said one of the workers - "one of the guys put it there 'cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang".

NBI - Making sense of business improvement - Blogged