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

Advertisements

Brave new world of private sector

One of my favourite writers is Aldus Huxley and his colourful utopia books about the how the world will look like sometime in the future. I was probably 25 when I first came across his books and at that time I was a corporate soldier working for a large multinational corporation.

I was getting very well trained how to get along in the bubble of corporate kingdom with as many employees as a smaller city somewhere in the world. You have to have certain skills in selling ideas, setting appointments, writing emails, talking and networking all with the aim of getting your agenda in front of someone who can say yes or no or a maybe. This type of structure is very good to learn new cutting edge methods and systems as they have “unlimited” resources to pay for training, consultants, fund projects and so forth. Also you can be specialist in a field within a function and be great and valued.

Also I would say the work morale varies between people a lot. Most of these corporates have employee performance evaluation systems on an annual basis, where they put you into categories of below requirements (you must improve – otherwise you are out); good-ish that you do your job from 9am to 5pm and you do nothing more nothing less and excellent that you are better than the 80% of others wanting to do more.

When you get to the private and start-up type of businesses things change. You have to learn, or have very different skills. The resources are not in abundance; you have to be a financial wizard to make things work. There is no such thing as middle class performance, you are great or you are out and also colleagues, the owners or just simply the market does not tolerate failure. You know the statistics… From every 10 company, 9 goes out of the business in first 5..10 years.

So when you sit in your corporate comfortable chair, and think about having your own business or join a start-up, please do some serious thinking. See how you can improve yourself as a person so you can always deliver 110% and also train yourself all the missing skills and knowledge what you will need in there about sales, marketing, finances, IT and legal.

I did not mean to scare you off, it is a brave new world out there and it is the most fun you can ever have, so I encourage everyone to try!

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

GRisks you did not take

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 Can You Involve all Levels in a Company

People are not going to work to do a bad job. Although sometimes you would think it seems that way. But it is simply not true. Sometimes we managers say that employees do not care. Not true…. You have to accept this principle.

To draw the caring out of a team is your job as a manager, so if they do not seem to care, then you failed, not them. How can you then involve them? By asking the right question. We can go back to the basic human needs. There are numbers of theories on how many are there…. But in all theories, once you passed the basic needs for food, shelter, safety and these sorts, you get to the level of Belonging to a Group and Feeling Significant.

So with your questions, you have to achieve 2 objectives:

  1. Bring down the barrier when people feel on the football field and employees vs. Management game is on, and you are playing on the opposite side to them
  2. You need to make them feel important that they hold the key to the problem, together you can solve it

Asking the right questions, telling the right story, providing the right level of information will bring out the desire to solve a problem. You have to be prepared for some period of lack of trust, silence, ignorance and all sorts, but at the end of the day with resilience and not giving up will deliver the desired benefits. People will help you to achieve the common objective.

You do not have to win everyone over, you can focus on a few, the so-called opinion leaders and then once they are on your side than as a small team you can work with the rest of the group.

What you have to be prepared for is that this game is not like football, not 90 minutes. Meeting over and you do not have to care about it any longer. You have to follow up, work with them day by day to make the desired improvement work. You (as one team now) worked out together.

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!

G

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

 

 

Suddenly … should you always be prepared?

You would think as a leader you have to have a plan for everything, you have to be in control. In some cases I would agree with you on that. You always have to have a plan A a plan B and for the really control freak of us a plan C.

However, what you have to realize, that your dreams and goals not always happen according to plans. Our life is not guided by GPS or Satnav, there is no such thing as the prefect most economical route. The universe will make its own impact on your life and the journey. The external forces will help or hinder you based on your emotions and how you feel about things.

If you focus on too much on what can go wrong, things will go wrong, however if you focus on the positives, you will get “help” suddenly.

So suddenly is the act that is coming from outside of your control, but to a large extent it mostly depends on you if the “suddenly” will help you or hinder you.

This is my Sunday meditation type post, please challenge me in comments if you agree or disagree.

Enjoy the Journey and Deliver Results!

g

100consultants.com

via Daily Prompt: Suddenly

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