Executive Blog

The Secret of every high-performance organization
What defines high-performance? Who replaces the water in the water cooler at your job? I’m willing to bet it is not the Water Cooler Filler specifically employed by your company. I’d even be willing to suggest that perhaps you don’t even know who this person is. The reality is that these hidden individuals actually reveal the secret blueprint for taking an organization to the next level. The reason is the Discretionary Effort. Over the last decade in leadership, the conversations I have had regarding discretionary effort have been brief and mostly in passing. The sad fact is that it is not talked about or discussed much among leaders at all. Leaders spend their time wracking their brains over how to improve productivity and increase profit for the bottom line but they miss the one vital component to every successful organization and that is learning to tap into the discretionary effort…
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How to Lead Through a Crisis

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Leading through a crisis
The First Crash In 2001 I was working in the tech industry during the dot-com crash and subsequent economic recession.  Shortly after the wheels started falling off the US economy, the stock market, and my company’s book-to-bill ratio, I received a promotion to a top leadership position.  This was great for my career, but the promotion came with a caveat:  I needed to start wearing suits to work.  Wait, what? The tech bubble pop was a hard and sudden shock to my company (similar to coronavirus in 2020), and it was obvious to the entire organization that a correction – in the form of layoffs – was coming.  Everyone was nervous and on edge.  What do people do when they’re nervous and on edge?  They look to their leaders for reassurance and guidance.  This was my manager’s explanation for the suits – since everyone will now be watching me all…
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Behavior Modification - What can we learn from our dogs
Many frustrated Human Resource professionals neglect to utilize the easiest and most effective techniques in managing behavior issues in the workplace: natural logical consequences. The premise is quite simple, but we often tend to ‘overthink’ ways to change undesirable behavior. Typically, the first choice is punishment. On the positive side, punishment is quick, easy and often effective in the short term. On the negative side, it is fear-based and almost always damages the relationship between employees and management. It breeds a toxic corporate culture and predisposes an employee to voluntarily terminate their relationship with the manager and the company. Behavior Modification from Feenix I learned another way of behavior modification from a behavior modification therapist many years ago. He was a dog trainer who assisted me in modifying the behavior of a beautiful, very smart and stubborn golden retriever named Feenix. Prior to meeting this gentleman, I was a punishment…
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MetaExpert Joe Uses Teamwork to Solve Order Fulfillment Problems
Situation MetaExperts Joe was brought on board to help a large lead-acid battery manufacturer suffering from conflicting planning, organizational consensus, and performance gaps. He determined that the main issues stemmed from: Differing objectives and forecasts between Sales, Finance and Supply Chain  Performance gaps were not readily identified and addressed Risks were not consistently identified and resolved Unexpected gaps in the planning Actions To address these problems, Joe introduced a robust Sales and Operations Planning process. This process creates a collaborative effort between all business units with a monthly cadence of meetings and events. On a regular basis, balanced supply and demand plans are determined, inventory is optimized, and risk, opportunities, and gaps are determined with actionable counter-measures.  Results Through the process of consensus building, meeting facilitation, and supply planning, MetaExpert Joe was able to implement a collaborative planning process. The company achieved the following results: Inventory turns improved by 18%.…
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How MetaExpert Marc Helped to Upgrade Production
Situation MetaExperts Marc was brought in to help a company experiencing a rapid growth rate. The company went from $7 million in annual sales to $120+ million and desperately required new production facilities, financial, and staffing needs.  Actions Marc leads the charge with the creation and implementation of a new business plan, budgets, staffing and launch execution plan to accommodate growth rate. A total budget plan was created for a greenfield (Mexico, San Luis Potosí) and brownfield (Auburn Hill, Mi) project of around $30 million.  Results The greenfield in Mexico was completed on time and achieved budget targets of $9 million. Startup staffing and training was executed and launched on time. Equipment build dates and needs were met and the first parts were shipped to customers 9 months after the project kick-off. Brownfield in Auburn Hills involved moving over 40 pieces of equipment within a very tight time frame of…
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MetaExpert Jeffrey Retrains Employees to Enhance EBITDA
Situation MetaExpert Jeffery was brought on board to help a company suffering from a consistently high cost of operations, a severe lack of efficiencies and to help the company achieve a reduction of overall billings in accessories. He determined that frontline challenges were present in the following areas: Human capital. Operational deficiencies. Working consistently across the network at each business unit.  Suffering bottom-line results and an overall reduction of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization). Actions Jeffrey studied and recognized deficiencies in the company’s overall policies. He determined that the best way forward was to rewrite the policies and train from the bottom up. He then measured the results and recommended increased accountability among employees. Jeffery’s overhaul of the company’s policies and training program improved the human capital issues the company was facing. He also measured key performance indicators (KPI) and established new KPI to focus on stronger…
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MetaExpert Scott Assembles SME Super Team to Restore Pharmaceutical Shortage
Situation The sterile injectable manufacturing site of a multi-national pharmaceutical company experienced a sudden and unexpected increase in units with visible crystals. Despite the drug being on the FDA drug shortage list, manufacturing was temporarily halted. Sufficient determination of the root cause of the crystallization with proposed countermeasures was required to restart manufacturing. The company brought skilled MetaExpert Scott in to lead the charge.  Actions Sterile injectable crystallization is a niche technology that requires extensive expertise. MetaExpert Scott assembled a cross-functional Black Belt team which included operators, technicians, process engineers, and chemists. In close collaboration with his team of functional subject matter experts (SMEs), Scott developed and deployed a strategy to return the product to production and removal from the FDA drug shortage list. This was accomplished by: Investigating and responding to the manufacturing deviation  Identifying the root cause(s) of crystallization Evaluating the feasibility of product reformulation Under Scott’s leadership,…
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Situation A billion-dollar healthcare transportation company was seeking to improve its bottom line. They were looking for a MetaExpert to help them implement cost savings initiatives and also spearhead the centralization of real estate procurement. The MetaExpert charged with the task would be faced with working in a dynamic environment as a private equity firm supervised the initiative while management and strategic focus continued to change.  In order to be successful, the company knew they would need the help of an expert. One of our MetaExperts, Andy, answered the call. With his background in Real Estate, Procurement, Change Management, Human Resources, Standard Work Documentation, and WorkFlow Layout, Andy proved to be an invaluable asset to the healthcare transportation company.  Actions MetaExpert Andy guided the healthcare transportation organization to meet the challenge and make its real estate a corporate asset rather than a liability.  Andy led a collaborative team that included…
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Supply Chain Shipping MetaExperts
This post offers Part 2 of a two-part series about some anecdotal scenarios where some of the main principles of supply chain management are demonstrated. While real-life can be much more complicated than these anecdotal stories, the lessons are clear. Lesson 6: Bottlenecks exist, and they may cause supply chain issues through no fault of your own. In Part One, we discussed how clearing customs issues could create problems that can have solutions to avoiding bottlenecks at the border. But sometimes uncontrollable events can create a damaging bottleneck. Shipping requires various forms of transportation such as by sea, air, rail, and truck. Each of these forms regularly has accidents and breakdowns that-at the wrong time-can do some serious damage to the last mile effort. The supply manager can’t foresee any such events, but the time is approaching when new big data programs will help prognosticate accident probabilities, but before that…
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Meeting Supply Chain Mistakes MetaExperts
We all learn from our mistakes. But it’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others. The following short supply chain stories each have something to help the Supply Chain Manager. Lesson 1: Priorities differ – a disaster for one business can be a success for another. One of the most pressing decisions supply chain managers face daily is how much inventory to order? It’s a “goldilocks” sort of target: Not too much….but not too little…but just right. In other words, managers try to avoid spending too much without creating a shortage of inventory in case things get tight. Most companies have different priorities at different times. Take, for example, the time a famous hotel brand created a champagne disaster during new year celebrations. Likewise, when a restaurant runs out of the main ingredients that constitute its flagship offering. Customers either “go with the flow” or go…to competitors.   …
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