Leadership

How to be a Better Leader Following the Pandemic
Digital Transformation has been a buzzword in the business lexicon for a number of years. In many organizations, very few people understood what it means or what it would look like once accomplished. Standing now at the other side of a 3 month lockdown due to pandemic and facing what could be another 6-12 months of continued upheaval in the business world, “Digital Transformation” has taken on a whole new meaning and understanding.  How much of the organization can accomplish their work entirely via computer from anywhere and at any time? The answer to this is likely a much larger percentage now than it would have been 6 months ago. The answer may continue to grow 6 months from now. As our businesses and organizations ramp back up in this pandemiconomy here are 3 key things to keep in mind regarding digital transformation and how it can help your teams…
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Plant a Tree to Grow Empowerment and Accountability
I know that look.  Something went Kabloo-ey and I’m going to hear about it. One of my direct report managers is standing in my doorway; I swear I can see smoke coming out of her ears.  She scheduled a 2-hour kick-off meeting – starting in a few hours – for a very important initiative that has executive management visibility.  In order to accommodate everyone’s calendars, she scheduled the meeting over lunch, and quite appropriately, planned to order pizza for the group.  And that’s where the trouble arose.  A couple of months prior, the organization decided expenses had to be trimmed; a directive was issued requiring a Request Form and CFO approval for all non-customer meals.  The form was submitted in advance, but then it sat – untouched and unsigned.  So, no pizza got ordered.  Hence, smoke-emanating-ears.  What should the manager do?  Hunt down the CFO – who was traveling –…
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6 Ways to Transform Culture Part 2
Don’t forget to check out 6 Ways to Transform Culture Part 1!  The difference between cultures that drain the energy from an organization and cultures which feed the energy and spirit of an organization can be what sets apart great organizations from average organizations. What’s the difference between these two types of organizations? What becomes so radically different in the Esprit de Corps that creates such a drastic difference in the workplace? These differences lie in the culture of the team. The makeup of how work gets done, how interactions between people happen, and how leadership fosters or hinders the latter over the former. The key to remember is the leader sets the tone and the tempo for not only how cultures perform but how they behave as well. Last month we discussed 3 cultural transformation behaviors that leaders can employ in their interactions to leave the team feeling energetic…
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6 Ways to Transform Culture
Have you ever worked in an organization or on a team that exhausted you? The kind of place that took every last ounce of energy from you at the end of the day? Left you feeling drained and spent? Conversely, have you ever worked in an organization or on a team that was exciting? The kind of place that left you surprised at the end of the day that the time went by so fast? Left you feeling energetic and motivated to come back the next day to continue the tasks at hand knowing that you were doing something that was going to make a difference? Knowing that you were accomplishing something that mattered to someone? That’s the difference between a company that makes-do and one that is an industry leader. Becoming a leader in your industry brings top talent, money, and brand recognition. You can cause this type of…
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How to Lead from a Distance
With our lives – business and personal – having been thrown into disarray, setting priorities, and defining what’s truly important all of a sudden has a different feel to it.  Attributes that were rarely considered before – how the health of others impacts me, how my health affects them – are now front and center as we try to keep our companies moving forward.  To make matters worse, for many organizations creating and sustaining priorities has never been an easy exercise; tap-dancing around the pandemic only adds an extra degree of difficulty. Difficulties in Teamwork I’m sure many of you have attended your organization’s annual planning events and come away with your prize: the obligatory 3-inch thick ‘Strategic Plan’.  In the binder are some really nice-looking graphs, SWOT analysis, organizational priorities, the works.  All in all, a very slick production.  And where was that shiny document a week after the…
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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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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 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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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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