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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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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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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The Situation John, a MetaExpert was hired by the U.S. Air Force to help tackle the lack of concrete processes for conducting medical physicals which were causing inconsistent patient care. Prior to John’s arrival, the Air Force was providing inconsistent patient care resulting in long wait times for patients to be seen by providers. In addition, key information was being missed during appointments which caused the need for additional appointments. Outcome John led the Air Force project team through mapping their current “AS IS” processes in several functional areas and developed standardized processes where none existed. He implemented the Lean methodology to reduce excess waste in the existing processes. John made recommendations for future projects and the team was able to see immediate results with some of the “quick wins” John implemented. John’s expertise in Lean, Six Sigma, leadership, process mapping (Visio), waste reduction, and ability to implement quick wins…
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Doug Sartain
It’s important to keep your drivers happy and your fleet happy as this infographic about the high cost of employing (and losing) a truck driver shows. Here’s how I help fleets perform and maintain loyalty: Make the driver part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I ask drivers for their input on what the company can do better. When they have an idea, I run with it as long as it does not negatively affect a customer, company policy, cost control, safety etc. I always say, “I will let a driver win a battle as long as the company wins the war”. So even if I do not agree with the idea, I will implement it as long as it is not detrimental. If the idea works, I let everyone know which driver thought of it. You can never take credit for an idea that is not…
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Hands of a formally dressed man chained together
The biggest challenge I encounter in achieving supply chain excellence is that many organizations believe they are powerless when it comes to working with their suppliers.  The typical beliefs I encounter are: “we aren’t big enough to have any leverage”, “we can’t control what our suppliers do”, and “implementing a Lean supply chain will increase our costs”.  Interestingly, most organizations feel the same way toward managing their customers as well.  It is this victim mentality that prevents many companies from achieving operational excellence. The root cause of these limiting beliefs usually comes down to two critical factors: 1) not fully understanding what a Lean supply chain actually is, and 2) not understanding how to “sell it”, in other words, how to demonstrate how it will help the supplier to be more competitive and then use that as part of the negotiating process. To overcome these limiting beliefs, I focus on…
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businessman writing Supply Chain and drawing some sketches
My perspective is that obstacles to supply chain operational excellence occur in business when there is a lack of alignment between people’s measure of success.  In most organizations communication is a fundamental area that almost always requires work and improvement. In those undergoing significant change this comes to light and is amplified, creating confusion and other feelings that often get in the way of the improvement process.  Ensuring that the entire value stream is aligned and that ownership is established with a minimum of silos is critical to success in achieving operational excellence, not just improvements. I like to refer to what we most often experience in this regard as “islands of success in a sea of waste”.  Unless there is alignment which is often associated with Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment, there will be a lot of good work that can go to waste because of the communication and…
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7 Stages of Becoming a Disruptor
The word disruption is so overused in business it threatens to become jargon which is never a positive fate for a term as important as this one. The people overusing the word and jargonizing it are usually using it wrong. If you understand what it means precisely, takes the following six points seriously to heart and do what you do best — much more aggressively — you can transform your organization into a disruptor. The Actual Definition of Disruption Disruption: something that changes the game entirely. In business, it’s a product or service that has a staggering effect on events, activities, processes, and people in a marketplace. It’s what happened to the world when regular people could buy cars, radios, televisions, VHS players, cell phones — commodities that changed the way we live our lives, and that we had never had before. It’s what happened when we could go online…
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Supply chain workers
Achieving supply chain operational excellence is not an easy target, you need to combine a variety of different factors together; attitudes and competencies, robust processes, and the right technology are just the minimum requirements. The most difficult obstacles I come across are related to the partial achievement of these three aspects, the most common relating to people, their attitudes, and competencies. How to improve the competency of your staff? Measure their progress and motivate their behavior toward excellent performance. Many programs and tools exist: skill matrix, gap analysis, focused training programs for competence upgrade, and so on. The measurement of a higher set of competencies must then be correlated to the superior process performance in terms of output and throughput. A systemic approach helps to reach excellence, a set of proven tools and methods – with the right commitment of top management and superior consultancy performance – are the key…
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Bored and tired businesspeople
The Wharton School maintains there are three reasons to hold a meeting. Period. To: “Create a forum—an opportunity for individuals with different values, ideas, and experiences to share their perspectives.” Make decisions and set “direction for the organization or unit.” Build and/or make a team stronger through “developing collective capabilities.” Period. They further maintain (as do we), that meetings should never be held: For information exchange, or Soapboxing (telling rather than exchanging). Period. If you are holding meetings for the two purposes directly above. Stop it immediately. If you are holding meetings for any reasons other than the top three listed, you are: Wasting precious productive time, Wasting precious financial resources (check out this meeting cost calculator), Encouraging unproductive behavior, Forcing everyone to multitask (especially during the meetings), and Diminishing employee respect and loyalty. Inc.com published these alarming (U.S. only) statistics: There are 25 million meetings held each day, That’s…
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