Mixed Messages Is a Motivation Killer

March 27th, 2015
Share on Facebook2Tweet about this on Twitter2Share on Google+1Share on LinkedIn8Email this to someone
mixed messages kill motivation

One of the worst work experiences is not knowing how to proceed. When supervisors give mixed messages morale takes a dip.

Mixed messages from leaders not only harm results but they also are a motivation killer! I’ve had several situations arise recently from a variety of clients and contacts related to the harm of mixed messages, and so I thought it appropriate to discuss. According to my Skills Gap research, 77% of manufacturers and distributors are having trouble finding the required skills to support their business. Thus, the last thing we can afford is to make that situation worse by de-motivating our stars with mixed messages!

For example, a superstar performer at one of my clients received recognition last month for her exemplary work. This month, she was called out in a meeting for doing something that didn’t seem to align with “standard work”.  The interesting thing is that what she is doing is an IMPROVED process. Talk about confusing and de-motivating to be called out for doing something ‘good’ (although viewed as bad) while the majority in the meeting are not achieving the baseline goal yet were not called out! As odd as this seems, I find that it is not uncommon.

As leaders, we must take time to think about how our messages are perceived. If we want to thrive, we need the FULL motivation and focus of our employees, especially are star players. Thus, we must ensure we “do what we say” and “say what we do”. We also need to think through when and how we bring up poor performance. In my example, there was no poor performance; however, if there were, it is not effective to bring it up in a meeting full of the employee’s peers. I’ve found that it is quite possible to turn poor performance into high performance with constructive feedback and mentoring.

Additionally, if we do not address poor performance, it is the largest de-motivator to star employees. Although more comfortable for the leader (as you don’t have to have the hard conversations), it is one of the best ways to lose top performers. They will go where they are appreciated. Although the lack of money is a de-motivator, money alone is not a motivator. The vast majority of employees are motivated by contributing to the company’s success and by being valued for their work. Think long and hard before chasing away your top performers!

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Project Failure: How to Avoid Top Causes

Want to Improve Communications?


© 2015 LMA Consulting Group

Perseverance Counts

March 24th, 2015
Share on Facebook2Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Google+2Share on LinkedIn11Email this to someone

supply chainI’ve been thinking about perseverance. I can attribute the majority of my success throughout the years to perseverance. I guarantee I’ve passed by people who were smarter and more talented by not giving up. My parents have been instrumental in this process because they always made me think that I could do anything I set my mind to achieve, and they demonstrated persistence.

Historically my Mom has been known for her perseverance; however, I have to say that my Dad has taken his challenging lot of Parkinson’s in combination with multiple stroke recoveries with just about as positive an attitude as possible (and my Mom pushing behind him).

I just got back from AZ for a brief visit and to help them with errands, etc. My dad’s Parkinson’s is getting worse, and I really hope he can maintain. My dad’s doctor told my mom that she is obviously doing a great job in keeping him active; otherwise he wouldn’t be walking; period. Persistence pays off. The same is true in work life. When you run into an obstacle, do you stop? Or do you find new ways to succeed?

One tip to implement this week:

Perseverance starts with your state of mind. When the first thing goes awry this week (whether BIG or small), take a few extra minutes to think about it before you react. What would you typically do? What is your end objective? How will your reaction positively or negatively affect your end objective? Try not to blame. We all know people who still blame their parents for things that happened 70 years ago or who blame their boss for screwing up their career. It is easy to do so don’t worry about the past. Instead, put that energy to use in a different way. Look for potential solutions. I guarantee that if you shift your mindset, success will follow – if you give it enough time and persistance.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


© 2015 LMA Consulting Group

The Value of Feedback

March 24th, 2015
Share on Facebook4Tweet about this on Twitter6Share on Google+3Share on LinkedIn7Email this to someone
feedback  from clients and staff

Show you care about service and improvement by being open to customer feedback surveys and employee opinions.

Feedback can be invaluable; however, it can also be the opposite. As my HR mentor used to say, do not react to all feedback. Consider who is providing the comment. Sometimes, people mean well and provide feedback; however, it is not appropriate or accurate. Sometimes, people are jealous, and it taints the feedback. On the other hand, critiques can often times provide immense value from the right people and in the right circumstances.

Be open to reviews. Request it from those you trust will provide honest (at least from their perspective) and value-added information. For example, I’ve always encouraged feedback as it can accelerate your progress. Don’t let it get you down. Instead, consider it a gift. If people didn’t care, they wouldn’t tell you. And, you know which comments to ignore from those who want to hurt you. Listening to feedback also lets people know that you value their input. Don’t overlook the importance of feedback!

In addition, if you have people reporting to you, provide feedback. Do NOT wait until performance reviews. Provide feedback continually – both positive and constructive. Once people realize you are interested in their success, they will listen and value your opinion. Be specific with positive reviews. How else will the recipient know what to repeat and build upon? Be clear with ideas for improvement and provide opportunities to try them out. Even if you don’t have people reporting to you, provide feedback. Make sure you approach them in a good way; however, make time to provide them with thought-out value.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Develop a Talent Edge 

The 3 C’s to Leadership Success


© 2015 LMA Consulting Group

Is Customer Service Pivotal for Project Success?

March 20th, 2015
Share on Facebook4Tweet about this on Twitter5Share on Google+2Share on LinkedIn8Email this to someone
customer service

Create a work culture where the customer’s needs come first to ensure project management success.

In today’s new normal business environment, customer service is pivotal in project management ONLY if you want to ensure success. According to my firm’s recent research report, Amazon Effect, which covered the role of customer service for manufacturers and distributors, 67% feel customer service gaps vs. Amazon-like offerings. Technical skills alone will no longer be sufficient; project managers must create an environment of customer service to accelerate results.

For example, one of my clients has several projects going at the same time. One of them is crucial to bring staffing to the levels required to meet customer orders. They have found that if the folks on that project team are not feeling their importance to the company’s results and to their end customers, they perform their job; however, it is not enough! Progress is too slow. On the other hand, once they felt included in the process and a key part of customer service, results picked up. Do you want to leave your most important priorities to chance? Or would you rather create a customer service culture?

No successful executive will choose the former. Thus, it is worthwhile to think about how to bring an element of customer service into your projects and project teams. A few strategies to achieving a customer service edge include: 1) Engage employees. 2) Involve your supply chain. 3) Provide tools & support.

1. Engage Employees: You must start with an engaged project team. Little else matters. Have you ever seen unhappy employees with happy customers? Me either! It’s also likely you haven’t seen unhappy project team members with happy customers. Thus, start with your project team.

Do you have a compelling vision? Why would they feel their part of the project is important? Are they involved in making a difference in some way? Do they know how they contribute to the vision? How do they add value? How do they know? Are you providing feedback? Do you appreciate progress? For example, when a milestone is achieved, do you recognize the team? Also, are you giving project team members opportunities to get on the projects they are excited about or can learn from? A lot goes into engaging employees.

You’d be amazed as to how the most unlikely project team member can contribute to creating a customer service edge if included in the process. In my experience, I’ve seen engineers close a sale, I.T. leaders create customer intimacy, and supply chain employees create a customer service edge. The common ingredient is engaged employees. How important is service to you?

2. Involve your partners: Now that your project team is on board, you cannot afford to stop there. A customer service edge can only be created by involving your project’s customers, suppliers, and cross-functional partners – after all, how will you achieve your project objectives if your customers consistently change their mind at the last minute and your suppliers provide unreliable inputs to the process?

For example, in one company, we implemented a vendor-managed inventory program with our #1 customer, and we went from unreliable service levels to winning the coveted Supplier of The Year Award. We started with our project team and expanded to involve our customers’ project members and other partners such as carriers and IT partners so that we could collaborate for success. We became more intimately involved with our internal and external partners by collaborating with R&D and engineering on packaging, collaborating with our customers on the use of their demand data and sales inputs for the forecast and collaborating with carriers on optimizing transportation lanes and associated costs. Success followed as the project team saw these partners as part of their extended team.

3. Provide tools and support: Last but not least, the best strategies fail in execution; thus, what can we do to ensure we beat the odds and create a customer service edge? Focus on execution – blocking and tackling. Don’t just dictate a customer service style of thinking on your project team. Explain its importance. Provide coaching. Support the process with systems. Build customer service into the project team members’ expectations and coordinate with the appropriate leaders to make sure it is part of the performance management process. Celebrate success. With a clear strategy and the appropriate support, customer service will thrive.

In today’s new normal business environment, project results are of the utmost importance as growth and profitability is cornerstone to success. Only those who create a customer service edge will thrive. Don’t follow the pack; instead, stand out from the crowd with a customer service edge for your project, and leverage the opportunity to leapfrog the competition.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

Customer Service

How to Effectively Engage Employees and Achieve Results


© 2015 LMA Consulting Group

Transaction Criticality

March 17th, 2015
Share on Facebook4Tweet about this on Twitter7Share on Google+2Share on LinkedIn7Email this to someone
transaction criticality

Transactions occur so often you may not even be giving them a second thought. But each one has the potential to affect growth and profits.

Few executives think much about transaction criticality. Transactions certainly aren’t strategic; however, I have seen numerous clients’ growth and profit plans negatively affected by the lack of transaction rigor. Thus it should be on your list of fundamentals for review.

There are only two issues that occur with transactions:  1) Accuracy. 2) Timing. It would seem simple; however, it is not an uncommon struggle. The reason is that although limited in terms of types of issues, transactions are widespread. Typically there are transactions affecting almost all functions of an organization. Typical ones include the following: purchase orders, receipts, production orders (work orders), production entry, inventory movements, shipments, transfers, inventory adjustments, invoices, etc.

I’ve found the secret to success with transactions starts with communicating the value of transactions. Once an employee understands that the accuracy and timing of the transactions he/she performs can affect customer satisfaction, efficiency and even margins, he is more focused. The other common cause of transaction issues is that the people performing the transactions don’t fully understand the process/steps in performing the transaction. I rarely find people who know how to back out mistakes correctly. Checking your transactions can be invaluable. Typos and mistakes are caught early on. These are easy fixes; however, they require focus and attention by leaders. 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

The Foundation of Business Success: Data Integrity   

6 Process & Systems Trends for Success


© 2015 LMA Consulting Group

Page 1 of 7612345...102030...Last »
   909.630.3943 | | 2058 N. Mills Ave., PMB 532, Claremont, CA 91711