Category: Profit through People

Koalas, Kangaroos & Why Good Contacts Matter

January 15th, 2019

 

When I was in Australia last month, I had a day and a half to tour the Melbourne area after my global strategy session and seeing my cousin.  Since it was my first time to this area and I don’t know if/when I’ll return, I figured it was a good idea to see whatever I could while there.  Luckily, I thought about the person who helped set up an Australia/ New Zealand trip for me previously when I traveled with friends and asked her for a recommendation since she did a great job with our multi-week adventure.  Because of her recommendation, I went on the only tour that actually sees koalas and kangaroos in the wild as well as many great sites on the rest of the tours.

If I hadn’t kept track of “good contacts”, I would have missed this.  Do you keep track of yours and nurture them?

One tip to implement this week:
Do you keep track of your contacts? Writing this note reminded me to thank my contact at American Express travel.  Realizing that I forgot her name, I looked it up in my contacts.  It seems like the place to start to keep track of them. No need to purchase expensive programs. I use Outlook and was able to find her quickly.

Keeping track is not enough though. When I contacted her to ask about my day in Melbourne, I referred back to when we worked together previously. She remembered me and gave me exactly what I needed with rapid response and no charge. Thus, reminding the person where you met previously and being easy to work with can help down-the-road. I had no clue I’d ever call her to ask for help, but I did.

Most importantly, go that extra mile to stay in touch. Why not tell your contact about an event you think might interest her? Or, simply give him a call around the holidays or send a quick ‘thank you’. While typing this note, my contact responded to my email and was thrilled I had a good time.

Take a few minutes out of your schedule this week and pick up the phone or drop a contact a note.



The Resilient Supply Chain: Are You Resilient?

December 31st, 2018

I was carpooling across town for an event tour (that had been postponed once) in rainy weather in rush hour in Southern California.  If this situation doesn’t call for resilience, I don’t know what does!  Of course, something is bound to go awry, starting with traffic jams galore.

We both had to be home at an early hour to get to key events that evening and we hadn’t had the best of days.  Not only did we miss key meetings to attend the postponed event, but the most important part of the day was cancelled due to delays, and several things weren’t coordinated too well.  Already a little frustrated, we headed home.

My carpool partner was already concerned about driving through large puddles with her small car because she didn’t want it to stall out.  Prior to the tour, we made several trips around the parking lot.  We decided to move to higher ground or we’d be up to our knees in water when we returned.  After the tour, while making our way to the exit, we had to drive through big puddles. On the last big puddle before exiting the lot, the car started making a loud noise.  Not good!

After we pushed through and pulled off to the side, it was apparent that the undercarriage cover came off.  Clearly the water didn’t make it fall off, but there must have been something in the water that caused it to separate.  We were at a male dominated facility with at least 4 guys at the exit. They came over but couldn’t define the problem.  My carpool partner was no expert at cars but saw that it was the undercarriage.  So we decided to back up so that we could see it and weren’t dragging it along.  She asked them for ideas or recommendations for a shop nearby. No one had any idea and just pointed out that the undercarriage was dragging below the car. My carpool partner was becoming frustrated.
After a few more minutes with no help from “the guys”, she decided we could tie the undercarriage up so that it would stay for the ride home – BUT, we needed rope.  Of course, no one had a clue. Luckily, she found rope in the backseat (which, I admit, would never be found in my backseat…until this experience). Next she tied it up herself as one or two of the bystanders watched.  We needed a scissors to tie it up. What do you think happened next? Of course – no one knew. I went over to the guard shack and borrowed a pair. She cut the rope and we drove back in the rain for about 2 hours in heavy traffic.

Since she is new to the area and didn’t want to leave the temporary rope option too long, it occurred to me that my mechanic is amazing at customer service and would probably help us out.  I texted him, told him the story and said we’d drop by in 20 minutes. When we showed up, he took us immediately, offered us coffee and conversation while they assessed the issue. He returned with a temporary solution and showed us why she would have to purchase a new undercarriage cover.  Less than 30 minutes later, we left with the car intact and safe to drive until the dealer could order a cover that he offered to put on for her. My mechanic didn’t charge us for this service and left us thanking him profusely. My carpool partner even left with a tip on how to buy a new truck for her husband who was moving out the next day.  Who doesn’t value relationships!?!

In this situation, we could have become seriously delayed (missing our evening events or taking Uber on a lengthy drive), stuck, angry and more.  Instead, my carpool partner took control of the situation, got us going and then we leveraged fabulous connections to ensure the temporary solution would “stick”.  Resilience and perseverance won out in the end!

What would you have done?

 

 



Global Consultants & The Value of Diversity

December 23rd, 2018

 

When I was in Australia recently week for a meeting with my global consulting strategy group, it hit home that there is power in diversity.  We represent 4 countries (Australia, Japan, U.S. and Canada), a diverse group of company types (from tiny to Fortune 100 businesses ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit/government), a diverse group of specialties (strategy, innovation, organizational change, financial performance etc.) and more.  Diverse viewpoints definitely add value!

I joined the group around 3 years ago. At the time, I was the only woman (although another joined shortly after), and our mentor said he thought I’d add a unique value for that reason in addition to others.  I didn’t see his point until I was the only woman for a brief period of time, and it turned out he was right! I also have received significant value from the group members who have the least in common with me – a fresh perspective can go a long way!  Along the way, I’ve noticed that some of the best feedback comes from unlikely sources. Have you sought out diversity, even when it isn’t comfortable?

One tip to implement this week:
Let’s start by thinking about the groups and people we interact with on a monthly basis.  Are we hanging out with people who are just like us? For example, there is a member of my group who does practically the same thing as I do, just in Australia.  He is easy to talk to (of course), and he adds a unique value because he understands my questions/ concerns but if the group was full of these people, I imagine I would have received only 20% of the value to date.  

It is easy for us to become comfortable with people like us and not seek out diverse, sometimes scary opinions from others.  For example, I remember when one group member pushed back on my comments, and I truly didn’t agree at the time but when I listened to the session again in the car a few months later, I realized he was right.  I just wasn’t understanding and/or ready to think about it at the time. How many of these have you ignored, thinking you were right?

Although I see great value in the global nature of my group, it isn’t because I focus on having a global practice (although part of my practice focuses on international global corporations).  Instead, it simply brings a diverse viewpoint – even if I worked 100% in my hometown and never strayed (as one of our members does in a small Australian town), I’d get huge value from thinking differently.  He has no desire to move beyond his hometown yet he said our group is one of his most important priorities.

Don’t think about diversity in the light they talk about on the news. How many Fox News and CNN people listen to both programs?  Actually, I’ve heard more Australians who tell me they listen to both to understand than I’ve heard Americans. Instead, why not embrace that next person you think “on, no!  I don’t want him/her in my group” and see what happens and whether you gain a diverse perspective. I’ll bet 80% of the time, you’ll feel better off in the long run. And, remember, one bad apple (the 20%) doesn’t make a trend.

 



Giving Thanks & Why It Matters

December 13th, 2018

Since it is Thanksgiving week, it seems only appropriate to talk about giving thanks.   A BIG THANKS to these people/ groups who have been instrumental in our success – and making it an enjoyable journey along the way:

 

  • Our clients – As much as our clients select us, we also select you.  As my consulting mentor says, it is not worth the efforts you have to go through to run a successful consulting practice if you don’t love what you do and work with people you respect and enjoy!  Thus, a BIG thanks to you!
  • Our associates – When I first started consulting, I dreaded the thought of how to bring someone into a client successfully, and after many years of “collecting good people”, I love it!
  • Our trusted advisors – Just as our clients need experts surrounding them, so do we.  I prefer to stay out of trouble! And we are only as good as the people surrounding us.
  • My APICS Board of Directors & key colleagues – We provide exceptional value to our local manufacturing and supply chain communities, and there is NO way I’d do it without you.
  • My ProVisors executive committee & ONT group – What an invaluable network of trusted advisors.  LMA is exponentially more successful with you!
  • My global consulting strategy group – Nice that I have your support (and kick in the butt) to stay the course, continue to grow and provide more and more value in my consulting practice.
  • And my other professional associations such as the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), the Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE), Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, Renaissance Executive Forums group, the University of LaVerne advisory Board for the School of Business and Public Management and more.
  • Students – For keeping us fresh and engaged – from CSUSB, Cal Poly, UCR, Drucker, Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, Univ of LaVerne, Norco and more.
  • My SAC business partner, Linda Popky – We have created a value-packed organization for consulting growth.  I’ve learned a lot along the way that has added valued in many other areas of my practice as well.
  • My parents – Without them, I would never have started a consulting firm because I would not have known that anything was possible (as detailed in my backstory) and I would have listened to all those people who said a young woman couldn’t run manufacturing, have a seat at the table with private equity backers or start a consulting firm from the ground up.
  • Friends & former colleagues – Speaking of starting up a consulting firm while knowing close to no one since I traveled 60% of the time as VP of Operations & Supply Chain, I certainly appreciate these valued colleagues in helping to make it possible.

One tip to implement this week:
Who do you appreciate?  More importantly, do they know?  I’m often surprised by how what we think is obvious is NOT to the other party.  It can go a long way – why not think of at least one person to thank!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 



Last Mile Has Become Last Minute & the GE Port Optimizer

December 10th, 2018

 

There is no doubt – last mile has become last minute, meaning every customer changes his/her mind.  Whether it is due to consumer preference or supporting an industry that seems rather known (For example, it is clear what will be purchased to build a 737 airplane.  You don’t change that end item at the last minute.), when looking down the supply chain, no matter how clear, it all gets jumbled and becomes “last minute”.  

Thus, the key is to understand where your product is within the extended supply chain, when it will be available and where you sit in terms of the priority customers. There are many strategies to support creating this resilient supply chain including the GE Port Optimizer which is one of the most innovative and expansive technology projects taken on by the ports.  Check out the video on this project:

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

The GE Port Optimizer project is an excellent example of the importance of collaboration, the strategic use of data and the impact of the customer experience on creating a resilient supply chain.  Have you thought about how to collaborate with your extended supply chain and related partners for a win-win-win? If you aren’t, your competitor will. Stranger and perhaps smarter yet, have you thought about collaborating with your competitor for a win-win?  

Creating collaborative partnerships of data, visibility and efficiency is a great example of creating a resilient supply chain to navigate disruption and achieve peak performance. Check out our new video and article series as well as our soon-to-be offered Rapid Resilient Supply Chain Assessment service: