Category: I’ve Been Thinking

Do You Have a Network?

January 17th, 2020

 

Do you have a network of people you can go to for answers, help, introductions, and more? My network is not only very important to my business but it is also very important for my personal life. Starting with business, I can definitely say that LMA Consulting’s success is 100% due to my network, meaning my colleagues (former employers, groups, etc.), clients, family and friends.  If you aren’t paying attention to people, you might as well hang up your hat!

With that said, you MUST be genuine. I’ve seen people who seem to be connecting strictly for business or to “sell” something. They never do well over the long term. On the other hand, if you are well-respected and genuine, people will go the extra mile for you (just as you will for them). One of my best decisions early on in my career is that I “kept track of good people”. It is probably the best decision I made in building my business and creating an enjoyable career.

I’ve always believed it is key to both professional and personal success, but lately it has certainly proven true! A family member had a stroke, and several people in my network helped find the best care, navigate medical processes, and much more. A close friend needed help in navigating an unpleasant work situation, and several folks provided assistance and resources. A colleague got my aunt connected with the best breast cancer doctors in Boston (and had to go to her ex-husband to do it!), a few colleagues connected me with resources to resolve house issues, several colleagues have provided resources, referrals and information for family and friends related to finance, taxes, internships, jobs and more. I totally appreciate my network. Thanks to you all for being there!

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Why not take stock of your network? Don’t worry so much about who you can go to for issues. Instead, think about what you can do to provide value to the people in your network. Show them that you appreciate them. Why not start there? It is far more interesting to provide value than it is to receive value – although I am very grateful you exist when the need arises.

When I first started with a group of trusted advisors (ProVisors), I wondered how I would ever be able to help some of the professionals that didn’t relate to my focus in manufacturing and distribution/logistics. Over time, I realized that there are countless ways to provide value to people. Simply introducing connections where you think they might be able to provide value to one another is a great start. Why not think about one person and find a way to provide value. Start today!



Are You Likable and the Impact It Makes

January 9th, 2020

Several situations have arisen lately that made me think about the importance of whether you are likable. First of all, let’s just say that in consulting, if you aren’t likable, you won’t be around very long. People prefer to work with people they know, like and trust. Note that like comes before trust in sequence. Well, this goes both ways! Some clients can be unlikable, and it certainly turns our thoughts into how to finish the project and by no means encourage future collaborations! Luckily, it doesn’t come up often! Just like in companies, bad signals with prospects (whether future employees, customers or clients) make even worse clients.

However, I have colleagues who work with unlikable and mean spirited people (bullies, narcissistic people etc.). Talk about a horrible experience as we work with folks 8 hours + per day. Although they can seem to “get away” with murder short-term, eventually it will catch up with them! It also comes up frequently as we get older. As I watch relatives and friends, it is quite clear how much better everything is if we can try to be positive and calm. For example, if someone constantly yells at you (or is passive aggressive or whatever other unlikable quality they have), it is easy to make mistakes, get frustrated and eventually have health issues. It is also much more feasible to help people who try to be pleasant. I am thankful all the time that my Dad was so agreeable or my Mom would have had a nervous breakdown trying to do all she did. I might have too! He was a great example of what we should all strive to become, even under challenging circumstances.

Whether we are getting work together or if we have a personal relationship, we should re-think how important it is to be likable! I’ve seen many people lose business, employees, customers and clients simply because they are unlikable. Worse, they typically don’t even realize they are unlikable. Perhaps we should all take a second look. Do you make others feel better after your interaction or are they feeling worse?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
People don’t leave companies. They leave managers. Have you really thought about that lately? I saw an example recently with one of these unlikable people. He was always very unlikable if you listened to the stories (I had never met him, but I didn’t like him).  It became a significant issue when his manager changed and the new manager no longer kept him on a short leash. Worse, he ran rampant! Unlikable became horrific! The entire department was negatively impacted.

What can you do to be more likable? By NO means should you just allow employees to slide. In fact, in my experience, people prefer to work for people who have high expectations yet are appreciative. Perhaps it makes sense to take a second look at how people seem to react to your conversations. Do they leave happy or feeling worried, stressed or frustrated? Do you pay attention to how you feel when you finish or how they feel when you finish?  Perhaps put more thought on them!

Think about how you feel when you see certain co-workers, friends, colleagues, customers etc. How are you greeted? In fact, today I asked a client to use her conference room and her reaction made me feel most welcome. Who wouldn’t leave that interaction thinking about how you can go the extra mile the next time a situation arises where she could use assistance? On the other hand, I had another colleague complaining about everything. Which would you rather help succeed?



The Tranquility of Ha Long Bay

December 26th, 2019

While in Vietnam, I thought it made sense to see the World Heritage site nearby. So, I took a day tour of Ha Long Bay in north Vietnam. It is known for lush emerald and turquoise waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. You feel the tranquility. Have you thought about how to insert a bit of tranquility into the chaos?

 

One Tip to Implement This Week:

In the midst of Hanoi, it would seem as far as you can get from the tranquility of Ha Long Bay. Scooters are everywhere. Horns are honking. Traffic lights are nearly non-existent. Everyone is on their own.  You just have to step across the street regardless of what is coming. Yet somehow there seems to be organization amidst the chaos. On the other hand, aside from being crowded with tourists, Ha Long Bay is the opposite with absolute tranquility. Purposefully inserting tranquility into your crazy routine can spur new ideas and reorient your thinking.

Since I was in Vietnam, this seemed like a good option. What can you do to achieve this same type of impact? Should you get away for lunch? Take a walk on a break? Go on a mini retreat to re-think your strategy? Or simply take the train and read a book instead of fighting traffic in your car? It doesn’t matter what you do. Simply think about what works for you and follow that path to keep your mind fresh and to stimulate new ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The Power of the Recognition by Peers

December 4th, 2019

My business partner and co-Executive Director of the Society for the Advancement of ConsultingLinda Popky and I just held our Annual Meeting in New York City. Our association provides growth by association for consultants, coaches and speakers across the globe. Although this is our tagline, it is much more than the typical marketing tagline.  It is how we operate. Every decision goes through this filter.  So, we were especially thrilled to have launched our first annual Advancing Consulting Awards to recognize the best of the best in an emerging category and an established category.

We are thrilled to recognize Amy Segami from Chicago, IL (Emerging) and Andrew Hollo from Melbourne, Australia (Established) with the awards (pictured with the Awards Committee and co-Executive Directors). The core criteria included client success, growth by association, innovation and resilience. Andrew’s comments were particularly noteworthy when  accepting the award: In essence, he said what was most meaningful is that he was selected by a group of top notch peers. Isn’t that what we all want?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I think back to the awards and recognition I’ve received that are most meaningful to me, I realize Andrew was completely correct. A short compliment in passing by a respected peer is more meaningful than an elaborate ceremony most of the time. Of course, I wouldn’t turn away both! With that said, when I was nominated for the Community Builder Award by NAWBO earlier this year, this fact was absolutely true. They do the awards ceremony in a BIG way in my neck of the woods.  Yet, what was most meaningful was being recommended by a top notch executive, being supported by a friend and APICS Board member colleague and being cheered on by a client. What else can you ask for?

Are you taking the time to think about recognizing your peers? Who has been particularly helpful lately? Most likely it is someone you take for granted but couldn’t survive without! Why not tell them something specific about what you appreciate? Stop running for a minute to think about who you should recognize.



Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success

November 30th, 2019

Our Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM/ APICS) Inland Empire Chapter is knee-deep in planning for our fall executive panel and networking symposium on the topic, “Collaboration for Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Success“. We are finding this to be a powerful topic as executives must not only collaborate with their customers and suppliers to achieve scalable, profitable growth but they also need to collaborate with industry groups, trusted advisors, software providers (ERP experts), and other partners if they want to succeed in today’s Amazon-impacted, globally volatile, complex regulation environment.

We’d love for you to join in on the discussion and Q&A with experts in the end-to-end supply chain. We have manufacturing experts, logistics experts, technology experts and end-to-end supply chain experts on our panel to talk about trends, issues, and how they have collaborated to drive results. Our attendees include students, planners, buyers, operations and supply chain managers, finance and IT resources related to the supply chain as well as executives and the media.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
When I first started consulting over 14 years ago, collaboration was seen as a “fluffy” topic. I always found that the most powerful results came via collaboration but it wasn’t seen as important. Fast-forward 14 years, and if you aren’t collaborating, you aren’t thriving. No one can handle the level of complexity in today’s manufacturing and logistics environments alone while still servicing customers and driving profitable growth.
Of course, there is no point to collaborating for the sake of collaboration. In fact, as my consulting mentor says, if you want someone to like you, get a dog. Instead, collaboration is for turning 1+1 = 22 by taking the best of different ideas and combining into exponential success. For example, when I was VP of Operations & Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we had to redesign products to show customers we were on the leading edge and “back” (a force in the market) while offsetting significant material price increases due to oil and gas price pressure as well as optimizing our ability to save money on freight. There was no way for one person, 1 department or even 1 company to accomplish this task without collaboration. Instead, we involved customers, material suppliers, freight carriers, packaging experts, equipment suppliers and more. In the end, we achieved the trifecta. You should even add competitors to your thought process as the most successful executives consider this option for certain situations.
Why not pick a “hot topic” and start thinking about collaboration partners where you could achieve a win-win-win? Just asking folks to think outside the box in new ways can stir some powerful energy and bottom line results. If you are interested in discussing an assessment to help find a few of these powerful ideas to prioritize, contact us. Let us know how it goes!