Category: I’ve Been Thinking

A 98 Year Old’s Wisdom & the Toltek Agreements

October 16th, 2019

When visiting my best friend’s mother who is 98 years old, a challenging topic arose. She is the sharpest 98 year old (and can easily give any 20 or 30 year old a run for his/her money) I’ve met.  She has fabulous stories and spouts wisdom to boot! At this juncture, she brought up the 4 agreements of Toltek wisdom which turned out to be a great response.

The Toltek agreements are as follows (which, of course, she cited off the top of her head):
1) Be impeccable with your word.
2) Don’t take anything personally.
3) Don’t make assumptions.
4) Always do your best.

I thought these were brilliant in their simplicity. Don’t you? What makes the story even better is that my best friend’s late father found these in a book that he brought home from the alley. He just loved to find ‘gems’ in the alley in Balboa to give to family and friends, to fix up to give to the poor and to use/read.

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Growing up, my parents and especially my mom made it clear that so long as we did our best, that was what counted. Win or lose, it didn’t matter. I have always lived by this wisdom.  Now, I see that that it is Toltek wisdom! Beyond this piece of advice, I have to say that a lot of my success stems from all four of these agreements. So, it is something to ponder.

The next time you think your peer is creating extra work for you on purpose or isn’t returning your calls and ignoring you, remember the rule, “Don’t take it personally”. Most likely, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. We have all been there when we assume the worst.  I can say that 80%+ of the time I catch myself thinking these thoughts, they turn out to be only in my mind.

We have all heard the advice to not make assumptions but do we consciously think about what assumptions we make daily? Perhaps we should start! And how about speaking with integrity? We all think this is the rule. Yet, how often do we find colleagues we are confident speak impeccably? Not often enough! I found when in my VP of Operations & Supply Chain role that it is probably the #1 ingredient in success. Once my team knew they could count on what I said, they turned a corner to high productivity and engagement.

I think these topics relate to the skills gap. After all, how many leaders do we find with these attributes?

Please help us determine the current state of the skills gap by taking our survey

 



Summer Days and Back to School

September 30th, 2019

This summer, I was able to make a few weekend/long weekend jaunts including a trip to the wedding of my good friend Valerie’s daughter’s in Dana Point, a trip for the weekend in Sequoia with my two best friends (pictured with the big tree, not surprisingly), a trip to San Diego and Disneyland with my brothers and nephew (last two rows), and I just got back from helping my mom with several projects as well as helping my nephew move in for his freshman year at NAU. Whew! I need a vacation from my vacations!

As we think about how quickly the summer flew by and that we are quite literally ‘back to school’, it makes me wonder about the speed of life. Just as with Amazon (and now with Fed Ex, Home Depot, and B2B customers following suit), we want rapid response and quick results. Are we also taking the time to think? As a colleague says in her book, perhaps we need to “slow down to speed up“….

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Have you thought about “slowing down to speed up”? With that said, I also know some colleagues who appear to have “slowed down”, and that doesn’t cut it either. We are in interesting times. We must be quicker, more nimble and on top of our game with every interaction. What are you doing to rejuvenate, stimulate new ideas (as we don’t appear to be on top of our game if we are stretched too thin), meet new people and get one step quicker every day while not losing quality?  Perhaps you need a mentor, coach, strategy group or trusted colleague to collaborate?

Similarly to “slowing down to speed up”, how do we become more resilient while facing more disruption? Gain some ideas in videos, blogs and more…

 



The Talent / Skills Gap & My Request to You

September 22nd, 2019

Several years ago, we performed research on the Skills Gap in conjunction with APICS Inland Empire. We found that 87% of manufacturers, distributors and significant service operations were experiencing a skills gap at that time. Fast-forward six years, and the business environment seems quite similar yet vastly different when it comes to key talent.

Finding, attracting and retaining talent remains a top priority for executives. However, there is a lot of noise about people or robots and how automation and artificial intelligence will change the landscape forever. Executives also continue to expect more as customers expect more. Technology continues to advance and adoption rates are starting to increase especially as employers seek ways to provide an exceptional customer experience while still making money. And, as we found six years ago, communication skills seem to be ever important.

My Request for You:
We’ve updated and modernized the Skills Gap survey to ask a few questions specifically related to technology. We are confident it will provide a value-add to our clients, colleagues, partners and newsletter subscribers to get ahead of what’s important as it relates to the talent and skills gap. Thus, please take 5 minutes or less to fill out our Skills Gap survey.

 

 



Recognition and the 2019 LMA Advocate Award

August 20th, 2019

 

On the 10 year anniversary of my business, I recognized 10 people for 10 years as LMA Advocates – people who have gone over and beyond, resulting in LMA Consulting’s growth and success.  I truly appreciate their support, expertise, ideas and feedback.  I would not be here today without them – and certainly not leading a growing and leading edge consulting practice that partners with manufacturers and supply chain organizations to create BOLD customer promises and profits.

Ever since my 10-year bash, I’ve recognized one person each year on the anniversary of LMA Consulting.  Thus, on my 14-year anniversary, I’m thrilled to announce Ron Penland as our 2019 LMA Advocate.

Ron Penland and I have known each other for over 10 years.  We have collaborated for the mutual benefit of manufacturers, distributors and significant service organizations. We got to know each other well in ProVisors (where I lead the Ontario group) and Renaissance Executive Forums (where Ron leads Inland Empire groups). Not only has Ron been instrumental in introducing me to several key clients, but he also provides significant value with his leadership. His numbers speak volumes. For example, his member CEOs sell their companies for significantly higher multiples than peer companies/ executives. I appreciate the expertise  and advocacy Ron has contributed over the years.

One tip to implement this week:
Are you recognizing people who have been instrumental in your company’s growth and success?  More importantly, are you paying attention to the contributions along the way that result in the ‘big wins’? I grew up outside Chicago, and my brothers played hockey. My mom read us all a book on Wayne Gretzky who set the record for goals (894) as well as assists (1,963). The best players (Gretzsky) pass the puck in hockey! USA Hockey recognizes not only people who score multiple goals but also the people who achieve multiple assists. If you get 3 or more assists, you earn a “Playmaker” in hockey. Who is your “Playmaker” at work?

Find the gems in your organization and recognize them.  Thank them in front of their peers.  Tailor their ‘award’ to what is meaningful to them.  Perhaps your winner wants to be on a special project team or attend a conference. Why not make it meaningful and demonstrate your appreciation for the contribution to success?

 

 



Sequoia and the Power of Silence

August 8th, 2019

My best friend from high school and college was in town recently and we went to Sequoia National Park. First, I must say, what a ride to get to Sequoia on winding, mountainous roads! Once we arrived, we went to the ‘Trail of 100 Giants’, and it was impressive! These Sequoias were over 1500 years old, and gigantic. The largest tree has a diameter of 20 feet and is over 220 feet high.

Yet what stood out was the power of silence. You could hear the rustle of the wind in the trees. It sounded similar to sitting by the ocean. It certainly was a calming and humbling experience as the silence and the sounds of nature overpowered everything else.

Have you ever thought about the power of silence? Do you find it to be more effective than 1000 words? In a business setting, silence can speak volumes…

One tip to implement this week:
We all hear the advice to stop and listen.  Yet, how often are we thinking about silence? The most powerful speakers know the power of silence. The dramatic pause will emphasize just the right words. Certainly the best actors use this technique expertly, and we are putty in their hands!

Or have you thought about how not answering immediately answers the question? For example, at one client, I admit that after a particularly grumpy executive who didn’t want to support our project told me that he didn’t think consultants were valuable and didn’t want to talk to me to answer my questions, I was silent because I was thinking about how to respond that would be productive. Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than brilliant! In this case, since I didn’t respond quickly, he ended up filling the proverbial silence (since we weren’t communicating in person) and came back to me and agreed to do exactly what he just said he wouldn’t do. A light bulb went off that there is power in silence!

Silence is extremely valuable in negotiations. Have you noticed that whoever is silent gains the upper hand? That’s because we are typically uncomfortable with silence and rush to fill the gap. Next thing we know, we’ve given away more power and information than we intended, and we are behind in the negotiation. Yet I have to say, silence used as a manipulative strategy will not achieve your intended result. People will pick up on whether you are genuine or not.

Consider silence instead of a long response the next time you are going to open your mouth in a high stakes communication. Let me know how it turns out.