Category: Organizational Development

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 Strategic Use of Data

December 13th, 2019

Have you thought about the strategic use of data? If not, you are missing a HUGE opportunity. Even in the most fundamental of businesses, having the ‘right’ data at the ‘right’ time in the ‘right’ place can not only enable quicker, more effective decision making but it can transform your business model.

Listen to David Libatique, Deputy Executive Director of Stakeholder Engagement of the Port of Los Angeles talk about the strategic value of data in the video below (thanks to APICS Inland Empire Chapter for the footage from the Executive Panel and Networking Symposium).

This topic is not just related to the vast amount of data the ports could capture (although that could be pure gold to those stakeholders), but data in general. Every client has a system of some sort. Small clients might still be on QuickBooks or are looking for the best “starter ERP” for their situation whereas others require complex ERP for process manufacturing or configure-to-order environments. That system contains vast data that can “collect dust” in the ‘data warehouse’ or be put to good use to drive business value. Which are you doing?

Do not get overwhelmed by data overload! There is no doubt that 80% of clients have voluminous amounts of data that can employ multiple people in creating reports on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We are definitely not advocating for this end result. In our experience, whether a $5 million dollar family-owned business or a multi-billion dollar enterprise, the strategic use of data is typically not on the radar. Oddly, the big companies might not be the report mavens whereas the small might not be as nimble as we’d think! Almost every client can improve when it comes to the strategic use of data.

Instead of getting lost in the data maze, perhaps we should consider a few questions:

  1. Where do you want your company to go?
  2. Are you assessing the ‘right’ data to know if your strategy holds water?
  3. Are you going in the right direction? How can you tell?
  4. Have you thought about your data source(s)?
  5. Do your sales people have “data at their fingertips” to ensure profitable growth?

Data isn’t going to lose its power. It has been several years since I heard the CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott speak about the value of data especially as it relates to customers. Nothing has changed. In fact, most ERP systems tout the critical importance of data and several have hired what they call “data scientists” to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Will you evaluate your strategic use of data? Then go beyond your internal borders and expand to your customers, suppliers, transportation partners and you might just see a vastly expanded value in the strategic use of data. If you’d like assistance navigating this process, please contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Why Customers Rule

What’s Ahead for Business

Eagle Eye Strategic Focus



Why Join A CEO Group?

December 6th, 2019

We recognized Ron Penland as our 2019 LMA Advocate. Ron has added value to our business in many ways over the years ranging from insights on what’s relevant to manufacturers and distributors and their bottom line to valued connections. Since Ron runs CEO groups, I thought it made for a good segue to discuss the value of interacting with peers. Are you drinking your own Kool-Aid or do you get push back when you need it?

You might want to consider the unpleasant idea of gaining input even when you don’t want to hear it. The proof is in the pudding. Certainly, Ron’s CEOs have been FAR more successful than even the average CEO group as his CEOs get 2 to 3 times the multiples for the sale of their businesses when compared to the industry averages. That alone is noteworthy. I joined one of his groups simply to better understand what is on our clients’ minds. Of course they tell me what relates to our project but if I understand more about the broad spectrum of issues, I can ensure LMA provides an even more powerful return. That is an important win-win – the more value we help our clients create, the better for both of us!

Do you have any venues for interacting with top notch peers? After all, just interacting with someone in a peer position willing to talk to you could be even worse than being a hermit! Kash Gokli, head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing practice and Director of their clinic program and I gather CEOs a few times a year to help foster a community of executives and to discuss timely topics in our Harvey Mudd executive roundtables. Of course, we don’t go into depth and specifics of company performance like you do in a CEO group. Yet, it can add definite value. Contact us if you are interested in joining us.

There are other options as well for building these invaluable connections. Think about volunteering for a community benefit to provide expertise. In the Inland Empire and surrounding areas of Southern CA, we are starting a consortium for advanced manufacturing and supply chain success. We are currently looking for manufacturers and exporters who would be interested in being involved from the ground up in an advisory capacity. Please contact the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) or me if interested. And a local manufacturing executive asked me to participate in CAIEDEC which is an organization supporting export. CEOs are involved in both of these initiatives and these groups are the first to pop to mind.

There are plenty of opportunities to gain ideas, insights and push back. Are you seeking them out? If not, why not? Wouldn’t you like to exceed corporate objectives to fast-track your career or sell your company for double the industry average? Pick just one item to test this month, and results will follow.