Is there a good time for advice?

July 11th, 2009

“You weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”……

Many years ago, I sat in MBA classes and listened to a plethora of topics. I did well in my classes. Then, 10 years later, I discovered some old textbooks in the garage and was amazed that I had a book on how to save taxes (I assume from my financial planning class). I remember nothing about that topic (let alone the book) from that class. At the time, I realized it would be beneficial to purchase a house – and so I did that.

Fast forward 10 years, and I was concerned about how to keep more of my income as opposed to working everyday with no progress, and so I started studying several topics related to financial planning including saving taxes. I ended up buying the newer version of the book I had stashed in my garage at Borders and thought it was amazing, new information, which I started implementing immediately. And I thought I had a good memory! (at the time)

About that time, I talked with a friend, and she had a profound statement, “you weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”. After thinking about it, I realized that I had a focus (buy a house), and so I was saturated with immediately useful information.

Why bring this up today? I just returned from my HR mentor’s wedding, and while I was in town, I talked with my great friend Sandi, and she gave me some advice that I’d heard before (several times actually) but it was profound since I was currently ready to think about that particular topic. And, interestingly, she is the same person who had the profound statement, “you weren’t ready to absorb it at the time”.

So, what is your focus? It might worth noting.

Join Us for the Business Value Series…

July 10th, 2009

Join Pacific Premier Bank, Steddom Accountancy, APC and my company, LMA Consulting Group, Inc. for a cup of coffee and interactive discussions with business, financial and banking experts on building value in your business.

I believe now is the best time to work on your business! The current economic conditions have created a season ripe for business revamping, renewal, and value building. Please join us for a series of monthly business building interactive discussions.

Whether you intend to continue building value in your business for many years or sell and exit in the next three to five years, take advantage of the opportunity now to work on your business. Here are all the details: Flyer

Hope to see you at the first session, July 16th!

Does Everyone Need a Vacation?

July 7th, 2009

Absolutely! Several years ago when I was a VP of Operations, my HR mentor used to give me a hard time about taking more vacation, as I had to not only enjoy more time off but she also wanted me to set a good example for my team. It was tough to fit it in – after all, isn’t there always a new crisis brewing? She was absolutely right.

Time off not only gives you a chance to rest and rejuvenate which typically helps you come back to work in a refreshed frame-of-mind but it also gives you quality time with family, friends and/or alone. After all, what’s life about if you cannot take time to enjoy it.

The last few years, I’ve been fortuante to be able to go on vacations with my family (parents, brothers, nephew etc), friends, and alone (typically to visit relatives, friends etc). I see a lot of people working really hard especially in the recession (for example, my brother is a high quality electrical engineer who works a significant # of hours in order to keep the projects on track with fewer peers to help complete them), and so I think it’s important to remember vacation/ rest. I’ve been on vacations ranging from low cost (enjoying time with friends at the beach) to the luxury/ rare (such as going to Europe), so there can be something for everyone. I just returned from a family vacation – it was a bit crazy at times (what family vacation isn’t after all!) but it was a great experience – full of family, fun, new experiences, and learning.

When is your next vacation, even if it is “the weekend”?

Maximizing Plant Management Success

July 5th, 2009

To succeed in today’s environment, it is no longer desirable to have a world class operation focused on providing a value add while maximizing resources; it is a requirement. Today’s global business climate is becoming more competitive. It is tough to stand out in the crowd, and it is increasingly difficult to squeeze out an operating profit. Clearly, the trend has been to move operations to lower cost countries such as Mexico and China where there are lower wage rates, less intensive laws and regulations, etc.

There are no quick fixes. Success almost always boils down to a day-to-day persistence in combining continuous improvement with a touch of radical change from time to time. Since it is a long term strategy focused on the basics (blocking and tackling), rarely is the Plant Manager perceived as a “hero” as is the Sales Manager “elephant hunter” when he/ she wins a large order. The Plant Manager is viewed as merely “doing his/her job”. Three keys to success include: 1) leading by example, 2) focus, 3) implement a metric tracking process.

Read the rest of my recent article in the ACA Newsletter here.

Innovate or Die

July 2nd, 2009

In today’s economic environment, slow and steady progress, a continuous improvement philosophy and a low-cost producer, commodity focus will likely result in death. Why? Because it takes more than “good” to stand out in the crowd and deliver consistent and growing profitability; it takes radical change and innovation. In a recent survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, it was discovered that Americans continue to view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy. In my experience in working with multiple companies across multiple industries, I wonder how we will survive, let alone thrive, with the current state of our typical manufacturing environments – some are good but how can a commodity business with average customer service compete with products produced in low labor cost countries with minimal cost burdens such as health care costs, regulatory requirements and environmental costs? We can’t! Instead, we must change the playing field (and therefore the rules of the game) – throw out the old business models and practices; instead, think innovation.

Read the rest of my latest newsletter article – Innovate or Die