Should You Hold a Meeting?

September 3rd, 2019
There is no doubt about it.  More than 80%  of our clients hold too many meetings that don’t accomplish results. Does your company follow suit? Even if you are following a lean methodology with an odd start time and a standing meeting, the key question is whether anything is accomplished. How would you rate your last meeting?
In our experience, sometimes the ‘lean’ organizations actually accomplish less because people believe they are following “best practices”. Take a step back and map out last week’s meetings.
  • What was the objective of each meeting? Do you even know the reason you attended? Often-times, clients go to meetings because they ‘have to’, not because they get something from them.
  • Did you accomplish the objective?
  • Did the appropriate people attend the meeting? Or was an entire group of people waiting on a key person? Or, worse yet, waiting on a non-key person?
  • Did the meeting start on-time and end on-time?
  • Did you have an opportunity to share meaningful input?
  • Did you feel like it was a productive meeting or a waste of time?
There is a reason the book, “Death by Meeting” is popular. Yet without meetings, would we accomplish goals?
As often as we encourage clients to curtail or shorten meetings, we also encourage other clients to hold meetings. The bottom line is whether the meeting will create value. If you use this simple rule prior to scheduling a meeting, we guarantee you’ll be more successful and productive almost immediately.
Consider a few questions for your next meeting:
  1. Is there anyone on your attendee list that doesn’t need to attend? Perhaps think about the meeting invitees as people you are paying to be there. Instead of a fixed cost, assume their time is variable. Imagine what they can accomplish not sitting in an unnecessary meeting, and take them off the list!
  2. Is anyone missing from the attendee list? I cannot tell you how often I end up in a meeting with a client where a key person isn’t in the meeting, so nothing can be accomplished. Why not wait until that person is available, be more forceful to get that person to the meeting or empower a delegate?
  3. Do you have a clear agenda with outcomes? This is less about a physical piece of paper or an agenda on a meeting request and more about knowing what you will walk away accomplishing in the meeting. Think again before ‘hitting send’ on your meeting request.
  4. Will you encourage feedback to make the next meeting better? In my global strategy group, we have started to not only talk about how to improve the next meeting but we are giving each other feedback. We might not want to hear constructive feedback but we are more successful with it.
  5. Is there a mechanism to track actions? Some clients call this a RAIL (rolling action item list) or something like it. Consider not taking notes and instead focusing on action.
Meetings are necessary in driving results.  Yet, do you need as many as you have? And do they have to be as long? I challenge everyone to reduce their meeting time by 50%. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes and what strategies you find the most successful. Also, even more interesting, how many meetings did you cancel?
Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:
A Human Capital Checkup

Do You See Your People as Assets or Expenses?

Profit Through People 



How to Keep Your Team Engaged

August 31st, 2019
Every client is concerned about how to engage the team. Some executives are thinking about how to ‘keep good people’, others are thinking about how to enable ‘smart people to share what they know’, and still others know they need engagement to ensure customers are happy and bottom line business results occur.
According to Gallup, there is some positive news in that engagement is on the rise and is at an all-time high of 34%. With that said, there is such a long way to go to fully leverage already existing assets – our people! Time and again, the most successful companies actively engage employees in their work. The actively disengaged is down to 13% while ‘not engaged’ is 53%.
A few ideas to consider:
  • Tie each person’s work to the result (for the company, customer etc.) – Wouldn’t you like to know WHY you are doing something?
  • Take each employees’ ideas into consideration – Simply asking can go a long way if you truly care about the answer.
  • Don’t treat each employee the same – don’t we each have different goals and interests?
  • Are you developing your employees? – a little investment into your employees can go a long way.
  • Do you address poor performers? – one of the biggest issues we see if letting poor performers carry on. Everyone knows it and is less motivated. Why not just proactively address? Provide an opportunity and swiftly address if necessary.


Manufacturing Summit Recap: Innovation & Top Talent

August 27th, 2019
My videos from the Manufacturing Summit, had key themes along with insight into the exciting opportunities for the Inland Empire and advanced manufacturing and how it all tied in with LMA Consulting’s “2019 Predictions from Manufacturing & Logistics Executives” document.

 

I’ve included the quote from Roy Paulson, president of Paulson Manufacturing to kick us off on the state of manufacturing. As Roy says, US manufacturers are thriving and will continue to thrive, assuming they have a focus on innovation.
Innovation is one of the key themes that emerged from the keynote speakers at the summit from Fender and Tesla as well as through the innovation award winners. Going hand-in-hand with innovation is a focus on people. Listen to my recap about the summit and what’s relevant to manufacturers today:
As Lance Hastings, CEO of California Manufacturing & Technology Association said at the summit, the Inland Empire is thriving. There was greater growth in the Inland Empire than any other area of California.  However, far more impressive than that is that the IE beat out the nation (in a state that typically isn’t too keen on manufacturing).
The Brookings Institute agreed with the conclusion in their recent study on the Inland Empire. One of the key recommendations was to create a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success. You’ll be hearing more about this exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the coming months. In addition, Governor Newsom is supportive of this path forward and so we are ‘jumping on it’.
If you are interested in staying in the loop on this initiative, please email me so I can add you to the distribution list.


Talent Transformation: People or Robots?

August 23rd, 2019
As much as I’m seeing last month’s feature article on the bedrock topic of inventory continuing to ring true (clients are gaining more interest in reducing inventory levels to free up cash), the promise of technology (automation and robots) is enticing many clients to at least assess what they should be doing when it comes to the topic of the talent transformation. I cannot think of a client that doesn’t have some sort of a talent gap.
It appears as though this trend is only going to gain steam as more and more clients assess automation, AI, IoT and more to keep up with customer expectations, to try to address the squeeze on costs while also dealing with the lack of employees. As baby boomers retire (which I’m seeing at an increasing pace with some TOP talent), the gap is bigger than most executives realize. It turns out not all of the key information, decision-making capabilities and leadership abilities are easily absorbed by the next generation managers without a significant effort. What is worse is that if he/she gets fed up, you might not have a lengthy transition provided by the more dedicated baby boomers.
Our APICS Inland Empire Chapter had an executive panel discussion on just this topic at our spring symposium last April. I’m especially excited the vast experience of our diverse and experienced panel:
  • Navin Shetti – Director of Engineering, Honeywell Aerospace
  • Cindy Elliott – Global Go-to-Market Strategy, Manufacturing & Logistics, ESRI
  • Paul Granillo – CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
  • Jerry Hsiung – Robotics expert, Carnegie Mellon & Harvey Mudd
  • Jermaine Waltemeyer – Recruiter/ Practice lead, Aerotek
To throw out a few ideas this month, which will definitely be supplemented and expanded upon in future months…..
  • Do NOT wait too long to consider which type of technology will add value to your ability to achieve your business strategy and objectives. Although there is something to be said about an organization that can perform manually, it will not achieve scalable, profitable growth in this Amazon-impacted business environment.
  • With that said, do NOT be a blind follower of your Board’s or Executive Team’s ideas. I have heard from countless clients that they outsourced when it was popular. Some have turned out great whereas others made no sense, didn’t make money and didn’t improve service. Can you afford to make preventable mistakes in this fast-paced world? Most likely NO!
  • Appreciate your hidden talent. 80% of the time, I find hidden talent at a client. They are typically underappreciated and utilized to 20% of their potential. If you’d like help in identifying them, contact us.
  • Find your internal best practice processes. Again, I find clients under appreciate best practices of certain departments, individuals or sites and instead focus a bunch of attention on bench marking to the industry. Do you really want to be average in your industry?
Put some thought into your talent pool, where it will be in 5 or 10 years and whether you are proactively addressing your situation to create sustainable and scalable growth.


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?