Tag Archive: business trends

My Late Aunt Marge & the Art of Conversation

October 14th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, my Aunt Marge passed away, one month shy of her 96th birthday. My dad, brother and I went to surprise her for her 90th birthday. She was so very excited to see my dad. Aunt Marge had a gift for the art of conversation and could make mundane topics seem compelling. I remember visiting my aunt and uncle over the years, and my mom was typically deep in conversation with my aunt about all sorts of family members and whatever else was going on. Since I was the only girl, I could sit and participate with them sometimes too, and it was engaging conversation. There are some people with a gift for making everything seem intriguing, and that was my aunt. Who wouldn’t benefit from having that skill?

One tip to implement this week:

Certainly, it can be a challenge to develop the gift of conversation overnight; however, you can make progress. I remember when I first started consulting – I would definitely NOT profess to be any any sort of expert; some might argue I was fairly weak in this area. After all, I was focused on achieving results for my clients and didn’t have any idea how to participate in “small talk”. I should have asked my lovely aunt for advice!

I tried a few networking groups because I knew it was a good idea but I didn’t know how to start a conversation. I distinctly remember one event where I stood around the food line because at least it was a way to not stand all by myself at a “networking event”. Fast-forward several years later and I lead all sorts of groups, am well-known throughout the area, and connect people everyday (and love it). I would have never have suspected that not only would I be able to connect people outside of my specific area of expertise but that I also would enjoy it immensely!

No matter your skill level in conversation, you can improve. Start by focusing on the other person. That alone can go a long way. Be interested. Look for ways to provide value. Find people like my aunt and pay attention to what they do and say – and how they do it. Try their techniques in your own way. Ask for feedback. And last but not least, start telling yourself that you are improving and good at conversation. I distinctly remember that I used to think I wasn’t a good networker until one day when I read or heard advice to stop that. So, I started saying I was good at networking, and it became true. You’ll believe what you tell yourself! I am no ‘Aunt Marge’ yet, but I have my own style.

 



What is Walmart Doing?

October 5th, 2017

I sat on a panel of experts for Mobility 21’s annual conference titled “Speed to Delivery: Good’s Movement’s High-Tech Future“, addressing the future of transportation. It was a fascinating meeting and panel discussion due to the amazing amount of technology being discussed – and one of the panelists was the Senior Director of Sustainability for Walmart.

Walmart’s focus on speed and the customer is paramount.

Driving the Future of Transportation.

Walmart has come up in several circles lately. One of our clients supports Walmart’s stores, and so we learned quite a lot about their fulfillment processes, demand planning practices and, of course, their new OTIF (on-time-in-full) metrics. We also discussed Walmart service with a 3PL partner, and how Walmart has been making headlines lately in the e-commerce race. It is worth paying attention. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. The focus on the customer is paramount.
  2. The use of crowd sourcing is gaining steam with the use of Uber and Lyft to deliver from the store.
  3. Who knew but Walmart is testing deliveries with drones as well!
  4. Walmart associates are making deliveries on their way home which is possible with the software that can align deliveries with routes.
  5. They just announced a partnership with August Home Smart Lock to deliver when the customer isn’t at home – and even put groceries in the refrigerator.

It is always a good idea to stay up-to-speed with what the leaders are doing in the industry. Their ideas are not always the ones to follow but they are ALWAYS ones to ponder for application, impact and down-the-line trends. Who do you follow?

 

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Walmart Raising the Supply Chain Metrics Bar 

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My ProVisors Ontario Group’s 5 Year Anniversary and Amazing Business Connections

October 2nd, 2017

I've Been Thinking

I am the Group Leader for the ProVisors (a top notch group of trusted advisors to business executives and owners) Ontario. Last week, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary – aren’t we a sharp-looking group! HUNDREDS of referrals and business connections later, we continue to be quite successful and have increased the value we provide to our collective clients. I know my clients have benefited.

Provisors Ontario

When I joined ProVisors as a member, I truly had no idea how I would provide introductions and facilitate connections to some of the members. Their professions just didn’t seem to arise much in my consulting profession. Fast-forward seven years and I LOVE to be able to connect people. I can’t remember the last time I received even the most obscure request where I couldn’t find someone, who knows someone, to meet the need. Talk about the value of connections!

One tip to implement this week: 

Take stock of your connections. Start by making a simple list of the people you know. Think about everyone: alumni connections, trade association connections, work connections, personal life connections, service providers etc. I bet you know more people than you realize. If your list feels light, make a concerted effort to meet a one or two people this week and get to know them professionally and add them to your circle.

Next, look for a way to provide value to five of your most valued connections – perhaps one a day. At a minimum, pick up the phone and give them a call. That will spur ideas on how to create value or, perhaps, you’ll have an idea right on the spot during the phone call. Often, the simple act of the phone call demonstrates that you care and goes a long way. Do the same thing the following week. I bet you’ll be surprised how it evolves! Keep me posted and tell me about your networking successes.

 

Read more about the benefits of quality business relationships.

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Electric Car Investment Surges Among Big and Unexpected Names

September 29th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

Dyson just announced it will build a radically different electric car by 2020. What is particularly interesting is that Dyson is not who you would expect to get into electric cars. They are spending far more (one billion £) to develop the car than they are on the rest of their traditional business lines (vacuums and air filters). Obviously, they see vast potential. Similarly, Mercedes is aggressively targeting Tesla with a $1 billion electric push. Not only that, they are doing it in the U.S. – in Alabama to be specific. Electric car investments are stimulating a billion here and a billion there…

Electric Car Battery Charging

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Whether your business has anything to do with electric cars or not, you should pay attention. It is obvious that executives see potential benefits and will back these sentiments with money. Noticing where investments are flowing can be critical as it will impact your business in one way or another. For example, if you are in Alabama, you might have a harder time finding skilled talent when Mercedes comes to town. If you need the same materials that are required for electric car batteries, you might slide down the supply totem pole. What will you do? Can you consider the R&D of your own business to get ahead of the curve? Or, at a minimum, perhaps you’ll have to incorporate a price increase into your future plans. That actually came up at a client earlier this week so I’ve seen it in action.

Stay abreast of what’s going on around your industry and your business. Think about the potential impacts. For the noteworthy and high-risk items, dig deeper. Discuss with your supply chain partners and trusted advisers. The bottom line: Don’t be surprised by critical potential impacts to your business.

 

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Styx and the Power of Positivity and Enjoying Your Career

September 27th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I attended a Styx concert at the L.A. Fair – what a powerful event! The band has been around for 45 years and still enjoys singing together! It was totally apparent watching the concert. They really took the positive spin on their commentary and truly enjoyed singing their classics such as my favorite, “Come Sail Away”. Since I started on a quest to see some of the “greats” while they were still singing over the last few years, I have some performances to compare. Thus, it is obvious that although all of the classics sang their greatest hits, Styx stood out in enjoying their greatest hits. What a difference loving your job can make! Take a look at the grand finale…

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair – the grand finale!

One tip to implement this week: 

Why not take a positive attitude to your job or career – after all, you probably spend more time doing that than anything else! Try putting a positive spin on whatever happens this week at work and see what happens. You might find that it is a lot more enjoyable. You also might find that there are some interesting people you hadn’t really noticed before. Take a genuine interest and let me know how it goes. If it still happens to be miserable, perhaps you should get out. No job is worth misery!

One way to seek out positivity: “catching your colleagues doing something right”. Recognize them. Beyond your colleagues, perhaps look for where your manager or boss or a board member has gone out of his/her way to make a situation better. Appreciate it. Now for the hardest of all – look for where your most annoying team members (no matter their position) are doing something right. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of us have a much better week this week after this exercise! Let me know in the comments.

Read more about promoting a positive work culture…

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