Tag Archive: communicate

Who Cares about Process Disciplines?

August 9th, 2016
process discipline

Increased margins and company growth are easier to reach when process disciplines are emphasized within an organization

Who cares about process disciplines? All executives say they care but few are willing to focus the efforts on instilling process disciplines. It seems like a less important topic than creating a new product, expanding into new markets or increasing margins; however, it is at the crux of success! No improvements can be made in inventory, service, efficiencies and the like without starting here.

When we see a client with excellent process disciplines, we typically see the following:

  1. Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
  2. Clear understanding of the process steps and related system transactions that support the business.
  3. Clear understanding of the timing, sequencing and interaction among process steps and functional departments.

We’ve seen some clients with books of process documentation yet very little success with process disciplines. Of course, having a documented process is a good idea; however, that alone will get you nowhere. Instead, think about and communicate the importance of process disciplines. Support the documentation of “what makes sense”. And results will follow.

After 11 years of consulting and 15 years before that in organizational life, I can communicate with absolute certainty that those who emphasize process disciplines will be more successful in growing the business and increasing margins than those who don’t. If you’d like to talk over how process disciplines could be strengthened in your business, contact us.


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A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

June 29th, 2016


After meeting with my international advisory board in the beginning of June in Sydney, I took the opportunity to tour Australia and New Zealand. One of our favorite spots was Milford Sound, New Zealand. It is undoubtedly one of the most majestic, beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Since it is impossible to do it justice, I’ve included one of the best pictures of a boat ride through the fjords. Can you imagine how I could have communicated this beauty through words alone?


The same is true in business. One simple graph or hand drawing on a white board or flip chart will communicate more than a 1000 words. I cannot tell you how many executive meetings I’ve sat in where a simple chart would have ended an hour-long discussion. And, more importantly, a simple visual will help communicate effectively so that you get the business, get the money (from the Board, CEO, etc.), get the resources, etc. In my experience, the wasted hours and days (and even months) that go into these requests could be dramatically shortened with a powerful yet simple process visual.

One tip to implement this week:

So, what can we do this week to make progress on this topic? Think about something you’d like to communicate that you think will have a significant impact on your company’s success. Start with something in your functional area. For example, one of my clients is focused on whether they start production orders (work orders) on-time. If you start them on-time, it is likely you’ll complete them on-time. So, in their case, we needed to communicate how well we performed with on-time starts yesterday — and preferably the trend for the week and month. Talking about lots of detailed orders is important to improving the metric but wasn’t nearly as impactful as a simple trend graph with an accompanying pie chart of reasons for late starts.

Don’t worry about your artist and graphics skills. Start by thinking about what to communicate. Come up with one picture, graph, or chart that would help communicate it. That is sufficient for this week; however, since speed is the name of the game, once you have decided what will be meaningful, start by drawing it on a piece of paper or ask your team for help. Don’t get bogged down in graphics or Power Points. I’ve seen hand-drawn pictures be sufficient for multi-million dollar ideas.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


People Strategies to Kick Off the New Year

January 26th, 2016
people strategies

A motivated team can overcome some of the biggest business challenges a company can face.

People are your #1 asset. It makes imminent sense to kick off the New Year with this tenet in mind. How can you start with gusto?

Frequently, employees take off time near the end of the year, and so it can take time to get back into the swing of things. Don’t let your attention to your human resources take time off too. To shorten that cycle — and, most importantly, to empower and engage your people, think about leveraging some of the following strategies:

  1. Check in: Start the New Year by checking in with your employees. How are they doing? What are they working on? It’s interesting how often we find out that we didn’t know where our employees spend their time. Find out. Are they concerned about potential roadblocks? What would they most like to accomplish this year? Make it your priority to find out.
  2. Remind employees of the vision: You cannot emphasize the whys behind what your company does enough. Remind your employees of the vision. What does it mean to you? What does it mean for your customers? End users? In essence, remind everyone why what they are doing is worthwhile.
  3. Align on goals: I believe in quarterly goals with frequent check-ins. What lasts for a year unchanged anyway?  Not much! Your employees will ditch their cobweb goals with or without you. It is always better to align, discuss priorities, strategize on resources, etc. The bottom line is to make sure everyone has clarity and is involved in creating that clarity.
  4. Recognize successes: There’s no better time to recognize small wins than after the holidays. It jump starts success. Success builds on success.
  5. Communicate, communicate, and communicate:  In essence, the title says it all. Don’t expect people to fully absorb with one communication. Be repetitive. Vary the medium so that you don’t sound like a broken record or your mother. Collaborate on ways to communicate effectively. Involve the team in communication.    

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