Tag Archive: Communication

Taos & Unplugging from Technologhy

November 4th, 2019

I went with my mom and aunt to visit my aunt (mom’s best friend) and her sister in New Mexico. First, it is interesting all of the things we assume and take for granted as a frequent traveler (a note for another day!).

Next, we drove to Taos, New Mexico for two nights. It is an interesting mountain art town with one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S. (the Pueblo). Although this Native American tribe of Puebloan people have members who live with modern amenities outside of the Pueblo, there are several families still living there without water and electricity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our way to the Pueblo, our phones went out because the cell tower went down. Since almost everyone used Verizon or services that went through Verizon, we were out of touch with the world.  And, service finally came back up (hotel included) the next day. It is amazing the number of items we use our cell phones to look up (symptoms of altitude sickness for one of my aunts, a decent place for lunch, directions to the Pueblo, a call to my mom’s other sister to see how a procedure went and a call to a client)! Odd timing perhaps that we were left on our own devices (except for my mom’s “old person phone” that my brother gave her which worked on T-mobile from time to time) as we visited an ancient pueblo. I had to text by clicking multiple times on numbers to try to reach my cousin and client. What a great story… you couldn’t plan this if you tried!

Have you thought about unplugging?

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Although I do not wish to lose technology again anytime soon, it certainly makes you think and prioritize who you are going to text (as it might take at least 20 times longer), what you need to know and how else you might find the answer and more. I barely recall when I first started working and would pull over to use a pay phone to return a call from my beeper to the plant about what to do about a scheduling issue. Can you imagine?!

Losing technology makes you think, observe and prioritize. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to prioritize how we spend our time anyway? At the airport in Albuquerque on the way home, I sat at the bar with my laptop (as it was the only place that had a plug), and the guy next to me was complaining about a couple who sat near us who apparently had been staring at their phones and not talking the entire time he was there. Have we forgotten how to talk? I can definitely say that our clients experience communication challenges from time to time. Actually, don’t we all? Perhaps we should practice more often!

Why not put technology aside for a few hours and observe and listen? You might experience an entirely different situation than you ever have before!

 

 



Do You Live By Values Daily?

August 29th, 2018

We decided to participate in Executive Forums (an executive peer group) and Global Growth Cycle (a global consulting peer group) in order to stay up-to-date on what our clients need (sometimes even before they know they ‘need’ it).  After all, understanding what is successful as well as investing in our continual learning are important factors in long-term success.  

At a recent meetings of both groups, the importance of values arose.  Do you have values? And, more importantly, do you LIVE by values or are they just pasted on your wall (and ignored)?

Because we felt it was important for LMA Consulting to stand for something, we have codified our values.  As a part of our communication efforts, we are sharing them with our clients, colleagues, subcontractors, advisors and more.  Of course, we always welcome feedback and input.

To kick off, we have four core values that happen to start with ‘P’ (which we enjoy because of the alliteration):

 

PEOPLE

PASSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSISTENCE

PERFORMANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

LMA Values

  1. People – As we continually say (and believe), people are our #1 asset.  Our affiliations, LMA Associates, colleagues, clients and advisors fall into this category.  No matter how perfect the process or ideal the technology, it will not “work” without the people.
  2. Passion – It certainly makes life more interesting to enjoy what you do and have a passion for helping clients achieve bottom line results.  We find that success follows applied passion.
  3.  Persistence – No matter the topic in business (or life), persistence has been core to our success.  There is definitely truth to saying ‘persistence trumps talent’. Having both wouldn’t hurt but we’ll take persistence any day!
  4. Performance  – At the end of the day, keeping focused on delivering bottom line business results matters.  In our case, we deliver BOLD customer promises and profits!

Give your values some thought.  Start at square zero. Do you have them?  Do you agree with them? Do you ‘live’ them?  How about your team? Since this is a beneficial predecessor to setting strategy and ensuring results, it is worthwhile.  If you have questions or are thinking about how to get started, contact us .



How to Keep Your Team’s Morale Up During Change

December 8th, 2016
team morale

Team morale can take a hit during times of intense change. Motivate your team with a relatable, easy-to-understand vision and keep them informed every step of the way.

Dramatic growth is commonplace. Companies are looking for opportunities to improve margins, accelerate cash flow and cut costs. Only those companies that change will endure. And only those teams that embrace change, and the leaders who engage people around change initiatives will thrive. The others will be left in the dust.

In order to create this type of engagement, leaders must support team morale during change. But if you think about it, why should this be an issue, if the change is presented properly from the outset? Who wouldn’t be excited about positive and interesting new opportunities?

Here are seven key ways to keep your team’s morale up when there’s a change under way.

1. Start with a compelling vision. People don’t fear change. They fear the unknown. Thus, one simple first step in overcoming this hurdle is to provide a vision (e.g., a reason for the change). Start by clearly answering the questions:

  • How will the change help the company succeed?
  • How will it help your customers?

For example, when I was VP of Operations for an adult incontinence manufacturer, we saw our job as helping our parents and grandparents maintain a quality lifestyle in their older years. It certainly provided a sense of purpose and vision to our projects —and this is valuable!

2. Translate the vision. Although lofty visions can be quite valuable, it’s also important to be able to translate those visions into something tangible. You want to be able to show how each department, team and person will relate to that vision, add value and contribute it as well. I’ve found that the most successful leaders take the time to help team members understand how their piece of the puzzle contributes to the bigger picture.

3. Collaborate on the plan. When team members participate in a change, rather than have it dictated to them, they’ll buy into the new way of doing things and feel good about it, too. You can make this happen by collaborating with your project team to build the new plan.

Provide guidelines, ideas and advice in order to spur the process forward. Ask for input and ideas from all team members. Don’t dismiss ideas without explaining why. And don’t just accept ideas to include input if they’re not optimal for the end result. Instead, be willing to take the role of a coach and facilitator.

After partnering on hundreds of projects over the years, I’ve yet to see one fail when it’s approached in a collaborative manner; but I’ve seen many fail when the approach is: “Just do it because I am your manager.”

4. Communicate the plan. A critical step for keeping morale up during a change initiative is communication! Just as people don’t fear change, they fear the unknown; they fear not understanding how they will get to the vision. In essence, the fear lies in no-man’s land —the uncertainty in getting from Point A to the “Promised Land.”

Thus, communicating the plan and allowing ample time for questions and answers is paramount to success. Again, feedback and ideas can still be incorporated if it makes sense. There is no reason to drive around the block three times to get to the same place you could get to by walking next door. In addition to providing information and comfort with the plan, you could pick up on superb ideas that will ensure success.

5. Manage the critical path. As in all projects, the critical path should be the focus. If the critical path stays intact, the project will likely succeed, even if it runs into non-critical path task bumps along the way. On the other hand, if the project team becomes distracted during the bumpy times and loses focus from the critical path, the project will veer off track.

Begin by explaining the importance of the critical path up front, so team members will understand why the focus might not be on their tasks. Make sure everyone knows they have an important piece in achieving the vision, no matter what the role. Ask all task owners to help each other and to succeed together.

6. Adjust as needed. As simple as it seems, don’t become so focused on your project plan that you lose sight of adjustments that should occur along the way. Since change is the only constant in business today, change will occur. Make sure you consider any changes that relate to your project and adjust accordingly.

7. Feedback. Last but not least, celebrate wins. Focus on strengths but do not ignore weaknesses that will impact success. If someone isn’t pulling their weight, have a conversation with them. One of the main ways to keep morale up is to address roadblocks and issues in an honest and respectful manner. Provide suggestions.

Once again, it’s not change that people resist, but the unknown. Strong leadership and project skills will go a long way toward navigating your team through the bumpy waters and on to success—and keeping morale up along the way!

Originally published @LiquidPlanner, July 20, 2015. http://bit.ly/2hoPOy0

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Vision Backed by BIG Goals and Leadership

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Cross-Functional Success

September 15th, 2016
cross-functional coordination

Cross-functional coordination is vital to business success. Agreement on simple coordination techniques starts with clear and frequent communication.

Although working cross-functionally is a basic tenet in every organization we’ve ever seen, it remains elusive to many. Certainly the topic arises frequently no matter what product or service is offered as coordination is required to conduct business.

For example, we are working with a company to prepare for go-live, and the most challenging aspect lately has been to get every functional area to work in concert with each other within the order fulfillment process. Unfortunately, it requires more than simple coordination, although that alone would be a start in many organizations. In our case, as errors arise (which is a common occurrence as you work through go-live complications and education), the level of coordination must increase. In order to problem-solve across several functions, the level of coordination and communication must increase. As soon as we all get in the same room, the system miraculously starts working again. Obviously, no company has every employee sitting in the same room; therefore, cross-functional coordination is vital to success.

Simple communication and coordination techniques can go a long way. Listen. Ask clarifying questions. Overcommunicate. Typically, varying communication methods can be helpful. Not everyone absorbs the same way and so using different mediums can be helpful. Repeat back and confirm. Be open to suggestions. Think about the most effective communication for the other person; not for you. Start with these simple techniques and you’ll build a base. Then, advanced techniques will be required to go further. For example, aligning goals might be needed to achieve success.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

 

Success with Cross-Functional Integration

 

The Value of Clear Communication



The Value of Clear Communication

August 31st, 2016

supply chain

In the last two days, several of my clients have experienced the havoc created with miscommunication or just the lack of crystal clear communication. And, this is to say nothing about the fact that 80%+ of potential clients talk about symptoms of this same issue. Why is it so hard?

As a former VP of Operations and Supply Chain, I can attest to the fact that consistent, clear communication is actually much harder than it sounds like it should be! It boils down to a few simple facts: 1) Things change (and we all have our own perceptions). 2) The game of telephone — perhaps I’m getting older but we used to play the game of telephone at my childhood parties. You’d tell the person on your right something, and then they’d tell the next person and so on. By the time the message got to the last person, it was garbled. How often does that happen at our jobs? ALL THE TIME!

telephone

One tip to implement this week:

So, what can we do this week to improve upon the clarity of our communication? Quite a lot. Start by not assuming what we’ve said is clear to the recipient. I cannot tell you how many times a client has complained about a topic, and after digging further and asking questions, everyone was on a different page, even though each person thought he/she communicated the next step.

So, how can we be clearer? Ask for the other party to confirm what you’ve said. Or summarize what you think you’ve agreed upon in different words. Often one of these two approaches will resolve any miscommunication. You could also summarize the plan in an email; however, it is much better to follow one of the first two options and re-confirm with the email. Don’t make the email lengthy. A few bullet points to confirm key actions/agreements will suffice.

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…”