Tag Archive: goals

I’ve Been Thinking about Competition – Or Are They?

October 6th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, Kash Gokli (Professor of Manufacturing Practice and Director of the Engineering Clinic at Harvey Mudd) and I led our most recent Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable on the topic of competition. We created these roundtables to bring Southern California executives together to network and discuss timely topics for organization success. We had a fascinating discussion about two general themes: How to develop a strategy to make you stand out from the crowd so you have no competition AND how to collaborate with your competition for win-win success. In today’s Amazon-impacted, competitive world, it is wise to be thinking about your closest business challengers unless you want to be left in the dust.

Harvey Mudd Executive Roundtable Attendees

One tip to implement this week:

Let’s start by making sure you know your competition. Certainly, as an executive, you’ll be aware of your competitors. The key question is most likely: Could your teams identify the key players? Which competitors are most prevalent in your industry? Now for the clincher – how well can you and your organization describe how you stack up vs. your competition? Start here and really drill down to the details.

Next, let’s move on beyond understanding the competition. Do you understand your vision and whether you are fighting it out on a weekly basis? Or do you have a strategy for how to distinguish yourselves from other businesses such that for all intents and purposes, you have no competition? It’s easier said than done but definitely worth considering.

And let’s not forget collaboration. Almost every attendee could come up with an example of how they were collaborating with a competitor for the “right” situation at the “right” time. Can you find ways to collaborate for win-win success? It might just pay to remember that your relationship network is one of your most valuable assets.

If you liked this article, read more about the importance of cultivating business relationships.

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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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Wisconsin Provides HUGE Tax Incentives to Lure Apple Manufacturer

September 25th, 2017

Supply Chain Briefing

The state of Wisconsin granted $3 billion in tax incentives to Foxconn to entice them to manufacture in the midwestern state. This is not only the highest government subsidy ever offered for a foreign company to locate to the U.S., but it also specifically entices production that goes into the Apple iPhone. It certainly proves that blanket statements about innovation in government are just as inaccurate as all others! Wisconsin shows that thinking outside the box can be achieved even in government.

Wisconsin manufacturing

Clearly, it also shows that manufacturing is relevant in today’s environment. Have you thought about whether you are thinking outside the box? And are you searching for what might be available to support manufacturers? There are actually many programs (federal, state and local) where you can gain “free” money for things you already do – perform research & development, provide training (California has incentives), and the list goes on. Feel free to contact us anytime to learn more.

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

What might seem impossible to us might not be! Do you tend to write off ideas before considering their full value? Perhaps we should take a page from Wisconsin’s playbook and look at the big picture, think long-term and mix it up a bit. We should also take a second look at innovation. Do we have a work culture that will support out-of-the-box ideas? If not, we must start there.

And, last but not least, do you consider manufacturing relevant? Although I live on the border of the Inland Empire in California, which is known for big box distributors (Target, Amazon, Apple 3PL’s etc.), it is simply amazing how much manufacturing is also located here. You hear about how everything has moved to China or Mexico and manufacturing is dead but “we are not dead yet” (reminds me of the Monty Python…) Actually, we are far from dead – there is quite a strong push to locate manufacturing closer to customers and leverage innovative collaborative and efficiency programs to ensure profitability to boot. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at programs like APICS Inland Empire‘s session on “Changing Trade Policies and its Effect on Reshoring“. Fascinating stuff no matter where you live.

 

If this topic interests you, take a look at Samsung Expanding Manufacturing in the U.S.

 

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The Ladies of Logistics (LOL) & the Power of Networking

August 24th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

On Friday night, I went to the annual LOL (Ladies of Logistics) networking bash, thanks to Elizabeth Warren (we’re pictured below). She brought together many of Southern California’s most powerful women in logistics (and a few men too). It was a great opportunity to talk with industry people from the ports, procurement, rail, trucking, air, policy, distribution and the media. Talk about a powerful network! This event illustrated the power of networks. We could never achieve as much individually as we do by collaborating. And, we propel each other to success! Making s’mores doesn’t hurt either….

Lisa Anderson with Elizabeth Warren

One tip to implement this week: 

Have you thought about the power of a network? Take a step back and think about which networks you participate with. Which networks surround your profession, geography, alma mater, and so on? Networks can be formal or informal. LOL is an informal network but just as powerful as some of the most formal ones I am part of.

Participating with the “right” network can lead to 1+1=64. Thus, it seems worthwhile to take a good look around and find a network where you think you’ll be able to add value. Start by looking for where you can add value. With that motivation and perspective, it is guaranteed that exponential returns will follow. More importantly, you’ll also enjoy it. When I first joined ProVisors (a network of trusted, professional advisers), I wasn’t sure how I’d provide many referrals. Fast-forward several years later and I am able to provide referrals for the most obscure of requests – and love it!

Let me know how networking has worked for you in the comments. And if you liked this article, take a look at a similar post about the value of professional mentoring.

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Who Should You Follow? A Guide to Good Mentoring Relationships

August 18th, 2017
Mentoring offers benefits to everyone involved

My own consulting mentor says: “follow someone who has been there and done that”. Experience counts.

We recently took on one of our first consulting mentoring projects. Since our focus is on delivering growth and profitability for manufacturing and distribution companies, we work mainly with business-to-business. With that said, every consulting project involves some level of coaching – mentoring – to people working on those businesses to deliver results.

And since we consider results to be the 80/20 of our business, we put a lot of attention on coaching the appropriate employees (from line supervision to the executive team) to achieve a desired outcome. So when a consulting mentorship opportunity arose with a mentee who was serious about achieving results, we jumped on it. And, we are so glad we did!

How to form the best mentoring relationship

The mentoring situation brings up the idea of knowing who to follow. It seems like an obvious topic to consider yet I often find my clients following “undesirable” role models with the expected (and unfortunate) results. My own consulting mentor says “follow someone who has been there and done that” – not someone who can talk about what to do but has never done it before. He uses the example of a ski instructor. Would you follow a ski instructor’s advice if they could talk a good game but didn’t know how to navigate the black diamond hills? I wouldn’t either! It’s similar to looking for a cheap heart surgeon. Who would do that?

Search for mentors and coaches who can help you navigate the most complex issues that arise because they have experienced it before – or something similar that they can draw from.

Bottom line: Choose your mentoring relationship carefully. Look for professionals who talk the talk and walk the walk, people who deserve to be viewed as true mentors.

Like this article? Continue reading about how mentoring and teaching can help you in your own career.

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