Tag Archive: ideas

Do You Treat Your People as Critical Assets to Your Success?

June 24th, 2019

As several CEOs lament continually and as Steve Erickson, president of Corona Clipper, Inc. and UK Business Unit Group, said in our 2019 predictions document, talent is a hot topic in today’s tight labor market. Perhaps it is time to put a bit more thought into our talent.

As a consultant who works with organizations from a few million in annual revenue to multi-billion dollar conglomerates, it is quite clear that talent is an issue across-the-board. It doesn’t matter the industry, the size, or the ownership (private equity, publicly traded or closely-held). Talent is an issue that is top of mind of every executive interested in growth and innovation. The trick is whether you just think about talent or are willing to invest in talent. Which are you?

Certainly, those who invest are far more likely to retain top talent and develop new talent. In zero unemployment markets, there is something to be said about creating your own talent. If you aren’t focused on this topic, it is quite likely the competition will steal your talent away.

There are many ways to invest in talent:

  1. Provide mentor opportunities – If your organization looks for ways to support the growth of employees with mentors, you are bound to be more successful than the norm. In our experience, the best companies realize that people need to learn through practical application and mentoring provides this opportunity.
  2. Invest in leaders to encourage continuous coaching – aAyearly review is quite useless. Who can remember what happened that long ago and understand how to improve or build on a strength? Instead, I found that 90 day one-on-one performance conversations with a limited number of objectives do the trick. Continuous feedback and investment of time can go a long way. But let’s not expect leaders to know how to conduct these sessions if we haven’t invested in them. Remember, it trickles down hill.
  3. Provide training opportunities – Search for training topics that will supplement what your employees should understand. For example, any employee in operations and supply chain should take APICS courses to understand the fundamentals of supply chain and operations management and related principles. If nothing else, it will provide the body of knowledge and associated language.
  4. Provide experiences – In larger companies, there might be job rotations or overseas assignments.  No matter the size, there are cross-training opportunities as well as enabling visits and collaborations with customers, suppliers, systems and technology providers, consultants/experts and other partners.
  5. Allow the freedom for experimentation – To encourage new ideas and innovation, it is important to design programs that educate employees as well as provide a framework to try out new ideas. In our consulting travels, we find that employees who are allowed to test new ideas in a safe zone feel invested in.
  6. Address poor performers – Instead of ignoring your poor performers because it is an unpleasant task or you are worried about repercussions, proactively address them. Work with them to turn them around or move them out of the organization, and you’ll unleash your top talent.

Why not merely increase your engagement by investing in your already-existing talent? According to all the surveys, engagement is at horrific levels in the vast majority of organizations yet engagement is key to driving performance. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out investing in your people is not only common sense but it can do more good for your bottom line than almost anything else. The key is to not treat investment as throwing money at an issue but instead seeing it as a priority. Let us know what ideas you have to engage your most critical assets.


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Profit Through People


Tour of Toyota and the Toyota Production System

February 27th, 2017

Earlier this week, I went on a tour of the Toyota North American Parts Center and had the opportunity to see the Toyota Production System techniques up close. It is always amazing to see that no matter how many millions are spent on technology (which I saw plenty of!), the key to success resides with the PEOPLE! That is one of the tenets of the Toyota Production System.

Toyota Production System

One tip to implement this week:

There is much that can be achieved rapidly in leveraging Toyota Production System techniques — no matter your industry or role. The idea is to capture the ideas of the people closest to the action — whether those interfacing with the customer, delivering to the customer, or producing quality parts on the line. And to empower them within reasonable guidelines for success. It sounds quite easy yet it rarely is achieved and sustained.

Start by putting together a group of colleagues to discuss improvement ideas. What can you do to make things easier and more successful for your customers? Can you add value without adding cost?  What could you do for your colleagues who receive your work product? Are there ways you can be more efficient and safe? Or can you add clarity and visibility into the process? Just brainstorm ideas. Next, you’ll pick one and get started.

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…”


What Elton John and Presenting Ideas Have in Common…

April 20th, 2016

supply chainIf you want to be successful, a LOT! I saw Elton John at the Colosseum in Las Vegas last weekend, and he puts on an incredible show. He mentioned that he has been writing with the same lyricist for 40 years — quite impressive. How hard do you think it would be to remain interesting to large crowds for 40 years? — and several generations? Not easy. Just think about one bad tweet….

elton john and presenting ideas

This picture was at the end when the front row seats joined Elton by his piano. As you see, he is bigger than life. And the crowd loved it. Perhaps there is no need for you to present ideas in a timeless fashion that will last for 40 years; however, to make sure your Board of Directors, CEO, boss and/or peers listen, you should pay attention. How do you gain the attention of the crowd? Be high-quality. Be interesting. Pay attention to what your audience wants!

One tip to implement this week:

In thinking about what we could do this week to make progress in presenting ideas, it turns out there is quite a lot. Start with understanding what your audience wants. Who will be listening? What will appeal to them? Put it in their best interest. Forget about what you want. One lesson I learned along the way is to NOT assume that everyone is interested in what you are interested in. It is easy to get caught in this trap, even when you know better. Instead, find out. It is pointless to explain how an idea benefits them if they don’t care about the benefit you describe!

If you don’t know, ASK. It can be as simple as that.

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…”