Tag Archive: leadership

What’s Ahead for People?

January 23rd, 2019

People make a business thrive. That’s why even the most technical of companies like Google value people.  In our experience, people are the #1 asset of any organization. Hands down, we can help any organization with good people quicker and to a FAR larger degree than an organization with very few good people.

In thinking about what’s ahead for people, there are many transitions and trends to be aware of:

 

  1. Baby Boomers  – As baby boomers retire, they will be harder to replace than what appears at first glance. Typically speaking, they aren’t up-to-speed on the latest technology.  They might have old fashioned ideas but they know “what works”. Don’t be too quick to hurry the process along. Instead, value their knowledge and find a way to transition it for a win-win.
  2. The Skills Gap – It is hard not to have a skills gap when technologies change daily. Jobs are being automated and new jobs are being created with entirely new skill requirements. The world is becoming more complex and global and customers expect more for less. Are you prioritizing the retention of your top talent? Is your company attractive to top talent?
  3. Diversity– We are not believers in mandates and regulations but we have found diversity to propel success. Are you actively attracting people who do NOT think like you? That’s a tough one (after all, don’t we all prefer people who agree with us?), but it is important if you want your team and organization to thrive.
  4. Spark an Innovative Culture – With the high demands of customers, bard members and the like, solid leadership is no longer enough. Sparking innovation has become a “must” for success.
  5. Back to the Leadership Basics – There is no coincidence that every successful client has a strong leader. Whereas long-term struggling clients and contacts (as struggling leaders rarely hire consultants) have weak leaders. Being a strong leader is “hard work” and requires courage. What are you doing to build your leadership bench strength?

The core tenets of successful people do not change. The requirements and challenges we face continue to expand. Yet, the route to success is clear. We choose to see this fact with hope as it does not require rocket science to become a good leader.  We’ve seen plenty of examples of mediocre leaders who transform into exceptional leaders through mentoring, coaching and experience.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic: Profit Through People 

Global Consultants and the Value of Diversity 

Do You See Your People as Assets or Expenses?

 



Who Should You Follow?

December 7th, 2017

Strong leadership will guide you to choose wisely
Several situations have arisen recently that leads us to plead “choose wisely”.  Examples abound on both sides of this topic.  Strong leaders attract top talent.  Weak and command and control leaders keep the weak and those close to retirement (in name only).  That is one of the things we love about being consultants – we have a wide view, across many organizations with vastly different personalities; thus, strong leadership is as obvious as a purple cow (to use a Seth Godin reference).

Pay attention to your employees
To your employees, leadership effectiveness is as obvious as a purple cow, even if it doesn’t stand out to anyone else.  Pay attention to how your employees react to their leaders.  Are they energized or beaten down?  One good question is as follows – if the phone rings at 5:05pm, would they pick it up, thinking it might be a customer with a question?  Or will they ignore it and instead put their efforts into a CYA type activity?  

Who will you go to for top notch service ?
In today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace, customers appreciate suppliers and advisers who will go the extra mile to provide that above and beyond service.  Just put yourself in their shoes.  Who would you rather go to for products and service – whether or not the ‘boss’ is there to make sure you receive top notch service?  Someone you know will help you regardless of what it does for their career or someone who is out for their self-interest?  

Remember, people work for and buy from people – not companies.

 



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.

 



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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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?

 

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on the topic:

Walmart Raising the Supply Chain Metrics Bar 

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