Tag Archive: objective

The Value of Collaborating with Strange Bedfellows

February 19th, 2019

The topic of collaborating with strange bedfellows has recently come up repeatedly. There can be significant value and strategic advantage created in collaborating with unlikely partners if there are clear objectives, trust and an open mind. Just think about Amazon’s collaboration with the U.S. Postal service. Amazon is clearly famous for rapid, same-day, even Sunday deliveries whereas the U.S. postal service is definitely not known for agility and speed yet they understand and are proficient with the ‘last mile’.

Kash Gokli & I host the Harvey Mudd executive roundtables, and the topic of collaborating with competitors as well as unlikely partners arose in our recent roundtable. In the ‘right’ situation at the ‘right’ time, it can maximize service and value. Also, I am a Board member of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and member of the Southern CA Logistics council, and this topic of collaboration has come up on multiple occasions. We recently led a collaboration session with 10 academic institutions. Of course, they all compete from several respects yet there are opportunities for 1+1+1 = 25. And this is just the beginning. When it is put together with collaborations with industry and government, perhaps 25 can turn into 100 or 1000. Last but not least, I met with UCR students last night to encourage their involvement in manufacturing and supply chain and invite their participation in APICS-IE. We had this exact conversation about collaborating with their competitors (Cal Poly Pomona, CSUSB etc.).

Are you exploring collaborations with strange bedfellows?

One tip to implement this week:
Perhaps it is as simple as opening your mind to new possibilities. Think about the person or entity you would most want to avoid joining your collaboration. What if you gave it a chance? For example, I remember a distinct time a few years ago when I was involved with a group. Someone in the group brought up a new member who would be the last person I’d want to join our group. I felt like I was collaborating with a diverse set of people, and we were making great progress. I just didn’t like this person. Although I didn’t say it, I cursed my bad luck on the way home because I just wasn’t excited about collaborating.

Fast-forward several months and it turned out that the new participant added unique value that probably would not have occurred otherwise. Although I still wouldn’t want to have dinner with this person outside of our work together, I’m glad I gave it a chance or I would have missed out on fantastic benefits and a learning opportunity. We have all been there, and sometimes we are right to be hesitant. Can you achieve a shared goal? Is trust possible as it relates to the objective? Assuming so, I vote for exploring the opportunity. Perhaps it is the next Amazon/ U.S. Postal Service collaboration.

Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with resilience. In today’s marketplace, there is no doubt the resilient will thrive. If your key supplier or customer is devastated by a natural disaster, power outage or unexpected shutdown or other disruptor, have you thought about collaborating with strange bedfellows to serve your customers? You cannot wait until the issue occurs! Creating a resilient end-to-end supply chain is of paramount importance.

For more information, check out our new resilient supply chain series and contact us if you’d like to have an assessment of your organization.



How to Get Out of an Escape Room & What It Has to Do With Work

June 9th, 2017

My ProVisors group had two competing teams working to get out of an escape room (my team is pictured below). Thanks to James Valmonte for such a great idea and coordination! It was an exciting experience to work through the clues and figure our way out of the room. Although I was a Nancy Drew fan when young (and even wrote a Nancy Drew-like novel with my childhood friend Vonda Zwick that won an award), I wouldn’t say this was an easy process in the slightest. It took the full team to have any hope of figuring it out. It certainly brought quite a few skills to the forefront that are valuable in all aspects of life.

Escape Room - ProVisors

One tip to implement this week:

Getting out of an escape room requires many skills needed to succeed in business. There is little to no hope of getting out while working in isolation; a team with varying skills is needed. Working in collaboration is essential. Thus, even though it might seem easier to do a task yourself, think first. Take a step back and consider your end objective. What do you want to achieve? Then, think about the skills and/or resources that would be helpful to best achieve that objective. Gather your team and tackle the issue.

You might not want to collaborate with people you think will disagree with your approach or aspects of your project; however, think twice before dismissing that thought. Instead, think about how to pull different opinions and perspectives into the mix to gain a better solution.

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…”

 



Are You Asking Good Questions?

May 23rd, 2017
asking good questions

If you are struggling to improve operations, you may be missing the obvious answer – asking good questions.

There is a shocking number of clients and colleagues that struggle, gather teams, run kaizen events and do all sorts of other activities (and throw good money after bad more frequently than anyone cares to admit) to improve operations (improve the customer experience/service levels at greater profit and margins levels) while missing the most obvious answer — asking good questions.

We’ve found that asking good questions can be the “secret weapon”. Thus, we’ll ask questions about asking questions…

1. Before leaping to a standard toolkit such as “run a kaizen event,” have you asked common sense questions? Is common sense uncommon in your company?

2. Before scheduling more meetings to discuss topics (several of my clients run from one meeting to the next ALL day, every day), have you thought about asking if anyone has gone to “see” the issue? What did he/she see?

3. Do you think there is an art in formulating a question? If you’ve ever talked with an effective questioner, you’d know there is more to asking questions than just asking questions. What thought have you put into your question?

4. Do you think about the objective of your question? If you try it for a week, do your questions and meetings become clearer?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:
Lessons Learned: Asking Questions Isn’t Enough

Project Success is All About the People