Tag Archive: obstacles

UGG Founder, the Amazon Effect in Healthcare & Why Demand is Key

February 8th, 2019

In listening to the UGG founder, Brian Smith talk through his trials and tribulations in developing the amazing UGG brand, a few themes emerged.

  1. Resilience in finding pivot points when obstacles emerged played a vital role in creating the UGG brand.  
  2. The benefit is what matters; not the product.
  3. Creating demand goes back to being a leader in the category when the market shifts.

What a great story!

Next, related to the demand theme, I spoke to the Professional Women in Healthcare (PWH) Orange County group about the Amazon Effect. As a former Executive of a healthcare manufacturer, it was fun to have an interactive discussion with these leaders. Interestingly, healthcare manufacturers and distributors are experiencing the same issues as aerospace, building products and food & beverage. How to keep up with demand (or preferably get ahead of it) while increasing profit and accelerating cash flow (not having a bunch of inventory tied up for no benefit) is the topic on everyone’s mind. Aligning demand and supply and related parties is the trick!

Demand emerges as a common theme. Therefore, I’d like to invite you to an executive lunch centered on the topic, “Increase Demand“. I am speaking on a panel of experts on driving demand in your business. Use early bird promo V25 for a 25% discount. Hope you’ll join us there.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Every client has a focus on demand. Typically, they are thinking about how to grow the business in a scalable, profitable way, which leads to a mountain of questions about forecasting and how to get in front of demand.

Interestingly, it ALL goes back to one place, the customer. Do you have a passion for your customers and creating a superior customer experience? If so, demand will grow. If not, it won’t. In watching countless organizations over the last 14 years in consulting, I’ve yet to see one that succeeded long-term without this essential ingredient. Have you?

If you have a passion for the customer as the CEO or General Manager, that is a great place to start. However, it is not enough. Your sales team is relevant but the most successful clients view the entire organization as the sales team with a passion for the customer. Ask a trusted colleague to visit your facility. They will be able to ‘feel’ whether there is a passion for the customer or not. Ask them.

If the most successful executives have a focus on demand, it is worth noting. Are you providing lip service to the customer or are you creating this view within your organization? There is also a tremendous amount of focus going into understanding demand with forecasting tools, analytics, artificial intelligence, and more. Do you have a clear path forward as it relates to demand? Of course, this topic also relates strongly to creating a resilient supply chain. Only the most successful companies predict and proactively engage customers to get ahead of demand.

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Women in Manufacturing & the Showing Up

June 18th, 2018

Last week, I attended the inaugural Inland Empire Women in Manufacturing event.  It was fun seeing old colleagues from throughout the years, as well as meeting new ones.  I especially enjoyed the key note speaker, Mrs. Anna Kan Chao who spoke about taking over her family company, Golden Island Jerky Company, because no one else wanted the job.  She never gave up and it went from barely getting by and bootstrapping the company (going without a paycheck with round-the-clock work) to successfully selling to one of the largest food companies in the world.  It didn’t stop there; when they wanted to close the Inland Empire California facility, she convinced them of the value, and instead they invested multi-millions in a facility upgrade.

She boiled her key to success as “show up”.

One tip to implement this week: Show Up
“Show up”.  It can be that easy!  Throughout my career, I’ve overcome some seemingly insurmountable obstacles simply by continuing to “show up”.  Have you thought about the value of showing up?

Think a bit further about this key to success.  When you are really tired and don’t feel like it, do you “show up”?  When you have employees in conflict and know it will be a rough day, do you “show up”?  When customers are calling (whether to yell at you over an issue or to explore further partnership opportunities), will you “show up”?  How about when Board members want to understand your strategy, are you willing to “pick up the phone” to talk?

It is easy to show up when celebrations surround you.  The key is whether you are willing to show up when you have to deal with unpleasant facts upfront or you have to deliver bad news or you have to “take one for the team”.  As my mentor used to say, “As a leader, you share successes and hoard the blame“. Great advice but to follow it, you must “show up”.

 



Overcoming Obstacles

January 30th, 2015
facing challenges

No matter how much you plan, you’re going to face challenges. But learning to hurdle obstacles effectively will save you valuable time and a lot of grief.

As I’ve yet to run across an executive without obstacles, learning how to effectively deal with them has to be a top priority. Often times, we are caught up in fire-fighting mode – every day, we plan to call that customer, read that report, train that employee, or put together long-term plans. And, every day, the day whizzes past with too few of our priorities addressed. Thus, the more adept and quick we become at addressing obstacles, the more successful we’ll be.

So, how do we effectively deal with obstacles? 1) First, prepare to avoid them. 2) Remain calm. 3) Think about options.

1. First, prepare to avoid them! – Well, of course, it is easier to overcome an obstacle if there is no obstacle. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Easier said than done”. No doubt, as I’ve said that too; however, I have found that with a little thought, you can avoid several obstacles.

My best practice for accomplishing this goal is to stick with what’s simple. First, don’t worry about every obstacle. If it doesn’t matter if you overcome an obstacle, don’t waste your time. Focus only on those that will make a difference. Then, take 5 minutes to think. What is likely to go wrong? Can I live with that potential result? If not, is there something I could do to prevent it? Follow this process for your top 3 potential obstacles for all critical priorities. Soon, you’ll have far fewer obstacles to overcome – and you’ll likely become more effective by default since you can focus on fewer issues at a time!

2. Remain calm – Again, much easier said than done. Yet I’ve found this can be the most essential ingredient to success. Although it’s a natural tendency to stress or feel bad about the situation, refrain as much as possible. We think more clearly when not stressed. Instead of thinking of all the ways we screwed up to make this occur or worrying about what the worst-case impacts might be, take a deep breath. Most likely, it is not a life or death obstacle. Although it might require damage control, it is likely that it will not end your career. So, why waste energy? Instead, let’s put whatever energy we have to good use figuring out a solution.

3. Think about options – In my experience in working with all types and sizes of organizations across multiple industries and globally, the best way to overcome an obstacle is the same across the board – think about options. Don’t waste time determining what caused the obstacle at this point (unless it will help in the resolution); instead, focus attention on options to overcome the obstacle. There are always numerous ways to overcome an obstacle. Don’t worry about the merits of each of the options until you’ve brainstormed a list of options.

Brainstorming isn’t a solo sport. Ask for ideas from even unlikely sources. I find that I’m constantly surprised at what I can learn from unlikely places. Once you have several potential ideas to overcome the obstacle, evaluate the top few. Don’t fall into analysis paralysis. Keep it simple: Determine a ballpark amount of time and resources the option will require. Determine to what degree it will resolve the issue or improve the situation. Is there anything else that would have to happen to ensure success? Will it likely be approved? Then, when you’re 80% ready, GO! In today’s new normal business environment, speed matters. Thus, a 2% improved solution is not worth sacrificing a week of time (or even a day in most cases).

I run into countless obstacles. Whether I’m successful or not has little to do with whether I run into an obstacle; instead, it has to do with how I address the obstacle. Become quicker and more effective, and you’ll surpass your competition.

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