Tag Archive: operations professionals

New York Scenes & the Importance of Your Viewpoint

April 2nd, 2018

The importance of viewpoint has arisen frequently in the last few weeks.  I spent the past weekend in an APICS (leading trade association for supply chain and operations professionals) train-the-trainer class. Certainly, your viewpoint as a trainer is quite different than as an audience member which was also quite different from the master instructor of the trainers.  Also, about a week ago, I was in New York in a professional development session, and the importance of different viewpoints arose during the seminar as well as with the surroundings….






The view from the seminar was within 24 hours of the view from our restaurant in Chinatown – notice a bit of a difference not only in the obvious weather difference but also in the frame of reference? Are you paying attention to your frame of reference (view) into your work issues?

One tip to implement this week:
I’ve heard many employees of my clients complain about colleagues – and a few sing their praises. More often than not, when I talk with and/or observe the work of the object of the conversation, I find that it is completely related to the frame of reference. Are they talking with angry customers?  Are they dealing with a manager with a different priority? Did they have a fender bender on their way to work? Are they looking at it from a strategy point-of-view (like the skyscraper picture) or from the trenches (Chinatown). What is their frame of reference?

Being aware of your frame of reference is a great place to start. Once you keep your own frame of reference in mind, start thinking about your colleague’s frame of reference.  It could put you into an entirely different conversation. In the train-the-trainer class, we filled out a survey on how we would help people by giving directions to a restaurant, how we would communicate a new recipe, etc. The idea was that we’d better understand our style.  In my case – and another participant who works with clients on a daily basis – our conclusion came out the opposite of what we’d prefer.  Because?  The question that was asked was what we would do for the person requesting directions. We put ourselves in their frame of reference (and so didn’t get the intended results from the exercise).  

Being aware of your frame of reference and start from there.

A Human Capital Checkup

March 12th, 2018

In honor of the Innovation Awards presented at the 7th Annual Manufacturers’ Summit in February, it seems appropriate to discuss the critical importance of human capital.  Innovation occurs with the engagement and involvement of your people. That’s why there is a specific category of the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire’s innovation awards for just this topic.  


Have you ever thought about how to answer these questions:  

  1. Why is HR a transaction department?  (and therefore not part of the executive team) In the vast majority of organizations (big and small), HR is solely or mainly focused on benefits, payroll and the like.  As an aside, thank you to my HR mentor who broke the mold with transformational HR -Debra Daniels. Without her, I would not have the same level of capability to partner with clients to deliver bottom line business results as it starts with the people.
  2.  Why do we focus on saving pennies when sourcing top talent?  Interestingly, we put these folks in charge of millions of revenue, profit and inventory dollars, yet don’t want to invest to find them.
  3.  What percentage of our executive meetings focus on people? We can get quite carried away in talking about customers, technologies, products and more.  How often are we talking about people?
  4.  Do we invest in training and development?  Since I am president of APICS Inland Empire that specializes in education for supply chain and operations professionals, it is quite clear which companies and/or executives in our area support this type of program and which employees decide to take personal responsibility for their development.  Have you taken stock lately?
  5.  Do we invest time?  This is FAR more important than the money as we learn through example and mentoring at a much quicker rate and more comprehensively.  I remember the pressures of the VP of Operations and Supply Chain role – it is quite tempting to put off even the 15 or 30 minute performance or goal setting discussion but DON’T!
  6.  Are we afraid to take on risk at the detriment of our people?  This is especially tough in California since it can be a challenge to address employee issues; however, going back to my HR mentor, she always said, “take the appropriate actions to address employee issues”.  In essence, don’t back down from respectfully addressing employee issues head on or it will likely be at the detriment of your business and the disengagement of the rest of your employees. It’s no wonder 85% of employees are not engaged according to the latest Gallup poll.  

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