Tag Archive: trusted advisors

The Stock Market, The Economy & How They Do Not Align

February 12th, 2019

Key research groups are starting to talk about their predictions for the economy, and everyone is interested. It feels like everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. After all, we have been in an expansion mode far longer than is typical and there is plenty of volatility and uncertainty in global trade, the U.S. Shutdown and more. Last week, I heard a research expert from City National Bank and did an informal poll of trusted advisors (CPAs, attorneys, consultants, commercial bankers etc.). The bottom line = continued growth.

The City National Bank expert said that they study about 20 economic indicators, and all are firing on all cylinders. The only one that has consistently shown some potential for hesitation is geopolitical risk –  which isn’t new. As much as the U.S. Shutdown, global trade tensions, Brexit and more has the stock market jittery, it hasn’t impacted the economic forecast. Businesses are growing and the economy is doing well! The hot topics being discussed include asset protection, the talent shortfall, the technology transformation and cyber security risks. There are always lots of details to consider but the common theme is growth. Thus, a key question becomes, are you prepared for scalable, profitable growth?  

One tip to implement this week:

What I’m seeing as a differentiator to success in these strong yet uncertain times is the ability to ‘stay the course’ and be resilient.  With each new emerging news story, I’m seeing the stock market choke and people panic. Unfortunately, this can lead to short-term, erratic changes in executives’ decisions. No one wants to be put into the same position as they were in during the last recession. So, the tendency is to overreact. Yet, the most successful clients provide stability and a platform for scalable growth.

They are willing to make hard decisions, ranging from investing in top talent to systems and technologies (even when their peers are hesitant) to addressing the sacred cow (every business has at least one!) to thinking about how their business model might be evolving and what they might need to change (even when they are currently profitable and seemingly successful).

It might make good sense to take a step back and avoid overreacting to the latest news. Stay aware and on top of trends. Ask questions and consider down-the-line impacts on your business. Instead of getting caught up in the latest drama or fad, put thought into how to build agility into your plans. How can you ensure your navigation system is rock solid and will weather whatever storm occurs next. If there is one constant, it will be continued volatility and uncertainty.

Prepare to be resilient. Check out our new resilient supply chain series and contact us if you’d like to have an assessment of your organization.



The Resilient Supply Chain: Cross-Organizational Collaboration

January 4th, 2019

I’ve been coordinating a process involving several disparate players, ranging from multiple educational institutions who are not aligned with one another, government players (with many differing goals) and business partners (with a completely different set of needs).  Although there are others, these 3 core groups are more than enough!

Success will only come to those who find common ground with collaboration.  If collaboration was as easy as simple communication, everyone would do it. We would probably have a lot more happy customers and more profits to share with investors, employees and for reinvestment and giving back.

What should we think about if this is the outcome we wish to create?

  1.  Look for the win-win-win –  If someone wins and someone else loses, it isn’t a successful collaboration.  If you think hard enough, there is usually a way to turn a situation into more of a win-win-win with some shared give-and-take.
  2.  Think about positioning –  If your idea is presented in isolation, it has a much greater chance at failing than if it is presented in light of the bigger picture. Why is it important?  How can each person play a role? Does each person know how he/she fits in and provides value?
  3.  Value diversity – Each time I think “I don’t want to be on this person’s team because he/she is annoying or won’t add value”, I find that I am completely wrong (luckily these are just thoughts, not actions).  The best ideas come from the most unlikely places.  And, interesting suggestions that can lead to “big” ideas typically come from someone who is quite opposite and thinking about the situation from a different perspective.
  4.  Recognize progress of the team –  Who doesn’t want to be recognized with a pat on the back as progress is made?  The key to collaboration is not to say positive things about collaboration and then reward individual performance.  Instead, reward team progress, even if that progress is simply gaining an understanding of how much they do not agree with each other yet are willing to listen.  
  5.  Consensus isn’t needed – As much as collaboration can achieve dramatically better results than each superhero individual thinking on his/her own, consensus is overrated.  Set the expectations upfront of how collaboration works. Feedback and input is expected. Discussion and debate participation is mandatory. But consensus isn’t required for every decision.  Otherwise, you might get there eventually but your competition will be LONG gone. More importantly, determine how to collaborate and make decisions upfront.decisions

The importance of collaboration comes up more frequently than almost any other topic.  Since executives are collaborating with customers, suppliers, trusted advisors, other supply chain partners and even competitors, there is just no room for poor collaborators.  

If you’ll notice, many disruptors collaborate with strange partners. Perhaps this core skill is a key ingredient to success…. Or, think of it another way, how will anything get done without it?

 



The Latest Trends

January 26th, 2018

I spoke at APICS San Fernando Valley a few days ago on the latest trends and what’s in store for 2018.  We had a great discussion on topics ranging from people (or lack thereof) to technology.  

For manufacturers and distributors, a few of the highlights included:  

1) The Amazon Effect – the customer experience is the ultimate!  

2) Near-sourcing – I go beyond the mainstream and am boldly saying “Southern California is “the” place to be!  

3) The skills gap – if I could only convey how much trouble several clients are having finding the right fit for open positions…..!!!!!  

4) Technology (with lots of details behind this one!) and a few more.  

Have you thought about what trends are most likely to impact your business?

One tip to implement this week:
I also attended a Board meeting with a client a few days ago, and this topic is quite relevant.  Staying on top of what is likely to impact your business gives you the clarity of priority!  

Start by taking a few minutes with your top team to brainstorm.  Give a few customers a call to find out what’s happening with them.  Check in with a few of your key suppliers.  Drop in on your trusted advisors and attend a trade association and/or alumni networking meeting.  You’ll soon be well-versed to come up with what is trending AND relevant to you.

Once you have thought through the trends most likely to impact your business, it might make sense to think about how to transform these impacts into opportunities.

Profitable and scalable growth is the common thread among every single one of my clients – how can you leverage these opportunities to aid in creating scalable, profitable growth?   

Take a tip from the LEAN toolkit and involve your people.  You might be surprised how many opportunities will emerge if you put ALL the brain power in your company on thinking about how to do this.



Leadership – Making You Feel Important

January 25th, 2017
leadership

As a leader, knowing how to treat people so that they feel important and a part of your company’s success builds a reliable team that will go the extra mile to deliver results.

Of course we talk about leadership more than anything else as it is #1 to business success. Thus, we are always looking for strategies and tips for success. One of our clients clearly prioritizes us — it is clear we are one of her top priorities. How often do you feel that way?

We happened to work with her in more than one company, and it was clear that her team appreciated her leadership style. People quite opposite in personality (who probably wouldn’t agree upon much) seemed to enjoy working with her. Of course, no one is perfect (including her) but she had this particular quality down pat — she knew how to treat people. Do you?

 

So, what are you doing to make your employees, peers, managers, trusted advisors and the like feel important? First, regardless of the fact that it is certainly a nicer way to live your daily work life, it will deliver results. Will you go the extra mile for someone who is rather grumpy and doesn’t seem to appreciate what you do or for someone that makes you feel important?  

Some of the strategies I’ve seen that achieve this goal include the following:

  • Ask for their opinion.
  • Show up to scheduled meetings (sounds really silly but is a BIG deal).
  • Don’t say you have an open door policy and then keep looking at the clock when they show up at 4:50pm.
  • Find out what is important to the person and tailor projects to his/her interest.
  • Appreciate him/her when everything isn’t going perfectly.
  • Take the time to review goals and performance at least quarterly (no matter what crisis is going on).
  • Promote them and their projects to the rest of the organization.
  • Ask how you can help.

Which of these will you start using tomorrow? There is NO reason to wait to make people feel important — after all, people are our #1 asset.

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

Leadership Will Make or Break Success

Leadership Qualities 

 



Our Competition is Complacency

May 5th, 2016

supply chainI attended a conference for ProVisors (premier organization of senior-level trusted advisers) group leaders earlier today. It was energizing to spend the day with top notch trusted advisers and leaders. One of the speakers was talking about the power of collaboration vs. competition. I’ve found this to be true in my group as well. If two people who seem like competitors (perhaps two CPA’s) look for ways to work together, their business increases exponentially. For example, 1+1=16. If they see each other as competition, business declines. In this case 1+1=.5. In essence a scarcity thought process!

The bottom line is that “our competition isn’t the trusted adviser sitting next to us; it is complacency”. I loved this quote! It is quite easy to become complacent! However, why bother getting out of bed to go through the day being complacent? There is NO point as NO results will follow. Worse — results will deteriorate.

One tip to implement this week:

So, what can we do to avoid complacency this week? The great news is that no rocket science is required. It can be as simple as stepping out of your comfort zone. I received a message from an employee of one of my former clients early this morning. She stepped out of her comfort zone to give the leader of her facility her ideas. It was a risk as he could have thrown her out of his office; however, complacency was no longer enough. Instead, she was excited with his positive reaction. Push yourself to take a step forward.

It also can be as simple as mixing things up. If you usually walk the facility every morning and it has become just part of your routine and you don’t feel energized, STOP doing it. Instead, go to one of your employees, peers or leaders and ask him/her to walk the facility with you. Ask questions and listen. You’ll likely see entirely new things. If you always run a particular report or email a particular customer, call the appropriate people instead. Mix things up, and you’ll learn something new.

For example, yesterday I spent the day with Harvey Mudd students at projects day. These students are impressive — no complacency allowed! I left feeling energized and interested in new ideas and thinking about how to raise the bar.

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…”