Prepare Your Will

excerpted from Time To Lead: Steps To Transformation For Those and Those You Lead

timetoleadLeaders are able to reroute their path to meet core vision and objective.

Hezekiah was a God-Follower. It Changed His Life To Obedience

 II Kings 18: 5: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

Rest in this – it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you. Jim Elliot

 Rule Well

Hopefully, we rule well. Our challenge is to address the issues of today that have been left unaddressed, too long. Our challenge is to set a powerful course that will reverse the manners in which we have become accustomed and find a course that will guide for decades. Our nation has lost moral compass and needs a strong thrust to establish a critical course for the future. It will be disastrous if we do not engage and adjust.

Principles Work

Leadership is leadership. Anyone can see results if they adhere to the principles. The more principles invoked, the greater the leadership. Yet, sometimes, it only takes one principle to fit with the timing of events and a great leader emerges. A leader empowered with the love and wisdom of God through Christ has a distinctive “accelerator” in results. God works with us doing miracles. (Mark 16)

Real Success

There are leaders entrenched in manipulation and avarice and greed. That is not where we need to look for example. Study them. Understand them. Avoid the fault lines. Men like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin need to be studied. Understanding why people followed such leaders is important, but not wisdom to emulate. People will follow base leadership that touches their prurient side. That does not make a successful leader or leave a better world.

 Worthy Goals

Earl Nightingale identified success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. I like that definition. So my first test of greatness in leadership is a worthy goal. Is the goal one that builds other people? Is the goal one that adds to productivity? One U.S. company has the goal of producing the best “sin product”. Cigarettes, beer, snuff; anything that is damaging and addictive but legal for consumption is on their agenda. The greatest influence leader in that organization would not be considered successful in my estimation. There is no worthy goal in contributing to the destruction of human bodies and relationships.

Check The Core

If the core philosophy or goal or vision or mission is off center, scrap that example. Study those leaders and goals to understand the ways and wiles of mankind. Look for your own leadership example elsewhere. If you find your goals and methods following a leader with an unworthy goal, find a good closet for repentance, change your mindset, and get corrected. Some of the greatest leaders in history started with an unworthy focus, shifted, and become powerful in building communities. The ability to correct direction when it has gone awry is a quality of a great leader.

Pray with Faith: In the intensity of change, Lord, I look to You for guidance.  Mold my mind, will, and emotion to be Yours.

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Manage Well: The 3 Questions

Bring a team into high productivity and positive morale with “The 3 Questions”.  Managers must master these.  Imbed them into your psyche.  Repeat them in your sleep.  Make them your meditational mantra.  Get it.

What is the down-line impact of this action?  How often do you have problems in production or sales or finance because of an inadequate exploration of this question?  What will happen in accounting if we promote this new product line at 5% markdown?  What will happen to other product lines?  Can marketing adjust in time for the sales season?  Will production be ready to handle sales volumes?

Put off this question at maximum risk of failure.  Even the simplest action in a sequence of workflow has to pursue an expanded understanding before change.  If we print this at a new size, will the finishing team be able to handle it?  If we promote a new advantage to our product will it meet compliance guidelines?  When we implement this change to our computer program for billing will it cause extra workload at 3am that affects another unrelated cycle?  There is no end to implications of one actions on other team action.  No one can know them all.  But you need to ask.

Who else needs to know?  How familiar is your team with the interaction of what they do with others?  Do you have workers living in a vacuum?  Have you taken time to educate them about interplay with other departments, people, teams, divisions, customers, and vendors?  When you change the usage of a machine, it might be wise to include the manufacturer in the discussion.  Ask often, “Who else needs to know?”

What is your information plan to include them?  When do they need to know?  Do they have access to enhanced information that might help you make a better decision before advancing?

Work with a production team with large dependency on delivery cycles proved out value here.  The delivery team was constantly a day behind.  They were only being informed at the time of pickup.  By moving the information to them at time of beginning of production, a day was cut out of delivery cycle to the customer and orders increased with increased customer satisfaction.  The sales team also needed to know at the same time instead of being informed only after delivery.  This enabled them to engage the customer along the path with pertinent and reliable information.  Who else needs to know?

What is the best use of my time right now?  After you ask the first two questions, answer this one.  Too often we ask this one and answer it only considering what we know and what we are doing.  We need to consider what others know and what they are doing.  A project launch could falter due to conflicting priorities in the organization.  A customer order may not be deliverable as requested due to a supply shortage and should be renegotiated.  After considering the plans and availabilities of others and related resources, we may want to work on an entirely different project or action and time this one in front of us into another day or week.

Summary Simplicity:   These 3 questions are priceless practice for any manager for self decisions and for training team members in their decisions.  After working with a team for a season on these, you will find they become masters of the top manager rule.  What is the top manager rule?  NO SURPRISES.  These questions eliminate the element of surprise and provide a foundation for a self managed team.

Ask them often.

What is the down-line impact of my action?

Who else needs to know?

What is the best use of my time right now?

Be Busy Building Better Business,

Phil

Phil@shepherdok.com

405.388.8037

Fix The Plumbing

Don’t hand your customer toilet paper for a messy problem. Fix the plumbing.

Creative managers create solutions alongside staff. Duct tape and WD40 and vise grips may be all that is needed to do small jobs around the house. That won’t do in a productive and viable business. You need to fix the plumbing. You need to eliminate the repeating problem. You need to take responsibility instead of putting the issue in the customer’s hands. Don’t make them clean it up.

Good service management attends to a few items. There are incidents and service requests, problems and changes. Keep clarity between items. Address appropriately.

Incidents and Service Requests: These two items make up the bulk of customer service.

A service request is what we live to do. A customer asks for a product or service to be delivered. So do it. Do it with excellence and alacrity. Do it with pizzazz and punctuality. Do it. A service request may ask for an altered product or service or a new product or service. That means we have to jump into the area of change and that is another manage well article.

An incident is what we wish would never happen. While delivering a product or service, something is not right. Color is too light. The size is too big. The pizza came with pepperoni instead of black olives. The customer wanted 250 and we delivered 1000. While working with a client, every other email returned an error. My service provider was experiencing incidents. Thankfully they cleared the issue, but not before my customer had to wait extra minutes waiting on reports to be delivered as I had promised. Incidents need to be restored to proper service levels immediately and product or service delivered.

Problems and Changes: Confuse these and your customers will suffer unreasonable delays and constant delivery disruption.

Problems are incidents that won’t go away until a change is installed or a fix applied. A fix is just a fancy name for a change. When the plumbing backed up into my house through the shower drain, it impressed me something was tragically wrong. All the paper towels and mop buckets would not resolve this. When a problems occurs you need to look for root cause of the issue and determine a resolution or change to be made to stop the incidents from coming back. The sewer main had collapsed at the saddle in my back yard blocking all drainage from the house. The city came, sent cameras down the lines, and claimed it was an incident, it was my incident, and they were going home. I don’t think so. A friend and I dug seven foot deep in my back yard until we found the collapsed connection leading to the major collapsed connection. The city came back and repaired at much expense and then paid to restore my house to right order. Their paper towel and toilet paper solution was not going to fix my backhoe and major plumbing problem. Full repair and restoration was needed. The root cause had to be determined and a change made to get us back on track.

Changes move the nature of the service into a different order. Replacing the main saddle in my back yard not only restored right water flow out of the house, it took care of a sinkhole that could have swallowed one of my children. No one knew the sink hole existed until we dug up the yard. There were bigger problems looming that the change repaired. Changes fix things for good. Not necessarily forever, but for good. And they have potential to adjust the nature of the product or service. By handing me a toilet paper solution the city was setting us all up for some major pain.

Kudos for the city. The next time I had a city potential issue, the service manager came out, inspected, found a crack in the line feeding water to my house, repaired it, installed a new meter, and made me a happy man. It was a different experience and one for which I am grateful. Oh, they also reversed charges on my water bill even though the leak appeared to be in my pipe not the city pipe. That is service. They took responsibility for a debatable item and went an extra step. I love my city’s service.
Summary: Get your customer back to service as rapidly as possible. And then look deeper to determine if a problem exists that will cause service to be impacted again. Find the root and fix the plumbing. Work on your shop processes. Look for machine malfunctions. Examine reporting routines. Do whatever it takes to eliminate repeating incidents. Your customer will appreciate. Your business will grow.

Be Busy Building Better Business  Have a Great Day!

Phil

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Manage Well – Kill The Vine

“I don’t take requests for people who are not in front of me.  That’s called gossip.”

Every manager must intersect with this issue.  Every manager must stop this issue as soon as it comes.  You cannot let gossip abide in your team.  No greater destructive force exists in the workplace.

What is gossip?  Gossip is a negative leaning comment spoken by one person about another person who is not in the present conversation.  Sorry if you don’t agree, that is my definition and I stick to it.  After leading tens of thousands of constituents, members, and workers, this definition helps limit pain and promote a healthy environment.

What does it sound like?  “Well, have you heard Jay is having trouble at home?”  Innocuous?  Hardly.  This is a loaded, pain giving, detrimental, judgmental statement that has no place in a healthy work environment.  Managers, you need to get this out of your meetings.  You need to get this out of your hallways and back rooms. This is political minded manipulation and leads to the wrong decisions and conclusions.

Where does it come from? Sometimes it has a compassionate root.   We really want to be tender and understanding toward others.  How many times have I said something like this?  Too often.  That is why managers must have a no nonsense approach to prohibiting.  All of us slip into these thoughts.  Humans just do it.  Our nature leans to wanting to include others in our judgments for affirmation of ideas.  But, it hurts others.

Where else does it come from?  Sometimes it is simply poisonous.  Yes, there are many who live to manipulate the thinking of those around them.  Of course you know who they are.  They are attached to the rumor vine in the work place and incipiently receive and feed the monster.  Ever had a good associate maligned by the vine and lose credibility?  It happens.  The most astute executives fall prey to listening to viners and forgetting the source of the slander.  We allow hall talkers to get into our circle and affect our decision making.

How do you stop it?  You can’t.  But you can limit influence on yourself and you can constrain the amount flowing in your teams.  One third shift worker came to me in a shop and complained about having to hear continual negative talk from other workers.  Night shifts get boring.  People don’t have access to all the day information.  Gossip flows.  It was a good time for some intervention.  One by one I met with each night, second, and day shift worker on the team.  One by one, I looked each of them in the eye.  One by one, I gave each of them permission to respond to any company or non-company person and say the following statement when another would start a negative complaint about another team member. “That person is my co-worker.  I like to think well of them.  I’d prefer you did not make negative comments to me.  Why don’t you talk directly to them.”  When a predatory maligner hits that wall a few times, they tend to take the pain to some other group in their life like church or family or the bar down the street.  Gossip loves the path of least resistance.

What if there is truth to it?  So?  Truth is not the issue.  Negative conversation is the issue.  When my children begin to learn some reason (three years old), I instruct each of them this way.  “Don’t tattle on your brother.  If he is doing something dangerous, come tell me.  Otherwise, just talk to him.”  Hopefully, your team is older than three. Of course if a team member is doing drugs on the job or being malicious or not following procedures action needs taken. Team members may have not been able to reach them or feel threatened if they try. Then,  it must be moved up the chain.  Maybe a couple of coworkers can get together with the person (not alone behind the back) and talk it out before running it up the manager pole.

What happens if you don’t address it?  It will eventually undermine the performance of the team.  Negative politics is a painful way to live and inefficient in decision outcomes.  The cumulative effect will strip away at morale.  People will avoid creative thought and innovation.  A dull zombie glaze might be noticed in the team when it is advanced.

Summary:  My hard line stance of not taking requests for another person communicates quite clearly.  When a coworker of Jack comes with the seemingly harmless, “Jack would like to take next Friday off.”  I respond with, “I’d be glad to entertain Jack’s request. Why not have Jack ask me, himself?” and go on with good managing.  Communicate open concern along with privacy.

At the lake, I have an acre in the woods.  Poison ivy likes to vine and pop up in the shade of the trees.  Every Spring, out comes the herbicide and I walk the property and kill every leaf I can find of the stuff. When I started doing this it took an hour and even some digging up of vines.  After three years, it takes a few minutes.  if you stop a vine when the sprout pokes through the ground, you don’t have to deal with a thumb thick vine or an hundred instances at the base of every tree.

The People We Serve… Consider Well..

The People We Serve… Consider Well… This is a great comment on the Print Production Professionals group  from one looking for great service.

Jayne Bennett • I believe solid relationships are built on positive working experiences, mutual education and growing trust. Suppliers can create those positive working experiences through performance and service. They can also earn my respect when they bring me up to speed on something they offer or can offer ways to enhance what I do for my clients/end users. Brownie points if they try and understand my clients’ needs and industry/marketing challenges. They can establish, nurture and grow trust through performance, honesty and integrity.

Yes, folks, price is important! It always will be. But it’s not the only game in town and buyers who look solely to price aren’t adding ANY value as a buyer. As a buyer, I try and hold up my end of the teeter-totter by sourcing judiciously (let’s face it–as a supplier, you do NOT want to get another quote you know you aren’t suited for–it’s a waste of your time), communicating thoroughly and honestly and being a fair, but admittedly demanding, customer.

In my opinion as a buyer, you can build strong relationships and still get the pricing and service you need–there is no need for browbeating and haggling. I source to those who are equipped and able to do the job–the competitive pricing flows from there. My vendor pool is bidding on work that suits their shop, not to try and put a number under my nose and hope I bite this time. In fact, when you have to perform the impossible, isn’t it great to have someone in your corner who WANTS to make you look good vs. one that grudgingly has to do so because it’s a “good job to get in this market?

A Letter To A Young Friend and Budding Entrepreneur

This letter went to a young entrepreneurial friend of mine sometime back.  He was struggling with a decision to try or not.  There are some key points for anyone working on a change or transition.  ……….

The life of a small business operator (change agent) is tough.  You will make less per hour than if you worked at McDonald’s flipping burgers for the first few years.  You will work for nothing but the love of work and the passion of your idea.  If you cannot do that, quit and go to work for someone else.  Over time, you can make millions of dollars.  In the beginning you will live on beans and peanut butter and tuna fish and learn to like it.  You will live in the junkiest apartments and drive old cars.  You will put your money into your business and into giving to others.  Later, you will have some money.  Don’t count on it for the first five years.  Everything should go back into the business in some form.

A small business operator (change agent) can make no excuses.  There is no one to blame for any failure or lack of money but you.  The economy is not to blame.  The customer is not to blame.  Ignorance is not to blame.  Only you are to blame.  Get over blaming others and circumstances.  Get ready to face the mirror every morning and hold yourself accountable to your vision and your dream and your actions or lack of actions.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.  Sun Tzu.  That is pure truth.  Every time an opportunity is in front of you, you must answer yes or no quickly.  Every one you let pass is gone. Quit whining about the fish you did not catch and go fishing for the next one.  There is not time to whine about what did not work.  Get over it and get moving forward.

Small business operators fail for lack of planning and lack of execution.  That is about the whole of it.  The longer you think about what you are going to do, the less you will succeed.  Study, think, plan, and then do.  Be decisive in your ways.  Take knowledgeable action.  It is better to fail while you are acting than to fail while you are sitting and thinking.

You will fail over and over and over.  That is just the way life works.  Failure is your teacher.  Failure because you did not plan and did not work the plan is simply stupidity.  There is no excuse for stupidity.  God did not make you stupid.  Sitting around and whining and blaming people and circumstances makes you stupid.

Every day you must study your profession and what affects success.  Every day.  You are a student forever from this point forward.  Read magazines, trade journals, newsletters, and books.  Read, read, and read.  Blow up the television and the games and social media sites and read.

Go to school.  Get as many meaningful certifications and degrees as possible in the next five years.

Sleep is a waste of time.  Sleep the exact amount needed to stay healthy and alert.

So, if this is what drives you and makes your clock tick, DO IT!  Quit thinking and whining.  DO IT!

Views on Shop Transformations – Conditioning Change For People

Discussions with shops around the nation result in a few inevitables.

1. How do you get people to move forward?

2. How do you get other people to move forward?

That is a purposeful pun.

It really gets to be all about people in our efforts to change products and processes.  Those changes always mean changes in people, projects and props (the tools and technologies).  But the people are in the center of it all.

Product change means marketing and selling customers and investors.  For an In Plant, they are the same.  Customers are investors.  They are the source of income and many times the only source.   Sure, the CFO, COO, and CEO have strong opinions and input especially for transactional product lines.  Yet, more and more effective print and distribution management for In Plants must engage the Marketing and Sales customers.   That is high powered growth.  Transactional has a high likelihood for being sourced and reduced significantly.  You must move forward.

Process change is the same.  Your highest sell is to your internal production teams.  Next comes the customer.  Many processes can be changed without engaging the customer.  Yet, you need to ask yourself why you are doing changes if the customer does not benefit?  They have an interest, even if it is just to know you are working on cost improvement or cost containment for them.

Prop changes are for the products and processes or they should not be done.  Nuff said.  You should not be retooling just to get the next fancy wangamahoochie.  Technology must meet real business demand to go through the pain of change.  Your production team must understand how the customer will benefit along with the product and the process.  Your production team should improve skill and contribution and have more fun when you change technologies and tools.

Projects are what implement changes.  Have them or die.  A defined way to analyze, define, plan, implement, and optimize goes with every change.  There are budget approvals and customer approvals and departmental approvals and  worker approvals and self approvals and vendor approvals and IT approvals and on and on and on that must be planned and coordinated along the path to productive and prosperous change.

So people are involved in every step and every area of change.  Those murky, hard to understand, mental, emotion, physical, and spiritual beings can make change heaven or hell.

Just for fun think of four types you will encounter.

Mundane Mary:  The person will ask question after question.  She will want to understand the universal and specific reasons for the change.  Put her on the analysis team with a specific deadline.  She might drive you insane, but she might find a hole in some plan that saves your hide.

Slap Happy Sam:  The person will want to implement without a thought.  Every day is an opportunity for a new party.  He can get inclusion guaranteed as long as he is armed with a few facts to support his sales of you and the project.  Make friends with him.  Get him to understand how this change will improve happiness for someone.

Hard Ball Bart: Whew.. he will want profitability or cost reduction.  This guy is important.  He will make you justify in the right manners.  Convince him.  Do your homework.

Amiable Amy:  She just want to get along.  So make sure she is on the implementation and training track.  She will work until it works for everyone else.

This is a blog not a book.  So I am ending here.  Just some thoughts to stir you up on the path to progress.

Multichannel Closed Loop Marketing | Capgemini Consulting Global

http://Www.BigDogInnovations.com works to bring powerful strategies out of the closet for clients. When I read a class act performance by someone else in the industry, it challenges my creativity for clients. This is great thought proker. Be provoked. Call us for conversation on how you can make sparkle happen in your results. http://www.capgemini-consulting.com/multichannel-closed-loop-marketing/

You are not who you are. It just looks that way.

The first step to change is a holy dissastisfaction with the present state.

You are not what you have done or what you are doing.  You are what you’ve become and where you are going.

Like that?  Makes sense to me.  Where are you going?  What have you become?

Do you like the answer to both of those questions?   So many times we settle for status quo because of what we have experienced and then work to keep adding to blanked existences and shop patterns and sales attempts that are working to a degree, but never seem to break through to the level of performance we would like.   That is one heck of a long sentence.  Mull on it for a minute.

We settle for status quo.

We get comfortable with prior experience.

We labor at the common and comfortable.

Eventually it is dull and boring and feels like a blank.

Our shops become patterned for problems.

We like the problems with which we are familiar.  We know how to fix them.

Our sales are structured and predictable.

The circle remains unbroken.

Deep inside, we yearn for a new level of productivity.  We want to grow.

We want to become more than we have become.

We want to go where we have never gone.

Familiar?

Remember T. S. Seisel?  Of course you do.  He is American and world history.  As a young man his political cartoons graced many key magazines.  His 15 years of ad work for Standard Oil helped build the company.  Working with Frank Capra, he produced animated training films for soldiers of WWII.  Still don’t remember him?  That was the majority of his life.

Oh, the middle most S?  Seuss.  Dr. Seuss.

The first book was rejected 27 times.  At the time he was a famous cartoonist.  Rejected.  What had become of him?

Then the Cat in the Hat project just seemed to expose a different man than any had ever met.  Over the years, he had become and was becoming someone much different.  Where he was going was an unknown until that book well into his career. 

Every one of us has that potential in every part of what we do.  So many organizations settle for mediocrity.  The incredible potential bottled in their staff just sits and stews all the way to retirement.  It gets so bad, companies begin giving away the mature workers because the organization has doomed them to zombism through saying, “No”, to creative becoming idea after powerful results changing idea.  The source of great ingenuity and innovation that resides in the years of wisdom and experience is put aside for youthful energy who have yet to become much of anything.  They will.  Given time, we all do.  Most likely they will become zombies like their predecessors.

Seisel broke mode.  It was a persistent and purposeful pursuit inside of him that broke mold.  He just refused to quit growing and becoming.

You have systems of work, opportunities for new product, and development of people ahead of you.  What can you become?  Where can you go?

Let’s find out together.

images:

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