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Focused Performance 0

Jump start your 2015 business planning. Russell Martin & Associates has created The Focused Performance Bundle. The package includes everything you need to facilitate the planning sessions with your team. lou russell

Once you know where you want to go and where you don’t want to go in 2015, start brainstorming initiatives that will take you there.  It’s likely that each of these initiatives will generate multiple projects.  How do you pick which projects to do?  How do you prioritize the work over all four quarters of 2015 without adding so much project work that it’s impossible to focus on any of it?  Prioritization allows you to pick the projects you can charter utilizing a project sponsor and project manager who drive a project schedule for accountability.

Type Biz901 in the Promo Code at Checkout
See What You Get (Ltd Time Offer).

Lou Russell is the CEO of Russell Martin & Associates and L+earn, an executive consultant, speaker, and author whose passion is to create growth in companies by guiding the growth of their people. In her speaking, training, and writing, Lou draws on 30 years of experience helping organizations achieve their full potential. She is committed to inspiring improvement in all three sides of what she has dubbed the Optimization Triangle: leadership, project management, and individual learning.

Lou was a great guest and I am sure you will enjoy the podcast.

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Are Your Executives Using Machine Thinking? 0

The co-author of The Toyota Way to Continuous Improvement: Linking Strategy and Operational Excellence to Achieve Superior Performance. James Franz,  answered a question of mine around how executives are trained in their thinking.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Toyota’s Continuous Improvement

Joe: Is this what you mean by machine thinking that’s attractive to a lot of executives?

Jim Franz: Yes. It’s one of our biggest challenges we’re going up against the entire “B-school” world out there. Steve Spear, I thought, talked about it very well in Chasing the Rabbit where he talks about all of our leadership now tends to come out of business schools. Who are taught to think in terms of transactions. “Where do I put the factory? Is this a make or is this a buy?” You do some accumulation of data and then bang! You make a decision!

That’s what makes a really good strong leader, is you can make quick, decisive decisions, et cetera. We support that kind of firefighter, chainsaw, Al Dunlap kind of thing, but the company and business isn’t a machine. It’s not something you walk up with a big honking wrench and crank on the bolt two times clockwise and suddenly your productivity goes up six percent. We don’t all show up in the morning, plug our brains in, and get our updated downloaded software telling us how to do our work.

When you think about the business as a machine, you think that there are some types of solutions. You’ll bring in technicians ?? how about consultants from the outside, to tweak the machine, to play with the source code. Ignoring the fact that your business is populated with people, and those people need to be developed into problem solvers to help the business achieve its goals. You totally miss that way of thinking when you get caught in this machine?head type scenario.

It is attractive, because you can think of things ?? well, like Lean ?? in terms of, “This is a project, how about a war on waste?” That’s attractive ?? that’ll look good on a banner when you come in the front door. “We’re engaged in a war on waste!”

Well, what do you do in a war? You gather all your troops, the generals plot the strategy. You unleash your strategy; you have this big huge war. Then the war is over, you declare victory, you send all the troops home and you demobilize. This is really the exact opposite of what we’re talking about, when you start talking about continuous improvement by developing your team’s problem solvers.

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Is Sales and Marketing Responsible for Knowledge Creation? 0

This discussion with Jack Vinson was previously cut from the original podcast. You can find the Related Podcast and Transcription at the Knowledge Game.

Our discussion at the end of the podcast:

Joe Dager:  I think people struggle with that concept of Knowledge Management. I just really, that’s why I was trying to find people to kind of talk about it more on the practical side.

I think it’s important with what’s going on. I really think Knowledge Management; knowledge creation is just about what marketing’s turned into. Being able to give access to your people, I think is one of the things that marketing misses and is one of the things that I’m writing about, is that the concept of marketing has changed. Part of the concept of marketing is how do we make the knowledge within our organization applicable to the customer when they want it and how they want it?

Jack Vinson:  That’s a great example of taking it, it’s one of those struggles that we have in process improvement, too, of we’ve done just about as much as we can internally, and we see that our next big constraint is the way that we interact with our customers, say. How do we take that from what we know and done and what we’ve learned inside to really developing a new relationship with our customers, so, like maybe one specific customer or supplier? That’s a great path that you can follow down.

Joe:  It’s not about cute and clever anymore, as I put it, is that it’s really, I mean most B to B relationship is making knowledge accessible, proving that you’re the expert in the field that they want to do business with because it’s not the price. People want to be treated fairly in price, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of people don’t even shop for some of their biggest purchases if they’re comfortable with the knowledge within your company.

Jack:  Well, not only the knowledge, and the relationship, right?

I think one of the things that is most interesting to me is the sales and marketing capability. It’s one of the areas I struggle with. But operationalizing it and practicing it has been interesting for me. But, I mean in selling, the thing that people really go out on is when you can help them understand what the problem is and give them some hint that you may actually know how to solve the problem is they’re going to treat you very differently than somebody else who says I can solve your problem, I can solve your problem.

So, a lot of that is, you know, how do we develop the idea that I understand? It’s tricky because it’s not a game, it’s just you have to help people get to the statement of the problem themselves, and if they could solve the problem, what the benefits would be to that problem.

I think that’s why that conversation about the power of technology, that’s an interesting path that that goes down because then you really involve your organization in answering the question well, we think it’s going to do this, but, how are we going to make it really going to work? Then, the organization has to get involved.

We think we can have this relationship with you, Mr. Customer, and here’s what we bring, here’s what, you know, we can kind of talk about features, but until we can start talking about the real benefits of the relationship, then it’s not going to go as far.

Joe:  That’s the problem that most people have especially in the marketing. I’m a good example, to sell marketing services; I have to give an idea to solve their problem to get my foot in the door. But then, typically, when your foot gets in the door, they really have never defined the problem. We need more customers. Well, the problem is many times, you find out that all your money that you’re spending to dump people in the top of your funnel, which is the most ineffective use of your money, the most expensive.

Jack:  They just sit up there, right?

Joe:  Well, is it the bottleneck, for lack of better words is down along the funnel somewhere. Let’s say you can get people to attend webinars, and you get 1,000 people in a webinar, but you’re only converting one or two of them.

Why spend the money to get more people into a webinar? Why not spend the money to double that rate? That’s a crude example, but, it’s an example. That’s where most of the time is that you’re there that they want to know how you can bring more customers to them. I don’t know that I can bring more leads to you, but what I can do is help you take the leads you have and double them.

Jack:  That process of asking a question is sort of, “Do you get 1,000 leads from a webinar? How many get to the next level of the salesmen? Is it just one or two, or do you get actually a strong interest from your webinars? OK, great. How about the next step? Are they, once you get the strong interest, are you able to convert those to move them down the path of having that conversation with them and however many steps we have in your particular company sales funnel?” But then, you can say, “OK, it sounds like you’re doing fine in steps five and six. What about that first step? What about that third step? I can help you.” The issue for me is I don’t know what the next conversation is to have. I can help you do that, but I’ll, let’s put it this way, what would be the impact, I think that’s the correct comment, right, what would be the impact if we could change it from five percent to ten percent? Oh, my God, wow. Well, OK, let’s think about that.

Joe:  One of my favorite things to do is to take someone’s budget and take a value stream or marketing funnel and put the steps of the process across the board. Then we take their marketing budget and break it up to where they’re spending their money. You should see how enlightening that is because if they have a $100,000 budget, it’s like $80,000 of it is spent getting people in the funnel, $20,000 is spent in the back end of the funnel once you have a qualified lead.

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Innovation at the Mayo Clinic 0

Next week is my 300th Business901 podcast. It was a special treat for me to interview Barbara Spurrier, MHA, the founding and current administrative director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. She has advised senior leaders in Mayo Clinicthe health care industry for over two decades, serving as a champion for innovation in large, complex environments. She just recently co-authored an outstanding book on innovation, Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast: A Blueprint for Transformation from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. The book’s intent was not to solve the health-care crisis but more of a story on how a complex organization developed innovation in their workplace.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: Is that something that you would recommend for someone that wants to start innovation in their health care facility, or really any facility? Do you think that the same obstacles you faced will be very similar to what they may face?

Barbara: I think so, and I think that this whole idea – there was this study that was done by IBM on issues, there are CEO studies every year, where they interview about 1500 to 2000 CEOs from all industries. – and they indicated a couple of years in their big study that one of the things we all need to do, in all industries, is get so much more intimate with our customer, and really understand their needs to drive our innovation, and our product and service, development and delivery.

I think this idea of really trying to understand your customer, and get really close to that customer and understand their needs. I think we’re all at different places with that, and we can learn from one another. But I would say that would be a really important first step – to see how well you are connected to your customer, not using things like retrospective satisfaction surveys, but really getting into the indoctrination of ethnography, getting intimate and close to your customers, and creating models where you’re co-creating your models, your products and your services with your customer.

The other thing that that IBM study indicates is – sometimes what happens along the way is, we lose our creative confidence. It’s something that we have, of course, as kids, and a lot of things can happen to us over the years when things become routinized. This idea of building creative confidence of the individual and other companies in our organizations So, how is creativity and innovation expressed – and encouraging that in the risk tolerance is really important. I think we all need to build that as we move forward in the new world.

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Sales Trustworthiness 0

Charles Green, author of a series of books that have long been a favorite of mine,  I own them all, discussed in  a past podcast with me the trustworthiness and who is the most trusted professional. Can you guess before reading below?

Related Podcast and Transcription: The Trust Equation (A copy of Charles’ books are listed)

Charles:     About sixty thousand people have taken it, and, I guess, some of the headlines… to me the most interesting headline is, and let me take you as a test case here, Joe – who do you think is more trustworthy, men or women? What would you guess? Don’t over-think it.

Joe:     Oh. Women.

Charles:     Oh, you’re absolutely right. It’s true, and is statistically, significantly true, and more to the point, when I asked people like I just did you: which one do you think is more trustworthy, 98 times out of a 100, people will say “women”, which I think is also kind of a proof. Secondly, it turns out that almost all of that difference in the study between women being more trustworthy than men rests on women getting higher scores in one of those four components. Let’s see if you can guess which one it is. Credibility, reliability, intimacy or self-orientation? Which one do women do better at?

Joe:     Intimacy.

Charles:     You are correct again. You’re batting a thousand. Women are statistically, significantly better at that. Now, related, there are other studies, besides this one that, looked at professions for example – who has highest and lowest trustworthiness? No surprise, lawyers and politicians are at the bottom. Lawyer in Europe do a little better than here. Who do you think is at the top of the list? The most trustworthy profession in almost every survey you can think of? Want to guess?

Joe:     Oh, no. I can’t even… the quality professional.

Charles:     Well, people, usually, come up with, you know, doctors, or pharmacists, or teachers, or whatever. Now, number one is nursing. Nurses are the most trusted profession. Which makes sense when you think about it. If the doctor says you’re going to up and walking in a month, and the nurse is, “Honey, it’s going to be eight weeks,” you know, whom do we believe? We believe the nurse. We’re very comfortable sharing intimate things, our bodies, our minds, our thoughts with nurses, and it’s no accident that nursing is predominantly, not entirely, but predominantly a feminine profession. All these things fit together – female, intimacy, and nursing. It turns out that the biggest factor, the one with the most power in the trust equation, and we didn’t expect it going in, is intimacy.

If you want to create trust, or sense of trustworthiness, the biggest single lever that you have is to be able to create a sense of intimacy with other people. It’s also no accident that conmon know that too, by the way. So, they know dummies and that’s the one they go for. You know, “I’m your friend, you can trust me. I have your best interest at heart. I understand who you are.” It’s a preferred tactic of con-men, for good reason.

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Peak Learning Mind Map 0

Looking through my Accelerated Learning information, I ran across an old favorite of mine, Peak Learning.   This work is based on the Accelerated Learning trend of the 90’s. I appreciate so much of that work since it is laid out base largely on the learning style of the individual versus on the way we want to construct learning. I also think teams and to some extent organizations develop a certain learning style that we should recognizing as we our developing training programs.

Download the PDF on Peak Learning

Peak Learning

Forming a Quality Group 0

This is the last in series of interviews that I had with Bob Petruska of Sustain Lean Consulting. We have covered subjects from Trystoming to Value Stream Mapping.

A complete list:

One of the things Bob is most proud of and enjoys the most is the group of quality people that he collaborates with in his place of residence, Charlotte, NC. He discusses the start of this group and a few of the struggles they went through during the formation.

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