Business901 Podcast of 2014 0

Yesterday’s post, Top 10 Business901 Podcasts of 2014, was somewhat misleading. I only listed Adam Zak, one time, even though his interview was separated into 2 podcasts. The truth is that both podcast rated in the top 4 and one of them was clearly ahead of all others in viewership.

Related Podcast #1: Secrets on Learning about PeopleAdam-Zak

Related Podcast #2: Secrets on Learning about People, Part 2

You can download a PDF transcription or read the content on line at: Learning about People with Adam Zak

Adam Zak is the founder and CEO of Adam Zak Executive Search. He is an accomplished senior executive with more than 25 years of experience spanning the areas of management, consulting, financial and operations management and talent acquisition. He co-authored the book, Simple Excellence: Organizing and Aligning the Management Team in a Lean Transformationclip_image001 detailing the role of senior management in achieving a successful transformation to organizational excellence.

Gettng your Workforce Engaged in Problem Solving 0

In one of my most popular podcasts (Related Podcast and Transcription: A3 Problem Solving) of all time, Tracey Richardson talked about Problem Solving and A3s. However, I have always thought like most things, it is not about the tools and methods, it is about the people.

An excerpt from the podcast:  

Joe Dager:  How do you really get a work force engaged in problem-solving? I think about going out there to the line, do they really want to be engaged in it, or do they just want to go in there, get done with their job and go home?

Tracey Richardson:  Well, I think there’s a combination of both, and I think a lot of it is leadership setting the example. If leadership doesn’t come down on the floor, and they stay in their office, so to speak, and there’s no interaction or engagement and those questions aren’t being asked on a daily basis, then, sure, I think you’re going to have more of a lackadaisical work force that does just want to do their eight-ten hours and go home. I think it starts with leadership setting the expectation very high that we do have standards. When we are below standards, “What’s the expectation of me, at that point?” The leaders have to ask the right questions. It’s also good if you visualize your problems in the workplace.

For me, in my experience at Toyota, we had the visual board. Some folks call them the scoreboards. We were always able to see where we are, in regards to the company standard: the expectation of where we should be. When we weren’t, we had things like, quality circles that allowed our member engagement at the floor level, to be able to get involved and make change.

That’s a way to engage the workforce: suggestion system. We do have kaizen events, or what we call, “Jishuken,” which is a problem-solving event. I think, it’s up to leadership to really set the example, and set those expectations high for that work force to have, when the manager comes down and they’re doing their ‘go?and?see’ on that daily basis, and sometimes hourly basis, in some ways, that the expectation is there to always, “Where am I, in regard to the standard?”

Ask those questions, because, as a leader in the organization, I was always asking questions of my team leaders and team members, “What’s happening, what’s going on, what should be? Is there any variation today?” It’s developing that problem awareness. If you have that engagement, and that buy?in and that conversation, then those folks are going to have a tendency to be more engage in problem-solving. That empowerment can make a difference.

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Lean Engagement Team (More Info)

Can You Make Online Collaboration Easy? 0

Next Weeks podcast guest, Dana Sednek Bowler specializes in eLearning, virtual meetings/collaboration, project management, analytics tools & strategies, and leadership facilitation. She puts these skills to work at Interaction Associates as the online learning manager. Dana Bowler

An excerpt from next week’s podcast:

Joe: What do you think makes online collaboration difficult, or isn’t it? Should it be second nature to us, but I don’t think that it is. I think people struggle there a little bit. Why is that?

Dana:  I actually think our own human nature is what tends to make us challenged in the face of online collaboration because we try to apply the same principles of how you do it face-to-face in an online environment. We try so hard to be like, “Whoa, this is what I would do if everybody was in a conference room together, so let’s replicate that when we do it online.” We forget that there’s all of these really great tools and techniques that you can use in an online environment that you don’t actually have available to you in the face-to-face world, so you miss out on that opportunity to be able to have a collective conversation with 125 people, all at the same time.

That’s available and doable in an online space, but you can never get that done in a face-to-face space unless you’ve got four hours to kill, right? I think that’s the challenge, because we don’t know what we don’t know, and we forget that there’s all of these other tools out there that can helps, kind of, leverage this next generation way of working with one another.

Joe: Could you give me a couple of examples of those tools?

Dana: One that I just mentioned is all about the chat. Being able to frame a question that everybody can answer and respond to. I love to use focused question on top of a chat to get everybody’s answers or responses coming.

Then I like to use a third tool at the same time, like a virtual whiteboard where I can collect or start to throw up onto the virtual whiteboard wall some of the themes that I am seeing throughout the chat that’s coming in. All of a sudden, I’ve gotten everybody’s voice heard. Everybody has the ability to type in something, and then I’m able to pack up all of the comments or insights into some key themes that I’m hearing in a meeting, for example. Then I look at the whiteboard and I see – OK, so it looks like we’ve got three or four themes that are running throughout this conversation.

Once we do that, then we can use another tool like, either a poll or a pointer tool to say – OK, now let’s prioritize. Now that we’ve got these three themes that are important to us, or these five themes that are important to us; now let’s vote. Which one do you feel is the most important or relevant to the work we’re doing today. So, then you crowd source this ability to prioritize the focus for the meeting, and you’re getting feedback on where the energy in the room is, or where the energy of the content is located – and that’s really helpful. It is to say that there’s a whole lot of tools out there, but it’s more important to know how to use the tools to get at what it is that you want to achieve with your meetings.

Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

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

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.

Download the MP3

Business901 iTunes Store

Mobile Version

Android APP

Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do

Special Marketing with Lean Book and Program offers on Facebook

Making your LinkedIn Profile Contagious 0

At the recent ASQ Charlotte Section Annual Conference 2013, Quality Conference of the Carolinas, I was originally scheduled to facilitate a breakout session on “How to become Famous on LinkedIn”. At the last moment, we swapped around a few of the facilitators and Satish Kartha stepped up and facilitated the session.

In preparation, I created this mind map for an outline which I share below.


There were three books that I found to be quite useful in preparation, all of which I own.

The first book by Neal Schaffer, I highly recommend. It is very concise and has more information about LinkedIn than you will probably use. The Dummies book,  I recommend for two simple reasons. Most Dummies book include a prescriptive outline that is easily introduced to novices. The second reason is that they published frequently and if you purchase the latest edition of most Dummies book you will have the latest and greatest changes updates.

The third book Contagious is outstanding. I first listened to the book. Afterwards, I hustled down to the library to pick up the hardback so that I could include it in this presentation. Contagious is just not for LinkedIn users, it is a virtual blueprint for creating ideas, campaigns and messages. The author, Jonah Berger (mentored by the Heath Brothers) uses the acronym to STEPPS to explain his outline.

  • Social currency. We share things that make us look good or help us compare favorably to others.
  • Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Like parasites, viral ideas attach themselves to top of mind stories, occurrences or environments.
  • Emotion. When we care, we share.
  • Public. People tend to follow others, but only when they can see what those others are doing.
  • Practical. Humans crave the opportunity to give advice and offer tips (one reason why advocate marketing works – your best customers love to help out), but especially if they offer practical value.
  • Stories – People do not just share information, they tell stories.

I have listened to the book more than once and found the section on Triggers fascinating listening. For example, Why do you think Cheerios gets more word of mouth than Disney World?. The research behind the book is excellent.

Link up to me and put Contagious in the invitation.

Can Studying Music help your Lean Enterprise 4

Did you know that Dr. Deming was a composer? In a recent podcast,  A New Approach to Lean – Robert Fritz, Robert told me:

By the way, I think Deming was probably the senior-most wonderful innovator in this area and I’d like to point out that he was a composer. Well, he was and Drucker was a musician. There is something about coming from music where you really understand in an extracurricular way how things are put together. So it does, and I’m not just sort of saying this because I’m a composer, but what one learns as a composer actually has an impact on how you look at organizations because in some ways they’re very similar in terms of elements in relation to each other and how they work together. It relates to the statistical approach that Deming has for manufacturing in terms of minimizing variances and building in quality. So, you don’t inspect it at the end.

I reconfirmed this in the upcoming Business901 podcast (scheduled for January 8th), while interviewing Dr. Joyce Orsini, a professor of Fordham University and president of the W. Edwards Deming Institute. Dr. Orsini recently authored the book, The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality. Dr. Orsini said:

I’ve been told that statisticians–or mathematicians, in general–are often quite good with music. I’ve heard that but I don’t know if it’s true or not. But he certainly was, he was a composer, he loved music, wrote music. He revised the Star Spangled Banner to make it singable without all the high extremes on it. He lowered it so that the average person could sing it. So he reduced the variation, if you will, in the music.

After these two comments, I went on a mission to find a composer to talk to. In fact, I found two through the Composers and Schools in Concert website. Both are board members.

The first podcast was with John Lawrence Woodall.  In 1989, John formed the company Powerof2Music and has since scored over 5John Woodall00 episodes of television such as “I Love the 80’s, I Love the 90’s, Abducted, True Crime, Manhunt, Ghosthunters (original), Command Decisions, iDetective and more. Today, John’s passion for music and film remains a strong and driving force in his continuing to push the envelope of scoring for picture.

This podcast is an interesting conversation about the relationship between math, architecture, music and continuous improvement. The podcast quality gets better a few minutes into the process.



Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save)

or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version

 About John: A native of Berkeley California, composer John Lawrence Woodall began playing piano at age 5 and started writing music by age ten, During High School in Australia John attended the Academy of Guitar and the N.S.W. Conservatory of Music. Although the focus of the time was rock and jazz, John’s deep love of Russian classical music introduced him to the possibilities of music and picture. Through High School in Boston John attended classes at Berkeley School of Music honing his skills as a string arranger and orchestrator. In 1983 he met legendary Producer/Engineer Jim Gaines and joined his production team at the Record Plant that created a dozen platinum albums and a handful of Grammys. In 1987, John received the Excellence in Composition and Songwriting award from Yamaha Music. John has scored two Emmy award winning shows, received the Ace and Gold awards for his work on children’s shows such as Baru Bay with Bob Weir.

About Composers and Schools in Concert: CSIC is a nonprofit organization who partners with professional composers and youth music programs (grades 9-12) to offer innovative music education through composer workshops and commissions.