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.

Dr. Deming on Lean in 2012 7

Actually, I was not able to pull that off. Instead, I interviewed what I consider one of the, if not the best source on Dr. Deming, John Hunter. John has an interesting lineage with Dr. Deming and in the interview, we talked about some of that history and why the thoughts of Dr. Deming have continued to flourish. I am not the only one that holds John in such high regard; the Deming Institute has sanctioned John to write the Deming Blog. John already has a very popular blog of his own, the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

The richness of the stories about Dr. Deming and his principles were fascinating. I found little to edit. I apologize for the length.

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

or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version

About the Deming Blog: John will explore Deming’s ideas on management by examining his works and exploring how the ideas are being applied in organizations today. While he was alive Deming continued to learn and add to his management philosophy. The blog attempts to hold true to his ideas while also looking at how those ideas have been, and are being, extended and implemented. John Hunter

About the Deming Institute: The W. Edwards Deming Institute® was founded by Dr. Deming in 1993 to provide educational services related to his theories and teachings. The aim of The W. Edwards Deming Institute is to foster understanding of The Deming System of Profound Knowledge® to advance commerce, prosperity and peace.

About John Hunter: John combines technology with management expertise to improve the performance of organizations. He has served as an information technology program manager for the American Society for Engineering Education, the Office of Secretary of Defense Quality Management Office and the White House Military Office. He has authored the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog for years.

Is your Organization looking at the High or Low Points? 3

The other piece of it is when we look at those things that are the high point experience, the story of the organization changes. It becomes a story of how good we are in our capabilities versus how bad we are. – John Steinbach

John was my guest last week and we talked so long that I had to split the podcast in half, Opening Appreciative Space Process 1 and Opening Appreciative Space Process 2. This is a transcription of the podcasts and I think it even contains a few edits that got dropped.


John Steinbach has combined the approaches of Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space into his dynamic and positive Opening Appreciative Space process .This process starts with Appreciative Inquiry; a positive approach to change that can be used by individuals, teams, organizations, and communities.  Through an interview process that focuses on strengths and high-point experiences, Appreciative Inquiry helps participants discover and create a desired future.  This dynamic and uplifting process has been used by Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations, youth groups, world leaders, and communities.

Are you changing how you deliver a workshop? 0

Have we reached the transformation stage in the customer experience hierarchy? If so, the role as an expert may have diminished substantially, and we are now seeking facilitators to guide us through our journey.

Some of you may not know what I mean by the customer experience hierarch and how it relates to the transformation stage. In this video, Joe Pine explains the final offering in the Progression of Economic Value, the foundational model for understanding the role of Experiences in the history of economics. It was introduced to me in The Experience Economy, Updated Edition by Pine and Gilmore. It is worth the time to hear the message direct from Joe Pine. 

I contend that people are not looking for a bunch of experts to impart wisdom upon them anymore. Knowledge is becoming so accessible and relatively inexpensive either through books, workshops, conferences and numerous online venues. What is important to everyone is the support and the ability to share within the community.

Of course, everyone is not ready for this type of learning or experience.  We all learn in different ways and at different rates. As a coach, I must be willing to adapt my thinking, my delivery to the learning methods that is best suited for the particular group, I am working with. This is an area that I believe is difficult for many facilitators due to the wide disparity of participants.  

In a recent Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop, I found that my participants were Value Stream Managers, both Sales and Marketing Professionals, Vice-Presidents and Small Business Owners. I found it difficult to construct a message that would meet all their needs. If this was just a presentation but it was a full day workshop. In the end, my presentation was well-received but I did not have the interaction between the participants that I wanted.

I have realized that I must either narrow the message, I deliver such as  Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop or divide the group receiving the message. The Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop is now divided among three groups; Lean Champions, Sales and Marketing Professionals and Lean Consultants.

This is how I have tried to meet the new challenges in training and coaching. The other part of the equation is the participants and their organizations. They need to evaluate the training on whether it can be implemented and the cost of implementation. I believe that if organizations would take the time and develop a learning action plan before they attend a “learning experience” that they would reap much greater benefits. See my blog post and A3, Turning your Conference Learning into Action

Granted, you may learn something that is not covered in the initial plan. In fact, I would actually hope that is the case. However, like all planning it is the act of planning that is important and the ability to adjust that plan to new circumstances. Without a dedicated plan of attack beforehand the likelihood of making a plan afterwards is more remote than what you may think. 

Back to that transformation thing, I would contest that in the act of planning that you may find significant gaps in your ability to implement workshop learning without additional support. Transforming that learning requires additional time and more than likely coaching which often means additional expense. The question you will have to ask yourself,. How valuable is capturing the knowledge versus transforming the knowledge?

The Lean Conference Season is Upon Us 0

This is the season; summer vacations are over and the Lean conference season has started. Have you signed up for one? Have you signed up for my next workshop, Lean Service Design Open Workshop on Sept. 27th at the Maryland World Class Consortia quarterly meeting?

In a past blog post I discussed, Turning your Conference Learning into Action and in that post introduced an A3 on how to turn your learning into action.

Since that time, I have had a profound shift in my workshops. I do not believe that I am breaking new ground or doing anything revolutionary. However, I do think that I am part of a few early adaptors that are forsaking this notion of “Expert Status” and taking a much more servant style role in their workshops. I discussed last week in the blog post, Opening Appreciative Space Process 2 where I discussed Lean Coffee ( a concept introduced to me by Jim Benson, co-author of Personal Kanban).
Most conferences are developed where all the experts fly in and instruct everyone about all the things that they are an “expert” of. What I have found is that the knowledge many transfer is seldom put into practice. Speaking at conferences is really just an opportunity for “experts” to share their knowledge. It does not transform anything.
The workshops given before and after the conferences are the best way to learn something. The LSSC 2012 – Lean Systems Society conference this year held a day long Lean Camp before the 3-day conference which followed this open space type thinking. They also held the Lean Coffee sessions each morning of the conference. Lean Camp and Lean Coffee was not the only the difference in the LSSC 2012 conference. I had numerous attendees mention to me how available the speakers made themselves during the conference. It seemed these types of interaction were more important than the speaking events.
In my online workshops, I have now structured them through the use of Smartsheet so that the participants whether as an individual or as a group can communicate by subject matter on a thread and supporting material can be uploaded. I believe that you may be able to do something similar through Google Drive. This allows a greater degree of personal interaction allowing me to take a role of coaching and facilitation versus that of as an instructor.
Have we reached that transformation stage in the customer experience hierarchy? If so, the role as an expert may have diminished substantially, and we are now seeking facilitators to guide us through our journey.
Shameless Plug: If you cannot attend my workshop at the Maryland World Class Consortia quarterly meeting, you could try out my Facilitator led online Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop or the Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop.

How Gaming Teaches you to Plan 1

compLexity Gaming recently added Heroes of Newerth as a division to their championship gaming family. HoN is a solid title in eSports and complexity has contracted one of the very best teams to represent the coL Community: Trademark eSports. Trademark is currently ranked #1 in the GosuGamers rank database and #3 on the recent HoNCast top 10 rankings.


I did a podcast, Games may be your only chance to attract the best and brightest talent, with one of the members of col.HON when he was member of Trademark last year. This in an excerpt from the podcast where we discussed preparation and teamwork. You can review Peter’s first blog post on the Complexity site.

Joe:  Well, you mention, there is a strategy. Do you develop a strategy before a game?

Peter: We can have an idea of what we’re going to do before a game, but the way the game works is the other team can ban heroes that they don’t want to see in the game, so sometimes that can throw off any strategy you set up before the game. Luckily, there are multiple heroes that can fill multiple roles so even if your strategy is similar; you can just alter it with different heroes.

Joe: So your strategy can be an overview, but once you go into the game, it changes rather quickly just based on who you can use and which people you can use, which heroes you can use in it?

Peter: Yes, you can’t go into a game with an absolute idea of what you’re going to do because you’re facing up against five other players who are going to do something to try and stop you or something different that you maybe won’t expect. Every game’s different and it’s really about understanding and adapting to what’s going on.

Joe: A lot of it is like a football game. You can go into a game plan, but if someone throws you, a different defense up, or has a different configuration, you have to change and adapt to what the other team is doing as the game progresses.

Peter: For the most part, yes, unless what they’re doing is bad, and it’s actually helping you more than it’s hurting you. Then, you just stick with what you’re doing.

Joe: Well, I would equate that to have if the fullback can run eight yards up the middle and you just keep doing it. You’ll take eight yards until they stop it, right? You have played sports before. What’s different between offline and online teamwork? Is the collaboration stronger, weaker?

Peter: Absolutely. When you’re playing a game, you’re focusing on what you’re doing individually, and the only way you can understand or the only way you can comprehend what’s going on with your teammates is by communication. If your teammates are not communicating, you could be susceptible to the other team ganging up on you or things you’re just not ready for unless you’re communicating actively throughout a game.

Joe: There’s constant chatter taking place such as in a dog fight or a fighter pilot with your other teammates or your other squadron members whom you’re constantly saying ‘watch for this’ or ‘watch for that’. Is that taking place?

Peter:  When we’re playing at full force, there’s hardly a silent moment on Skype, which is what we use to communicate within each other.

Joe: That chatter, I mean with five… Do you find yourself talking over the other one or is it by the roles that are being played, there’s kind of a leader who should be talking?

Peter:  People speak over each other when it’s necessary. For the most part, our team is very good about not talking over each other unless, obviously, something’s going on and something needs to happen. People will shout or yell over another in order to get that done.

Joe: Is there a planning aspect or do you just jump into the fray and “inspect and adapt”, as I would call it?

Peter: If you’re going to jump into the fray and try to inspect and adapt against a good team, you’re almost always going to lose. There is a lot of preparation that goes into games before they happen that’s usually done behind the scenes, in order to get the one up on your opponents; you want to be prepared.

It’s almost like practice. You want to scout them, you want to know what they’re going to do, just like a football team, they might watch replays of the other team before. You do the same thing in video games. You want to understand how they play, what they’re trying to do as a team, and you want to be able to counter that.

Joe: You’re out there watching the other team’s stream. Let’s say that you’re in a tournament, and you know the formidable competition within a tournament is going to be these two or three teams, then you might as a team go watch video and talk about the other team?

Peter:  Yes.

Joe: So you’re just talking to each other about what you could do and how the other team plays?

Peter: We talk about what they do as a team. We talk about how they play, what heroes they like to play, what wards they like to place, which gives sight of the map by identifying what they do with certain timings, we can counter that with our own timing, timing pushes.

Joe: When you go through this process, I think about a football team, for example, they practice all week for two hours in a game. How much practice in relation to playing do you do?

Peter: We practice; I would say, probably, five to ten times as much as we play. One, that’s because we just like to play the game, and we enjoy playing with each other more than playing with the general public or other people. As a team, we enjoy playing as five, so we try to do that whenever we can. Honestly, tournaments aren’t scarce, but they aren’t every day. People like to play the game every day, whether it’s after they get home from work, or after they get home from school. We try to get some games in and just hone our skills and stay fresh for when that tournament comes up.

I thought that the upcoming discussions this week on teams warrant a re-visit of this podcast and encourage you to listen to the entire podcast, Games may be your only chance to attract the best and brightest talent.  I used to think Gaming was all about “Inspect an Adapt”. That Mario and Luigi thing. However, gaming is not just child’s play. To reach the professional level of gaming, it requires planning and dedication. More importantly, it teaches you the correct way to plan. Good plans require the ability to adapt to present situations. Understanding when to deviate from your plan through adjusting or even discarding it entirely can be learned and simulated through gaming.

In The Gamification of Learning and Instruction author Dr. Karl Kapp, had his son write the last chapter of the book for a Gamers perspective. In my series of blog posts outlined in A Lean Service Design Approach to Gaming your Training, I hope to include a few perspectives from a Gamer such as the one above. Dr. Kapp recommends that if we are serious about Gamification, play games. I would like to add, if we are serious about planning, try planning a strategy out for your next game, Euchre anyone?