Lessons Learned: Asiana Airlines 777 Crash at SFO

July 29, 2014

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It’s been a bit over a year since an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed on approach to San Francisco International Airport. The NTSB has published their final report.  I offer my thoughts on this story here.

Photo: Air shot of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at SFO via KTVU.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Dave Gardner

 


GM, Configuration Management and Recalls

July 28, 2014

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For weeks, we have heard about recall after recall of General Motors automobiles. Prior to this week, the total number of autos recalled exceeded the total number of vehicles manufactured by GM during the last 7 years.

There are clearly problems with GM’s engineering change order (ECO) process that are contributing to these recalls. The process should be uncovering with great clarity the factors driving the change so the change control board can ensure appropriate action is taken. The ECO process isn’t uncovering critical information that the Change Control Board can rely upon.

Too many change control processes confuse 2 critical aspects of engineering change orders: part number change reidentification practices are comingled with change implementation considerations. For example, how the change is to be implemented influences how the change is documented and whether a new part number is required or if a revision to an existing part number is needed. Thus, a subjective “severity curve” is used to determine how the part reidentification is to occur undermining the configuration management process.

In the case of GM, the configuration management process isn’t addressing essential business needs. This is no way to help a company thrive and ensure effective business execution.

Photo courtesy Michael Kumm on Flickr.com

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Is your ECO process supporting your business as effectively as it should? For the vast majority of companies, the answer is a resounding “no.” I offer a 2-hour teleseminar:

How To Eliminate Breakdowns In Your Engineering Change Order Process

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Thought for the week:

“There are two kinds of worries – those that you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” – Duke Ellington

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 What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


The Importance of Asking Why

July 21, 2014

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A buddy of mine called and asked for help on a consulting proposal. He was struggling a bit to connect his solution to the customer’s needs.

While he knew what he wanted to propose as a solution based on the prospect’s feedback, I asked him, “Why do they need a new system?” ”

He responded, “I don’t know. I never asked.” He was a bit chagrined by the simplicity of the question. Yet, without knowing this, he was a bit stuck.

Further I said, “Nobody wakes up one morning with a burning desire to buy a new system unless there are issues/challenges with the current system. You need to understand what’s driving this need.”

Understanding why will help you and your business thrive.

 

Photo credit: Wonderlane on Flickr

Thought for the week:

I want to express my condolences to all who perished on Malaysia Air Flight 17 as well as their families and friends who, like me, are struggling to understand this horrific event. Here are some thoughts on the gift of life:

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” – His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Innovate Or Face Extinction Like Dinosaurs

July 14, 2014

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 I attended a breakfast meeting this past week with several people who had worked for Silicon Graphics, the once high-flying technology company that enabled innovations such as the dinosaurs in the movie Jurassic Park. SGI offered high-performance workstations that supported state-of-the-art graphics and animations.

Where is SGI today? Extinct–just like the dinosaurs it helped depict on the big screen. What happened?

SGI failed to understand and react to the looming market transition that eliminated the need for companies to buy their high-performance workstations. Why would a company invest in an expensive, proprietary solution when a personal computer could deliver a satisfactory result?

SGI owned their space until competitors caught up. SGI went from tech darling to an irrelevant company quite rapidly. SGI lived in denial that their world was changing. As my mentor Alan Weiss would say, SGI got caught “breathing their own exhaust.”

Is your company facing similar risk? Are your competitors about to render your solution irrelevant? This is no way to thrive.

Photo Credit: Scott Kinmartin on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“The world is moving so fast that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” – Elbert Hubbard
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


We All Need People Who Give Us Feedback

July 7, 2014

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“We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

  • What are you doing to improve professionally?
  • Are you growing or have you become stagnant?
  • Are you expanding your capability year after year or repeating the same year of experience over and over?
  • Are you happy with your career progress?
  • Are you getting assistance from a mentor or coach?

After playing trumpet for only 2 years in elementary school, I became the first chair trumpet player within weeks of starting junior high school beating out another guy who had 3 years more experience than I did. Why? I had had a private trumpet teacher who gave me a huge advantage over everyone else. He took years off of my learning curve.

Shortly after I entered junior high school, I started with my second trumpet teacher, Rocco DiStasio. Mr. DiStasio didn’t appreciate my musical accomplishments at such a young age. For three months, my lesson with him only involved playing the trumpet mouthpiece. It was very humbling and a bit humiliating. His point was the trumpet merely amplified what was happening with the mouthpiece. If I could make the mouthpiece sound good, the horn would sound excellent. He was right.

One week I arrived at my lesson with my horn. I thought I had heard him ask me to bring it to my next lesson. He pointed the case and said, “What’s that?” I responded, “It’s my horn.” He replied, “We won’t be needing that for a LONG time.”

I had an extraordinary experience performing in just about every type of musical group you could imagine. What made me stand out? Besides some talent, I had worked with the best trumpet teacher–my coach. That’s how I came to thrive playing the trumpet.

It’s really no different in the business world. If you want to thrive, you need outside feedback. If you only want to get by, you can do that on your own.

Photo Courtesy of Jameziecakes on Flickr

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

Why You Need An Executive Coach Today

Thought for the week:

“Dare. Dare to be more than you think.”  – Maya Angelo
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consultinghttp://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Why You Need An Executive Coach Today

June 3, 2014

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The best athletes in the world rely on coaches to make them better and to help them raise the bar to new levels of performance. The athlete and the coach collaborate to produce a far better outcome than the athlete can produce on his/her own. Why should executives be any different?

In a Fast Company blog post called “To Move Forward, First Let Go,” I offered “the toughest business to consult on is your own.” The same is true for executives. It’s hard to consult about (or coach) yourself. You are too close to your situation, you greatly benefit from different ideas and perspectives, and, as my mentor, Alan Weiss, offers, “you don’t want to breathe your own exhaust.”

When an individual engages with a coach, they acknowledge they can benefit from an outside perspective. They acknowledge they can’t possibly see everything the coach can. And, they acknowledge that candid input is needed to make them more effective. Let me give you an example.

I helped coach an executive about his content and how to deliver a presentation at an all-important global sales conference. The year prior, he had been ranked the worst speaker at the event. He didn’t want a repeat. I was able to help him better connect his message to his audience. The outcome? He was the highest-ranked speaker, a complete reversal of fortune for this terrific guy.

Could he have done it on his own? It’s doubtful. He didn’t know what to do differently. He didn’t know where to start. He only felt the pain and embarrassment of his prior presentation being the worst ranked.

Why do executives believe they can do it on their own? Is it to show how tough they are? Is it to prove how self-sufficient they can be? Is it to save money? If it’s to save money, ask yourself at the expense of what?

To make my business work, I mentored with some of the best people in the world. It took me a while to learn that getting another perspective was essential if I was going to make my business work. For over a year, my ego wouldn’t allow me to admit that I couldn’t do it alone—that I needed help. I reached a point where I knew I could not help myself as effectively as a coach could.

I had had to learn the hard way that being good at something didn’t translate into executives leaping for their checkbooks so we could do business together. That required different strategies and tactics than I had knew. I had to learn a lot. And, I needed my coaches pointing out how I could be more effective and what I needed to do differently.

If you are an executive and you aren’t getting the coaching, where will you be in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years? Do you think you can raise your own bar? How will you take your personal performance and value-add to the next level?

Let me help you accelerate your growth—personal, professional, company, etc.–through change.

Dave Gardner

© 2014 Dave Gardner


The News and Authenticity

June 2, 2014

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I’m a news fanatic. I need to know what’s going on in my world preferably without “spin.”

This past week, I was in a lobby of a San Francisco business playing Al Jazeera America on a large display. I’d never seen this station before. It was refreshing. It reminded of what the news was like when I was growing up: no agenda–just the news. I was able to contrast the same stories I’d seen on other cable news stations and very much liked what I saw.

American media, like our politicians, caters to certain constituencies, drama, and doom and gloom. For example, when Malaysian Air MH370 is ultimately found, that will be breaking news. Anything less at this point isn’t “breaking news.”

The news media has the ability to shine a spotlight on whatever they want. I first wrote of the crisis at the VA hospitals in 2012. How did this matter avoid the detection and broad reporting it deserved?

Just today, we’re hearing about an exchange of five Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo for an American soldier whose condition was reportedly deteriorating. I’m delighted to hear about his release. Others are focused on the illegality of the action and the fact that rules weren’t followed. Yet, I’d be willing to bet if this American soldier had died in captivity, we’d be hearing that the Commander in Chief had not done enough to secure his release.

The news is all too often used as a means to support an agenda. I’m convinced true democracy requires an independent media reporting the news without spin.

In my lifetime, Walter Cronkite was considered the most trusted man in America. We don’t hear our media getting that level of respect today.

Businesses thrive when they are authentic: when they admit mistakes, learn from the mistakes and strive not to repeat them. Customers sense authenticity. They know the truth and merely want to hear it from you.

 

A recent blog post that should interest you

Vishal Sikka Departs SAP*

*a story about big company transformations

Thought for the week:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 


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