Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 28FEB11

February 28, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: innovation

If your company is overly focused on error correction, you simply wait until a problem occurs, and then, you correct the problem returning you to the same standard of performance you were at before the problem occurred. All the energy and attention expended resolving problems leaves you no better off than you were before the problem occurred.

If your company is concerned about raising the standard of performance, however, you must innovate.

Companies focus entirely too much on error correction and not enough on raising the standard of performance.

A relentless focus on innovation—product, service, and business process innovation—will ensure your company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 & 1941, America’s best days lie ahead.”
– Warren Buffet in 2011 letter to Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders

I welcome your blog comments!

___

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

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 21FEB11

February 21, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

An executive coaching client continually gets caught up in FEAR: false evidence (that) appears real.

This individual sees problems that don’t yet exist, sees parallels in situations that aren’t parallel at all, imagines it’s been months since a last contact from a prospect when it’s only been a few days or a week or 2—all of which fosters a negative outlook about future, desired outcomes.

What should one do in a situation where FEAR has taken hold? I recommend you ask the question my mentor, Alan Weiss, asks: “Where is the evidence?”

Usually, when we look for the evidence, we pretty quickly determine that there really isn’t any evidence at all—it’s just FEAR rearing its ugly head.

Don’t let FEAR keep you or your company from thriving.

Thought for the week:

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” – Jack Welch

I welcome your blog comments!

___

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

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 14FEB11

February 14, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

As I headed to the office shortly before sunrise on a Saturday morning, I was greeted by a very long, white, jet contrail against a deep blue sky.  I can’t ever recall seeing such a long, perfectly-formed contrail. There were no winds aloft to erode the integrity of the contrail.  The purpose and direction of the jet was not in doubt.

As I drove a few blocks further on this cool, crisp morning, I encountered a mother and her young daughter walking towards a hotel for an event.  Both were moving at a fast, determined pace grinning from ear to ear as they set out for their day—you could see and feel their energy and excitement. Their purpose and direction was not in doubt.

After 30 years of authoritarian, dictatorial leadership, the Egyptian protesters prevailed in a mere 18 days. If the Egyptian people don’t ultimately get what they want, they’ll be back in the streets. They are no longer victims—they have seized control of their destiny. The protestors left no doubt about their purpose and direction.

The signs are all around us. Companies and departments within companies that have a strong, purposeful direction (rather than an uncertain, meandering direction) will execute far better than those that don’t.  Embracing this understanding will help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“Every minute you spend in your life is either spent bringing you closer to your goals or moving you away from your goals.” – Bo Bennett

Note: I welcome your blog comments!

___

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

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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.


Caltrain and High Speed Rail: what does California need?

February 9, 2011

Caltrain is a commuter train with service from Gilroy to San Francisco, California.

When I have meetings in San Francisco, I invariably use Caltrain to travel from Silicon Valley to San Francisco and back.  My round-trip fare today from Sunnyvale to San Francisco was $13 plus $3 for parking.  Add $20 for cab fare and my transportation costs were $36.  If I had to do it everyday, I’d probably learn more about bus transportation to cut my daily cost.

As I left the hotel where the event was held, I noticed that valet parking was $15 per hour up to a maximum of $48 per day—no meal or beverage was included with that parking fee. The bell desk informed that their valet parking was a bargain—a nearby hotel charged $65 per day!  I can’t begin to tell you how much better I felt after hearing that!

Caltrain and taxis are a very viable alternative to the hassles and cost of traveling to San Francisco. Yet, Caltrain isn’t succeeding financially—it currently faces a $30 million budget deficit—and is:

o         Cutting variable costs: offer less frequent service during the mid-day and weekends

o         Instituting minor fare increases—increases that usually have a much greater impact on less affluent riders

o         Proposing eliminating service from Gilroy to San Jose and eliminating stops at some 16 stations presently served along the route to save money.  Note: These stations are unattended—ticketing is handled by machine.

These changes are proposed at a time when some experts are predicting gas will rise above $4 per gallon and possibly as high as $5 per gallon by summer of 2011.

Cutting service and eliminating stops is contrary to what is really needed: increases in ridership creating top line revenue growth.

As I rode Caltrain back from the event today, I saw a headline: “California’s High Speed Rail Gets a Boost from V.P. Biden.”  While a huge public works project like high-speed rail would boost jobs in California throughout the construction phase, I wonder how on earth it will be economically viable if we can’t make Caltrain viable today.

The plan has been to provide high-speed rail service the same corridor that Caltrain travels.  Cities are balking at the idea of having this service run through their communities and want the rails put underground.

After living through the “Big Dig” project in Boston—a project to put a freeway underground, I can tell you that what seems simple isn’t.  The original cost estimate for the “Big Dig” was about $3 billion.  When I last heard, that figure had gone over $22 billion (which includes $7 billion interest payments) and took years longer than originally predicted.

The current political climate isn’t to make investments in a “if we build it, they will come” public works project that lacks evidence it will be self-supporting.  Amtrak isn’t self-supporting!  Why would California high-speed rail be self-supporting? Who is demanding this service and why? Why should the public invest in a major infrastructure project like high speed rail if Caltrain isn’t financially viable?

Caltrain: you cannot cost cut your way to prosperity. Caltrain must stimulate top line revenue growth by means other than fare increases, not merely reduce service and the number of stops.  Your current ridership wants this. You have a need for better marketing!

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

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 07FEB11

February 7, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

A colleague has been asked to take on an assignment to “fix the culture” of a company and was seeking advice about how to proceed with a proposal. I wondered, “How do you fix a company’s culture when culture is really a composite of many attributes?”

Culture is homogenized from attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, business execution, actual and perceived standing in the marketplace, etc. You have to move the needle on the underlying aspects of culture to move the needle on culture.

Improve the behaviors, beliefs, behaviors, business execution, etc., and you change the culture—this will ensure your company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“Look beyond yourself and see how our differences can pull us together, not push us apart.” – F. Canna

Note: I welcome your blog comments!

___

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

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  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.