Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 27JUN11

June 27, 2011

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

This week’s focus: business execution

It is easy to add up the pluses and minuses of the complete experience we personally have with a company to help us decide if we will be a repeat customer.

Why is it then, when we are inside a company, negative customer experiences emanating from touch points in different organizational silos seem to be less important to the company? Why do we tend to believe that (from the safety of our silos) that the customer will only remember the positives and forget about any negatives?

I know of a fire/rescue vehicle manufacturer where 90% of its deliveries were late by weeks or months to customer expectations. If a truck was being purchased for a new fire house, how did the fire chief feel if that truck was not available to support the fire house opening? Not good. Did all the other things that the company did right matter? No. That company now ships about 50% of the volume it once did. The fire chiefs did not forget.

Business execution is viewed holistically across the enterprise by customers. Looking at business execution holistically will help your company thrive.

[Note: Read my Fast Company blog post about this subject here.]

Thought for the week:

“It’s an imperfect world, but, boy, it’s still beautiful. What is life? It’s 20 percent what happens to you and 80 percent how you react to it. Find that little kernel every day that brings you pleasure and joy — and fasten onto that. That’s what’s going to make life worth living. Always look for the best.” – The late Nick Charles, CNN Sports Anchor

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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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” 20JUN11

June 20, 2011

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

This week’s focus: business execution

A captain sees the world differently from the bridge than what the folks in the engine room see and experience. If you’ve ever felt that things at your company just aren’t quite right but you can’t put your finger on what precisely those things are, then you’re in the same boat (pardon the pun).

The problem is that when you occupy the lofty perch of senior management, you only receive filtered opinions and feedback from the people below you. That disconnect between you and the operating levels of the company undermines collaboration and business execution.

How can you overcome this problem?  Get help from an independent third-party to assess your current situation to help you get the appropriate insights from the engine room to the bridge. This will help your company thrive.

[Note: Read the entire Fast Company Expert Blog post here.]

Thought for the week:

“When people leave a good company, it’s often because they don’t feel good themselves. They feel marginalized. The feel ignored. They feel underused. Few people spend every spare hour scouring the jobs pages hunting for higher salary. Most are driven back into the jobs market by frustration. Their bosses don’t listen to them.” – Sir Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare, page 23

What do you think? 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” 13JUN11

June 13, 2011

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

This week’s focus: configurable products and services

Out with the old; in with the new. Acer had to write down $150 million in European inventory just this past week as the inventory had passed its prime.

The mass production paradigm comes with a substantial potential cost penalty: what doesn’t sell must be deeply discounted or written off. Want proof? Look at all the “end of season” sales–40% off, 50% off, 70% off and more.

Why does this happen under mass production? It is nearly impossible to align supply with actual demand. Is there a solution?

Build to order postpones committing inventory until a named customer appears. While it doesn’t totally eliminate risk, it can reduce the risk of finished goods inventory obsolescence dramatically. This paradigm can help a company thrive.

[Read my entire Fast Company Expert Blog post: The High Risk of High Tech Inventory.]

Thought for the week:

“At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”  – Christopher Reeve

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What do you think? 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.


Achieving More with Greater Life Balance

June 7, 2011

I was in the middle of my MBA program when I received a call from a contract job shop about a position at National Semiconductor Computer Products Group.  I showed up for the interview and believed without one ounce of hesitation that I could do the job hands down.

I told my potential employer that I was on my way to Santa Clara University as soon as the interview was over to sign-up and pay for next-quarter’s MBA classes and needed to know on the spot if they wanted me to start the position on Monday as I would sign up for 2 rather 4 classes. [As I understood it, the Jesuits did not refund money for classes.]

My potential employer was a bit aghast at my brazenness, something I could certainly understand, but, frankly, my primary focus in life was getting my MBA.  If opportunity and fate could converge that morning, I’d be happy to make something work at National Semiconductor; if not, oh well.  So, for my potential employer, it was a “snooze you loose” proposition.  He chose not to snooze.  This turned out to be a “win-win.”  I soon joined National Semiconductor as a full-time employee; National paid for the second half of my MBA.

What’s the point of this story?  I was not to be deterred when it came to getting my MBA.  I was focused like a laser-beam on this.  As the years have passed, I find it takes more effort to sustain the same laser-like focus.  Some of my consulting colleagues mentioned a book that addressed this and I couldn’t wait to get it and read it. I was not disappointed.

This marvelous book is called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  I recommend it highly. In this book, Steven talks about overcoming resistance to getting things done that profoundly impactful one’s life, e.g., writing a book, starting an important article, setting up a meeting that you aren’t looking forward to, getting an MBA, etc.  He slices and dices resistance in such a way that, if you suffer from procrastination, there is no way you are going to miss seeing yourself in the picture.

For example, I’ve known all week that this article is due and I’ve now allocated time to “just do it.”  I am out of runway. I had no definitive angle selected as I started to write this article—I just started writing as Steven Pressfield advises. I want you to receive tremendous value for taking a few minutes to read this.

Business people are prone to focusing on the urgent matters in their world, not the most important matters. It’s a disease.  I suffer from it; most people suffer from it.

I can tolerate procrastination on key issues no more. It is easy to get immersed in email, online forums, the Internet, phone calls, etc., and harder to get focused on the things that really matter, e.g., exercise, diet, quality family time, writing my next book proposal, writing the book itself, writing an article for The Business Forum, etc.

In Stephanie Frank’s book The Accidental Millionaire, Stephanie suggests we look at our time usage in four dimensions:

Allocation

Definition

Focus Time

Time when you work “on” your business such as product & service development, book creation, article, speech development, marketing, web site evolution, etc.  This is the important stuff. 

Flex Time

Time when you work “in” your business—actual delivery of your products and services.  This is the urgent stuff. 

Family Time

Time with family 

Free Time

Time for yourself to exercise, read a novel, watch television, meditate, contemplate your navel, etc.

Most of us are really busy with Flex and Family time but allocate little time for Focus and Free time. This out-of-balance situation is not sustainable for you or your business.

  • If you never have any Free time, you may feel as though you just go through the motions of life, never taking a moment for yourself.
  • If you give up Family time, you are missing things that can’t be replaced.
  • If you never allow yourself Focus time, your business may not be sustainable.  You have to prime the pump of desire if you are to continually position yourself to attract new customers and clients. That requires dedicated Focus time.

There are 2 dimensions to solving this time allocation issue:  (1) awareness of where you are spending your time, and (2) being willing to change what you are doing if you are continually out of balance.  If Flex time is consuming most of your time and energy, you need to figure out how to personally not do that work yourself: offload, outsource, stop doing unnecessary things, etc.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, teaches that, as much as we’d like to believe to the contrary, we really don’t have a business life and a personal life: we have a life.  That life is built around the 4 dimensions Stephanie Frank addresses.

Here’s to better life balance and greater achievements.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Dave Gardner


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 06JUN11

June 6, 2011

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

This week’s focus: business execution

Every business situation we encounter will either teach us about how things should be done or not done. There are lessons to be learned either way.

Too often, ineffective practices remain unaddressed as an issue is deemed too big a mess to tackle. This undermines a company, its employees, and, often, its customers.

Where are there ineffective processes in your company?  Are you taking action to correct them?

Leaders must find a way to move the needle on ineffective processes. Acknowledge that all you need is success; perfection will always be elusive. This will help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Napoleon Hill

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What do you think? 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.


Remembering Gracie: 1999 to 2011

June 1, 2011

Yesterday, our greatly beloved Bichon Frise, Gracie, died.  For my wife Nancy and me, it has been an absolutely excruciating 3 weeks.

Gracie was diagnosed with inoperable cancer on May 16th and passed on May 31st.

I want you to know about her and her magnificence.

  • Gracie wasn’t a dog—she was really more like a princess in puppy clothes.
  • Gracie took exceptionally good care of her brother, Hank—a cocker spaniel.  Except for rare vet appointments, there were inseparable for nearly 12 years. Most days, she would clean his eyes and ears and make sure he was standing tall.  Gracie was Hank’s puppy mom. Even though her life force was greatly diminished as we took that last ride to the vet, she cleaned him up one last time.  I know what a physical struggle it was for her to do that.
  • Hank and Gracie slept on the bed with us every night ever since Nancy and I first moved into a Reno home back in the summer of 2005.  The home had no air conditioning except for a window unit in the master bedroom.  The window air conditioner and ceiling fan allowed us and the puppies to sleep in 90+ degree evenings in the high desert of Nevada.
  • Nancy would occasionally suggest that it was time for the puppies to sleep in the other room, but, I wanted no part of it.  It just didn’t seem right to deny them something that was so important to them and brought them such joy.  Okay, it brought us a lot of joy, too! At times, it seemed that the bed was theirs and that we could have whatever space we could find.  Most nights, I’ve felt like I needed Velcro to secure my body to the bed as they made themselves comfortable.
  • Because the pups were on our elevated bed, we brought them water in bed each night in their special coffee cup.  Gracie insisted first on having her treat and then downing an entire cup of water each night before she would go to sleep. This was the process—no exceptions! Some nights, we’d get kissed by Gracie in the middle of the night to get her more water.  We gladly provided her with room service which was open 24 hours a day.
  • When Gracie would lie against your chest and look directly into your eyes, you could feel her love for you. She wasn’t merely looking at us—she was communicating with us. Those were really unforgettable moments for Nancy and me.

After she was diagnosed, I took such joy at the little things: her being excited to see us come home, her lying against me on the sofa or bed, being able to reach out and touch her and give her a kiss (which happened a lot even before she became ill).

Hank and Gracie are amongst the most loved puppies on planet earth.  That hasn’t changed today, not one iota.  Before Nancy and I married, Nancy predicted that Gracie would have me wrapped around her little paw immediately. Nancy was right.

For most of us who adopt and love a dog or cat, this is a most painful time.  While we are happy that she is in a better place, Nancy and I feel such a tremendous hole in our hearts that we wonder how on earth that hole will ever be filled.

I’m hurting, Nancy is hurting, my mother-in-law who lives with us is hurting, and, while he can’t tell us directly, Hank is hurting as well—we see his sorrow and feel his sense of loss as well.  We will all be better in time.  Gracie will always be deeply etched in our hearts.  She was extraordinary.

God–we miss her.  Please take good care of her until we reunite with her again.

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