Business Execution: What We Learn From Olympic Athletes

July 30, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

There is no better metaphor for business execution than the Olympics. The athletes work for years and years for a chance to, in a few brief moments, win a medal. Those who execute best win–assuming of course the judges don’t get in the way!

Imagine the thrill of being able to walk in the opening ceremony. That, by itself, is a tremendous victory. For many, the opening ceremony may be their greatest victory–only a tiny percentage of those who compete win medals.

And, so it is in business. Out of all the companies in the world, only a few make it into the Global 1000. Some move into the Global 1000 each year as others fall out. Great strategy and superb execution ensure that a company gets in and stays in.

Just like the athletes, the great companies never stop looking for ways to evolve their strategy and improve their execution. Superb execution can help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“You don’t learn to play the horn when it is in the case.”  – Rocco DiStasio, Dave Gardner’s trumpet teacher when Dave was 11 years old

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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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Closing A Rural California Courthouse Imposes A Tax

July 24, 2012

About 60 days ago, I received my first speeding ticket. I’ve been driving a very long time and was pretty happy about my spotless driving record. I deserved this ticket and the California Highway Patrol did their duty near Coalinga. I’m sure you’ve not heard of Coalinga…it’s a rural farming community in central California.

I was told that I would receive a ticket in the mail within 30 days. After 60 days, I was concerned there was a breakdown somewhere in the process and it is probably not prudent to just ignore this.

I dug out the ticket I signed to try to figure out what to do. The only phone number was for the Superior Court in Coalinga. I called to inquire about the status of my ticket. Here’s what I was told:

  • The CHP should have known better than to tell me to expect a notification within 30 days. There is a huge backlog of tickets to be “entered into the system” and my ticket has yet to be entered. As far as the court is concerned, my ticket doesn’t exist—at least not yet.
  • After July 27th, I’m going to have to contact a court in Fresno as the Coalinga Superior Courthouse will be permanently closed that day and all employees terminated on the 27th. When I contact the Fresno courthouse, I will be granted an extension of the due date for my ticket. [Is there a chance my ticket will become permanently lost in the shuffle? Fingers crossed—but I still have to follow up.]

Citizens who would have been serviced by the Coalinga Superior Court will have to travel 70 miles each way to Fresno for matters pending before the court. I call this a tax.

A 140-mile round trip plus the time involved is a tax. It is a tax on the people who live in that community that they will have to pay because budget pressures require that those court services be eliminated. And, we all know that if you need to go the courthouse, there is a reasonable likelihood that a matter won’t be resolved in one trip. It is a tax the people in this rural farming community can ill afford to pay. This tax required no legislative approval yet citizens will pay this tax for years to come.

And, of course, what about the court employees who are now out of work? Will they find comparable employment nearby? Perhaps not.

I owe the money to the court. Yet, based on how things are proceeding, it looks like the court is going to have to wait 90 days or more to collect from me. That is one calendar quarter (or more) of delay collecting my fine.

How much would you guess one-fourth of the traffic fines amount to in aggregate? I’m thinking it’s a lot of money to float merely due to inefficiencies in a process. This process is broken and has no velocity.  It’s a plow horse process when a race horse process is needed.  I don’t run my business this way and neither should the court.

Given the value of collecting the fine (several hundred dollars) versus the cost of entering the ticket in the system (a few dollars), the priorities seem a bit askew. I’m sorry the folks in Coalinga will lose their jobs this week. I wish them well.

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

© 2012 Dave Gardner


Aurora, Colorado: Another Senseless Gun Tragedy

July 23, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: another senseless gun tragedy

Is the Aurora, Colorado, tragedy merely collateral damage due to our inability to control into whose hands assault weapons will fall? Is this collateral damage due to us not having the will to constrain the types of guns and gun clip and magazine sizes capable of creating mass mayhem?

I don’t own a gun. I’m not opposed to people owning guns. Assault weapons aren’t really for hunting or self-protection as much as they are for target shooting and fomenting human violence such as we have seen in Colorado this past week and with former Representative Gabriel Giffords in Arizona.

New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg challenged President Obama and Mitt Romney to state what they propose to do about this problem. I’ve heard no response and don’t expect to. Politicians don’t want to grab this political hot potato.

Some would argue the answer is to have more guns…everybody should carry a weapon at all times. Of course, what level of training will people have taken who are carrying weapons? Will they be trained as well as a police officer? Will they exercise appropriate restraint when this is indicated? Or, will we simply cover people with a “stand your ground” law? Apparently, all one need claim is they “felt threatened” and they are fully justified in firing their weapon and potentially killing someone.

Bill Maher offers we wouldn’t have the problem we have today if people were only armed with the weapons that existed back when the 2nd Amendment was written: muzzle-loading muskets. Bill, it’s too late..the train has left the station.

I wonder if there aren’t limits society is willing to tolerate with respect to gun types and gun clip and magazine capacities. Perhaps Americans need to stand up and say what they want in resounding numbers–make so much noise that the politicians can’t ignore it. Perhaps we’ve not been clear.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) could tone down its rhetoric of “the government wants to take your guns” and take a leadership role in helping the U.S. solve this problem and, then, work with its members to explain the necessity of implementing reasonable restrictions. Not every action is a slippery slope to losing 2nd Amendment rights. 2nd Amendment rights can and must be preserved while creating a “win-win” for society.

A mad man did this. Throughout history, there have been mad men and there will continue to be mad men. We can enable them with far less fire power and restrict the sale of body armor. We also need to reassess what we sell somewhat anonymously over the Internet.

Thought for the week:

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.” – William Saroyan

 

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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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Are you as intentional as an artist?

July 16, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing the Spring 2012 art exhibition for The Academy of Art University in San Francisco–an institution founded by artists for artists in 1929.

Everything you would expect to see in a exhibition was there: paintings, photographs, pencil drawings of architectural concept drawings, interior design renderings, videos, animations, product labeling, web site design, sculptures, jewelery, clothing, etc. It was a remarkable collection.

The thing that struck me is how intentional everything is, how ubiquitous the things are in the collection yet we tend to take everything for granted until we stop and take a closer look. There was genius in the work. Yet, outside the context of the show, we take much for granted not realizing the enormous talent behind the final output.

How intentional is everything you do? The more intentional you are, the more likely you are to thrive and win as a few of these artists did.

Thought for the week:

“Today’s “wow” is tomorrow’s “huh? What are you doing to maintain your relevancy?” – Dave Gardner

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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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Buy 1 Give 1 B1G1 Giving Re-Imagined North American Launch

July 10, 2012

As a business partner for B1G1, I’m so pleased to have been able to host the first North American launch event for B1G1, Paul Dunn and Masami Sato.  Here’s a short interview and some testimonials. This event was co-sponsored by Kulesa Faul and Reliable Coders.  I want to thank Jeff Werner of Sunrise Film and Video for donating his video production services.

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


The Future of Customer Service

July 9, 2012

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” which is offered to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: customer service

I was invited to attend a Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell in Austin, Texas. Customer service experts and industry thought leaders gathered to ponder the challenges, opportunities and future of customer service and support. One session looked at “the future of service:”

  • Customer service will be at the core of what successful companies do–it won’t be an afterthought.
  • There will be a lot less customer service as the most effective service is the call the customer never has to make as products get better and better.
  • There’s auto-detection of possible issues based on customer profiles and a known solution to problems. Other customers will benefit as well.
  • Smart semantics and artificial intelligence will help customer service personnel and customers converge on solutions faster and with greater ease–complexity will be less obvious to customers.
  • Companies will become more community-driven–the community will be where issues and opportunities surface.

Are these ideas on your company roadmap? If not, how do you expect to thrive?

[Note: You can learn more about the entire event here. Dell paid my travel expenses for this event.]

Thought for the week:

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Tom Peters

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 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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100 Riffs–A Brief History of Rock and Roll

July 5, 2012

This is pretty amazing: