Business Ethics & A Moral Compass

September 21, 2015

 

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The notion of an “ethical business” isn’t an oxymoron. Two automotive companies make me wonder:

  • GM was just fined $900 million for the car ignition problem that killed over 100 people. People inside GM knew the truth and looked the other way. Right now, the Justice Department has no plans to issue criminal indictments. I heard someone on the news say, “The law really doesn’t address this issue.” It would seem product liability laws have kicked in but what about concealing the truth from management and customers? What about customers dying and not one word was uttered by GM until it was forced to face the music?
  • VW has been caught providing invalid documentation of diesel engine emissions on its automobiles. The software settings that confirmed the vehicles met emission requirements were changed for production vehicles meaning the vehicles did not meet emission requirements. VW is facing fines of up to $18 billion for this violation.

I was taught we should “do the right thing.” Both GM and VW have failed to “do the right thing.” In the case of GM, people have died. In the case of VW, our environment has been compromised.

Ethical choices in business depend on a proper moral compass. Leadership must set the compass and monitor compliance.

Thought for the week:

“If you see distraction externally, you end up creating an internally distracted state.” – Tim Ferriss
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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

© 2015 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.


Attracting New Customers

August 17, 2015

 

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I recently spoke with Dan Howard, a long-time friend and owner of DJ’s SCUBA Locker in the greater Chicago area. We met during a dive trip to Honduras back in the 1990’s. Dan’s business is thriving to the point he’s been able to leave the corporate world and focus on growing his SCUBA diving business.

While many SCUBA shops have failed in recent years as disposable income has dropped, Dan has focused not only on consumers but municipal entities that need support. He’s now the “go-to” guy in the Chicago area and is expanding his reach geographically. It’s what happens naturally when you are the “go-to” guy.

His competitors are continually grousing that “Dan took away my customers.” Really? Perhaps they gave them away.

Why don’t his competitors look at this appropriately: they couldn’t offer the service and value Dan’s customers wanted. They didn’t listen enough and take action to ensure they were the “go-to” SCUBA service center.

Word of mouth is powerful–I’m certain many are now Dan’s customers because of the strong endorsements he gets.

If you provide great service and a great customer experience, you, too, can be the “go-to” business like Dan and his wife, Cindy.

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

How To Take Stress Out Of Your Air Travel

Thought for the week:

“Nothing is more tiring than the task that is never started.” – Gretchen Rubin (@gretchenrubin)
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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

© 2015 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.


Lessons From Billy’s Boston Chowder House

July 20, 2015

Billy's Boston Chowder House

My wife and I only recently learned of a restaurant in Los Gatos when a restaurant closed and our usual waitress told us she was going to work there. Last night, we tried it: Billy’s Boston Chowder House in Los Gatos, California. It’s only 3,283 miles from Boston (as they proudly proclaim)!

We really didn’t know what to expect. It appeared the owner may have come from Boston due to memorabilia on the walls. Frankly, that had me a tad bit concerned as a lot of restaurants in Massachusetts are pretty mediocre: too heavy and so so taste. That can’t be said of Billy’s!

My wife had sand dabs. I had a cup of New England clam chowder and fish and chips–a true test. We were wowed by the food, the service and the owner, Bill Reynolds. This former tech executive opened his restaurant 4 years ago. And, he’s nailed it with incredible attention to detail and superior execution.

Bill is following his new passion with great abandon. He’s got a great team that works seamlessly. You could see his cooks smiling and laughing in a hot kitchen as they carefully prepared their guests meals.

We can’t wait to go back. Billy’s Boston Chowder House is a great testament to the Pine & Gillmore book, The Experience Economy. Great food, great service in an inviting environment.

Your test is to provide great products and services as well as great customer service to make your customers want to come back again and again. How do your customers rate your business?

Thought for the week:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WHO HOO, what a ride!’” – Sign in store in Pacific Grove, California
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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

© 2015 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.


Executing A Configurable Product Strategy

June 22, 2015

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If your company manufacturers capital equipment or systems, I’d like you to pause for a moment and seriously consider how easy it is to:

  • Create a quote
  • Book a clean order
  • Plan the materials for an order
  • Build the order
  • Install the order
  • Support the order
  • Know that the order will be profitable

For most companies, there is a big need for improvement. Is your company in that situation?

Do you need help making the complex simple? I can help you with this.

Photo Credit: Alison Christine, Flickr.com

Thought for the week:

“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn.” – Confucius
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2015 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.


Enterprise Application Deployments–Making The Complex Simple

June 8, 2015

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As we know, it’s not easy making the complex simple. Consider implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The new system is likely to be at least an order of magnitude or two more complex than the current system making it harder to create efficiencies and have strong adoption.

While the application experts have a strong familiarity with the tool, its definitions and its inner workings, at the end of the day, the people who will rely on the system day in and day out to do their jobs don’t have the benefit of years of experience. They are more like “deer in the headlights.”

And, all too many application project schedules leave little time before go-live to acquaint the users with all that they need to know to do their jobs seamlessly and effortlessly. How long will it take for users to achieve unconscious competence with the new application?

If your focus is making the complex simple, crossing the chasm between the current system and the new system must be a very high priority. Yet, most application implementations leave end users frustrated, dazed and confused creating a bad impression that’s hard to overcome.

At the point of go-live, you want the team energized, not frustrated, dazed and confused. Criteria need to be established not only for application readiness but business team readiness to use the application at the point of go-live. Someone needs to focus on the people who have real jobs to perform.

Thought for the week:

“It’s time to engage more thoughtfully about our planet.” – Heard through Infosys on Twitter
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2015 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.


How Configurable Products/Services Become Profitable

March 9, 2015

 

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Companies with configurable products or services often live with the severe operational pain and gridlock. Many see the pain and low margins as a cost of doing business. Here are some questions to ponder:

    • Which of the great companies of the world want to offer more personalized solutions but can’t because the technology doesn’t yet exist within their firewall to efficiently support personalized solutions? Is your company one of them?
    • How many companies are stuck in the mass production paradigm as technology doesn’t exist to support a mass customization business paradigm? Is your company one of them?
    • Which of the great companies of the world won’t embark upon an effort to better support customized products due to perceived business and technical risks? Is your company one of them?
    • How many CIOs would step up to lead the development of a holistic, end-to-end solution? I don’t know of any. Is your company one of them?

What if a company offered a plug and play solution that, with minimal customization, would take the pain and complexity out of offering configurable products from quote to cash collection? How valuable would that be?

This is my Dawn Wall Project I wrote about a few weeks ago. It’s about making the complex simple.

Is your company in need of this solution? Call me.

Thought for the week:

“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.” -Sir Richard Branson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2015 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.


Lessons From Undercover Boss

February 16, 2015

Undercover Boss

For those of you who may not have seen the show Undercover Boss, the owner works in his/her business in a full disguise attempting to learn more about the how the business works to experience first-hand the challenges the employees face at work and in life. It is always eye-opening. There are lessons for all business owners:

  • Too many owners are concerned about growing the business with little regard for the foundation the business is built on: people, process, systems, customer experience, etc. The most recent profit and loss statement doesn’t portend future challenges.
  • Businesses take on the personas of the people who work in them. If the business owner doesn’t set and enforce strong expectations, the owner should not be surprised when employees write their own script. People need to be trained and held accountable for meeting standards. Hope is not a strategy.
  • It is rather amazing that so many business owners have little or no idea what work and life challenges their employees face. They don’t need to go undercover–they just need to show up to learn what their employees and customers experience. The Japanese use the word “gemba” which means “to go where the work is.” You can’t possibly know what is going on if you don’t see it with your own eyes.
  • Too many owners don’t understand the hardship they are creating with their employees with uncertain work shifts, low wages, lack of medical benefits. These employees are the lifeblood of their business and own the relationships with their customers yet they are treated as being disposable.
  • The pay gap between the owners–who live very opulent lifestyles–and unskilled workers is huge. The average CEO (according to a Harvard Business Review article) makes 350+ times what the average unskilled worker makes. The CEOs want for little while their employees are barely getting by in life.

At the end of the show, the business owner comes out of disguise and usually offers promotions, cash rewards, business opportunities, offers to pay medical bills, rent, all expense-paid vacations, etc. While the employees who are part of the show are rewarded, you wonder what happens to the other employees, many of whom face the same job and life issues.

What needs to happen? I hope each CEO does some serious soul-searching about what it means to be the CEO and to lead the enterprise, examines the role people, systems and processes play in their business’s success, and take appropriate actions to ensure the ongoing viability of their businesses.

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

The Media Missed The Real Brian Williams Story

Thought for the week:

“I drink to make other people more interesting.” – Ernest Hemingway
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2015 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.