Process Improvement Opportunities Are Everywhere

May 11, 2015

 

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NBC11 Bay Area TV news showed an investigative report revealing one building at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, a hospital, routinely calls 9-1-1 to get assistance to move patients from one building on the campus to the emergency room on the same campus.

The 9-1-1 call gets a fire truck and an ambulance dispatched to the campus to pick up the patient and transport to the ER. Each call ties these crews up for probably 30 minutes and makes them unavailable for other emergencies.

What’s remarkable is there is an underground passageway connecting the 2 buildings that are about the length of a football field apart. It takes longer to get the emergency medical system response activated than it would to wheel the patient to the ER in a wheelchair or on a gurney.

The head of medicine at Valley Medical Center said he was unaware of the practice and would look into it.

Executives can’t address issues they aren’t aware of. When something doesn’t make sense, the best practice is to raise the issue to a member of the leadership team, not simply shake your head in disbelief.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Christiaan Triebert

Thought for the week:

“Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
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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.

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Owners Triggered 49ers 2014 Season of Despair

December 23, 2014

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A lot of things happened on the way to this “not-to-be” Superbowl quest year:

  • Distractions associated with legal matters of 3 defensive players
  • Injuries galore both offensively and defensively
  • Constant rumors and press innuendo that Coach Harbaugh was in his final year of coaching the team
  • 49ers player didn’t exhibit passion or enthusiasm for the opportunity to play
  • Quarterback Kaepernick (Kap) seemed to not be himself all year
  • Receivers dropped a lot of passes; a lot of passes were poorly thrown
  • Impact players in prior years seemed to have fewer opportunities to be impact players this season
  • Kap’s running game was pretty much non-existent until Game 15
  • 49ers scored no touchdowns in the 4th quarter for the first 14 games of the season—so much for “come-from-behind” victories
  • Lack of support for the team and coaches on Thanksgiving night after a loss—owners apologized to fans for poor performance against Seattle Seahawks

To win, you have to believe. At some point, the 49ers stopped believing. Where does the problem lie?

  • It’s not with Harbaugh—he’s a one of the best coaches in the NFL
  • It may lie with offensive coordinator, Greg Roman. It’s hard to support him when the offense struggled so hard all season to put points on the board
  • It’s not with the players—the 49ers have a lot of talent albeit the injuries were substantial this season
  • It’s not with the new $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium

The owners have fostered uncertainty and doubt about Harbaugh all season long. The lack of synergy and seamlessness between Harbaugh and team ownership contributed to this losing season. Who wants to work for a owner who second guesses you? Who wants to give their all for an owner who berates the team?

The San Francisco 49ers face an owner leadership issue, not a talent issue. The ownership’s lack of support for Harbaugh knocked Harbaugh and the team out of its center and derailed their ability to feel balanced and comfortable in playing the game. There were too many times this year when, after the team fell behind, I had no confidence that the team could execute a “come-from-behind” victory. It’s as though they didn’t have the will to do something for themselves, their coach or the owners.

For the fans hoping Harbaugh is gone, be careful what you wish for. He may be gone because he is no longer willing to work for the owners. Most people leave jobs because of their managers, not because of the job itself.

We don’t know what’s been said behind closed doors. We do know what has not been said. I don’t recall the owners voicing unequivocal support for Harbaugh all year. That’s a huge problem and a good reason for Harbaugh to leave the team. Instead, they hung him out to dry. He had to succeed or fail on his own while the owners sat in their luxury suite grousing all the way. That’s not a formula for winning.

I hope the 49er’s owners come to their senses and keep Jim Harbaugh. And, get some counseling and leadership training alone the way.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner

© 2014 Dave Gardner

Photo courtesy of Intel Free Press on Flickr


Wyndham Rewards Business Execution Failure

November 9, 2014

I recently stayed at a Wyndham Rewards hotel in Austin, Texas. I found the place through Trivago.com and reserved the hotel  through Expedia.com.

A few days after arriving home, I was asked to respond to a survey by Wyndham.  I immediately thought, “Wow, I didn’t realize the hotel I had selected was part of the Wyndham family of hotels–I’ll call to get this stay credited on my rewards account.” No one had asked me about whether I had membership in Wyndham Rewards at check-in.

I called the Wyndham toll-free number and they confirmed that they knew about my stay. I was impressed. That good impression quickly changed to bad when they told me that, because I had not booked the hotel directly with them, they were “unable” to give me credit for the stay. Isn’t that special!

This is the second time that I’ve been unable to comply with the “fine print” of the Wyndham Rewards program. And, for that, I recognize them for their business execution failure.

Does the person running the Wyndham Rewards program believe that this is the best approach to win the loyalty of Wyndham Rewards members? Hint: It’s not. And, it may be some emboldened manager will claim, “Others are doing the same.” Okay. So what? Why would you allow bad practices of competitors to influence your reward practices?

The Wyndham Rewards program should not be run with a “carrot and a stick” approach–you get the carrot if you book directly through them and a stick if you don’t.

The way they just treated me is a disincentive to stay at a Wyndham property, not an incentive. What do they think about that? Is that consistent with the goals for a rewards program?

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

 

 

 


62-Year Old Stowaway Succeeds As Airline Security Fails

August 6, 2014

Well, she did it!  A woman managed to get onto a plane without a boarding pass and ended up flying from San Jose, California, to Los Angeles, California.  More about her story here.

How could this happen?

She had to make it through the TSA screening (where you are required to provide a valid boarding pass and present your driver’s license or other government-issued identification) and then sneak onto a flight at the gate.

It’s hard to believe this woman finally accomplished her mission.

But, what’s to be said for security?  The airline had a serious breech as did the Transportation Security Adminisration (TSA).

While I believe this woman is mentally ill and harmless, this breach demonstrates serious vulnerabilities in our security process. I categorize this as a Business Execution Failure.

We need to demand better.

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

© 2014 Dave Gardner

The Why of Enterprise Applications

November 4, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: enterprise applications

How much value can be derived from an enterprise application? By value, I mean:

  • Simplify an on-going business challenge
  • Enable and facilitate collaboration
  • Reduce friction and latency in achieving desired business outcomes

A very public example of a failure is the federal government’s Obamacare website. It failed on all the metrics above. The other night, I heard a story on the radio about how the federal government has a very high percentage of applications costing $10 million or more failing to deliver value. That has to be 90%+ of IT projects!

What’s at the root of this?

  • Unclear vision for the application
  • Inability to manage scope
  • Pieces of the solution created independently don’t integrate well
  • Business teams don’t know how to communicate with developers; developers don’t know how to communicate with business teams
  • People responsible for project oversight lack experience and expertise to lead such efforts and detect possible problems–they are too trusting and don’t have the capability to verify that things are on track.
  • Development delays undermine testing before go-live and the roll-out to stakeholders who need the system

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Dalai Lama: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” Sadly, the federal government seems not to see losses as an opportunity to learn.

Applications are deployed for the people who will use the application day in and day out. If the application doesn’t work well for them, the application doesn’t deliver value. It’s that simple.

Thought for the week:

“The project you are most resisting carries your greatest growth.” – Robin Sharma
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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

© 2013 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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Ignoring The Warning Signs

August 5, 2013

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: ignoring the warning signs

  • Air France Flight 447 crashed off the coast of Brazil after it stalled (lost lift and forward speed) and dropped from an altitude of 30,000+ feet to the ocean’s surface. Audible stall warnings were ignored by the flight crew. They thought the alarms were in error. They weren’t.
  • Asiana Flight 214 crashed when the crew failed to realize that airspeed had dropped to levels that caused the plane to stall resulting in the plane’s tail colliding with the seawall on approach. Two critical things to monitor for landing are altitude and airspeed. When both values are too low, the ability to make corrections vanish.
  • The recent Spanish train crash that killed 80 people occurred after the train’s engineer received 3 warnings that he was going too fast in the 2 minutes prior prior to the train derailing. He was traveling more than twice the speed limit. The train’s engineer was distracted talking on the phone.

“Set it and forget it” doesn’t work at critical points in a process. Industry experts describe the inability of these crews to respond appropriately as “automation complacency,” a situation where those in charge overly rely on instruments and computer controls to do things automatically so the person at the controls doesn’t have to worry about it or attend to it.

All this makes me wonder about business owners being on auto-pilot and not sensing trouble ahead. It’s easy to assume that procedures and controls are operating normally and, as a consequence, little is done to confirm that things are as they are supposed to be–until it is often too late.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” This axiom will help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

 “Failure doesn’t matter. You only have to be right once.” — Dropbox CEO Drew Houston
Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 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.


AT&T U-verse Deceptive Selling Practices

July 22, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: deceptive selling practices

Nothing irritates me more than deceptive selling practices, especially deceptions you learn about after a deal is struck and the transaction is complete.

My father needed to upgrade his home Internet service as what he had didn’t offer sufficient bandwidth to allow him to look at videos. We went to the AT&T store and were offered an AT&T U-verse package that would bundle his home phone and Internet–increase his bandwidth by a factor of 4– for $40 a month, down from the $74 a month he had been paying for years. There would be an installation cost of $199: $100 for the new Internet hub and $99 for installation. My father wanted this.

Ten days later, the installer showed up and completed the installation. My dad called me and asked if I would come over right away as he didn’t understand the nuances of what the installer is trying to tell him. I would soon understand why.

  • To offer the low price, AT&T changes his phone from a direct wired connection to voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP). His home alarm system doesn’t speak VOIP so now he either needs to either schedule and pay for AT&T to come out and restore what was there for over 50 years as a direct wired phone line or upgrade his alarm system at a cost of about $550.
  • His new VOIP phone has a limit of 250 minutes per month. He’s never had a limit on his local calls.
  • His email would not work. I called AT&T and, when a Level 1 tech couldn’t help me, they told me I’d have to pay for a Level 2 tech to assist me. I insisted on speaking to a supervisor and avoided additional fees. The problem turned out to be an AT&T issue.

No one mentioned that his phone was going to be converted to VOIP or that he would have a limit of 250 minutes for local calls. No one asked if he had an alarm system. Why didn’t they ask? It would have slowed or eliminated the possibility of an on-the-spot sale as I would have sought a different solution from other companies had we been told what they were going to do.

Bottom line: AT&T U-Verse didn’t disclose material facts about the transaction. That is deceptive. The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) needs to know about this.

Customers don’t like surprises, especially surprises that have significant implications. You can’t thrive if you treat customers like this. Set proper expectations and make sure there are no surprises.

Thought for the week:

“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.” – Mike Ditka

Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 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.