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.

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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!
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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.


Golden State Warriors & Competitive Advantage

June 15, 2015

Fishing Village on Bosphorus River near Istanbul

I’ve never been a basketball fan.

40 years ago, I had an MBA professor who was a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors: Roger Smith, a banking executive. He cancelled classes so he could follow this “rare” opportunity in the NBA playoffs and finals. Roger was correct–it has been rare.

NBA basketball is a great metaphor for business in that teams must focus on seizing competitive advantage in real time. A team can’t wait until the next game, the next quarter or the next time out to make critical adjustments. Seemingly small changes can have a major impact on the outcome of a game.

Many businesses display little sense of urgency for making adjustments to seize competitive advantage even when they know they aren’t executing wel. Next week, next quarter, next year are “good enough.” Not!

What if businesses played more in real time? What kind of engagement would that require of the employees? What level of engagement with customers might that mean?

Thought for the week:

“If you can’t feel blessed for what you already have, why spend your time chasing after what you don’t have? Because, when you do finally get what you don’t have, you are just feeding the never-ending quest for more without taking into account all the things that you already have and building a lifestyle and mindset of gratefulness.” – Rajesh Setty, Gratitude–Grow & Change Your World One Thank You At A Time
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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.


What I.T. Support Should Be

April 12, 2015

 

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I’m working with a client and occasionally need I.T. support.

The I.T. person who supports me and the entire division is a model for who an I.T. support person should be:

  • He’s very responsive–usually within minutes
  • He responds to requests for assistance from anyone including me
  • There are no hoops to jump through to get his help
  • He gets whatever needs to be done completed quickly and professionally
  • He does everything with a smile

Duane is a standout. I look forward to working with him on any issue that might arise.

It doesn’t matter if someone is supporting internal or external customers–great customer service is something to rejoice about.

Photo Credit: CWCS Managed Hosting, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“People wish because they are afraid to take action.”  Alan Weiss, Thrive–Stop Wishing Your Life Away
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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.


Improvement Via Industry Best Practices

April 6, 2015

 

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Insular companies and cultures miss opportunities to improve and evolve. It’s possible to learn from others within your industry or even outside your industry.

The vast majority of airlines outside the U.S. did not adopt the U.S. standard of never leaving a pilot or co-pilot alone in the cockpit. This procedure was adopted after the U.S. 9/11 terror incident.

After the recent Germanwings plane crash, airlines outside the U.S. have begun adopting the U.S. procedure. Why did it take 150 deaths to make this standard adoptable outside the U.S.?

Lufthansa’s CEO believed that his company had effective processes for hiring and continuously evaluating pilots that would have mitigated any possible risk–an assertion proven invalid.

What ideas and best practices has your company failed to adopt that could be a source of competitive advantage, safety, comfort, growth, etc? Isolating yourself from the business world around you only serves to exacerbate your challenges.

Photo Credit: Steve Hardy on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“Ideas must work through the brains and arms of men, or they are no better than dreams.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.


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!
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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 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.

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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.