Category: Organizational Development

Business Growth: ‘I’ve Run Out of Space’

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One of those frequent and frustrating problems with growth can be space. Who has heard, “I’ve run out of space! What should we do?” Unfortunately it is not uncommon. The problem with this situation is that there are numerous causes and solutions – including this is exactly the problem I wanted to create. Recently I’ve been working with a few highly seasonal clients. Space can be a dilemma in planning how to navigate these seasonal patterns. Additionally, running out of space is always a concern for growing clients. So, what should we do? Make it a part of your planning process.…
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A Tribute to a Top Salesman

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Certainly, Sales is at the heart of any organization. Without growth, a company will eventually decline and wither away. Thus, having top notch sales people is cornerstone to success. Of course I advocate thinking of all your employees like salespeople as they represent the company and can make a huge impact on success; however, there are also people dedicated to sales. My Uncle Lowell was a top notch lumber salesman in Chicago for his entire career, and so I’d like to dedicate this to him as he passed away earlier today. My uncle understood the critical importance of the customer.…
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Why Looking at Return on Investment (ROI) is So Much Better than Cost

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How many times have you heard about managing cost (or saving money) in the past week? I bet quite a few, as almost all companies focus significant efforts on cost. In all functions, and certainly if you are in or responsible for Operations, a large portion of your responsibility is to reduce cost. Similar to real estate where it is “location, location, location”, I often hear about “cost, cost, and cost”. Certainly managing cost is vital to success; however, being solely focused on cost will drive you to failure! Instead, I advocate thinking about return on investment. For example, if…
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What Is Company Culture?

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I wholeheartedly agree with my consulting mentor Alan Weiss with how he defines culture – “It is that set of beliefs that governs behavior”. Culture seems like such a mysterious topic and executives spend millions to try to create culture change and the like. Yet when you boil it down to the basics, it is really quite simple. What set of beliefs does your company run by? Where did they come from? Are they helping or hurting you? When you look at culture with this viewpoint, it becomes easy to determine how to change your corporate culture; however, the devil…
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Summer Priorities for the Most Successful Executives

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As we head into summer, it is always good to think about what the most successful executives do to keep the momentum going. What do they do differently than the rest? It often leads back to setting priorities. Thus, as we head into the summer months, I thought a few tips might prove useful: 1. Pick 3 overarching priorities – Don’t overwhelm yourself with 10,000 priorities which clearly are not achievable. Instead, take a step back and think about your top 3. 2. Consider urgency – Sounds obvious but everything cannot be urgent. Which potential priorities are the most urgent?…
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Honor Those Who Served & Take Time for Family

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Certainly on Memorial Day weekend, it is important to honor those who have served and to set aside time to spend with family. It shouldn’t take a special holiday for us to focus on these priorities; however, it certainly is a great reminder. I find that we get so busy in our everyday lives that we overlook some of the most important priorities such as supporting our soldiers, talking with those who have served in the past and even just spending time with our families. I recently went to DC, and there is such great history there that forgetting the…
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Leverage Systems for Growth

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Lately I’ve been talking with many clients and potential clients who are interested in growth. Although rapid growth is exciting, it can also be one of the most challenging to navigate. Systems can provide the perfect tool to leverage for success – whether your company is small or big. Even the strongest of my clients are deterred with rapid growth. In many cases, the client is still relatively small and concerned with cash flow yet they are starting to experience “big company” problems. For example, customers do not care what you have to do to service them. They expect you’ll have what they…
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Where Should I Start to Ensure Demand Planning Success?

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80% of companies are not in front of their demand. How can you decide what to plan for if you don’t know where you are going? You don’t! Thus, it makes sense to spend time upfront to determine your best estimate for customer forecasts and your demand plan.  Don’t worry about perfection as the definition of a forecast is that it will be inaccurate; however, you can get in the ballpark. By achieving this goal, you will better serve your customers, grow your business and improve margins. If you are unsure where to start, consider digging into the following: 1.…
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Innovation Tips from the APICS-IE Executive Panel & Networking Symposium

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My APICS (#1 trade association for supply chain and operations management) chapter hosted an executive panel & networking symposium which was focused on the topic of innovation. Innovation is a critical topic! Problem solving and maintaining the status quo is no longer enough as customers expect more, regulations increase, etc. Thus, how do you create a culture of innovation in your company? 10 tips that pop to mind that came up during our panel discussion include: 1) Empower your people. 2) Learn continuously. 3)  Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail (which can be considered learning what not…
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The Importance of What is NOT Happening

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Quality must be an assumption. The problem with assumptions such as service and quality is that people lose focus because there is little conversation about the topics when “all is well”. People are typically not rewarded for things that don’t happen. For example, if there is a crisis, people are rewarded for resolving the crisis and working long hours to work through the situation; however, if they avoid the crisis altogether, it might go unnoticed. Worse, they might get push back on working on the topic at all because it hasn’t proven to be an issue! As leaders, we must appreciate…
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