30 12, 2019

Cultivating Adaptive Employees in Dynamic Roles, Part II

In my previous post about adaptive employees, I identified two different kinds of roles you’ll find in your company: static and dynamic roles. While static roles generally can stick to a rigid script or process, the future of your company relies on how well your dynamic employees can adapt to problems, people, and the larger context. In this second post of the two-part series, I’ll give you some key insights on my strategy, developed over thirteen years consulting for dozens of business leaders in the manufacturing industry. Don’t process-engineer a people problem. In the previous post, I let you in [...]

27 12, 2019

Cultivating Adaptive Employees in Dynamic Roles, Part I

I give the drive-thru attendant my order: “I’ll have a Number 6 with a Coke.” To which they reply: “OK, that’s a Number 6. And what would you like to drink with that?” I’ll be honest with you. This kind of exchange is one of my greatest pet peeves. Why? Because the employee didn’t adapt their pre-constructed script to the conversation we’re having. In the mind of that employee, they must follow their sequence. They took my food order and punched a button, which then prompted them to ask my drink order. And though I already gave that information, I [...]

18 10, 2019

How Often Should You Check-in With Your Team?

When business is people-powered, communication is key for maintaining and expanding productivity. Too little communication and deadlines are missed. Too much communication and workflow stagnates. It can be challenging to find that fine line between starved and bloated communication. We’d like to help! With this free downloadable tool, you can easily assess the communication health of your board, managers, and employees. Just use this resource to find how often each person in your company should check in with their direct report.

27 09, 2019

Your Company’s Only Constant

Greek Philospher Heraclitus said, "Change is the only constant in life". Too bad employee adoption of change isn’t always as constant. Alas, with every change comes a barrage of opinions and reactions, ranging from ecstatic excitement to open hostility to everything in between. As a manager, it can put you off from ever trying to implement much-needed changes and improvements—is it really worth the headache? And yet, to survive in a competitive market, you must change and adapt. It’s the human way. Though it may be painful, it’s a vital part of the growth process and it’s up to you [...]

3 09, 2019

It’s Just a Matter of Time

...and how to accurately plan with it. You likely have a general understanding of what everyone does at your company. Every person has a role and set of responsibilities, and for the most part, you think you know how much time it takes them to complete their work… or do you? The Project Management Institute reports that only a little more than half of all projects finish within their initially scheduled times--so where is all the time going? I’ve been a consultant for over thirteen years, and I’ve seen firsthand just how little employees and managers understand the passage of [...]

17 06, 2019

Your company needs a superhero…and it isn’t you or me.

There’s a problem at your company. Maybe employees aren’t meeting the delivery schedules. Maybe efficiency is being held hostage. Time to call in a superhero. Up in the sky, what’s that? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… …the employees directly beneath you. That’s right—caped crusaders where the “S” stands for “subordinates.” Throughout over ten years of experience as a business consultant and project manager, people often hire me hoping I’ll single-handedly save the day. And while I come bearing time-tested strategies and extensive experience, I’ve found that people are always more excited to develop and implement [...]

9 05, 2019

If I Could Tell Manufacturing Executives Just One Thing, It’s This…

Have you ever invested in an expensive Kaizen event—or hired a cadre of consultants—only to have your team slip back into their same old habits just a few weeks later? Most people don’t know why their solutions don’t stick, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. In my line of work, it’s a tale as old as time. I sit across from a troubled executive, nodding as I hear those familiar words: “My people aren’t carrying out my vision. I’ve spent way too much time, energy, and money perfecting the process, but it’s still not working.” Despite the hours and [...]

8 04, 2019

A Tale of Two Mid-Size Business Cultures

There was once a mid-size company in which the management directed every decision. They hoped this would drive the employees on a singular course. Though the organization had many hands at work, there was only one corporate brain directing all the activity. Creativity and personal investment were liabilities the organization felt they could not afford. As a result, productivity never reached its full potential; for how could they get the best out employees who were stuck in an overmanaged role? And personal responsibility was shirked; for who was really to blame when the corporate brain managed all? Across town, there [...]

11 03, 2019

Changing Accountability

Solve the “People Problem” before the “Process Problem” There is a common phrase being thrown around in leadership conversations these days. Maybe you’ve heard it? “People leave managers, not companies.” Though this isn’t always the case, it does place an uncomfortable emphasis on the role of leadership. It forces every circumspect manager or executive to ask the question, “Am I ever the problem?” Perhaps you’ve wrestled with this question. Perhaps it keeps you up at night. Perhaps it’s why you stand at a window, looking wistfully out into the distance… Ok, so maybe you don’t do that last one. But [...]

25 02, 2019

Changing the Schedule

Mark is a mid-level manager at an automotive manufacturing plant in the Midwest. He has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of his industry—new tech, new generations of workers, new customers. But all this “newness” will require change, and Mark is struggling to keep up with it. Demands for productivity have never been higher, and Mark can’t seem to get his employees on board. There are never enough workers willing to put in the extra weekend overtime to meet the workload, and delivery schedules are slipping. When asked why they don’t want the extra weekend overtime, Mark’s [...]