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5.Mar, 2017 0

Following Your Passion

I’ve just returned from seeing the movie La La Land with my wife. It’s a fantastic movie. There’s an important lesson in this movie about passion. The leading man (played by Ryan Gosling) finds himself in the position many musicians find themselves in: to eat and live, you sometimes have to play music that is counter to what you really want to play. I know this first hand. One Winter, I had to play trumpet 6 nights at a German beer house in Palo Alto, California. Do you know what it’s was like for a jazz musician to dress in…

26.Feb, 2017 0

Race Horse Or Plow Horse?

Is your company more like a plow horse or a race horse? A plow horse is a plodder that can never generate great speed. It can work all day at its own pace and accomplish much that the owner alone could not accomplish without the plow horse. Conversely, a race horse has considerable speed. It is optimally used for short spurts of a mile or a mile and a half and then must rest for days between races. A race horse is a sprinter; a plow horse is a marathoner. The plow horse can’t become a race horse nor can…

4.Dec, 2016 0

“A” Is For Acceleration

We’ve all heard the expression “cheaper, better, faster.” Let’s focus on the “faster” aspect. “Faster” is critical as nothing gets better with additional time. “Faster” means: Costs are lower Processes are built with speed of execution in mind Information to support critical processes is readily available–the need to track down subject matter experts is a rarity rather than the norm Capacity increases as a function of acceleration–you can do more with the same staffing level, factory floor space, etc. Here are some questions you should be asking: Where are there bottlenecks in your processes or supply chain that negatively impact…

27.Nov, 2016 0

Leadership–What’s Next With Fidel Castro Gone?

If I had suffered from (or knew people who had suffered) under the oppression of Fidel Castro, I suppose I’d be dancing in the streets as we’ve seen in Miami. I’m not so inclined. It is clear that Fidel had lost his grip on power in the last decade or the progress the U.S. has made in opening relations would never have happened. The U.S. should continue to move forward and expand on progress made, not erase progress made in the last few years by Barack Obama and Pope Francis in collaboration with Raul Castro. As one door closes–the passing…

20.Nov, 2016 0

Adding Value By Making The Complex Simple

A few weeks ago, I got this note from a client I had 16 years ago: “You know I didn’t realize it until we were talking; software is constantly being updated, I get a new computer each year, all to keep up with technology. What’s amazing is that the processes that you implemented remain constant and thriving!!!!!” This made me blush. Here’s my mindset when I embark on a project: There is no “one-size-fits-all” set of processes–you have to create enduring processes that have a long life and accommodate product needs that aren’t known today. The information technology needs underlying…

13.Nov, 2016 0

Grubhub CEO Inspires Inclusiveness

This is not about our recent election, who won, etc. This is about encouraging inclusiveness and accepting diversity in our workplaces. I live and work in one of the most diverse regions in the U.S.: Silicon Valley. I have been alarmed by people being singled out for their ethnicity, religion, etc. Some seem to believe that it is no longer necessary to be “politically correct.” This is showing up as people being attacked, verbally, physically and emotionally. This is reprehensible. Matt Maloney, Grubhub CEO, decided to tackle this issue with his team. Here are portions of an article that appeared…

29.Oct, 2016 0

8.8 Billion Reasons Why On-Time Delivery Is Important

According to the Seattle Times, Qatar Airways announced on October 7th a firm order from Boeing for 30 787-9 Dreamliners and 10 777-300ERs widebody jets and an additional letter of intent to order a further 60 single-aisle 737 MAX 8s. The total order would be worth about $8.8 billion at discounted prices. This announcement came as no big surprise to me. Qatar Airways has been signaling its displeasure with the Airbus order execution for some time now. I had read this was reaching a boiling point and it finally happened. Here’s a statement from Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker…

23.Oct, 2016 0

Bill Belichick Rejects Tablet Technology

The NFL entered into an agreement with Microsoft to provide Surface tablets to all NFL teams. The idea is that photos traditionally printed out on the sidelines showing what occurred during plays could be better accommodated by tablets. The NFL provides each team with the tablets a few hours before each game and collects them immediately following the game. Teams don’t have access to the technology outside of actual games. Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, is giving up on this technology. It’s not working reliably enough to satisfy his needs. Bill is an “unhappy stakeholder.” He is…

16.Oct, 2016 0

A Great Client And Friend Passes

Duane Powell, President of Powell Fabrication and Manufacturing, died this month at the age of 68 of lung cancer. He never smoked. Powell Fab called me back in 2000 and asked me if I could help. I suggested we spend a day together to find out more about their challenges and agreed to write a proposal if it made sense. At the time, Powell Fab had about 45 employees. It was headquartered in a town of about 5,000 people: St. Louis, Michigan. St. Louis was the antithesis of Silicon Valley. I had to adapt my way of working with clients…

9.Oct, 2016 0

Who Inspires You Most?

My wife asked me “who inspires me most” this weekend. My answer: my wife. Why, she asked? I told her she always does her best to support me, to not let me live in denial about reality, to encourage me to let go of unimportant matters, and, more. She said, “You’ve never said that in the 13 years we’ve been together.” “Really?,” I said. Who inspires you most? Have you told this person? Have you expressed gratitude to this person? Thought for the week: “We postpone doing what matters most until sometime in the future when we hope it will…