Do You Have Cellphone Syndrome?

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Recently on a morning show on TV the commentator brought up the dangers of texting and driving and mentioned that he often tells his children to go have real, face-to-face conversations. That advice is good for leaders as well.

In this day and age of email, text messaging, Facebook and other social media, we rely more and more heavily on electronic communication. While some of it is very convenient, the ability to communicate effectively and create a social connection is still best by phone, or preferably face to face.

Time pressures often drive executives and managers toward the quick solution of sending an email or text, rather than seeking out the other person for a real conversation. Conversations can be very powerful in revealing the real situation and emotion, which are often lost in electronic messages. Just the act of going to visit a person or place can be very revealing; in my work, I find that if I go and watch the point of work, all kinds of things begin to emerge. Talking to people at the point of work can be especially revealing.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that the beginning of any successful business interaction is based on trust and relationship, which are more difficult to develop electronically. Developing and strengthening the relationship with employees and managers is far more effective with face-to-face communication. Get up and go see people to firmly establish relationship and trust. You may also learn things you never expected.

© 2018 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

 

 

Four Ways to Supercharge Your Communication With Suppliers

FreeImages.com/Loftus Head

Communication with suppliers is a vital element of forming a supplier partnership program, yet many (I would say most), companies don’t establish a solid foundation of communication. Here are four ways to super-charge your communication:

1.  Get together face-to-face. Phone calls and emails don’t establish the depth of relationship that you’ll need for your supplier partnerships to succeed. Face-to-face meetings to discuss expectations, status updates, changes to products, designs, materials, forecasts and other important issues are critical. Meetings should be on-site, alternating between the supplier’s location and yours, especially for your top ten suppliers. Going to the Gemba (point of work) can help clarify your perception of the supplier’s capabilities and help them understand exactly how their product is being used.

2. Organize a Supplier Day. Invite your top 20 – 25 suppliers to an all-day event where your sales leaders present company growth plans and forecasts, your CEO shares the company’s strategy, and the operations and supply chain people present expectations for the year. This gives suppliers a window into your company as well as the opportunity to network with other key suppliers and find opportunities for cooperation.

3. Connect executive sponsors in your organization to their counterparts at the supplier. Establishing these connections adds depth to the relationship, and also allows the executives to contact their counterpart for support in solving any problems that arise.

4. Set metrics to clarify expectations and provide feedback to the supplier on their performance.

All of these tools can help you super-charge your supplier partnerships and get the most out of these important relationships.

© 2018 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Partnerships – Not Just Outside The Organization

Companies often overlook their opportunities to develop  internal partnerships. How many times have you heard about functional silos, internal politics, ineffective teams and weak communications? Internal partnerships (between employees and departments within the company) often provide the greatest benefits to the organization:

  • Bridging the gaps between departments to improve communications
  • Breaking down functional silos to improve performance
  • Providing strong alignment to help achieve the vision
  • Improving product quality and performance
  • Driving innovation and speed
  • Maximizing profit and cash flow and overall company value

Internal partnerships, just like external ones, are founded on relationships and trust, which require frequent communication. For example, operations and sales representatives should be meeting at least weekly to discuss:

  • Changing market conditions
  • Sales forecasts and major customer commitments
  • Promotions and other impacts to smooth sales flow
  • Production and supply chain status and potential interruptions
  • Other issues or problems that need planned response

Frequent communication is one of the key supporters of the golden rule of business – Let There Be No Surprises.

To find out more about partnerships both internal and external to the organization, see my book, 1+1=100: Achieving Breakthrough Results Through Partnerships.

 

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Do You Have Cell Phone Syndrome?

Recently on a morning show on TV the commentator brought up the dangers of texting and driving and mentioned that he often tells his children to go have real, face-to-face conversations. That advice is good for leaders as well.

In this day and age of email, text messaging, Facebook and other social media, we rely more and more heavily on electronic communication. While some of it is very convenient, the ability to communicate effectively and create a social connection is still best by phone, or preferably face to face.

Time pressures often drive executives and managers toward the quick solution of sending an email or text, rather than seeking out the other person for a real conversation. Conversations can be very powerful in revealing the real situation and emotion, which are often lost in electronic messages. Just the act of going to visit a person or place can be very revealing; in my work, I find that if I go and watch the point of work, all kinds of things begin to emerge. Talking to people at the point of work can be especially revealing.

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says that the beginning of any successful business interaction is based on trust and relationship, which are more difficult to develop electronically. Developing and strengthening the relationship with employees and managers is far more effective with face-to-face communication. Get up and go see people to firmly establish relationship and trust. You may also learn things you never expected.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Meet Your Partners

Pope Francis is visiting the United States this week. During an interview on the CBS morning news, a reporter asked the Pope, “What is your goal for your visit to America?” The Pope responded, “To meet with people, just to meet with them.”

A simple goal, yet one that sets a solid foundation for partnerships. As I’ve written before, partnerships are based on trust, relationship and communications. Meeting with people is the first step on that journey. Whether you’re building your business or managing suppliers, meeting with people to understand them (and their professional and personal objectives) is a key first step to developing strong partnerships.

It’s important, especially at the executive level, to get out and meet your suppliers. I suggest that executives develop a relationship with their counterparts in their more important suppliers. This provides the opportunity to set mutually beneficial goals and to establish a relationship. That way, when things go wrong, or when unexpected opportunities arise, you can move rapidly.

Meeting people, establishing trust, relationship and open communication is a key first step in developing partnerships. Whether it’s the Pope coming to America, or an executive meeting with suppliers, partnerships create dramatic opportunities for everyone.

© 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

A Customer Partnership Success Story

Alaska Communications (ACS) dramatically cut warehouse costs and increased service to its construction contractor customers by having the contractors actually run the company’s warehouses. ACS provides wire line services throughout the state of Alaska. Each year it tackles major construction projects to install and maintain telecommunications infrastructure. To provide better service to customers and construction crews, the company has several warehouses throughout the state, two of which experienced highly variable demand, but were staffed full time.

ACS partnered with a contractor to replace ACS warehouse personnel with part time contractor personnel to create a variable workforce (in balance with variable demand) and improve service. The contractor provides personnel as needed to receive and dispense materials at the warehouses to construction crews at (potentially) all hours of the day.

The result was a win for both parties. ACS reduced their labor costs by 75% and gained much-needed flexibility to handle the highly variable load during the construction season. Outsourcing improved service levels, reduced costs, improved agility and boosted capacity. ACS avoided layoffs by not replacing staff members who retired.

The suppliers reaped several benefits from the new arrangement, including better communications with ACS, early notification of new project opportunities, and flexible hours for the warehouse location that better met their needs. This partnership between ACS and its contractor had its rough spots initially, but trust, relationship and strong communication helped both companies increase their capacity and profitability beyond what they could have achieved separately.

© 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Be In the Moment

My wife was at a one-on-one session at the local Apple store when she noticed that the instructor kept looking over her shoulder at someone in the background. It made her feel uncomfortable and not totally attended to.

When you’re talking to clients or customers do you give them your full attention? Are you checking email or texting while in meetings or on the phone with them? It’s very temping to multitask when you’re on the phone, but unfortunately when you do this, the customer can often sense that you aren’t “all there” and you may miss a key idea or issue.

Back in the days before caller ID, I would be in someone’s office and the phone would ring. If they answered it, they were effectively saying, “I have no idea who this is, but they’re more important than you.” Is that what you’re telling your customers?

Be in the moment! Give 100% of your attention to the person you’re talking to. The conversation happening right now will likely be brief and if you don’t give it your full attention, you may miss the diamond in the rough.

© 2014 Rick Pay – All rights reserved.

Four Ways to Super-Charge Your Communication With Suppliers

Communication with suppliers is a vital element of forming a supplier partnership program, yet many (I would say most), companies don’t establish a solid foundation of communication. Here are four ways to super-charge your communication:

1.  Get together face-to-face. Phone calls and emails don’t establish the depth of relationship that you’ll need for your supplier partnerships to succeed. Face-to-face meetings to discuss expectations, status updates, changes to products, designs, materials, forecasts and other important issues are critical. Meetings should be on-site, alternating between the supplier’s location and yours, especially for your top ten suppliers. Going to the Gemba (point of work) can help clarify your perception of the supplier’s capabilities and help them understand exactly how their product is being used.

2. Organize a Supplier Day. Invite your top 20 – 25 suppliers to an all-day event where your sales leaders present company growth plans and forecasts, your CEO shares the company’s strategy, and the operations and supply chain people present expectations for the year. This gives suppliers a window into your company as well as the opportunity to network with other key suppliers and find opportunities for cooperation.

3. Connect executive sponsors in your organization to their counterparts at the supplier. Establishing these connections adds depth to the relationship, and also allows the executives to contact their counterpart for support in solving any problems that arise.

4. Set metrics to clarify expectations and provide feedback to the supplier on their performance.

All of these tools can help you super-charge your supplier partnerships and get the most out of these important relationships.

© 2014 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

The Three Types of Communication That Are Vital for Strong Partnerships

Information sharing on several levels is vital in creating collaborative relationships. Many companies think they have good partnerships with their suppliers, but in reality they haven’t reached the level of trust needed to create world-class performance.

First, both parties need to be very open in sharing cost information. Cost structures, Bills of Materials and design information needs to be shared so the customer can improve their product designs to reduce cost and improve performance.

Second, suppliers need to be deeply involved with product design in the beginning and throughout the product life cycle. Involving the supplier in design reviews, cost reduction efforts, and quality improvements (through technical capability studies) can help you reach new levels of performance and cost reduction. It can also reduce lead times and risk in the supply chain.

Third, both sides should use scorecards. I’ve known many suppliers that thought they were doing just fine, only to find out – when it was too late – that their customer perceived their performance as substandard. I’ve also seen customers whose policies made it difficult for the suppliers to meet their expectations. Both sides need to share performance measures frequently. True partnerships are based on trust and communication.

© 2014 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

The Advantages of Partnerships

Supplier partnerships are much more than just working closely with suppliers. They’re built on a foundation of trust and communication that enables both parties to get better results than they would have in a typical supplier relationship.

True partnerships offer several advantages, all at the same time:

  • World class pricing and competitiveness
  • Greater profitability for both parties
  • Shorter lead times with more flexibility and agility
  • Enhanced quality
  • Increased inventory turns

If you want to reach a world-class level of performance, examine your relationships with your key suppliers to make sure they are partnerships that yield win/win results.

© 2014 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved