Who Owns The Empty Shelves?

Strong process discipline is vital for top performance. By discipline, I’m referring to the tenacity, diligence, and persistence people exhibit in their work.

Let me give you an example. I’ve been working with a retail company whose sales have been trending down for the past 12 to 18 months. There could be several reasons for this, but as I reviewed their operations and observed the activities on the sales floor, I noticed a number of empty spaces on the shelves. Every time I visited the store, I would look in the same spots and I noticed that the same spaces remained empty.

Every process should have an owner, so I asked who owns stock replenishment. Not surprisingly, the stock replenishment process had no specific owner. To make things worse, the people who usually stocked the shelves were busy with other responsibilities, so stock replenishment only got done when it was convenient or in response to a special request to stock a shelf.

If product isn’t readily available, some customers will ask a sales person, but many will simply go down the street to a competitor to find what they need. This was contributing to the decline in sales.

The discipline of process management (and execution) helps achieve top performance. In this case, the added revenue may have reversed the downward trend in sales.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Advice – Take It Or Leave It?

“Americans love advice. So why are we still so screwed up?” asks Joe Queenan in the Wall Street Journal. As individuals and companies, we spend a lot of money each year getting coaches, being motivated, trying to lose weight, becoming better leaders and improving our businesses. So why aren’t we slimmer, better or more successful?

Here’s what I find in my work with companies: they usually do fine in the planning and strategy phase, but then they fail to achieve the objectives they had in mind. Why?
1) They use outside help for the plan but not for the implementation. Implementation can mean major change, and often outside guidance and coaching is necessary.
2) They focus only on problem solving and not on innovative solutions. In “Good or Great” I discuss why companies focus so much on being good that they forget to be great.
3) Ego – many companies believe they know what it takes to improve, but if that’s so, why aren’t they improving?

A long time ago, one of my mentors told me the three reasons companies should use consultants:
1) They don’t have the time or discipline to get it done
2) They don’t have the expertise
3) There are internal issues/politics that prevent a successful outcome

If you are facing any of these issues, consider using an outside expert to help you and your company get moving toward excellence.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Discipline Makes It Happen

We all know we need to lose weight, stop smoking, write more or make improvements in our businesses. In many cases we even know how to do it, yet we never seem to get it done. Why? Simply, we don’t have the discipline to carry it through. Actually doing it is the hard part and best intentions are not sufficient.

So, how do we develop discipline? There are four steps:

  1. Set clear objectives – this is often the “vision” or target state describing where you want to end up. For instance, you may want to lose weight, but put a number to it, for example, 25 pounds this year, or 10 pounds by Christmas. Notice not only the amount, but also a deadline. You can make it a stretch goal, but make it achievable or you won’t follow through.
  2. Develop a plan – decide how you are going to approach the process in a way that is engaging. If you hate going to the gym, maybe walking in the forest would help you persevere. To look at this in a business setting, if employees don’t want to remove waste to help the company, maybe they would if it would make their jobs easier.
  3. Do it regularly – and most importantly, put it in your calendar. Set aside a regular time for it. If you go to the gym, perhaps 7:00 AM every other day, or if you want to write more, perhaps the first hour in the morning. Regular short times are much better than infrequent longer times. Schedule it and it will be come a habit.
  4. Measure the results – weigh yourself regularly. Track the number of articles or blog posts you write each week. Measuring becomes its own reward and shows that you’re making progress.

Most of all, don’t give up. Things often get worse before they get better, so give it some time to start showing results. Then as the changes become habits, you’ll enjoy the new you and reap the rewards of your efforts.

© 2011-2013 – Rick Pay – Al Rights Reserved

The Missing Link for Problem Solving

Why is it that while so many top executives know what actions they should take to improve the performance of their companies, the changes they hope to achieve just don’t happen? Many executives are familiar with Lean, quality improvement, strong customer service, change management, empowering employees and so on. They have read the books, listened to the experts, attended seminars and shared with their peers, yet innovative practices just don’t seem to last in their companies. What these executives need is an Action Imperative™.

Creating an Action Imperative™ provides the missing link that brings problem solving and innovation initiatives to fruition and delivers sustainable results. It is comprised of the following elements:

  • A strong focus on the customer
  • Consistent internal discipline
  • The ability to get things done
  • A focus on innovation, not just problem solving
  • Hiring people that share the company values

Creating an Action Imperative™ is based on a combination of change management, continuous improvement and culture reinforcement. It fosters innovation and moves your company to the next level. Consider implementing an Action Imperative™ in your company. To find out more, visit my website, or watch for future blog posts on the details.

© 2012 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Without Discipline, It Won’t Happen

We all know we need to lose weight, stop smoking, write more or make improvements in our businesses. In many cases we even know how to do it, yet we never seem to get it done. Why? Simply, we don’t have the discipline to carry it through. Actually doing it is the hard part and best intentions are not sufficient.

So, how do we develop discipline? There are four steps:

  1. Set clear objectives – this is often the “vision” or target state describing where you want to end up. For instance, you may want to lose weight, but put a number to it, for example, 25 pounds this year, or 10 pounds by Christmas. Notice not only the amount, but also a deadline. You can make it a stretch goal, but make it achievable or you won’t follow through.
  2. Develop a plan – decide how you are going to approach the process in a way that is engaging. If you hate going to the gym, maybe walking in the forest would help you persevere. If you don’t like the small meals provided by some weight loss programs, you may prefer an Atkins or Mediterranean approach. To look at this in a business setting, if employees don’t want to remove waste to help the company, maybe they would do so if it would make their jobs easier.
  3. Do it regularly – and most importantly, put it in your calendar. Set aside a regular time for it. If you go to the gym, perhaps 7:00 AM every other day, or if you want to write more, perhaps the first hour in the morning. Regular short times are much better than infrequent longer times. Schedule it and it will be come a habit.
  4. Measure the results – weigh yourself regularly. Track the number of articles or blog posts you write each week. Measuring becomes its own reward and shows that you’re making progress.

Most of all, don’t give up. Things often get worse before they get better, so give it some time to start showing results. Then as the changes become habits, you will enjoy the new you and reap the rewards of your efforts.

© 2011- Rick Pay – Al Rights Reserved