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

Lack of Trust Destroys Teamwork

A recent article on Big Data in the Wall Street Journal (The Big Number, WSJ 10/29/13, p. B7) suggested that one of the reasons companies are held back from using Big Data is lack of trust between departments. I am amazed whenever I see that, because it seems like such an obvious weakness that management needs to address.

There are four simple ways to build trust between departments:

  1. Strong leadership
  2. Shared vision
  3. Culture of openness and collaboration
  4. Accountability

Trust is one of the keystones of partnerships and without it, performance will always fall short of its potential. Lack of trust indicates that everyone is not working toward the same vision and objectives. Many companies think they have teams, but what they really have are committees. The difference is that teams have common objectives while committees have individual objectives that are not in alignment.

Leadership can create an environment of trust that should greatly improve performance of the overall company. Does your company demonstrste trust between departments? Are you taking action to create/reinforce trust?

© 2013 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Are You Believable?

As part of my Operations Evaluation process, I put 13 months of the client’s financial information in a model I have developed over the years. This information tells a compelling – and often surprising – story. It helps identify issues that need to be explored more deeply during the evaluation, such as trends in labor and materials productivity,  inventory turns, and whether fixed costs are really fixed.

At a recent review with a VP, Operations, the charts showed some good performance and some bad. The VP acknowledged each chart as we reviewed it without showing any particular emotion. When we finished I asked him what he thought and he said, “I don’t believe the numbers.” I pointed out that they were straight from the financial statements and he repeated, “I don’t believe the numbers or the CFO’s ability to produce correct numbers.” When I reviewed the graphs with others in the company, I got the same response.

One could claim that the people I was meeting with were in denial, but at the same time, the CFO had no credibility. Whether you bring good news or bad, are you believable? There are three things that can help establish your credibility:

1)   Having the best interests of the company fully in mind – company before self; congruent with the vision; effective in getting things done correctly; teacher/people developer

2)   A high degree of ethics and trust – strong communicator/listener

3)   Competence – knowledge, skills, ability

Are you believable? Is your credibility ever in question? Credibility is hard to gain and easy to lose, and we’re doing one or the other through our actions every day.

© 2011-2013 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Vendor Managed Inventory – A Too Frequently Overlooked Tool

I have talked to many purchasing personnel who will not use Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) as a tool for inventory management in their companies. They have typically had a bad experience with suppliers overfilling bins, allowing stock outs, or they simply don’t trust suppliers to do the right thing related to stocking programs.

VMI is the process of having suppliers come in to the company to review current stock levels and order inventory as needed, and can include the supplier actually replenishing the stocking location with needed materials. It is often referred to as a “bread man” system since it was originally patterned after how bread is stocked in grocery stores.

Many vendor stocking programs focus on “C” items (those with low volume or value), such as fasteners, packing materials, or production supplies. While those materials are great targets for VMI, this overlooks other materials that suppliers can successfully manage. Basically, anything that can easily be visually managed, has short replenishment lead times (typically a couple of days to a week) and has a local supplier presence can be managed through VMI.

The biggest issue that stands in the way is trust. In a successful VMI program, an internal resource works with suppliers to:

1) Clearly define how the program will work and what the performance expectations are,

2) Monitor performance to assure the expectations are met, and

3) Meet with suppliers frequently to adjust inventory levels to meet the company’s future needs.

In other words, communication and trust are cornerstones of success with VMI; in fact, they are the cornerstones of any supplier relationship. How can you work with suppliers you don’t trust? Why would you?

The benefits of VMI are several –

1)    Reduced inventory levels

2)    Reduced stock outs

3)    Reduced internal cost of ordering and managing inventory

A final benefit is having the supplier actually see what is going on in your operation so they can make additional suggestions to improve service and cut costs, which is a true win/win for both organizations.

Don’t overlook this opportunity to significantly improve materials management in your organization. With solid processes and attention, VMI can be a home run for your company.

© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights reserved

Are You Believable?

As part of my Operations Evaluation process, I put 13 months of the client’s financial information in a model I have developed over the years. It helps identify issues that need to be explored more deeply during the evaluation. The model produces a series of charts and graphs that depict, among other things, whether fixed costs are really fixed, trends in labor and materials productivity, and inventory turns. This information tells a compelling – and often surprising – story.

At a recent review with a VP, Operations, the charts showed some good performance and some bad. The VP acknowledged each one as we reviewed it without showing any particular emotion. When we finished I asked him what he thought and he said, “I don’t believe the numbers.” I pointed out that they were straight from the financial statements and he repeated, “I don’t believe the numbers or the CFO’s ability to produce correct numbers.” When I reviewed the graphs with others in the company, I got the same response.

One could claim that the people I was meeting with were in denial, but at the same time, the CFO had no credibility. Whether you bring good news or bad, are you believable? There are three things that can help establish your credibility:

1)   Having the best interests of the company fully in mind – company before self; congruent with the vision; effective in getting things done correctly; teacher/people developer

2)   A high degree of ethics and trust – strong communicator/listener

3)   Competence – knowledge, skills, ability

Are you believable? Is your credibility ever in question? Credibility is hard to gain and easy to lose, and we’re doing one or the other through our actions every day.

© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Strong Teams Produce Powerful Results

Recently I participated in a group discussion that produced powerful results for each person involved. In reflecting on the experience, I believe any level of management or leadership team can learn from my experience. I have identified three things that contributed to the success of the meeting: 1) a common basis of communication, 2) trust, and 3) a common purpose.

The group I met with was made up of six consultants who are all part of the community surrounding Alan Weiss, a mentor to consultants worldwide. Our group meets every six months to discuss issues and ideas to help build our individual practices. Each person puts forward a “top of mind” issue for the group to offer input on such as:

  1. What should my value proposition be?
  2. What makes me different from the numerous other consultants in my space?
  3. How can I better take advantage of the intellectual property I am developing?
  4. How can I better focus on client opportunities rather than client problems?

The meeting produced powerful results for each of us. Why was that?

Finding Common Ground

First, we all had a common basis for conversation because everyone present was a mentee of Dr. Weiss or one of his Master Mentors. He teaches an approach to consulting that has been developed over many years, espousing development of intellectual property, thought leadership and value based fees. Everyone had this basis for their input to the conversation.

Trust

Second, there was inherent trust in the group. We are all professionals who are used to getting input, tough as it might be. The Alan Weiss community has a reputation for being direct and does not beat around the bush. Members will call each other aggressively on issues of growth, prosperity, and even religion, family and other topics. Since it is all in the interest of personal and professional growth, the members are used to and expect a high level of input. There is little or no competition as the foundation is based on a high level of competence and value provided. Thus, trust, even with new people in the group, is immediate and deep.

A Common Purpose

Third, everyone demonstrated active participation with strong give and take. Each person presented their issue and then received ideas and feedback from the group. We call this the “hot seat” for obvious reasons. The quality of the input was really extraordinary, and would not have been possible without common ground, trust, and a shared purpose for the meeting.

© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved