Food for Thought "If you have the right people, with good, basic values and good work ethic, you can have a tremendous journey."

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Food for Thought 2 "The follow-up in my Food for Thought series, with more focus on my experiences with Six Sigma and Kaizen."

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March 25, 2016

“George Washington” by James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 9:59 am

I just finished a great book that I bought at the Eastpoint, Florida Library for $1.  

1.   He believed that “human rationality – tempered by practical experience — underlay the entire America political experiment…”

2.   “Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people”

3.   He was a strict constitutionalist, and that may have bogged down his Presidency…. He was wary of assuming too much power …

4.   He felt that the public was often ill informed and thus had misguided opinions. 

5.    In the 1790’s they had clean water and clean air issues??

6.   In July 1795 ,  in his 7th year, he stated “There is but one straight course, and that is to seek true and pursue it steadily”


Isn’t interesting how much of what he said parallels what is happening today in the world and in the US


February 26, 2016

The Assumption of Accuracy : Statistics and Social Media

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 4:33 pm


Of course you don’t and you should not. I don’t believe yours either; I don’t believe anybody has a high degree of accuracy.

Having 45 credits of Calculus, I can prove 1 equals zero. Having a masters in Statistics and also in teaching Statistics for the last 45 years, I know that ALL data is just the opinion of the person that collected the data. And maybe not even an accurate opinion.

You ask me then “Why do I bother to post data?” Because everyone else is posting data with the assumption that it is accurate. Neither are accurate. If my data contradicts your data, you may begin to question all data and sources.

Example, unemployment is a totally misleading number. Last time I checked it was the number of people between 18 and 55 that are on unemployment. In other words, that number is divided by the number of people collecting full time pay checks. So, if you have run out of unemployment and stopped looking for a job, you are not counted. If you are getting paid cash, you are not counted. If you are a small business owner and not getting a regular check, you are not counted. Not working full time? Not fully counted. If over 55 or under 18? Not counted. Illegal? Not counted. A lot of categories remain uncounted.   

Political polls are just as inaccurate. They are based on a series of assumptions:

  1. People will give you an honest answer about who they support
  2. That the person conduction the poll asks unbiased questions
  3. The person polled is a registered, potential voter
  4. That the poll is truly a random poll — it is very difficult to really randomly poll the population!

The best any poll or chart might show with a certain degree of confidence (i.e. 90%, based on how the data was collected) is that this is our trend at this specific time. And if the poll is not random? The data is totally inaccurate. And tomorrow or yesterday? The data collected could be totally different. 

So…I don’t believe your data, and I trust, you do not believe mine.

Please Note: I do not watch Fox or any TV news channel except CNBC Squawk Box. The only newspaper I read is the WSJ.  

Staying Positive on Social Media

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Personal Philosophy — Alec @ 4:17 pm

The world of Social Media has changed our world and not necessarily for the better! We say things on Facebook we would never say to a friend’s face.

If I wrote a piece about Guns, Abortion, Immigration or Donald Trump…many, many of you would make comments both positive or negative. I can’t even begin to speculate who would comment and I won’t. Basically, I do not plan any comments on above topics. 

What I do want to talk about is the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many organized churches over the last 2000 years have stated and taken actions in the name of Jesus, that was the last thing Jesus was trying to teach. There are many very good church leaders and very good organized individual churches, but there are also many that have adopted their own agenda.

Remember — at least as I remember — the teachings of Jesus never espoused war, discrimination, killing, etc.  

My point is to try to keep your posts focused and not so negative!

June 9, 2015

Law of the Garbage Truck

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Personal Philosophy — Alec @ 3:12 pm

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!

The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us! My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’ He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so … Love the people who treat you right.

Pray for the ones who don’t. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a garbage-free day!


June 3, 2015

Personal Assessments & Personal Development

Filed under: Personal Philosophy,Professional Development,Services — Alec @ 7:29 pm

McPherson Lean Partners has completed over 720 personal assessments during the last 7 years. If you want quick and lasting results that help each individual employee, this is one of the best tools. They really help people introspectively progress as well as work better in a team. We have used them and seen improvement for conflict management, team building, and in our one-on-one coaching.

There are several types of assessments. You probably know them as DISC or Myers Briggs. Assessments usually fall into one of 4 areas:

  1. How you act 
  2. How you think
  3. Why you think and act that way
  4. Emotional stability

Some people use them to hire and fire, but I prefer to use assessment tools for development. 

Call us, we would love to give you and your significant other a free assessment. You may be surprised how much you can learn about them from a personal assessment test!



Getting Done the To Do’s

What would you do if you had 1 hour more a day? Where would you spend it?

We all talk about time management, but few of us do anything about it. I recently was a guest at talk by my good friend Arnie Rintzler and these are my notes:

The formula for well being — mentally and physically — is time management. Life is not a spectator sport, so learning to manage your time so you can do what you really want to do, is extremely valuable.  

The people we admire and trust the most are usually those who keep their word and promises on time. You must give your word, and recognize that trust is the highest praise. Many of us are so poor at time management that we don’t trust ourselves to give our word i.e. we get done what we focus on in our time calendar.  

There are 168 hours in a week. We sleep maybe 56 hours, work 55 hours, eat 14 hours, travel 14 hours, and that leaves 30 + hours to get other things done. If we prioritize and focus we can accomplish great things!

MLP can help you accomplish your life goals. Here are a couple ways to get you started:

  1. Hint: Don’t put C items on your Daily Things to Do list or on your calendar.  
  2. Hint: If I gave you $86,400 dollars every day and you had to spend it — no carry over — how would you spend it? You have 86,400 seconds every day, spend it equally wisely!

The Business Benefits of a Small Group

Filed under: Professional Development,Services — Alec @ 7:03 pm

Why use a small group in business? Small groups create space and opportunity to share ideas, to talk and listen, to question and practice. They provide an avenue to build teamwork. Small groups can make a huge difference in the success of a business or organization.

Putting 6 to 10 people with a common focus or goal together can encourage and motivate the participants to a higher level. When we see others on our team who are achieving new levels of success, it inspires us and makes us feel rewarded for our small role in that success.

Small groups help us be accountable because our team members are acting both as a safety net and as coaches/mentors.

Many of McPherson Lean Partners classes are small group sessions. We solve more that your problem, we help you build a team culture for ongoing growth and happy employees.

December 17, 2014

Success : What does it look like? And how will you achieve it?

What does Success look like? For you personally and in your business?

The end of the year is a great time to reflect, and to think about the plan for next year. In our Kaizen events we always suggest that we spend 40% of the time defining the problem. Thus, this time of year we certainly must finish strong, but also make time for planning the next year. Good planning starts with the question “What do you want for next year?”

Suggested step number 1 is “What do you want the end of year next year to look like?” Take into consideration how many new customers, how many existing customers, how many fired customers, total volume, profit, cash flow, employees, equipment, productivity, and the list goes on! Don’t forget to also envision what you want your personal life to look like: health, mental, family, financial, spiritual, social, etc..

Karen and I have been working on our own Plans for 2015. For our business, we have enough statistics to project how many events, how many sales meetings, and even how many sales calls we need to achieve specific desired revenue. We set up a simple metric chart to track key indicators that help us predict and plan for the future.

I suggest that after you have identified what success will look like, you identify key actions required by you and your employees to make these goals happen. You should also establish how you would measure and track these actions.

We know that success businesses center around People, Planning and Processes. Try to include these three areas in your success and key actions model.

A Test To Help Weigh The Risks

Filed under: Leadership Skills,Motivation,Professional Development — Alec @ 3:42 pm

Every day — in life and business — is a test. And if you like tests as much as I do, you are in luck!

The tests come in many forms, usually: Think, Produce, Value

We have to Produce, but we also must Think and plan some depending on the complexity, value and risk associated with the work to be accomplished.

I am a very big risk taker, but I always want to take into account and estimate the cost or severity of failure. I always want to evaluate the ability to reverse my actions. In other words, it is an easy and inexpensive risk to test a new flavor of tea, but very expensive and hard to reverse risk to buy a new convertible on a whim.

It is essential to understand the impact on the company, boss, employees and goals when considering high value and high severity actions. Corrections are easy on a wrong flavored cup of tea, but not so easy on a $250,000 machine that proves wrong.

And finally, the real score keeper is the customer. How will they accept and evaluate the risks you take and their inevitable success or failure?

In your Plan for 2015 you have already thought about what next year should look like. Now you need to analyze the details and Think:

1. What do you really want to or need to accomplish?
2. What risks are you willing to take? What is the Value of these risks?

Sometimes it takes a little nudge to stop, wake up, and think about your 5-year plan and make sure your 1-year plan fits with the bigger picture.

So, do a little mental reboot, nudge your risk-taking dream machine, and don’t be afraid to think about what you REALLY want.

Need help with your reboot? Call us! We love dreaming about what your company could be. We will help you pass your next big test.

December 9, 2014

The Value of Quality

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Personal Philosophy — Alec @ 3:57 pm

When we used to travel to Cozumel, Mexico, there were two little stores next to Mescilitos Bar on the NE corner of the island. One store advertised “Cheaper than Walmart”. The other advertised “Almost Free”. They both sold T-shirts, knick knacks and souvenirs very cheaply.

There was a book written years ago by Phillip Crosby called Quality is Free. His point was not that scrap was free, but rather whatever you invest, will return to you in multiples.

A friend of mine recently said to me like, “Wouldn’t you like something free?” or “Wouldn’t you like it tax free?”

The point is that nothing is actually free, or very few things in the business world are. The Mexican t-shirts were 3 for $10, which is indeed inexpensive but not free. Quality is not free, it requires time and energy and sometimes a capital investment to get the returns.

And when something is tax free, there are always strings attached.

I have tried giving away free assessments and even free training sessions to non-profits. I find they are poorly received. Maybe it’s me? I like to think I put the same energy in free sessions, but I believe my customers value the assessments and training at about the same level that they pay for them. I find attendance is always lower. The more I charge and the closer to the payer, the better the attendance is and the better the participation.

I received a recommendation a few days ago, and I started to protest. The person said to me, “Accept gifts!” Yet it is so difficult to accept something that is unearned and sometimes undeserved.

When selling to your customers we must show them the value for the price, and we should avoid lowering it. You get what you pay for. Of the 55 Kaizen classes we have conducted, our customers have seen a payback of 4 months in cash and 3000% in fully burdened costs. Maybe we need to raise our prices?

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