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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December 19, 2012

Time is on Your Side!

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 12:51 pm

Over the last 4 years, we have done 67 People or Process events and overwhelmingly the biggest issue is Time Management.

In my last blog I recalled the summers on the farm when I would avoid the chore of cleaning the manure out of the calf stalls. And how finally my dad said, “You always have time to do what you really want to do”. So how do we balance what we need to do with what we want to do?

Years later when I became a manufacturing engineer at Chevy, the folks on the floor asked me to complete 10 – 20 tasks a day. At first I tried to remember them all and would work on the hottest, or the highest priority item. In weeks I realized there were far too many to remember, so I started a list. Very soon I had hundreds of action items on my list. I tried to think about how to prioritize…obviously, those items my boss asked me to do were the hottest. But, I had hundreds of others things to do and some of them felt like cleaning manure…

I tried prioritizing the list based on consequences and rewards ie. Safety, Scrap, Machine Uptime, etc.  I assigned a number to each action item. This was a huge calculation mess (pre-Excel).

A senior engineer setting next to me shared with me his method for prioritizing. He had categories for all his tasks. There were the A Boss items, the D drawer items (been asked for once), the C drawer items (asked for twice) and the B drawer items (asked for three times). Every month he would throw away the D drawer and move the C drawer down to D, etc.

For years I was a big believer in the A, B, C and D drawer process with the Boss items as a priority. The A items went on my daily things to do list – my Things To Do (TTD) list was born!

Now that I have my own business I realize that I make up the Boss list. And I realize that we should be the Boss of our own list. Now I start my list with a mixture of my affirmations or 20-year goals and link my TTD to these affirmations and goals. I find the time to do what I need to and what I want to do. We have developed some wonderful Time Management tools that we not only use but also would be glad to share with you. If crossing those A items off the list is a problem, call us, we’ve got time to help you manage yours!

December 12, 2012

Time Management 101

Filed under: Personal Philosophy,Professional Development,Services — Tags: — Alec @ 12:05 pm

Everyone talks about “Time Management”. Everyone says they are doing “IT” and that they are good at it. But few people actually manage their time wisely. My father used to give me a daily list of tasks to do when he would leave the farm every morning. At the end of the day he would ask me for a status report or a brief run down of what I had done. Usually, I completed 50% – 75% of the tasks. I would always say I did not have time. His response was almost always the same. “You have all the time there is!” or “You always make time to do what you really want to do!” These statements are completely true. I did not want to clean the manure out of the calves’ stalls…and strangely, it was always last on that list.

So, how do you manage your time wisely? Big picture, it really comes down identifying your 5+ year goals, maybe 10 and 20-year goals, and then focusing all your time and energy on the actions and tasks that move you in that direction. Manure was NOT in my 5-year plan. Daily, we need to implement small Time Management techniques to continuously move in the right direction. It must become part of your routine, feel like second nature or develop into a daily habit.

Start big by write your goals or affirmations. Write them out every day on your planner or “Things To Do” (TTD) list. Underneath those big goals, jot down all the things you need to work on for the day, with the priorities at the top of the list, and work your way through each task. Having everything written out is a way of burning these goals and tasks into our subconscious in a way electronic task lists do not. I like to update my TTD list the last thing of the day. It tells me where I need to start the next day and it gives me a sense of accomplishment; at least I got something completed!

December 5, 2012

Sales : Today’s Rule of 20

Filed under: Recommended Reading,Sales,Services — Alec @ 1:10 pm

In the 70’s or 80’s when I was working for the Automotive Industry I read a book by Joe Girard “How to Sell Anything to Anybody”. It was a fun read like the OG Mandino books, but it was a primer for how to sell. The part that sticks with me the most is when the author discusses the Rule of 20.

It goes something like this:

You have 20 close friends and they have 20 close friends. If something really good or bad happens to you, you will tell your 20 close friends and they in turn will tell their 20 close friends. Translated, if you do an outstanding job of selling and servicing a customer’s car, they will tell 20 other people. If you do a really poor job, they will tell 20 other people.

Researchers at GE have confirmed this by doing studies showing people that are really happy or unhappy, and they always tell others. People that are lukewarm to something or feel that something was mediocre don’t really tell anyone. They just never come back, they do not become a return client and they don’t generate referrals for you.

Customer Service is no longer the buzzword. Today’s “it” word is Customer Loyalty. In order for your customers to be loyal, you must provide outstanding service and show loyalty to your customers.

The Internet and constantly improving technology have made Customer Loyalty even MORE relevant. We have more than 20 close friends, usually hundreds on facebook and or LinkedIn. We tweet; or at least 500 million people do. Back in the day, the rule of 20 meant you had 400 potential new customers. Now you have thousands of new potential customers. Customer Loyalty is a culture and a mindset. And it takes time to build. Start today!

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