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

STOP, STOP, PLEASE STOP SAYING I DON’T BELIEVE YOUR SOURCE!

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!

 

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.

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?

To Do Lists : What Are You Trying To Accomplish?

I thought about this morning as I was driving back from a networking meeting with a long-time friend. I was thinking of all the things on my To Do list today, and that I could cross off this networking meeting, but that I also needed to add a couple actions that he suggested.

My daily Things To Do (TTD) list is broken down very clearly into personal and business tasks. I even circle the ones that I feel I MUST do today and I write my affirmations at the top of the page. However — and this is a hefty observation — we must never forget one thing when looking at our to do lists:

Don’t confuse tasks and affirmations with goals.

Goals are the real objective; what do you really want to accomplish? These tasks and affirmations are just great tools to speeding up the process and staying focused. Affirmations give you the power of positive thinking, but they do not accomplish the goal. Tasks may move you toward the goal if you have tasks related to the path. We must do the tasks, we must have affirmations, but we must keep in mind:

Crossing off completed tasks on your To Do list is not your goal.

Kaizen Listening : Using Your Ears and Eyes

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Leadership Skills — Alec @ 3:47 pm

Nonverbal communication is probably the single most powerful form of communication and the least recognized. After leading numerous Kaizen events and People Leadership Seminars, I have realized that you hear just as much with your eyes as you do with your ears.

I am sure teachers have known this little fact for years. They can easily tell what students are listening, who wants to ask a question and even more so, who doesn’t want to be called on. Small observations will quickly tell you who is listening, who is bored and who is daydreaming. By taking notice of body language, facial expressions, hand gestures and eye movements you can see the thoughts of those around you almost as obviously as you can by the tone or volume of someone’s speech. Sometimes you even learn more!

As I facilitate classes and try to engage people in participation, I can tell who has a question or who does not understand, but would like to (most of the time). Not everyone feels comfortable speaking in front of groups, let alone speaking their mind in mixed company at work. By utilizing subtle cues in body language and listening to each other, we can better communicate through issues in the workplace, find effective ways to complete projects and get everyone on the team to participate.

Simple Steps To Help You Win Big

1. If you want to be a winner, you must try.

2. If you don’t try, the probability of success approaches zero.

3. If you add a goal, and try, are tenacious and persistent, the probability of success approaches 40%.

4. And if you add that you tell someone else your goal and they share the value of the idea, the probability of success approaches more than 50%.

5. If you use the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) model to accomplish your goal to all the above, the probability of success is 60% or greater.

6. If you use Value Stream Map (VSM) and Variation Reduction (VR) to select that goal, the results will fall to the bottom line.

You can’t be a winner just once and be successful. You must repeat this process every day on every significant problem and opportunity. So, if you are consistent and do steps 1-6 every day, the process will become a habit, and you will be a big winner.

November 25, 2014

Food For Thought 2: Kaizen and 6 Sigma – now available for purchase

MLP_FoodForThoughtBookTwo_FINALepubCoverMy second book is available for purchase!

The follow-up in my Food for Thought series, with more focus on my experiences with Six Sigma and Kaizen. But don’t worry, it’s not just a book about the technical side of Lean Manufacturing Engineering, there are still plenty of anecdotes, tips and observations about People, Leadership, and Motivation from my personal and professional life. I will touch on Sales, Listening and Time Management tips that I not only preach but also practice.Finding your passion is only part of the journey, the rest is how you get there!

Buy it in paperback here  or if you prefer an electronic version, get it on e-book here!

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