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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February 26, 2016

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!

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.

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.

June 16, 2014

What’s new at MLP

As a few of you know, for the last 3.5 months and through June, I have been the interim President & CEO of Swiss Tech LLC (ST) in Delevan, Wisconsin.

Thus, I have renewed empathy for all the things you do as a Profit Loss Manager of your company. It has been 6 years since I left Symmetry – doesn’t seem like that long, but I had forgotten all the little issues that seem to spiral out of control and become huge. We at ST had a less than stellar year last year. But things are slowly turning into a very good 3 months of the last 4. And we are a little ahead of plan year-to-date. We have a very good team of people and hopefully we can keep them all happy. When you are working mandatory 55 hours a week, people get edgy.

I would love to tell you about all the changes we have made to improve the financial performance. There have been a lot; Quoting Accuracy, Lead Times and Load Reports Accuracy, Off-loading the Herby (Eli Goldratt constraint), as well as Hiring and Retaining skills. It has all been challenging and fun. Which brings me back to my point of empathy. I have a improved understanding for the things you do every day! And I have a renewed tool kit of things tried and failed / succeeded.

I should be back on track to be “calling on you” soon. End of June or early July, right after my huge “Honey Do” list and a few miles of bicycling to catch up on.

Email me if you want to know what worked. I’d love to hear from you!

Core Values

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Personal Philosophy — Alec @ 5:24 pm

Eagle Technologies, a friend of mine’s company, in Bridgman, Michigan has the company core values posted inside his lobby. They are:

1.      Must be trustworthy

2.      Have a strong work ethic

3.      Have an unselfish attitude

4.      Willing to give Equal and Mutual Respect

5.      Willing to take Ownership and be Held Accountable

6.      Willing to Strive Together Towards a Common Goal

“Possessing these qualities will result in ensuring the success of our company, customers, teams and people”

January 29, 2014

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Filed under: Motivation,Personal Philosophy,Services — Alec @ 12:58 am

Just what does DMAIC mean? Define, Measure, Analyze, Implement, Control

But what does that REALLY mean? It means you use a process to get it done, solve the problem, improve the process quickly.

A preacher was moving his desk from one office to another by himself. It was of those big old oak desks that do not move easily. He was pushing and pulling, breaking a sweat. The move was going really slowly. His 4-year old son was watching and then he ask if he could help. His dad said, “Sure!” So they both put a shoulder to the desk, grunted, groaned and had very little impact. Finally the 4-year old said, “Just move out of my way and let me do this!” Makes you wonder where he heard that.

There is some truth to the thought “Just get out of the way!” Except, then you have a new problem because no one else learns anything. And worse, sometimes we still don’t get the project done because sometimes we don’t address the root cause.

We think we can do it quicker and better with brute force. But we can’t. Work smarter NOT harder! With a team of people, working smarter, the task is easier and results better. With a little knowledge, a good team, some perseverance, control, focus, and the consideration of stakeholders you can accomplish huge things!

I always recommend you spend 40% of your time defining the problem so you make sure to fix the problem you really want to fix. I also highly recommend you go directly to the location of the problem. Where you go, where you look, how you look, will determine your success. You must go to the root of the issue to fully define the problem. If you go daily to the Mill Department and spend all your time talking to Mill employees…you will have a hard time improving the Lathe Department.

Do yourself a favor and don’t get out of the way. Think smarter; get a team to move the desk.

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