Reality Check – –
Have You Out-Innovated Your Customers?

Innovation is a critical survival technique. New strategies, tools, products, technologies are fun to grab hold of. But have you left anyone behind? Customers perhaps? When you’re moving at the speed of light it’s easy to think those who don’t keep up just don’t get ‘it.’ Word processing software is so productive, why do they even make pencils anymore? (We still use about 100 million a year.) Email is fabulous, why phone? (Oops, showing my age. Substitute Twitter) Online listings are always up to date. Why do 19 billion paper catalogs keep showing up in my mailbox? (At least it feels like my mailbox.) Innovation Reality Check. If you are in a dynamic product development environment your eyes might be so focused on the future that you miss opportunities in maturing markets simply because it seems passe’. (Buggy whips anyone?)

Are You Managing From The Monkey Bridge?

Can you answer yes to any of the following questions? 1.  Does your company tends to write a plan every year but mostly it is put in a binder to gather dust?  Maybe you don’t even do planning because “what’s the point?” 2.  Do you spend too much of your time fighting fires, eliminating emergencies and chasing “what if’s”? 3.  Can you quickly explain your current business strategy and how it fits with your company’s vision?  Your 3-yr strategy?  Your marketplace position? 4.  Can you show your current program performance measures and make the appropriate mid-stream corrections? 5.  Do you have to go through more than one layer of management to get a decision made about any program – even one that has already been given a green light? 6.  How many times each year do you have to justify your budget? More than during the annual budgeting process?  Do … Continue reading

No No No

Methods of saying ‘no’ to your boss or co-worker — Business Fables “Learn the Art of Saying No.” provides ten. ‘No’ seems to be the most difficult word to use in a business relationship, maybe any relationship. ‘No’ carries with it disappointment from every angle. The receiver didn’t get what they wanted, the giver couldn’t make the receiver happy….probably the only thing worse than saying no is saying yes when you shouldn’t. For example: “Yes, we’ll do that.” — but you don’t. “Sure, I’ll rush that.” — but now ten other folks get their stuff late. “I would love to speak at your meeting.” — but you wouldn’t and your attitude shows. “Lets move forward on all these projects.” — and each one gets too little funding to be done well. “We’ll add that feature right now.” — even though it adds more complexity than benefit and destroys lead times. ‘No’ is … Continue reading

How To Add Thinking Time

I am on a soap box these days about the effect of no thinking time. So today I come to you with a simple way to add more time into your day: Make all 1 hour meeting 40 minutes. Make all 30 minute meeting stand-up. If you do this (at least in the meetings you have control over!) you will buy yourself at least a few extra chunks of time you can set aside for thinking. Shut your door, turn off your phone, send your computer to sleep and that’s it…contemplate a problem, noodle over the future, consider the consequences, ruminate over a decision. I double dare you to try this…You and your business will be better off because of it.