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Friday, February 26, 2010

Agile Marketing – Maybe?

Software development teams have been using Agile Project Management for several years now; this process has assisted them in their planning, execution, and feedback cycles. Could your marketing learn from them? Answer these questions:

  • Is your marketing become more complex?
  • Have you added multiple new product lines?
  • Have you added different channels of distribution?
  • Have you added additional pricing structures?
  • Do you multiple external and internal stakeholders with competing priorities?
  • Do you need to have better communication?

Your marketing team may have a much more solid plan of attack for its work, and will be able to control their marketing agenda, getting input and feedback from stakeholders to help shape it along the way. Cross-group communication and transparency will increase and as a result productivity should rise and disgruntlement decrease!  The above material was derived from an article by Matt Blumberg of Return Path, Inc. and was published on the OnlyOnceBlog. 

How would Agile Marketing work?

  • Plan your marketing in releases,
  • Each release has 1-2 core themes
  • Planning session up front with the powers to be.
  • Each release has several iterations where corrections are completed
  • Track team members utilization on projects
  • Daily stand-up to review progress and identify roadblocks.
  • Build slack in the system that can handle a couple of last-minute opportunities

Agility I have been implementing and using the agile process recently and have started to see positive results. What I like is of course, the “agility” of the process especially with long term projects. We are able to schedule iterations and planning sessions and develop future stories quickly! It also has reduced the ownership concept into more of a team function versus an individual and solved a few of these process. The story is still out on plus 90 day projects but I have already seen benefits. Whether they are sustaining and prove to be productive we will have to wait. Better yet, iterate one more time to make it better from what we have learned!!

Related Posts:

Marketing is about Content and Circulation not Cute and Clever

Start your Marketing with a User Story

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Velocity = Speed = Marketing Success?

Look up velocity in Wikpedia,  the free dictionary.

Velocity is a quantity in physics which is related to speed. The word may also refer to:

In physics, velocity is the rate of change of position.

It is a vector physical quantity; both speed and direction are required to define it. In the SI (metric) system, it is measured in meters per second: (m/s) or ms−1. The scalar absolute value (magnitude) of \bar{\mathbf{v}} = \frac{\Delta 
\mathbf{x}}{\Delta t}.velocity is speed. For example, "5 meters per second" is a scalar and not a vector, whereas "5 meters per second east" is a vector. The average velocity v of an object moving through a displacementx) during a time interval (Δt) is described by the formula:The rate of change of velocity is acceleration – how an object's speed or direction changes over time, and how it is changing at a particular point in time.

From the VersionOne Whitepaper The Agile Project Manager By: Mike Cottmeyer:

In Agile, velocity is measured by the time interval and represents the throughput of the team or the rate at which the backlog can be completed. Ideal velocity describes the rate at which the team must complete features to deliver the project within the time and cost constraints determined by the project stakeholders. Actual velocity is determined by measuring the true throughput of the team during each time interval. The difference between the ideal velocity and the measured velocity is a primary indicator of how well the project is progressing relative to the expectations of the business. The closer the measured velocity is to the ideal velocity, the more likely the project will deliver the entire backlog within the time allowed.

Teams with predictable velocity can reasonably calculate when they will fully deliver the project backlog. If time and cost are fixed constraints, they can determine what features can be delivered within those constraints. Teams with unstable velocities are not predictable and typically result in varying project outcomes. Measuring team velocity over time allows the Project Manager to understand how likely various project outcomes might be to occur.

In the Agile Product Marketing concepts that I have evaluated it seems to me that Velocity is the single most important way to measure your marketing and sales efforts. So if that is the case, I may have to start at the beginning.

The instant velocity vector v of an object that has positions x(t) at time t and x(t + Δt) at time t + Δt, can be computed as the derivative of position:

\mathbf{v} = \lim_{\Delta t \to 
0}{{\mathbf{x}(t+\Delta t)-\mathbf{x}(t)} \over \Delta 
t}={\mathrm{d}\mathbf{x} \over \mathrm{d}t}.

I have defined velocity as well as I can without discussing marketing. Do you think velocity can be the key ingredient to Marketing success?

Related Blog Posts: Throughput Search on Business901 Blog

P.S. I added the last entry in the Wikpedia list!

A Lean Expert’s Guide to Blogging and Twitter

A few months ago, I did a Podcast with Mark Graban, Senior Fellow at the Lean Enterprise Institute. I enjoyed talking to Mark and at the end of the Podcast; we went off the subject matter and started a discussion on social media. The tape was running and we recorded some additional thoughts on social media.  I respect Mark’s work a great deal. He has created a very loyal following, not only on his blog but also on Twitter. I encourage others to follow and watch how he engages his audience. If you would like to follow Mark, he can be found at or on Twitter: @leanblog.mark_graban_2008

I have to admit that I must be a great judge of talent or maybe this podcast pushed Mark over the edge of the other competitors. Ha! Mark won the prestigious iSixSigma  2009 MVP Awards for Best Continuous Process Improvement Tweeter at the iSixSigma Live Conference this year. This podcast was taped in July, 2009 but the information is still solid and even more relevant today.  Listen to Mark’s thoughts on Blogging and Tweeting as he surpasses 2,000 “Engaged” followers, this month. 

P.S. Don’t miss the the Strategy Deployment interactive Video Event from Healthcare Value Leaders and the Lean Enterprise Institute. Through this video experience, you will see ThedaCare's leading lean practices at their "gemba" and you will interact with John Toussaint, M.D., CEO Emeritus of ThedaCare and CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, a leading figure in the development of the ThedaCare Improvement System.

An Interactive Video Event from Healthcare Value Leaders
February 24, 2010 11:00 AM EST
View the 3-minute preview

Mark is also the author of Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction

Friday, February 19, 2010

Using Kanban in Marketing?

Kanban is any signaling device that gives authorization for a supplying process to know what to produce, or for a material handler to know what items to replenish. For example: a physical paper card placed in a container of parts. When stored items are actually used, the Kanban card gets "freed" (perhaps it was in the bottom of the container), and gets put back into a Kanban stand where the Kanban "requests" are fulfilled. Kanban

Kanban is a way of limiting work in process and the amount of new work that is introduced into the process. As a result, work would be pulled from the previous stage as work is completed and levels demand. It emphasizes throughput rather than numbers. If you have read my previous posts, you would recognize the emphasis I put on throughput and the need for this to be monitored in the sales and marketing process.

The Reasons for a Kanban can be summed up in these previous posts:

Improve your Marketing Cycle, Increase your Revenue : Speed is important in the buying process. Your total cycle time can be improved. However, it seldom can be done without more feedback loops in your system.  Develop process blitzes to reduce these non-value times. Go to Gemba or the customer’s place of work and find out what happens during this time. See what is stopping them from moving forward. It may be an internal constraint within their company. However, the constraint may be yours. You may not be responding to the customer’s latest needs. Your ability to focus your resources on the customer needs may provide the overall clarity he needs this to make a more rapid decision.

Improve throughput, cut your customers in half!: In a manufacturing system cutting WIP just about always will increase throughput. Why? You end up working only on what is needed and when it is needed. You also will have less waste, less material to handle and fewer mistakes. Good things happen when you are not handling excessive amount of material. In a marketing system cutting the amount of customers in half works very much the same way. You end up working on what a customer truly needs and wants. Your marketing will become more personal, more direct, and fewer mistakes.

Using the Six Sigma Tollgate in your Marketing Funnel: Have you thought of using DMAIC as a way of defining your marketing funnel? We looked at Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control and utilized these basic principles to walk a customer through the marketing funnel. In other posts, I discussed the ability to create a shorter cycle time by decreasing the non-value time in between each of these stages. One of the methods of doing this is to have a strong call to action for a prospect to move from one stage to the next. However, how do you know if a customer is ready to move from one stage to the next?

What kind of questions would you ask at a tollgate?: In a recent post, using the Six Sigma Tollgate in your Marketing Funnel I went through the concept of using a tollgate in your marketing funnel. Below is a list of questions that might help general a few ideas that you may want to consider. (Review Post)

The essential points needed in a Kanban system are:

  1. Stock points
  2. Replenishment Signal
  3. Quick Feedback
  4. Frequent Replenishment

 DMAIC Marketing

If you would consider the typical marketing cycle as a prospect moves from one stage to another, you typically imagine it as step by step process and certain events taking place within that stage. With a Kanban method or a tollgate you could have certain trigger points for each phase with that stage allowing one marketing effort to pull from the previous. The method would also limit the number of prospects within that cycle so that the proper amount could be managed or more importantly satisfied! Or, you could have an unlimited supply of leads flowing into each stage? You probably wish you had the latter. However, which would prove more effective?

Photo Courtesy of Systems2win.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Simple Exercise to Differentiate Yourself

Everyone tells you to differentiate but are you comfortable that you are different enough. A tool that I use to make a strong impact on a client is one that is from the book, The Chasm Companion: A Field Guide to Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado (Revised).  Here is how you complete it:


The benefit your service/product is to the user:
    A. Provide Modest Enhancements
    B. Add substantial value
    C. Gives dramatic productivity gains.
    D. Changes the competitive field

The pain of obtaining the benefit to the user:
    4. Significant reengineering, new systems 
    3. Major changes to existing systems 
    2. Modest changes to existing systems 
    1. Integrates with existing systems

When completing this of course the more opinion and arguments the better. You will have to create a consensus, however and a decision reached. Sometimes positioning the competitor’s products/service around yours can assist. Are more changes required, do they add less or more value? If you end up at square A4, no Gain with a lot of pain, you can probably throw the product/service away. It simply will not work. In fact A2 and A3 should probably cause the same reaction. The truth to the matter is that unless you are doing a startup, you probably end up in the twilight zone. The problem being in the twilight zone, according to author Geoffrey Moore is that these offerings will cause little market movement. In other words, they are not COMPELLING. The other areas follow this pattern:   

  • D4, you are in an early market category.
  • D2/D3 is about market segmentation and making the pain a favorable trade-off to that group.
  • C1/D1 means that your product can move to widespread adoption and you are ready for that transition.
  • A1, B1 is being accepted in your target market and an easy solution. 

This description is a take-off from the book but to fully understand you have to read the Crossing the Chasmclip_image001. It is a must read and still today it is one of most cited books in the innovation area. I have bought the book around 5 times. I keep giving it away.

However, the point to this entire exercise for me is differentiation relative to the gain and pain of the customer. It is an exercise that enables you to look at your product/service more objectively from your customer’s eyes. Are you really that different if all you are doing is complicating their life without making a significant gain? Another item it addresses is your market segmentation. Are you targeting a customer that your product/service causes little pain? If you are in the twilight zone, where are you headed? What will it take to move you to the outer perimeter? It is a simple answer make yourself more valuable by making the gain greater or the pain less!

Related Posts:

Evaluating your Marketing Funnel, Only Seven Levers matter

Lean Marketing, The Toyota Way

The Marketing Funnel using Six Sigma DMAIC – Define stage

Your first Step in Achieving Expert Status

In every industry, there's a powerbroker in the background an advisor who is known to just a handful of people, but who helps build empires for the top "stars" who are household names. 


I discovered such an advisor. Her name is Janet Switzer -- and for the last 16 years she's been quietly creating empire-building campaigns, products, promotions, deals and distribution for many of the biggest celebrity experts you've heard of. Jack Canfield...Chicken Soup for the Soul...David Bach...Jay Abraham...Mark Victor Hansen...Les Brown...Yanik Silver... All these stars have been her high profile clients.

I have been using Janet’s system and found it to be the quickest way to gain expert status. She has an unprecedented 21-day program to guide through each of the steps it takes to build your own empire around your area of expertise is unlike anything I've seen -- ever.

You can experience the same advice and expertise Janet’s famous clients enjoy, when you participate in this FREE 21-Day Client Acceleration Course.  The 21-Day Client Acceleration Course is a strategies, marketing campaigns, documents, product creation techniques and other action items that have transformed the careers of clients that routinely pay this information and advice. At first I was a little perturbed, I paid for it!

This is the outline, I use in developing your Expert Status. The 21-day Client Acceleration is simply a great place to start and is actually serves as a great primer for our Achieving Expert Status program.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lean Starter Toolkit released by Systems2win

Systems2win a supplier of Excel Templates for Lean Kaizen Continuous improvement tools has introduced the Lean Starter Toolkit that includes a selection of downloadable templates, videos and instructions. This is a free downloadable trial package that covers 5S, A3, Kaizen, Project Management, Flowcharts, Six Sigma, Value Stream Mapping, Standard Work and Lean Training. This offering is part of the larger series of templates and visuals offered by Systems2win and our relevant to any type of organization pursuing a continuous improvement effort.

Lean Trial Toolkit

The overall goal of the Lean Starter Toolkit is to educate how lean tools and concepts can be adapted and used in the user’s environment. Users will self-validate their knowledge, raise awareness on which and how the tools are utilized, and be introduced to Lean and other continuous improvement tools. There are eleven different categories that your Lean journey takes from an Excel Starting page to customization. These categories are:
1. Get Started
2. 5S
3. A3
4. Kaizen
5. Project
6. Flowcharts
7. 6Sigma
8. Value Stream Mapping
9. Standard Work
10. Lean Training
11. Customize

Dean Ziegler, founder of Systems2win says, “If you are new to Excel or the Tools of Lean, Systems2win offers one of the largest collections of on-line training resources free during your trial period. This is the strength behind our product offerings and there is even built in support features each and every time you open a document. So don’t hesitate, use the training if nothing else to start or expand your Lean Journey.”

“We want you to know that many of our Systems2win templates are just plain simple. However these template create add tremendous value in our product offering but they were just so simple that we hesitated giving them away as a trial. You may have created a small portion of these already and know the amount of time it takes to do this. The advantage of having a single flexible model will create clarity for your staff and better execution. Utilizing these templates will ensure that you spend your time on the application versus creating or updating a document. Well, we are giving a few away and review the list about, it is only 20% of our total package. If you would like, you can test drive the whole package for 30 days,” added Ziegler.

This is part of a News Release that I have just completed for Systems2win so it is promotional but the Trial offer is pretty cool just if you just choose to use it for 30 days to get a feel for Lean Tools and how to use them. By the way, I use this product everyday!  

Start your Marketing with a User Story

One of the interesting things about Agile Project Management is that you start with creating a user story. In the marketing process, how many times do you start with a customer/prospect telling the marketing department how they use or will use the product or service? I know we interview people or perform won/loss analysis, but I wanted to go an additional step. What if we would paint the picture of how a user will interpret this marketing campaign or for that matter this blog, advertisement, whitepaper, etc? If we would take the time to determine that reaction, would we not create a better product? Disney Story

The master of telling the story is of course Disney and who better to help than the mouse himself.

Mickey's 10 Commandments:

  1. Know your audience: Before creating a setting, obtain a firm understanding of who will be using it.
  2. Where your guest shoes: That is, never forget the human factor. Evaluate your setting from the customer's perspective by experiencing it as a customer.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas: Think of a setting as a story and tell that story is sequenced, organized way. Build the same order and logic into the design of customer involvement.
  4. Create a weenie: Borrowed from the slang of the silent film business, a weenie was what Walt Disney called a visual magnet. It means a visual landmark is used to orientate and attract customers.
  5. Communicate with visual learners to: Language is not always composed of words. Use the common languages of color, shape, and form to communicate through setting.
  6. Avoid-overload - create turn-ons: Do not bombard customers with data. Let them choose the information they want when they want it.
  7. Tell one story at a time: Mixing multiple stories in a single setting is confusing. Create one setting for each big idea.
  8. Avoid contradictions; maintain identity: Every detail of every setting should support and further your organizational identity and mission.
  9. For every ounce of treatment provided a ton of treat: Give your customers the highest value by building an interactive setting that gives them the opportunity to exercise all their senses.
  10. Keep it up: Never get complacent and always maintain your setting.

After applying these ten commandments, keep telling the story over and over again. Are you staying on track?

The Ten Commandments were taken from, Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service

Related Posts:

Bringing your Storyboard Alive

Monday, February 15, 2010

Big Book of marketing from Atlas Air to Boeing

I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Bennet editor of the new book, THE BIG BOOK OF MARKETING released in January 2010 by McGraw-Hill on the Business901 Podcast. the book is based on material developed for one of Georgetown University Business School’s most popular marketing courses, THE BIG BOOK OF MARKETING is a unique and comprehensive guide to essential marketing practices from the world’s best marketers. The 86 companies represented in the book are industry leaders representing a range of goods and services, high-tech and low-tech industries, and industrial and consumer fields. Each chapter offers their real-life lessons and practical takeaways on every topic necessary for marketers to master today.Anthony Bennett

As Tony said in the podcast it is not a book filled with ideas from PHD’s. It is a book filled with authors that have CEO, V.P after their names and companies from Boeing to Atlas Air and BzzAgent to Ogilvy. What I found interesting in the book is the diversity of the content. I called it a book of short stories! Great reading, Great knowledge of information. 

Anthony G. Bennett (Washington, D.C.) has worked in marketing for over 22 years, including as an international marketing research analyst with Union Camp (now International Paper), general manager/vice president for Hunt-Marmillion Public Relations (now Ogilvy), Special Assistant promoting the first Bush administration’s National Energy Strategy, and marketing consultant to small companies and national organizations. He now teaches marketing at Georgetown University.


Related Posts:

Your first Step in Achieving Expert Status
Marketing is about Content and Circulation not Cute and Clever

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New in the Get Clients NOW Answer Center

New in the Get Clients Now Answer Center.  This is a great value. Access it 24 hours a day,  well organized and a wealth of information, especially for the Professional Service person.


Education: Your Marketing Secret Weapon - Article by Frank Traditi
Sometimes my quest for just the right information can completely consume the day. I find myself spending hours searching for the answer to a crucial question, seeking out a product to solve a business problem, or looking for an expert who can tell me what I need to know.

What's the Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing? - Article by C.J. Hayden
"How can I improve my marketing?" a student recently asked me. "I've spent hours and hours trying to get clients, and none of my efforts seem to pay off."

How do I make the right connections when networking? - Q&A by Donna Feldman
At a recent presentation on networking, we were asked this question by a graphic designer: "I'm looking to meet CEO's, CFO's or COO's, but when I'm out networking, I meet mostly middle and lower-level managers. What do I do to get to the right people?"

How Can You Sell It If They've Never Heard of It? - Article by C.J. Hayden
Selling professional services can often be a challenge because of their intangibility. When a client hires you to deliver a service such as accounting or web design, they can't see the outcome in advance. They have to trust that your work will produce a result they will like, and in most cases agree to pay you for your time regardless.

New in the Get Clients Now Answer Center

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marketing is about Content and Circulation not Cute and Clever

The overall concept of Value Stream Marketing is that you must continuously add value and create value in your marketing for your customer. For most of us, it is no longer an issue of cute and clever it is an issue of content and circulation. It goes hand and hand with the transition from Outbound to Inbound Marketing.

Outbound marketing is the old traditional style of lead generation; Advertising, Referral and Public Relations. These items are still very prominent in marketing but should be viewed from a totally different perspective. An overview of the way PR is looked at today can be found in David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly and even that book is getting somewhat dated. However, yesterday someone asked me, “Isn’t the purpose of PR about getting published?” I was somewhat shocked by that question as I have not looked at PR from that standpoint for a couple of years. I look at PR as a soft selling tool of telling my customers news about my organization. It should also provide SEO, distributed widely through other online publications and Social Media. But most of all it should have a call to action! And yes, if a publication chooses to use two lines buried with 10 other news release, maybe put a small picture of it and four months from now publish it, and I would say Thank You! It still is a powerful message it just has been severally diluted as THE MESSAGE. It is exactly the same scenario that has happened with other forms of old media. Print publications are struggling; people are getting their information quicker many times from people closer to source (more authentic) and in the method that they want to receive it. The one saving grace of traditional media it still is a method that some people still want to receive.

This brings me back to the cute and clever versus content and circulation. In cute and clever, you only had these expensive one-time opportunities to make a significant impact. You needed to have
IMPACT and lasting power. However, the shelf life and the distribution of cute and clever has deteriorated to a point that it is only one of many, but still important. So how do you handle one in many? The answer to that question is content and circulation. You must create content based on what your customer base values. Then you must circulate it to a vast audience, hopefully somewhat targeted so that it will be read.

A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive the circulation method the more targeted it needs to be. If you think about that statement, it goes directly against traditional methods of advertising. It was all about numbers and yes, cute and clever.

 Launch Cycle

Now, here is the secret to the next stage. If what you posted stinks, lick your wounds and stop using it. If it has some legs and needs improvement, you adjust and test it again. If the content is well received you amplify it by posting to a wider variety of sources. After it is amplified, you re-purpose the material; turn it into an article, subject matter for a LinkedIn discussion, etc.  and send it back through the cycle. You can even add or combine it into additional material or expand on the original thought.

How do I do something like this? If you appear on my podcast and use 45 to 60 minutes of your time the following benefits are received:

Example from the Lean in a Professional Podcast

  1. The Podcast posted on the Business901 podcast site
  2. Captured in the Business901 ITunes Store
  3. Becomes part of the Business901 Blog and as a result circulated too many sites including Business Week
  4. Widely distributed News release that includes: PDF’s, Pictures, and Videos.
  5. Transcribed and formatted into an EBook that goes through a similar cycle.
  6. EBook is broken down into several interviews that I will post when I need blog material (Yes, I do run out of ideas occasionally)
  7. After being Widely Distributed, it ferments and lasts forever in the online world!

This is an example of Content and Circulation that happens on simple podcast and I am not included the podcast recipient course of action that they may do. Now, when you think about what your last radio spot, advertisement, or PR release in the Newspaper did for you, would rather appear on my podcast? If you would like to and receive the above benefits sign up for my newsletter and in the comment section mention Podcast. If you are already receiving my newsletter just drop me a note. I am limited on Podcast recipients so it is by invitation only.

P.S. If you would like to reduce your spending on being Cute and Clever and learn how to become driven by Content and Circulation subscribe to my blog!

Photo was derived from a Lean Analytics for startup presentation.

I have been discussing the ideas of Value Stream Marketing for many of my clients and have used this diagram in many of my presentations. I have not blogged about it too much just for the fact that it comes off self –promotional. One of the reasons is that I use myself as the Indirect Marketing example and because of the way that I have structured my business to fit this style of marketing. I am going to dissect the Value Stream Marketing concept in the next few weeks.

Is Differentiation the same as Business Survival Ebook

Roy Osing of Brilliance for Business is an experienced Business and Marketing Consultant and the former Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President for TELUS, Canada’s second largest Telecommunications provider. He is also the author of the book Be Different or Be Dead, Your Business Survival Guide'. This is a transcription of our podcast and includes some great answers to these types of questions:

  1. What if it is difficult to be different? How do you go about that when you're, let's say, a dry cleaner’s? 
  2. How do you get someone to really focus on that Only statement?
  3. You talk about serving customers rather than providing customer service. What do you mean by that?
  4. You also have an organizational assessment quiz on your website. What does that entail and what will I learn from it if I take it?

Is Differentiation the same as Business Survival -

Podcast: Is Differentiation the same as Business Survival

Press Release

Monday, February 8, 2010

Be Productive, Be Visual Ebook

Dr. Gwendolyn D. Galsworth is an educator, implementer, and a researcher with more than 25 years in the field of Workplace Visuality. Considered by many a leading visual expert, Dr. Galsworth is the author of a number of books on organizational improvement and workplace visuality, including Visual Workplace/Visual Thinking, recipient of the Shingo Prize for Research.

This is a transcript from two different podcasts and is packed full of stories and information on Visual Thinking.

Be Productive, Be Visual -

Related Information:

Original Podcasts:

Be Productive, Be Visual
Be Productive, Be Visual, Part 2
Start your Visual Thinking Process with Mind Mapping
Power of Visual Thinking in your Visual Workplace

Related Book(Amazon Link): Visual Workplace, Visual Thinking: Creating Enterprise Excellence Through the Technologies of the Visual Workplace

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Hidden Asset of a Kaizen Event

I have been fortunate to have a slew of well qualified individuals on my podcast that have discussed Kaizen and Kaizen Events. Karen Martin of KS Martin & Associates was one of them and offered this definition of who should attend a Kaizen Event (You can listen to part 2 of 3 of the Karen Martin Podcast in this Tuesday’s blog post):

Joe:  Do you try to kind of leave the rank and leadership position at the door? I mean try to be all on equal footing when you're inside an event?

Karen:  Absolutely. We have what we call Kaizen commandments or some organizations call them rapid improvement events, and in that case it's RIE rules. And one of the rules is rank has no privilege. And as a facilitator if I think there might be an issue with that, and it can go both ways. It could be that we've got someone more senior on the team who has a very strong personality and might via nature of that personality shutdown some of the more junior members. Or it might be junior members that I want to coach into helping them realize that they were very carefully selected.

In a good team formation process, it's very strategic on who you put on that team. And so if you help them realize that they were hand‑picked to be on this team and they are not only authorized, they are also obligated to speak up and represent their peer group, et cetera.

I sometimes will do some of that work upfront to make sure that when we talk about the commandments or the rules on day one, that people truly understand what we mean by rank has no privilege.

I think this type of event offers leadership a unique opportunity to “walk the talk.” They can participate in open and frank conversation, promote empowerment and break down many organizational barriers. This may be the first step in developing an ongoing continuous improvement culture. Their expressed enthusiasm for recommendations and recognition of other participants will go a long way in implementing the course of actions. Even if they raise the negatives they have the opportunity to state the reasons in a non-leadership role that can be very much more effective. However, they must be willing to accept being challenged and must not start exercising a sole person power of approval. cropLeadership should enjoy a Kaizen event. It gives them the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and participate, solve problems and communicate with the people that actually carry out the implementation. In fact, I think it would benefit any manager if it would be required that they participate in a Kaizen Event at least once a year. Maybe, through other Trade Organizations such as AME, they could find ways to participate in another member’s Kaizen Events.  

The Hidden asset of a Kaizen vent is its ability to develop Leadership. The story Copy This!: Lessons from a Hyperactive Dyslexic who Turned a Bright Idea Into One of America's Best Companies, discusses Paul Orfalea difficulties, which gave him "learning opportunities." He explained that it propelled him to think differently, and to develop an unorthodox, people-centered, big-picture business model that relied heavily on the intelligence and skill of his franchise managers. Orfalea's exuberant and irreverent attitude — he freely admits to cheating in school and relying on others to get him through college and his positive acceptance of his dyslexia should inspire many others. He mentioned in his book that when he walked into a room, he knew he was not the smartest person in it! Wonder if most leaders do that when they walk into a Kaizen Event?

Related Posts:

Holding successful Kaizen Events, part 1 of 3

Lean Office Kaizen Event Ebook

Kaizen Search on Business901 Blogsite

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is Differentiation the same as Business Survival

A recognized senior executive leader and business consultant, Roy Osing knows what it takes for businesses to survive in today’s chaotic times and achieve extraordinary levels of performance. With over 30 years experience creating and building businesses, he possesses an in-depth knowledge of what it takes to immunize organizations from failure and catapult their performance to extraordinary levels. Osing is an accomplished speaker and presenter. He presents his ideas in a compelling and entertaining style that captivates and motivates audiences.

Osing Web How is your book different than other business books?

There are three aspects of my work that I think make it unique in the highly competitive business book market.

First, it is a practical ‘how to’ book not just a theoretical approach. My book shows the reader how to implement the concepts that I advocate in very simple terms. It is a book at “playing field” level, not at the 50,000 foot level. From my observation, most other business improvement literature discusses the theoretical appeal of taking a particular course of action but doesn’t really give the reader a specific roadmap to follow to successfully implement them in their organization.

Second, the ideas I present to the reader have been ‘road tested’ in the real world. I have successfully implemented them in businesses varying in size and complexity. As experience shows there is a big different between an idea that conceptually should work in an organization and an approach that actually does work in the human dynamics that pervade every human enterprise. My readers can be confident that if they choose to go down the BE DiFFERENT path success awaits!

Third, my book is different from others in that the BE DiFFERENT ideas I advocate include all of the critical functions of an organization. I offer ideas to thrive and survive in the areas of business strategy development, marketing, sales and customer service. Most books that I have seen focus on a specific area of expertise, like marketing for example, and give the reader a vertical slice of high level guidance. My book, on the other hand, provides in handbook fashion detailed guidance in each of the critical functions of an organization; possible only because of my broad background as a successful business executive.

I hope you enjoy the Business901 podcast.

Related Posts:

Be Different or Be Dead Author Roy Osing Interviewed

Have you Achieved Expert Status?

Website: Be Different or be dead

The Book: Be Different or Be Dead, Your Business Survival Guide

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lean in a Professional Practice Ebook

Dr Sami Bahri, DDS runs a private dental practice in Jacksonville, Florida. and is the first dentist known to utilize Lean Management techniques to continuously improve the delivery of quality dental care. Dr Bahri has been called “The Leanest Dentist on the Planet.” This implementation has benefited patients, employees, dental laboratories, suppliers, etc. In 2006, Bahri Dental Group provided the same amount of dental treatments as 2005, but needed 40 percent less resources, thanks to the application of “Lean Dental Management.”

This ebook is a transcription of the podcast that I had with Dr Bahri.

Using Lean in Professional Services -

Related Information:

Lean in a Professional Practice

Using Lean in Professional Services

Follow the Learner: The Role of a Leader in Creating a Lean Culture