Business901 Book Specials from other authors on Amazon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are you ready for showtime?–Taxi Terry

A one-of-a-kind cab driver, "Taxi Terry," created an "Ultimate Customer Experience ®" for business leader and #1 bestselling author Scott McKain. Listen as Scott speaks to a national sales audience of a top retailer and shares insights on distinction and customer service.


Scott is a best selling author. His books include:

ALL Business is Show Business: Create the Ultimate Customer Experience to Differentiate Your Organization, Amaze Your Clients, and Expand Your Profits
Collapse of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails (NelsonFree)
What Customers Really Want: Bridging the Gap Between What Your Company Offers and What Your Clients Crave

You may want to consider: Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is Relationship Mapping the new Critical Path?

How good are you at managing the relationships that your organization builds? As we move from a Product Dominant to a Service Dominant market, the relationships we create are at the core of our business model. However, how many of us understand these relationships? How many of us know what collaborative networks the other members of our team or organization are creating? Can we be successful, can we be social without this understanding?

Our world is increasingly more collaborative driving changes in the way decisions are made. Our organizations need to change to a more collaborative structure but the question is, where do we begin? I am always amazed how Lean happens to be there when I am ready to use it. It reminds me of the old Buddhist proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Back in 1976, the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) saw the need for tools to promote innovation, communicate information and successfully plan major projects. A team researched and developed the seven new quality control tools, often called the seven management and planning (MP) tools, or simply the seven management tools. Not all the tools were new, but their collection and promotion were. They are:

  1. Affinity diagram
  2. Relations diagram
  3. Tree diagram
  4. Matrix diagram:
  5. Matrix data analysis
  6. Arrow diagram
  7. Process decision program chart (PDPC)

Recently my use of the relationship diagram in particular has started to increase. Maybe not in the traditional sense of cause-and-effect relationships but the input/output connections between selected parts of the organization and the value that is created. The eerie part of this is that after creating several of these and one rather elaborate relationship map; I compared it to the Value Network modeling that had been introduced to me by Verna Allee, M.A., co-founder and CEO of Value Networks LLC. It was strikingly close to her model depicted below. (Verna Allee, M.A., is co-founder and CEO of Value Networks LLC introduced me last year to Value Network Mapping through this Business901 podcast, What’s behind Collaboration and Value Networks?).


From Value Networks and the true nature of collaboration by Verna Allee with Oliver Schwabe is a digital edition book located at

One of the items that has intrigued me a great deal over the summer has been The Last Planner® System (LPS). The Last Planner® was created by Glenn Ballard and Greg Howell co-founders of the Lean Construction Institute. In long term building projects, they have found that managing relationships is the important part of project management. Last week, I had a post that discussed this, Crucial & Collaborative Conversations for Predictable Design & Delivery and tomorrow; I have a podcast with Alan Mossman of The Change Business where we discuss this relationship style of project management. An excerpt from the podcast follows.

Joe: One of the things that you mentioned is “Collaborative Short Term Production Planning," and the promise conversation cycle. Can you explain to the audience what that is?

Alan: This promise cycle is completed entirely in language. There is a request, there is the negotiation, there is a promise, there is a declaration of completion, and a declaration of satisfaction or dissatisfaction as appropriate.

What is missing, in my view, in a lot of construction, is that because of the critical path method, there is not enough time spent on managing promises, managing commitments. It's all coming from directives. You will do this. You will do that. So the project manager is telling people what to do rather than ensuring that the people on the project understand what needs to be done, so that they are in a position to make offers and to make promises about what they will do.

The collaborative planning, collaborative programming, make ready, are foundations for Last Planners to make promises about the work that they will do next week, because they've got direct involvement in preparing the work to be done.

As our world changes, it seems that these relationships, these value networks and person to person interactions will not be decreasing but may be our critical path to success.

You may be interested in the Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Lean Service Gemba Walk

Learn about Lean Fundamentals from the First West Credit Union Culture. This contains a basic approach on what to look for in a Gemba Walk in a Service Environment. The actors discuss the touchpoints and eight service wastes of Lean Services.

Check out the Business901 Lean Service Design Trilogy

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Are you waiting for the end of the rainbow?

Lean Thinking continues to be one of the best resources for understanding "What is Lean".  Simply because it describes the thought process, the overarching key principles that must guide your actions when applying lean techniques and tools. From the Book description:

Womack and Jones recommend that managers and executives embarking on lean transformations think about three fundamental business issues that should guide the transformation of the entire organization.

The three fundamentals are:

  • Purpose: What customer problems will the enterprise solve to achieve its own purpose of prospering?
  • Process: How will the organization assess each major value stream to make sure each step is valuable, capable, available, adequate, flexible, and that all the steps are linked by flow, pull, and leveling?
  • People: How can the organization insure that every important process has someone responsible for continually evaluating that value stream in terms of business purpose and lean process? How can everyone touching the value stream be actively engaged in operating it correctly and continually improving it?

In Lean Service Design, I have found these three fundamentals surfacing time and time again as we work through the Customer Experience Journey and designing the service. The Process and People parts are easily understood, but the Purpose is the one that keeps surfacing. Not at the 10K level for organizational theory but at practically every step of the journey.

I typically ask, what customer problem will we solve to achieve a reason to continue? Why should we continue the journey? I go on to elaborate that this needs to be answered for both parties, our organization and the customer. We may not be able to answer this on every step of the journey but certainly at any moment of truth (A critical or decisive time on which much depends)?

Houston, we have a problem?????

What did that fundamental principle of purpose say? What customer problems will the enterprise solve to achieve its own purpose of prospering? I think this is forgotten while in the moment and the thrill of design. Are we just looking at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The company (and hopefully the customer) has to prosper to make this journey plausible. Do we need an exchange of some type of value to validate our journey? Maybe not, but are we being short-sighted not looking or asking for one?

Is Lean Thinking outdated? The rainbow is a very long journey with many paths and detours. Do we need to find a few bread crumbs, a few nuggets along the way? Do we?  

Related Story:  Did Maroney and Douglas deviate from Standard Work?

Have you considered the Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eliminate your Stage Gates in favor of Events

I have been struggling on how, or even if I should use Stage Gates or Control Points in the Lean Service Design methodology. In a recent interview with Ron Mascitelli, president of Technology Perspectives and author of five books, his most-recent publication,Mastering Lean Product Development: A Practical, Event-Driven Process for Maximizing Speed, Profits, and Quality, I questioned Ron about this. In this excerpt from next week’s podcast, he explains how he has eliminated them.

Joe:  That's an interesting take on it, because it's not necessarily a Kaizen event?

Ron:  No. Other than the fact Kaizen events are a great example of how powerful this kind of intensive collaboration with a high focus can be. But it's not a Kaizen event in the classical sense of being continuous improvement. It is an execution event, where you have, again, a standard preparation in advance. Everyone, within their role, comes to this very cross functional event with preparation, information, and in some cases completed work. When we get in the event, we follow an agenda of tools, discussion, and prioritization. Then ultimately, we have a standard output that determines the close of the event.

In fact, if we don't close the event properly, if we don't reach that outcome, we reconvene in a week or whenever we can, and we continue until we can reach that closure.

I think it's a very powerful forcing function for timely decision making and for really getting all the voices together, looking at the same issues and problems, and answering the same question.

Joe:  Do these happen at phase gates or control points of the process, then?

Ron:  Actually, in my perfect vision of the world, the events become the phases and gates. Our market requirement event is a knowledge gate, so is our project planning event. The rapid learning cycle event, which is to burn down your early risk on a project, each of these, in a sense, are knowledge gates. So in my perfect word, we don't use artificial governance gates like concept freeze gate and a detail design freeze gate or whatever they might be. We actually use these events as knowledge gates. But in most companies that already have a comfortable language of governance, we just embed the event at the appropriate phase and it will give you the outputs you need for your existing gate reviews.

Joe:  So it's really a way of distributing all the knowledge that needs and deciding on what knowledge you need to proceed with. Is that a simple explanation of it?

Ron:  Perfect, perfectly well said. If you think about it, in product development all of the knowledge that is needed to create the best commercial product in the world resides in the heads of the cross‑functional groups that you have in your company. It's all in there somewhere. All they need is a problem to focus on and the ability to somehow pull all of that diverse cross‑functional knowledge together in a way that's optimal. So really that's what we're trying to get at here. Really, it's forcing collaboration, not just names on a list, "Oh yeah, we've got a manufacturing person on the team. See here's Joe, he's listed down here on the list."

It's getting them in the room, break down the barriers to communication, have a common vision and a common set of tools they use so that we really do get that consensus input. Product development can't be optimized without the contribution of virtually every function in the firm at one time or another.

Ron is a Project Management Professional, who has served as senior scientist and director of R&D for Hughes Aircraft Company and the Santa Barbara Research Center. Since founding Technology Perspectives in 1994, Ron has worked with over 100 leading companies worldwide to implement his highly practical approach to lean product development. Before his most recent publication, you might remember Ron from his popular book, The Lean Product Development Guidebook.

Have you considered the Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lean Design interview with Ron Mascitelli

Ron Mascitelli, president of Technology Perspectives and author of five books, his most-recent publication, Mastering Lean Product Development: A Practical, Event-Driven Process for Maximizing Speed, Profits, and Quality was my podcast guest this week.

One of Ron’s earlier books, The Lean Design Guidebook: Everything Your Product Development Team Needs to Slash Manufacturing Cost (The Lean Guidebook Series) was my bible through the years of product development in my manufacturing career.

Ron demonstrates his expertise through his concise and clear thoughts on Lean Design or whether you would like to call it Lean 3P or Lean Product Development. I was particularly impressed with his willingness to share both successes, failures and where he believes is the next step for improving Lean Design.  

A written excerpt from the podcast is available in a recent blog post, Eliminate your Stage Gates in favor of Events

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save)   or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version of Business901 Podcast

Ron is a Project Management Professional, who has served as senior scientist and director of R&D for Hughes Aircraft Company and the Santa Barbara Research Center. Since founding Technology Perspectives in 1994, Ron has worked with over 100 leading companies worldwide to implement his highly practical approach to lean product development. Before his most recent publication, you might remember Ron from his popular book, The Lean Product Development Guidebook.

Have you considered the Lean Service Design Trilogy Workshop?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gemba Walk for Service Excellence

Do you need a fresh perspective on how to apply Gemba Walks? For starters, are you visiting the areas where your service interacts directly with the customer? Are you looking to identify new service delighters and make a lasting  positive impression on customers? Bob Petruska of Sustain Lean Consulting has written a new book, Gemba Walks for Service Excellence: The Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying Service Delighters, that describes these types of experiences. It is heavily illustrated and includes a CD of his innovative “placemats” designed to provide stepping stones on a development path for your team to achieve a competitive advantage. Gemba Walks Book Cover

Bob is my guest next week on the Business901 podcast. Below is an excerpt from the podcast. 

Joe: One of the key things that jumps out at me in your discussion, you talked just briefly about innovation. Innovation really comes from that customer experience, doesn't it?

Bob:  Apple is really interesting as we learn more about it. There is a trial going on currently with Samsung. It's peeling back the onion giving us new information and new insights on how Apple operates, their innovation process. They're very team orientated. When you look at innovation in service, you can't do it in a vacuum, which is the reason why the Gemba Walk can't be done like the old undercover boss, where the CEO goes in disguise and incognito and tries to go behind the lines and work as an employee.

That's not a Gemba Walk. Some of the principles are similar, but Gemba Walks are done out in the open. There's one difference. The CEO is not necessarily involved in it.

We want people to go see for themselves and come up with something new and innovative and learn from someone else, see how that could be applied to their own industry.

For example, if you're in the healthcare business, and you're benchmarking another healthcare, you might benchmark the Mayo Clinic or whatever it is, but who's benchmarking the hotel industry from the healthcare? What could you learn about the customer experience through the eyes of checking in at a hotel?

I think what's really the key about the Gemba Walk is putting you in the shoes of being the customer, and you end up feeling like you are a customer. Would you enjoy the experience that you've created in that service design? That's just a question for people. What can you do to design your service system to do a better job to delight customers?

Joe:  If you're a healthcare facility, maybe you need to take a Gemba Walk at the Ritz?

Bob: Exactly! If you think about it, they have a check‑in a process, right? There's also a check‑in process at the hospital. When you go to the hospital, there's that insurance. You've got to show them the insurance card; how many times is it, nine times or 10? OK, I'm just kind of jabbing them a little. How many times do you have to write down that you don't smoke cigarettes? By the time you get down to the third floor, you've had to tell them you don't smoke cigarettes 10 times by then. It's just a question.

There're so many opportunities to improve that experience. Being on time is another one. How long should it take to get through? How do you manage the customers' expectations throughout the process? When you're standing in a big, long line, the last thing, you want to do is think that you're ignored, and that you have no earthly idea when it's going to be your turn.

80% of Companies believe they deliver a Superior Service, only 8% of Customers agree.
-Bain Companies

Lean Service Design Trilogy: Closing the Gaps between Perception and Reality: Preview the program

Are you Lean? Is the Pope Catholic?

I always find it interesting when Lean Organizations seek me out to help them with their sales and marketing. They typically have found me through the several zillion ways that you reach people but mainly because I am known for Lean Sales and Marketing or just Lean Marketing. I commend them that they are so committed to Lean and Lean Thinking that they do reach out to me. The reason they are reaching out is typical of any other company. They have a problem or a need.

I respond in typical fashion by asking what is your need or problem. Rocket science it’s not! Very often, they tell me the problem and many times describe to me what is needed. After all, they know their business better than I do. Pope John Paul II

This all said tongue-in-cheek so don’t crucify (no pun intended, I was raised Catholic) me for this as I am just making a point. However, there is a little truth in what I am saying.

The typical consulting approach is to agree and start discussing how we may be able to do that for you better than anyone else, our specialty! After you build credibility and trust, you make minor changes to their initial statements so that you can perform at your capabilities and make a little money doing it. The client may even ask you for a design proposal on what you would do and just like completing a resume you are silly not to repeat back what they have said to you. People like to hear their own words.

On the other hand, I have a habit of getting an A3 piece of paper out and drawing a line down the center. I write the problem in the upper left-hand corner and in the appropriate column, write down what they have told me and what they are asking of me; what I think we should do, how much will it cost, how long will it take, etc. In a fairly short time, we have completed the right side of the A3. Left all by itself is the problem on the left side. The next step I take is asking, “How much is it worth to complete the left side?” I think this is the difference between a typical Marketing Consultant and a Lean Marketing Consultant.

Now remember, most organizations that contact me have found me as a result of being a Lean company and practicing Lean. But now is when you find out if the Pope is Catholic. The answer that is given tells you, are they a collection of Lean tools or is the culture of Lean embedded within the organization. Every Lean company gets what I am saying. Every Lean company will tell you that they are. But will every Lean company be at the plate and willing to make the offering? Is the Pope Catholic?

If you need to re-energize your Catholicism or are Protestant, non-denominational, or something else and would like to learn how to be Lean in Sales and Marketing, check out… Lean Sales and Marketing Workshop

P.S. If you still have the money for an internet connection, and use the latter approach as a Lean Marketing Consultant, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Opening Appreciative Space Process 1

The energy and creative generated in the Appreciative Inquiry process is shapes the interaction in a dynamic Open Space session where participants generate the agenda for a series of working sessions where concrete actions are identified. This process has been used with small groups to organizations with thousands of members. This is part 1 of the 2-part podcast.

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save) or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

John Steinbach has combined the approaches of Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space into his dynamic and positive Opening Appreciative Space process .This process starts with Appreciative Inquiry; a positive approach to change that can be used by individuals, teams, organizations, and communities.  Through an interview process that focuses on strengths and high-point experiences, Appreciative Inquiry helps participants discover and create a desired future.  This dynamic and uplifting process has been used by Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations, youth groups, world leaders, and communities.

John Steinbach has worked to Open Appreciative Space in a wide variety of organizations including GTE, Verizon, Hughes Electronics, Nationwide Insurance, Boeing, Raytheon, GE, Cardinal Health Systems, United Way, American Red Cross, Purdue Extensions services and dozens of non-profits, churches and youth-serving organizations.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Visual Management Board for Lean Service Design

This is the Visual Management Board that I use as part of Lean Service Design Trilogy Program. It allows the Lean Engagement Team and others, instant status updates. The goals of Visual Management is to connect people to the processes they perform, communicate successes and issues in the work area and show goals versus actual performances. I have always remembered and adhere to the statement that  Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth said in a Business901 podcast, If you’re not Visual, you’re not Lean.

The board was created as part of the toolset for the Lean Service Design Trilogy Program. An actual Visual Management board may or may not include all of these components.

LSDT Visual Management Board_Page_1

A brief description of the components, starting at the top right and working clockwise:

The Business Model Canvas is an analytical tool outlined in the book Business Model Generation. It is a visual template preformatted with the nine blocks of a business model, which allows you to develop and sketch out new or existing business models. This book has sold over 220,000 copies the past two years and has established itself as one of the leading sources of modeling for both startups and established businesses.

Important Dates and Events are noted.

The Service Blueprint contains Customer Journey Map, Onstage Actors(Employees), Backstage(Employees), Support processes and Vendors, and the Environment. I include the three components of value; social, emotional and functional. I have depicted a post-it-note in every block though in reality there seldom is.

Standard Worksheets are depicted for the Actors and Support teams. these can be auto-populate or completed by hand. I have also used Kanban boards in lieu of worksheets. Virtual Teams can use something as simple as Google Documents or many other popular software packages.

The Weekly Tactical and Monthly Strategic Sheets provide the discussion points and the line of sight between the actors/support teams and the Team Coordinators and Value Stream Managers.  

SALES SDCA/PDCA/EDCA: The SALES (this is an acronym, do not take it literally) part of the framework is where the sales team gets its directions and coaching from the team coordinator and value stream manager. Within the actual SDCA/PDCA/EDCA cycles the sales team is empowered to make their own choices and determine their own direction to accomplish the goals of that cycle. One of the key considerations in developing a team is to determine the objective of the cycle. Is it primarily creativity, problem-resolution, or tactical execution?

Ideas and Risk matrixes are included to quickly identify any problems and opportunities that present themselves. These later can be included into the appropriate canvases.

The question always comes up, do I need a Visual Management board for each Value Stream or in lay terms services or products. My answer is the standard, it depends. Sometimes it will be for a group of products or services and other times it will be for only a “vital few”.

Lean Service Design Trilogy Program