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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do Compromises hinder Advancement?

Are compromises something that you should do? Not with yourself and maybe not within your organization. Watch this video that is part of the collection at

Do you struggle between dreaming big dreams and then doubting whether or not you can attain them?

Then I think you'll enjoy this Philosopher Notes episode where we check out some Big Ideas from Robert Fritz’s, The Path of Least Resistance for Managers (In the new edition, Robert has added a chapter on Lean in the update) and talk about the structural conflict that can create a negative oscillating pattern and how we can bust out of it and rock it.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Can Studying Music help your Lean Efforts?

Did you know that Dr. Deming was a composer? In a recent podcast,  A New Approach to Lean – Robert Fritz, Robert told me:

By the way, I think Deming was probably the senior-most wonderful innovator in this area and I'd like to point out that he was a composer. Well, he was and Drucker was a musician. There is something about coming from music where you really understand in an extracurricular way how things are put together. So it does, and I'm not just sort of saying this because I'm a composer, but that what one learns as a composer actually has an impact on how you look at organizations because in some ways they're very similar in terms of elements in relation to each other and how they work together. It relates to the statistical approach that Deming has for manufacturing in terms of minimizing variances and building in quality. So, you don't inspect it at the end.

I reconfirmed this in the upcoming Business901 podcast (scheduled for January 8th), while interviewing Dr. Joyce Orsini, a professor of Fordham University and president of the W. Edwards Deming Institute. Dr. Orsini recently authored the book, The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality. Dr: Orsini said:

Well, I've been told that statisticians--or mathematicians, in general--are often quite good with music, so I don't know. I've heard that but I don't know if it's true or not. But he certainly was, he was a composer, he loved music, wrote music. He revised the Star Spangled Banner to make it singable without all the high extremes on it. He lowered it so that the average person could sing it. So he reduced the variation, if you will, in the music.

After these two comments, I went on a mission to find a composer to talk too. In fact, I found two through the Composers and Schools in Concert website. Both of these gentleman are board members.

The first podcast was with John Lawrence Woodall.  In 1989, John formed the company Powerof2Music and has since scored over 500 episodes of television such as "I Love the 80's, I Love the 90's, Abducted, True Crime, Manhunt, Ghosthunters (original), Command Decisions, iDetective and more. Today, John’s passion for music and film remains a strong and driving force in his continuing to push the envelope of scoring for picture.

This podcast is an interesting conversation about the relationship between math, architecture, music and continuous improvement. The podcast quality gets better a few minutes into the process.

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save)

or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version

 About John: A native of Berkeley California, composer John Lawrence Woodall began playing piano at age 5 and started writing music by age ten, During High School in Australia John attended the Academy of Guitar and the N.S.W. Conservatory of Music. Although the focus of the time was rock and jazz, John’s deep love of Russian classical music introduced him to the possibilities of music and picture. Through High School in Boston John attended classes at Berkeley School of Music honing his skills as a string arranger and orchestrator. In 1983 he met legendary Producer/Engineer Jim Gaines and joined his production team at the Record Plant that created a dozen platinum albums and a handful of Grammy's. In 1987, John received the Excellence in Composition and Songwriting award from Yamaha Music. John has scored two Emmy award winning shows, received the Ace and Gold awards for his work on children’s shows such as Baru Bay with Bob Weir.

About Composers and Schools in Concert: CSIC is a nonprofit organization who partners with professional composers and youth music programs (grades 9-12) to offer innovative music education through composer workshops and commissions.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spanning the Globe for Team Success

Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results is Nancy Settle-Murphy new book. She draws from more than two decades of experience in facilitating the work of global teams working across time zones, locations and cultures. Nancy’s company is Guided Insights and can be found on twitter @nsettlemurphy.

She is the guest on Business901 podcast today. A written excerpt of the podcast is at Is Trust the Key Component in Virtual Teams?

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or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version

Guided Insights is a facilitation, training and strategic communications consulting firm based in Boxborough, Massachusetts. Founded in 1994 by Nancy Settle-Murphy, the company comprises a team of seasoned facilitators, organizational development consultants, communications professionals and trainers. They draw from each other’s knowledge and experience to provide a creative, high-quality, cost-effective solution that reflects the clients’ unique environment. Facilitating complex conversations and strengthening connections across virtual teams that span cultures and time zones are special areas of focus.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Old vs New Lean = SOAR vs SWOT

Traditional Lean practitioners equate Lean to waste reduction and problem solving. New practitioners of Lean emphasize knowledge and strength building. More information: A New Approach to Lean – Robert Fritz. and Strength–Based Lean and Six Sigma.

I equate this to the fundamental difference between SOAR and SWOT. SWOT is the age-old concept of defining our Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SOAR is a strength-based approach. SOAR allows you to lead with the positive side of the issues and many times you will often discover more. The SOAR framework is outlined by Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results. There may not seem like a huge game-changer but what I recommend is that you try it and see the difference it makes in your session. More information: Overcoming Sales Resistance with SOAR.

Recommended Book: The Thin Book of SOAR; Building Strengths-Based Strategy

I have found recent books providing a nice bridge between Lean and Sales & Marketing. 

A few of them that I have read: 

Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler of SalesForce

Revenue Disruption by Phil Fernandez of Marketo

Social Marketology by Ric Dragon of Dragon Search  

The Connected Company by Dave Gray

All of these emphasize the iterative process of continuous improvement. They are very Lean like in their descriptions of the marketing processes promoting knowledge building and pull as a way of creating flow. They also highlight the interconnectedness of people and the collaborative aspect that exist in business today. 

This new approach moves us away from a company assuming it has more knowledge than a customer. That expert status type thinking – “We know more.”  It moves us away from the problem-solution type approach to one of joint discovery and learning. Trying to force your solution through a sales pipeline does not work in a collaborative type decision-making process. (More info:Lean Sales and Marketing: Outcome Based Mapping)

The question becomes if we are not solving problems for customer and providing solutions, what is our purpose? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A New Approach to Lean – Robert Fritz

In Robert Fritz’s, The Path of Least Resistance for Managers (In the new edition, Robert has added a chapter on Lean in the update) and calls it “The New Lean.” I am not ready to jump ship on old Lean quite yet, but I think you will find his approach rather unique and not without merit. From his new book:

ImageProxy.mvcAs we have said, traditional lean is long overdue for an update. The new lean gets at the very fundamental principles that go well beyond the antiquated forms that have developed over the past 50 years. The major things to keep in mind is to move lean from problem driven to outcome driven, rethink any process based on the above design principles, and refine the design and execution elements to the processes as we live in them.

Another insight that the new lean cites is that lean is a grass roots movement rather than an expert-driven discipline. Most people do not need a lot of training to accomplish miracles of redesign. In many ways it is common sense and obvious what to do once we give teams the accountability and authority to address the systems they are in. New lean puts the focus on the teams rather than on the experts.

Robert’s thoughts about moving from problem-drive to outcome driven are very much aligned with mine. He may push a little much about hierarchy and belts equating Lean to Six Sigma or that Lean Six Sigma stuff which many do. However, with the rise in Lean certification, which stands a very good chance of becoming similar to the Belt structure in Six Sigma, his points are worth listening too. His thoughts about teams and structural conflicts within the organization are very similar to mine. I left a few thoughts in from our discussion before the podcast started.

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save)

or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Mobile Version

Robert Fritz has been around the Dr. Deming world, which we discuss in the latter part of the podcast, since the 1980s. You may even recognize his work as he was an instrumental part of the original Systems Thinking Group with Peter Senge. Peter actually offers a marvelous introduction in the book.

Robert Fritz, composer, filmmaker and organizational consultant is the founder of Technologies for Creating. During the past twenty-five years, over 80,000 people in 27 countries have participated in trainings created by Robert Fritz. His insights on the creative process and structural dynamics serve as the foundation of meaningful and lasting change for both individuals and organizations.

Lean Marketing: 2 Step Marketing Funnel

You are either Selling or Marketing, that’s it!

Why have we complicated all this with Customer Experience, Customer Relationship, Customer Development, Sales Management, Marketing Funnels and Sales Funnels? Or whatever your choice or flavor of the month you have. Few of us even do a good job of attempting to mirror the customer decision process (wonder where you have heard that before). We are then supposed to determine our reaction and create a great customer experience. I have over few hundred blog posts on this subject alone. The fact is most of us don’t even do a good job of any of this. Think about it, but few us even understand our customer decision's path. Well guess what, it might be a waste of time to do it anyway. 70% of the customer decision is typically made before you are even invited into the game. From the Sales Force ebook Social Sales Revolution: 7 Steps to Get Ahead @Salesforce publishes #ebook from Salesforce:
We are in the midst of a social sales revolution. Buyers have more access to information than ever. As much as 70% of purchase decisions can be made before a sales rep ever gets involved. Are you taking advantage of the tools available to you to win deals in this highly competitive environment? These seven steps and case studies will help you get ahead of the competition and turn your company into a social enterprise.
When we review these pages, we are reminded that it is about engagement versus widening the mouth of the sales funnel. Everyone will probably agree that we need to make our efforts more effective and efficient, we call it target marketing or differentiation. Think about how many times you have heard your salespeople exclaim; “Don’t give me these internet leads (or trade shows, or whatever) to follow up on, give me qualified leads.” We may try that when business is good but……. We all know the answer: when business is bad we get on the phone, make cold calls. You may be asking where is this simple 2-step Lean Marketing approach. Well the steps have never been clearer. If you cannot hear each other’s voice or shake their hand you are marketing not selling. Let me define it a bit more by the picture below.

Marketing Funnel

Marketing is all about pull. We are either pulling prospects into our value streams to be handled by sales, or we are pushing them out of the value streams to be handled by marketing. This is not to say marketing is not collaborating or engaging with any customers; they are. Intimately may not be the word though. Twitter streams, Facebook and LinkedIn are not intimate sales channels. They are channels that we influence others to decide to allow us to engage with them. We must remember, that 70% of the decision making is being done in this perspective.

The 30% is highlighted in the drawing by the Scrum-like diagram. It is where we engage with our customers on a regular and intimate stage. It is where we get to know them on a first-name basis. What I would propose is prospecting is not part of this sprint. It is not part of the engagement process. Where the handoff between Sales and Marketing may occur will be different from one organization to the next. If you have a standard product that is practically an automated sales process, a download or self-service, it may just go through the horizontal value stream.

If we need to nurture and get intimate (30%) with the customer, we go through an iterative sales process. As a result, the salespeople, will spend more time with existing customers (job to be done). Sales have been moving this direction for a long time. Franklin Covey in their sales training define Trust = Intent + Expertise. I think the primary salesperson's job is to develop the trust in the iterative cycles (Blog post, The Eagles always understood!). The first cycle could be called the intent cycle. You may be offering the customer a trial offer or an introductory product/service offering. This way, they can experience and decide if the expertise is there to continue. Demonstrating intent should be 80% of your efforts. Most often, we try to sell expertise to soon.

The job to be done (Blog Post: Do You Know the Right Job For Your Products?) is where greater expertise is demonstrated and also where the greatest opportunity is to develop future sales. We do this through are participation and collaboration with the customer. We never lose the "open-mindness" of demonstrating intent but this is where are expertise should be developed within and across both organizations. If we do not develop that collaborative spirit, the customer will eventually filter back through the process and be handled by marketing.

I will expand into the sales area in upcoming blog posts. Additional information is contained with the 2 Info-graphics, Lean Marketing House Infographic and Lean Marketing for Service Dominant Thinkers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Podcast of Year–Deming with John Hunter

Each season, I create different themes through out the year. Though I do not follow them exactly, I do try to create somewhat of a flow The 2012 Business901 podcast season incorporated over 60 podcasts and the subject matter flowed through the year in this order with Lean be the central theme throughout the year.

  1. Service Design
  2. Appreciative Inquiry
  3. Lean Thinking
  4. Training (Simulations, Gaming, Storytelling)
  5. Lean Construction
  6. Lean Design
  7. Change Management

I had a great time learning from my guests and was honored that they were willing to participate. Considering the competition for the number one podcast of the year, I know there are quite a few people waiting to hear who it was, Deming in 2012 was the hands down winner. Below is the podcast and the transcript for you to enjoy one more time.

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Download this episode (right click and save)
or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.
Mobile Version
About the Deming Blog: John will explore Deming’s ideas on management by examining his works and exploring how the ideas are being applied in organizations today. While he was alive Deming continued to learn and add to his management philosophy. The blog attempts to hold true to his ideas while also looking at how those ideas have been, and are being, extended and implemented. John Hunter
About the Deming Institute: The W. Edwards Deming Institute® was founded by Dr. Deming in 1993 to provide educational services related to his theories and teachings. The aim of The W. Edwards Deming Institute is to foster understanding of The Deming System of Profound Knowledge® to advance commerce, prosperity and peace.
About John Hunter: John combines technology with management expertise to improve the performance of organizations. He has served as an information technology program manager for the American Society for Engineering Education, the Office of Secretary of Defense Quality Management Office and the White House Military Office. He has authored the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog for years.
In an upcoming Business901 podcast (scheduled for January 8th), I had the pleasure interviewing Dr. Joyce Orsini, a professor of Fordham University and president of the W. Edwards Deming Institute and Kevin Cahill, the Executive Director of the institute. Dr. Orsini has also recently authored the book, The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality and Kevin is the grandson of Dr. Deming.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Did Dr. Deming and Peter Drucker ever meet?

In an upcoming Business901podcast (scheduled for January 8th), I had the pleasure interviewing Dr. Joyce Orsini, a professor of Fordham University and president of the W. Edwards Deming Institute and Kevin Cahill, the Executive Director of the institute. Dr. Orsini has also recently authored the book, The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality and Kevin is the grandson of Dr. Deming.

Having read most Deming books, spent a past Thanksgiving weekend watching on video the Four Days with Dr. Deming: A Strategy for Modern Methods of Management (text version) and tried to practice much of his teachings over the past 20 years, I feel somewhat a valid critic of a book on Dr. Deming. The Essential Deming is not just a re-write but a well-structured compilation of many of his teachings and a few new ones. The book is a very enjoyable, flows extremely well and can be read cover to cover with little effort. The articles and writings are grouped together in such a fashion to serve as a reference book for later use. Dr. Orsini also offers her insights adding valuable context to the material. I came away from the wanting to learn more about Dr. Deming and his work.

Deming and Drucker

An excerpt from the upcoming podcast:

Joe: One of the questions I always wanted to ask someone. Did Dr. Deming and Peter Drucker ever get together? They are the two most prominent people in my mind about management and leadership that's influenced my life and they seem to run parallel paths. Did they ever get together and talk to each other?

Kevin: Well, I can tell you--Joyce may know some more specifics. I had read something--this goes back a number of years ago--that Peter Drucker and my father--I was asking the same question a number of years ago and talked to my mother a little about it and she said, "You know; I think they did." So, we reached out to Peter Drucker and he was his 90s at the time and living in Claremont in the Warren/Los Angeles area and said, "You know; we'd like to come and talk to you about my grandfather and your relationship,” and he said he would love to meet us.

My mother and I went out there, we did it twice; the first time, because he's in his 90s, we met him at his house and he said, "I've only got about a half-hour," and we ended up spending almost two hours with him. He asked if we would come back again and, about six months later, we spent another two, two-and-a-half hours with him and he talked about how they had met and worked together and had different ideas and so much of their stuff did dovetail. So, yes, they did have a relationship. Joyce may have more specifics on where that was and how that evolved.

Dr. Orsini: They were both at New York University; they overlapped somewhat in their tenures there. They had a tremendous respect for one another. Sometimes you see people who are running more parallel paths than integrated paths, not having much respect for one another, but these men did. My sense from what Dr. Deming told me was they enjoyed coming together and talking about their differences. They were very collegial.

Kevin: I got the same thing from Peter Drucker, his time at NYU and how much fun they had together and talking about different ideas. He clearly felt that from his side, too.

Joe: I would just think from the things that I've read; they arrived at similar points from different directions.

Dr. Orsini: That's a great way to say it.

Kevin: That's perfect.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Beyond Lean is Real Life - Real Lean

I am honored once again to be part of John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog Carnival. The roundup is a review of blogs by other bloggers within the Lean community. John is one of the pioneers in using internet technology and using it to improve organizational performance in a way to get results. I encourage you to browse his site. It is littered with information and few aspects of continuous improvement cannot be found there.

I have the pleasure of reviewing Beyond Lean hosted by Matt Wyre and Joe Wilson. They are avid Lean practitioners with a wide breadth of industry experience. You will find most of their posts less than 500 words written with practical examples. They also mix in an occasional guest post. When I visit the blog, seldom do I leave without having new thoughts generated. A list of a few recent blog posts:

Most bloggers, including myself have a tendency to write about good things or new applications. When you are reading, it seems that everything works. I often think, I am the only one that has problems in making Lean work.

Beyond Lean

The Beyond Lean blog reflects on real-life Lean solutions to everyday business challenges. What I like most of all the authors freely admit their shortcomings and the trial and tribulations that they have in practicing Lean. I always believe we learn from problems, but few are willing to share problems that they encounter. However, I have found people that feel comfortable having these types of discussions are the ones that are more often than not, the most knowledgeable of their craft. It is these types of examples that stay with us and we learn the most from.

I would encourage you to read Beyond Lean to experience Real Life and Real Lean!

Matt was my guest on the Business901 podcast, Developing a Learning A3. earlier this this year. During the podcast, I uncovered that both Matt and Joe are certified Shainin Red X Journeyman. If you are not familiar with Shainan, don’t feel alone. Shainin is probably one of the least known structured problem solving methodology. It has always intrigued me because of its approach of focusing on the Effect to find the Cause (Y to X) versus the traditional X to Y. A brief audio about Shainin can be found in this blog post, Using Desired Effects to find Root Cause.