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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Lean Linkage between Composers, Architects, Statisticians

Steve Horowitz's Code ensemble plays contemporary American music with energy and passion. Founded in 1993, The Code has developed a cutting edge repertory with instrumentation that combines traditional acoustic and contemporary electronic instruments. Steve and the Code have released ten CDs over the years, and the ensemble has included many well known musicians. The Code's unique blend of electric and acoustic instruments, is helping to re-define contemporary chamber music.

A special Friday Business Podcast with composer, Steve Horowitz and just for information sake Steve’s father was an architect. Steve has a few very unique ideas of what the correlation is between architecture, statisticians and composers. I will give you a hint about one of them, pattern recognition. An earlier blog post discussed this,  To Optimize a System, Dance to the Music.

Bonus audio not included in podcast: Iannis Xenakis was an accomplished composer and architect. Steve Horowitz discusses this relationship in this short audio(1 min Audio).


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Composer Steve Horowitz On Learning How To Teach Game Audio Design (Video): Steve, is in a perfect position to help design curriculum for educating the game audio designers of tomorrow. he spoke with Gino Robair at the 129th AES show about the history and direction of interactive audio, the ways in which relevant educational programs are taking shape, and about his thoughts on the future of the game audio industry.

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.

About Steve Horowitz: 25 year career integrates his experiences as a band leader, with his explorations as a multi faceted composer. Horowitz can be found working and touring with his group The Code Ensemble, a 14-piece electro-acoustic chamber ensemble, and has released 10 compact discs to date. Horowitz has a large catalog of music for traditional and unusual ensembles such as; string quartet, woodwind quartet, Orchestra, piano, solo contrabass flute (or tuba), and large electro acoustic chamber ensemble. Additionally, he has written music for film, TV and games. For more info & clips visit

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Your Sales and Marketing Metrics are lagging already!

Don’t be a laggard be a leader. 

Many of us have just completed the typical Sales and Marketing plan for the upcoming year. We know the Dwight D. Eisenhower quote: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. We are ready to change it at a moment's notice. We are very agile in nature.

Most of us start with the ways that we will increase revenue in 2013? A few classics:

  1. We are going to increase sales by 3, 5, 10% or whatever arbitrary number we pick. The market is healthy and we are better than our competition, so we will get our fair share.
  2. Projections from salespeople, who have received feedback from key customers. Sales managers and executives huddle up which in turn results in a forecast.
  3. Increase sales exposure/people and through wider penetration, we will increase sales by another percentage.
  4. Product innovations into new markets or old markets
  5. Increased features and benefits that will appeal to a broader audience.
  6. Exploring new markets that are ripe for our products (My favorite, not that there is someone already in that marketplace serving that need).

The list is practically endless. Some are based on a hypothesis and others based on evidence. The next step in the process is setting more specific objectives by-product  line and often times, territories. We develop a collection of metrics that we will aim at. We take these metrics and shape our expectations of our sales force. We will supply them a great product with the needed features and benefits and with the necessary support and resources they will require. All that is left for them to do is close a few sales.

We know that sales can be difficult in these times and the sales people will need to hustle but the organization will do their part by supplying them with more leads and quicker turnarounds on quotes and products. We are even committed to handling more special products, since we know this is the age of the customer and one to one marketing. We have laid out a sound plan. Supplied the necessary resources. And our willing to adjust, not be hearsay but by the metrics that we have developed. What is missing?

Most measurements that are introduced to a sales force are not sales enablers rather detractors. We create measurements that sales people cannot even influence and even worse take much of their time to compile. The outcomes that you want and the objectives you are aiming for provide direction but have little to do with the activities that the sales people must do to achieve the intended results. Activities are generated at Gemba or the place of work. If you are removed from the place of work, you will more than likely develop lagging indicators. The key component in your planning process is to develop leading indicators. These are metrics based on your sales activities. 

Granted these activities must be tied to an objectives which are tied to outcomes. I relate this in Lean Terms to Hoshin planning and the action of catchball. We propose the outcomes and toss it back and forth until we come to a agreement  between outcomes and objectives. After that we toss it back and forth to determine the agreement between objectives and activities needed. It may transverse back and forth at the different levels but seldom if ever do we skip objectives and go directly between outcomes and activities.

If you do not have leading indicators as part of your sales and marketing plan, you are behind as of this moment. You will be unable to make the necessary adjustments needed as the year progresses.

Don’t be a laggard be a leader.

One of the best books on how to develop leading indicators is the Franklin Covey publication that I call Lean Simplified: The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lean Sales and Marketing BlogShop

Next week, the Business901 Blog will host an abridged version of our Leans Sales and Marketing online workshop. Each day, the blog post will include a brief introduction, short video, workbook page and recommended reading. On Monday, February 11th, the program will start and follow this outline for the week:

  1. Monday: Why Lean makes sense for Sales and Marketing
  2. Tuesday: Understanding Structure to deliver Value
  3. Wednesday: Value Stream Mapping differs in Lean Marketing
  4. Thursday: Lean Marketing methods for Flow and Pull
  5. Friday: Seeking perfection in Lean Sales and Marketing
  6. Saturday: Lean Marketing Overview in 30 minutes

Blogshop Description: Lean Sales and Marketing is about using PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) through-out the marketing cycle with constant feedback from customers that can only occur if they are part of the process. It is about creating value in your marketing that a customer needs to enable him to make a better Lean Orgs Enjoys Learningdecision. It is a moving target and the principles of Lean and PDCA facilitates the journey to Customer Value. Improving your marketing process does not have to constitute wholesale changes nor increased spending. Improving what you do and increasing the speed that you do it can result in an increase in sales and decrease in expenses.

In Lean Marketing concept value streams differ from the more traditional approaches found in other mapping process. Its primary focus is not the discovery of waste but of process improvement with a very specific strategic intent, delivery of superior value for the execution of an organization’s value proposition. This means that the focus of the analysis must be on those segments and processes within those value streams that have the most substantial impact on the most important value drivers.

Do remember, this is an abridged version of the 60-day program that is offered as part of the Lean Sales and Marketing Training at no additional charge when you purchase the Marketing with Lean Book Series.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dr. Edward Deming: Still making a difference in 2013

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. Deming Group

In the interview I ask Kevin, How do you think Dr. Deming would want to be remembered in the future? What do you think would be important to him?

Kevin: I think it would be important for him to know that people still want to make a difference, people still want to come together and see through problems that we're facing in today's world, and I think he would like to be remembered as somebody who made some small contribution towards his own country. I mean, everyone always talks about the differences he made in Japan and I think that was incredibly important to him.

But I think he'd like to see that he could also have made a difference in the lives and communities and families and organizations of people in his own country and those around the world, because, when you think about it from a system standpoint, the U.S. is just one component of a larger system.

I am still surprised that stigma exists about Dr. Deming. I may not be on the cutting edge of every platform that exists today but through social media and this podcast, I am very fortunate to be acquainted with quite a few. Dr. Deming is not only recognized but revered by most. For example, I think the Lean Software community is more aligned with Deming than they are traditional Lean and Toyota. Even in my own work, I am finding that Dr. Deming, Peter Scholtes and Brian Joiner more applicable to the knowledge management and systems thinking areas that are required in the service and sales and marketing arena. Dr, Deming you are still very relevant, even in 2013. I hope you enjoy the podcast. I certainly did.


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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.

Kevin Edwards Cahill, Successor Founding Trustee is Dr. Deming's grandson. He currently volunteers full-time as Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute® where he oversees general operations and development. Previously, Kevin was the co-founder and CEO of ViewBridge, Inc. Prior to that, he was Vice President Sales Manager for media rep firm, Katz Communications. As a member and chairman of the system oversight committee, he helped guide the design and implementation of various sales, technology, and management systems.  Kevin holds a BA in history from UCLA.

Joyce Nilsson Orsini, Ph.D., Associate Trustee, is Associate Professor of Management Systems at Fordham University Graduate School of Business, where she directs the Deming Scholars MBA program.  She has been a practicing statistician and consultant to industrial management and government for more than 25 years.  Dr. Deming directed her doctoral dissertation research at New York University.  She assisted Dr. Deming with his teaching at N.Y.U., as well as with many public and private seminars.  The Metropolitan Section of the American Society for Quality awarded her the Deming Medal.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Scholtes Canvas for Lean Marketing

You don’t have to be a customer to be important. But, from a systemic point of view, each is a supplier, not a customer. The systems do not exist to serve their needs. Their role is to help systems serve the needs of the customers. When suppliers start seeing themselves as customers, the needs of the true customers are likely to be displaced and subordinated.” - Peter Scholtes from The Leader’s Handbook: Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done,

As I mentioned in my blog post, Standardizing Sales by Peter Scholtes, you will find a great deal of guidance and understanding on how to include sales and marketing into continuous improvement. Lean is a model that was developed from manufacturing and uses the Toyota model or the Toyota Production System (TPS) as the basis for much of its theory and development. The world of process methodology; Better Faster, Cheaper as a way of creating demand is rapidly diminishing. This model is not broken but is limited in the sales and marketing arena.

From the ebook, Lean Marketing House: When you first hear the terms Lean and Value Stream most of our minds think about manufacturing processes and waste. Putting the words marketing behind both is hardly creative. Whether marketing meets Lean under this name or another it will be very close to the Lean methodologies develop in software primarily under the Agile connotation. This book is about bridging that gap. It may not bring all the pieces in place, but it is a starting point for creating true iterative marketing cycles based on not only Lean principles but more importantly Customer Value.

Excerpt from the Lean Marketing House

I believe that Lean Agile or Lean Software groups have a better understanding of customer value than the traditional Lean Thinkers who concentrate on waste. Seldom when you read, Dr. Edward Deming, Scholtes and Brian Joiner do they not have the customer at the forefront. The quote above from Scholtes, demonstrates how Lean and TPS may have drifted from the original teachings of Dr. Deming when we think about customers. Lean (Agile) Software groups have developed in what I would call a purer Lean approach, less influenced by Toyota but more so by Dr. Deming.

In recent years, Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur developed the Business Model Generation Canvas. It identifies nine building blocks required for the business model. It is an iterative approach to see what underlying structure is required to institute and develop change for innovation.  A PDF download can be obtained here: Business Model Canvas.

In reviewing Scholtes work, I found a similar outline that could be developed into an A3 or a canvas. These are tools that we have been using in the Lean world. However, we have stopped short applying them from a Customer – In perspective as described by Scholtes. This canvas is developed in language that is understood by both Lean Practitioners and Sales & Marketing. The Scholtes Canvas can serve as the natural bridge that is needed between Lean and Sales & Marketing.

An overview of the the Scholtes Canvas:

  1. What is the Purpose of the Organization? Instead of teaching the way to do things, we need to step back and determine the key points that are required, as Simon Sinek says the “Why” while leaving the how alone (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action). I think you will be surprised how closely the description in The Leader’s Handbook resembles Simon Sinek’s work.
  2. What capabilities do your customers acquire (or improve) as a result of interacting with you? We have a tendency to jump to what we do. It is easy to explain. However, what is important is what it allows our customers to do.
  3. Who are your Competitors? Understanding your competitor's is important but not only who they are but the different ways/methods that the customer needs may be satisfied.
  4. Customers: List existing and one that should be and other that you may not want to be.
  5. Identify the major products and service that benefit your customers and serve your purpose: I like to think of these as different value streams but do not limit yourself from just thinking from a product/service standpoint. It may be better to organize around customer groups. 
  6. Choose a Specific product or service: Scholtes has you choose from item #5, which value stream (group) to use for the remainder of this exercise. I created a separate canvas if someone would like to complete the entire exercise to include items 1 through 5 for a particular value stream.
  7. Examine the chain of customers for that product or service: List the different ways you to market. Who receives it from you? You may have a wholesaler that has numerous intermediate customers, etc. Reread the opening paragraph of this blog post.
  8. Applying the Kano Model: Most of us are familiar with the Kano Model. You may choose another method to display your feedback. The important thing is to display it. Reread the opening paragraph of this blog post.
  9. Identify Customer Feedback Loops: Describe the process you use and/or intend to use. Reactive is service request, complaints, etc. and Proactive is surveys, social media, etc. 
  10. Gemba - Mapping the Process: First create a simple SIPOC (Suppliers – Input – Process
    - Output – Customers before proceeding with any other mapping tools such as a Customer Journey Map or even a Value Stream Map. Make sure you know what initiates and ends the journey. I enjoy Scholtes description where the customer is shown at both ends.   
  11. Trace a Basic Key Quality Characteristic through Process: This often gopeter-scholteses without saying, but I find it interesting and revealing that Scholtes emphasizes taking key characteristics, often times called Critical to Quality (CTQ) issues and highlighting them in a separate mapping process. You can interpret it several ways, but I think he wanted to highlight what was important to the customer, maybe even thinking all the way back to step 2; What have we enabled the customer to do that they were not doing before? Map the key issues, the deciding factors of the process and a few moments of truth where the customers received the value they expected and understanding on how to deliver that key characteristic. Also, note the failure points or weak points along the journey.

About: Peter Scholtes was an internationally known author, lecturer and consultant and the recipient of numerous awards such as the Deming Medal and the Ishikawa AwardFrom 1987 to 1993 Mr. Scholtes shared the platform with W. Edwards Deming, helping to educate corporations about the new philosophy of the Quality movement. He was one of the first to synthesize the principles of the organizational development field with the teachings of Dr. Deming.