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Get the Right People on the Team

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 August 2014.

Leadership can only be exercised by an individual or a team of individuals who has a vision and the ability to motivate others to execute that vision. If one has leaders unable to do both, one needs to address this immediately. When one has successfully selected and developed the right people for his/her staff, the staff should all be able to leave and become world-class consultants in the function in which each staff member leads. To ensure our target culture stays intact as we grow, we must promote from within as much as possible. This will require formal succession planning for key positions. We don’t want those in our succession to plan to leave, so we need to ensure they are compensated according to the value they provide the business. Our HR processes (including promotions, reviews, and bonuses) must be aligned with this new way of thinking. If we say one thing and incentivize another, we will get what we incentivize. The following is an approach to ensuring we have the “right people” on our team.

Continuous Improvement - Part 2

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 July 2014.

In Part 1 of the series we discussed what we consider the “secret sauce”-- having a spirit of improving the business continually. As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the first enemy to a successful work flow is Muda, commonly known as the eight forms of waste. We should have our teams constantly focused on reducing or eliminating waste in all of our processes.

Continuous Improvement - Part 1

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 July 2014.

Have you ever heard the phrase “secret sauce?” Secret sauce is not actually a secret; it actually implies having a solid spirit of continuous improvement at all levels of the company. Continuous Improvement (CI) suggests everyone is unified in thinking about how to improve the business incrementally and continuously. Some of the best businesses have found the secret sauce, and in most cases those businesses have a perpetual improvement engine. To leverage this new understanding, there must be a constancy of purpose when thinking about CI. This constancy of purpose is pushing toward perfection. The concept of absolute perfection is referred to as True North. True North is a notion of perfection. True North is thermodynamically impossible (2nd law of thermodynamics), so when explaining this concept to a team, it must be understood that True North is not a destination; it is a compass heading. The act of continually pressing toward True North will ensure that the team never rests on its laurels, but pushes forward to new frontiers and improvements. There are two types of improvement: Innovative and Continuous.

Hendrick Motorsports

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 June 2014.

Recently, the consultants at DRIVE visited with Hendrick Motorsports’ team. It was a distinct pleasure for a bunch of “car guys,” but more importantly, it was an opportunity to benchmark a world-class organization. Hendrick has four drivers that are household names to many people: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kasey Kahne. Over the last twenty-five years, few race teams can boast of more wins. As of the sending of this article, Jimmie Johnson has won three out of the last four races, and this past week, the four cars that Hendrick entered, all finished seventh or better. .

Major Pitfalls to Exceeding World-Class Part 2

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 April 2014.

Last month we discussed the negative effects of disunity and what the lack of direction can have on a team and business. It is extremely important to have a team that is unified and headed in the correct direction. The success of a company is largely dependent upon the leadership team’s ability to unite and lead in a common direction. However, it is not enough to be unified around the direction of the company and what actions need to be taken to effectively move the company in that direction, the team now has to begin MOVING. This leads to the third pitfall- the pitfall of failing to execute. In addition to the lack of unity and direction, the team may lack a system for achieving the business need. The team may believe publishing the business goals is enough to empower everyone to meet those goals. This is typically not the case. It will be necessary to narrow the agreed upon focus. With a narrowed focus, a unified team has a better chance to execute with excellence. However, too many teams still take on more than they can implement and do a poor job at accomplishing the goals. These teams have created a vision and strategy, and even plan to advance the strategy, but fail to implement. The plan sits on a shelf in a nicely organized three-ring binder. This failure to execute is the result of overtasking the team. During the planning meeting, the team will agree there are only a select few initiatives for the upcoming year but continue to pile on more tasks during the year. Sometimes it becomes necessary for leadership to say, “That is a great idea, but we aren’t going to do it.” How disappointing is it to have a plan that appears to achieve the goals only to have it sitting on a shelf somewhere?

Major Pitfalls to Exceeding World-Class Part 1

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 March 2014.

In today’s highly competitive global marketplace, setting one’s sights on world-class isn’t enough. The approach of the past was characterized by big companies “eating” the smaller ones. However, in today’s environment, the faster companies tend to “eat” the slower companies. Our many years of experience working in many different industries and traveling the globe as management consultants have brought to our attention four main areas that separate world-class companies from those companies which are mediocre and/or “mothballed”. Those four areas are Unity, Direction, Execution, and Discipline. All of the teams that have mastered these four areas are considered successful. The proof is in the results they have achieved in their businesses. Those teams which have chosen to pursue mastery in these four areas succeed, whereas, those teams which fail to choose mastery of these areas are eventually replaced and will selfishly bleed the company into a condition of non-existence. This month’s newsletter is dedicated to the discussion of two of the four major areas-- Unity and Direction.

The Right Mindset

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 February 2014.

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. The gazelle knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. The lion knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death. The moral of the story is: It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. Once the sun comes up, you had better be running. There are lions and gazelles in the business world, and we must be like the Lion.

Make it Easy to do the Right Thing

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 January 2014.

Have you ever been placed in a work situation in which it was so difficult to do the right thing that you were forced to choose between doing the right thing and violating a policy or procedure to get things done? Those of us at Drive have seen that many of the people we have had the pleasure to work with have been placed in this precarious position.

Year End Newsletter 2013

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 December 2013.

Each year I attempt to reflect on what has occurred while setting direction for a new year. 2013 has been a year of growth for Drive, Inc. (thanks to all of you) and has been a year of big changes for us, including our name change! Of course, our jobs have us facilitating change every day. As we journey toward 2014, I leave you with a few nuggets on leading change.

Pitfalls of Yearend Planning

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 November 2013.

I am often entertained when I see annual operating plans with round numbers or the same reduction targets year after year. Many times the plans are fantasies rather than actual plans that will move the company closer to its business objectives. Since these plans are so loosely constructed, managers and directors fail to challenge the current condition. These leaders know corporate is going to reduce the budget by 20% anyway, so they add 20% fluff in the beginning which leads to The Showdown (also known as the budget review). At the end of this review, the managers leave thinking, “Well, it could have been worse,” and the corporate managers think, “Well, we got an extra 20% out of those guys.” In the end, there is incremental improvement to the business, at best. We see companies play this same game year after year. Now, we are all smart and know it isn’t right, so how did we get here?

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