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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?

Respect for People

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 October 2013.

When we consider what respect for people actually means, we need to define our terms to understand that it includes making every effort to understand others, taking responsibility and doing our best to build mutual trust. To do this correctly, we must stimulate personal and professional growth, share the opportunities of development and maximize individual and team performance. We consider respect for people as a key principle in operating any organization. As respect for people is a key operating principle, the concept of “management owes” supports it.

LMSPI is Changing its Name!

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 September 2013.

Starting in December of 2004, we set out to help transform companies and incorporated as Lean Manufacturing Solutions Partnership, Incorporated. We knew it was a mouthful, but we were highly blessed and have grown quite a bit since those initial stages. Today, we have fifteen Enterprise Excellence Consultants traveling throughout North America with the mission of saving Free Enterprise in North America!

Respecting Your Extended Network of Supplier

By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 August 2013.

Healthy supplier relationships are central to building a superior product portfolio and driving business growth. Many companies tout their top-quality supplier relations without recognizing that their primary interest really lies in gaining the best price and little more. We must have respect for our suppliers and treat them as an extension of our business.

VAVE and Thinking outside the Box

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 July 2013.

Recently, we had the pleasure of facilitating a Value Analysis / Value Engineering (VAVE) event for a client. It was a highly successful event where we identified design changes that will result in a 10% reduction in COGS. What continually amazes me is the power generated by the dedication of time to an event such as this in which all functions are integrated to accomplish an objective. Interestingly, a majority of the ideas for improvement came from the client. Cost reduction had been a business objective for them for a very long time, so why didn’t these ideas surface before? I believe three reasons exist for why these ideas never surfaced before: the lack of an excellent creative process, failure to dedicate the time necessary to accomplish the goal, and little to no cross-functional alignment.

Question Everything

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 June 2013.

It always amazes me how some of the most impactful solutions are uncovered when we ask the simplest of questions. Asking questions is the cheapest way to find improvement ideas. The key is to invite others with differing views and experiences into your organization and give them the opportunity to ask those questions. After all, the simplest of all problem solving tools is the question “Why?” and the most effective method of teaching is the Socratic Method which is based on asking questions.

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