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Year End Newsletter 2014

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 December 2014.

Over the past year we have seen excellent improvements in businesses throughout North America. It is always gratifying to see true transformation in an organization where we: - Exceed business targets - Drive the culture intentionally - Build organizational capability to continue improving and sustain prior improvements

Creating Alignment - Part 1

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 November 2014.

Over the past year we have seen excellent improvements in businesses throughout North America. It is always gratifying to see true transformation in an organization where we:

Teachers at the Top

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 October 2014.

The spirit of a teacher should be at the heart of every great leader. Every one of us may be able to recall that certain someone in our lives, personally or professionally, who poured into our lives and helped us become the persons we are today. With that being said, if we have people in leadership roles who can’t teach, we cannot expect them to develop their people well. We must have leaders who understand our principles and philosophies and TEACH those principles and philosophies to others. One of the most long living legacies we can achieve is passing on our knowledge to those we teach. Teaching is a huge responsibility since, as teachers, our stance must be to understand that if the student hasn’t learned, then the teacher hasn’t taught. It is our responsibility to ensure learning happens. That is not the role of those being taught. We must promote teachers, not those leaders who get results based on pure brute force. Teachers ensure that we are spreading our knowledge and becoming more of a learning organization.

Dealing with the Current Team

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 September 2014.

Is there a sense of commitment to each other among your staff members? If asked, would each member of your staff identify the staff as his or her first team, or would the department over which they manage be your staff member’s first choice? In most cases, the answer will be the latter. Managers see the functions over which they manage as their team. The managers hire and mentor their people, and the managers’ direct reports tend to be the ones the managers spend most of their time with at the office. Consider this possibility when a manager keeps an office with his or her team rather than keeping an office with the staff. This separation typically occurs when the staff hasn’t achieved commitment to the direction of the business. The staff doesn’t have a shared sense of purpose to drive a higher level strategy. With the lack of a shared sense of purpose, the manager will seek to optimize the function.

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.

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