A Leader’s First 30 Days Are Free

The Honeymoon Doesn’t Last… I’ve spent much of my career working with new leaders—leaders who were suddenly responsible for leading a company, one of its business units, regions, labs, manufacturing plants, or branch operations. New leaders encounter many of the same early challenges and make the same mistakes. Depending on the size of the organization,… Read more

Chasing Shiny, Bright Objects

One of my early consulting engagements was in Kansas City with a team of smart people from Hallmark. The team was charged with improving business processes that were critical to getting new products to market faster. The work took months off the process. It made the company more nimble, giving it a decided competitive edge…. Read more

Dooming Culture Change to Fail – 5 Common Mistakes

If I didn’t know better I’d be firmly convinced that many leaders get up in the morning and deliberately try to confuse the hell out of their employees. I’ve been guiding business leaders through major and minor change processes for more than 30 years. Some target the whole company; others focus on improving branch operations,… Read more

New Best Practice Video

Six years ago, the vice president of communication for ConAgra Foods and one of her bright, young communication team members asked me to help them take a bold step out of their traditional role. They wanted to shift their work from distributing news and information to improving real business results. Specifically, they wanted to help… Read more

How To Start Lean

“What’s the first thing I should do?” I hear this question frequently—most recently by someone in Turkey—about transforming an organization into a lean one.  It’s always worth learning from those who’ve gone before you, especially if it can avoid costly missteps. For those new to lean and its brother, six sigma, lean is a concept… Read more

Healthcare Safety: Beyond Checklists—The Easy Part

Depending on your source, between 100,000 and 300,000 patients die in US hospitals every year due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors. Many more are wounded. 100,000-300,000 is a wide range. So, let’s be conservative and call it 100,000.  Now, contrast that with the number of deaths that occur in all of U.S. industry per… Read more

Harvard Business Review: A good tool to have

I found this current  Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Are You Ready to Rebound” instructive. It focuses on identifying new opportunities to improve business execution through: Strong operational hydraulics Rewards for performance, not mediocrity Core values with teeth The right conversations Adventurous leaders in key positions Constant pressure versus heroic efforts It uses a straightforward and… Read more

Change Management Crash Course

I just returned from the West Coast where I conceived and delivered a new crash course workshop on change management. It started with a call from Jose, a business leader in Southern California  who’d learned of our work integrating the cultural and technical aspects of lean transformations. He wanted help launching lean six sigma with… Read more

Tiger Woods and Four Words

Way more than enough has been written about the Tiger Woods episode of late, but it’s one more reminder that in good and bad times, always tell the truth and do it damned fast. There is little if anything to be gained by dragging out a response. If you’ve got to get the lawyers involved do it only with the PR people sitting with the lawyers as equals at the table. Decide fast and get on with it. Opportunity follows speed.