Three Simple Secrets Successful Trusted Advisors Know

I spoke to a conference in Baltimore a few weeks ago about the role of a trusted advisor. I was asked to share what I’ve learned over 30-plus years working with a governor, a couple of congressional candidates, a ton of CEOs, including former GE chairman Jack Welch, and a myriad of operations leaders in… Read more

Pick a Pilot and Win

When you need to produce results fast, minimize risk of failure, perfect a concept and create demand for more, then pick a pilot, improve results and replicate. Historically, change efforts were massive, enterprise-wide affairs. Those still have their place. But increasingly, companies are adopting surgical approaches to change. They’re focusing on improving pieces of their… Read more

What Can We Do About “Busyness”?

Action Items to Help You Prioritize Last month I addressed a meeting of communication professionals about the universal “busyness” imbedded in most organizations, and shared my belief that much of this busyness is caused by lack of rigorous priority setting. I work with many who are “trying to do everything” when “everything” shouldn’t sit at… Read more

Helping CEOs Add Value

The CEO of a Fortune 200 company had regular town hall meetings with his employees for years. When we conducted focus groups with employees to learn what they thought of the meetings, they liked what the CEO said during the town halls but when the meetings were over employees didn’t know what they were supposed… Read more

Crazy Busy & Knowing When to Say No

“I’m crazy busy!” That’s what we all say we are these days. But when is “crazy busy” a waste of time? Well, how often do you manage your time according to the value it adds to your business? An organization’s role is to create value for its customers and continuously improve the process, so more… 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

Lean Gone Too Hard

Many businesses have adopted aspects of what’s commonly referred to as lean. Lean is an overarching way of creating and sustaining an organization that’s waste free. Waste is loosely defined as any process or activity–like overproduction, scrap, rework, excessive movement, inventory–that a customer isn’t willing to pay for.  In some businesses, these efforts are creating… Read more

Congratulations to ITT for Winning Platinum

PR News announced that our client, ITT Corporation, won the 2010 Platinum Award for Internal Communication. The award recognizes the work we did in the company’s Texas Turbine Operation in Lubbock, Texas.  Courtney Reynolds led the effort for ITT. The project was focused on integrating the so-called hard and soft sides of lean to improve… Read more

Why Can’t Politicians Learn From High Performance Businesses?

As I read today’s CNN headline, “Obama Signs Healthcare ‘Fixes’ Bill,” I’m struck at just how backward politicians of every stripe are compared to what’s becoming standard fare in the high performance business world. In the high performance world, something that needs to be fixed after you’ve made it is called a defect. Defects represent… Read more