Tag Archives: goals

Just start!

Over the years I’ve attended various “… for beginners” Q&A’s for writing, film making, script writing, blogging, and other creative endeavors. I remember a fan asking Harlan Ellison what computer software he writes with and thinking “If you met Shakespeare would you want to know how he trimmed his quill?”.

Sure that’s a but sarcastic, but really you should have some content ready before you worry about the technology. Otherwise there is always a better camera/microphone/software/whatever just accept what you’ve got and get started.

That’s my philisophy and sometimes I forget it. Why wait for something to be perfect? Once the project is underway then spend time perfecting if that will increase results.

This came up mainly because I was coaching a blogger today and they wanted everything perfect before launching into podcasting. Just start!

Feeling uncomfortable but doing it anyway

I attended the AGSM New Students Day yesterday. I met graduates and faculty as well as some of my fellow students.

There was an fun little moment were we had to congratulate ourselves and each other on getting in. How the students reacted was interesting. There were those (mainly marketing types) who got into it. There were some who refused to do the “silly” bit – must be the accountants. Then there were the one’s who were obviously uncomfortable but did the exercise anyway. I realised that I want to get to know that group. These are people who are out of their comfort zone, but willing to try something new in the hope or belief they’ll learn or grow.

I’m not sure how to deal with the one’s who withheld participation. On the one hand they are confident enough in themselves to march to their own beat. But did that mean they were more scared of appearing stupid? Or were they that pragmatic that they didn’t want to do any of that feely-touchy stuff? Either way I can find that sort in most places and my initial reaction is to avoid them as inflexible.

Obviously I can get along famously with the party animals who’ll try anything in case it’s fun.

Interestingly I’ve decided to kick off the MBA with only one subject Accounting and Financial Management. One of the adjunct faculty members said she got the least value out of the term when she did two subjects. All she focused on as doing the required reading and barely kept up. She was aiming for internalising the subjects. Really considering the issues and allowing herself to come up with her own thoughts and attitudes on the subject.

Another vote for “the MBA is the journey” school of thought – which I am rapidly converting to. Who cares if it takes me longer to finish if I am changed by the experience. Heaven forbid I do all this work and all this study to emerge as the same person and the same skills as I started with.

This will be a life-changing experience.

Theory of Constraints

I got a question on my mention of Theory of Constraints (TOC) in an earlier post.

As my factory production has reached capacity, my most critical goal is to introduce TOC into my production facility. I first heard of the Theory of Constraints in the book The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox.

The TOC is based on the view that there is some essential limiter in a system, i.e. at least one bottleneck. Overall increases in production can only be achieved by increasing the throughput of that bottleneck.

The steps to implement TOC are:

  1. Identify the constraint (bottlenecks are identified by inventory pooling before the process)
  2. Exploit the constraint (increase its utilisation and efficiency)
  3. Subordinate all other processes to the constraint process (other processes serve the bottleneck)
  4. Elevate the constraint (if required, permanently increase bottleneck capacity)
  5. Rinse and repeat (after taking action, the bottleneck may have shifted or require further attention)

source wikipedia article on Theory of Contraints

I’ll provide updates here on how the process at my factory goes.

You can buy the book from Amazon

Deal with the Micro Manager

Over the Shoulder, micromanager wayA former CEO of mine was a micromanager. I knew this before I took the job as the company was a client for a couple of years. Socially, I like my boss and we’ve know each other for many years. I’d even call us friends.

Given my interest in entrepreneurship, I have strong feelings against micromanaging. Fool that I am I thought there was no way he’d try to micromanage me. Surely I was immune. Ha!

So I chaffed at the bit — I’d left lucrative contracts before when a client attempted such behaviour. I got stellar results: sales were up, gross margin was up, profit was up, costs were lower. I should have got all the freedom to run my division as I pleased.

But my boss comes from a retail background. I think retailers especially like to run things by the book. They love an operations manual which clearly spells out the detail of every step from opening in the morning to closing at night.

I then realised that it wasn’t his problem, it was mine. I try to deal with what is rather than what should be. Once I accept the reality I can start doing something about it.

Then I accepted I’m never going to change my boss. As a matter of fact until we worked together I liked spending time together. So how will I deal with this?

Understand the boss’s priorities. What are the top 5, 3 and 1 items for me to focus on? Reconfirm regularly to ensure they haven’t changed.

Use my communications skills. I am an excellent communicator. Start tracking the list of assigned tasks, negotiating deadlines that I can meet and renegotiating priorities as they change. This involves instigating planning discussions with my boss and organising my calendar to clearly show available resources.

Commit to frequent and regular updates. When I delegate to one of my team, I want to know if the task is on track and I want early warning if it’s leaving the rails. Other than that I don’t need the detail. The micromanager needs to know every step of every task. This means anticipating update requests but at the same time scheduling time in advance for progress briefings.

Document agreements. Followup verbal briefings, requests and agreements with an email to avoid confusion.

Micromanagers fear disorganisation and idleness. The best way to contain their excesses is to be organised. That’s tough as I am not a naturally organised person, but if I want the freedom to run my division I’ll need to meet the boss’s expectations. That’s what he pays me for.

Retail KPI’s – the germination

Price Tag by Sarah Williams Brisbane, QLD, Australia via http://www.sxc.hu/photo/480217I’m developing a series of KPI’s for a retail operation. They own nine garden shed outlets and don’t currently track anything. It’s late and I’ve got a pile of notes, but I’ll document the process here.

One of the key elements is avoid collecting useless data, and reward the collection of useful data that reinforces the corporate values, empowers the store managers and is an aid profitability through performance measurement.

Obviously the store managers are going to have a say in the KPI.

A Thousand Dollars

A Thousand Dollars photo by Tracy Olson Victoria, BC, Canada sxc.hu 387599The psychology of wealth creation works on a subconscious level. It is hard to develop that radar in an environment where wealth is absent. So it’s hard to forget the plan with images of the goal all around.

That’s why dieters put images on their fridges. Images of them slim, somebody with a similar body type at the ideal weight, the treat they’ll have when they reach some goal — whatever.

Notice the image is different for each person. The image must be personally meaningful. One person’s motivational image is anothers de-motivator.

So when I found this image of a thousand dollars I thought “oh yeah!”. What images, totems, reminders do you have in your space of you goals. Give your subconscious the fuel it needs to serve your dreams.

I found the image at Stock.XCHNG, the leading FREE stock photo site. You can get a high resolution shot by clicking through to http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=387599, and clicking the photo. It’s by Tracy Olson of Victoria, BC, Canada.