The Importance of Building a Culture

I read an article about building a culture that caused me to think about what we are doing in our company. It supports the idea of building a strong culture because people thrive in strong cultures. It’s good for us. It is what makes us human. According to Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist, we are “wired” for connection. Because we are “wired” for connection, we are attracted to people and teams that have similar goals, […]

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Ask Questions Instead of Providing Answers

Asking a question is a powerful tool. I once took a class where the teacher focused on the power of a question. His name was Eugene Jennings and he wrote on the board these simple letters: Q/A. His premise was that Questions were more powerful than Answers. His advice was to ask questions before providing answers. I saw this happen in a meeting recently. We were discussing how to improve a process. One of the […]

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Patience is Self Control in Difficult Times

I’m reading a book called “Love Works” by a CEO named Joel Manby. It’s a business book describing how someone can “love” as a leader. He cautions that most people hear “love” and think of it as being soft. He takes care to make sure the reader understands “love” is a verb as compared to a feeling. He uses seven words to describe how to love. The first one is “patient.” Here’s his great description: […]

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In Basketball and Business, “Do Your Job”

I’m watching the NBA playoffs. There’s a game every night and it’s winding down to the finals. I heard Erik Spoelstra, the coach of the Miami Heat, implore his team: “Do your job.” In basketball, that means a number of things. Cover your man. Rebound. Take good shots when you’re open. Execute the game plan. In professional basketball, coaches can use the short hand, saying “do your job,” because they spend hours studying film, crafting […]

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“Lean” Contributes to Improved Safety

Eddie Stokes of Butner wrote me back about my safety note from Tuesday. He thinks our May safety results have more to them than just us paying attention to new guys as they come in the plant. “I truly believe that lean is having a major impact on safety. Through the last several months of lean I’ve noticed that everyone is working at a different pace than before lean. Before lean we worked in what […]

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Six Reasons Customers Buy from You

Seth Godin is a businessman who writes and I pay attention to what he says. He wrote recently about why customers buy from you in a business situation. I thought his insights were interesting. He said that people buy for at least one of six reasons. There may be more than one of these but at least one. As I surveyed the list, I couldn’t dispute them. I write you often about customer satisfaction. Recently, […]

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The Meaning of Memorial Day

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of Memorial Day. It kicks off the summer. No doubt there will be families gathering. Beverages consumed. Barbecue sampled. The holiday started around 1865. It initially was a day when the lives lost in the Civil War were remembered. Folks all over the country would visit cemeteries and decorate the graves of the heroes. The focus has shifted from the fallen to the fun. Perhaps we […]

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Having a Great First Hour

I shared with you how important a “quick start” is every day. The second part of a “quick start” is focusing on having a “great first hour.” There is nothing worse than having a balky start with inconsistent results in the first hour. Once you get behind, it is difficult to make up ground. A bad first hour will cause a variety of things: unplanned overtime, multiple changeovers, a bad climate fueled by pressure and […]

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A Customer’s Insight on Service

Here’s a note that Chad Magee in New London received from customer Stephen Uphill of Akrosil: “Once again, thank you for the concern for your business and ours. I understand that just because a customer (internal or external) has an emergency it doesn’t automatically become your emergency, however, you at PalletOne should be commended for your attention to detail and customer care. You’ve bailed us out of several sticky instances and we really appreciate what […]

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Lean Values People

While spending the week in Guatemala, I was watching how things get done and thinking about “lean.” In some respects, they aren’t lean at all. In others, we could learn some things. A short statement about what “lean” is: eliminating wasted time, wasted motion and wasted material. Underlying assumptions are that time, energy for motion and materials are scarce. Being scarce, they are relatively expensive. Thus, if you waste any of them, you are incurring […]

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