The Extra Mile

November 1st, 2009 by admin

To be a successful business owner, manager, or employee you must reach high, think big, work hard. What are you doing in your business to meet your objectives. Are you allowing your employees to grow, while helping your business to grow? Do not forget to tell your employees if they are doing a good job that by doing this item can give incentives to employees to go the extra mile.

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Job Stress

October 24th, 2009 by admin

Fortune Magazine has listed ways to help deal with stress at work. When you or your employees are too stressed they do not perform as well. Low performance equals loss of income for the business.

1. Clearly articulate your expectations. “Managers are often unaware of how they are adding stress to people’s workday by being vague about what they want,” says Bright.

An example: A boss will announce, “Let’s have a meeting Friday to talk about cutting costs.” That sets the rumor mill abuzz (are more layoffs coming?) and leaves everyone uncertain about what, if anything, they can bring to the table.

“If you say instead, ‘Let’s have a meeting on Friday, and I’d like each person to bring two suggestions for how we can cut costs,’ that is a whole different message,” says Bright. “Just by being a little more specific, you let people know what’s expected and how they can succeed at it.”

2. At the end of each meeting, ask someone to sum up what’s been said and who is going to do what. “Knowing they may be called on to do the summing-up cuts down on people’s BlackBerry use during meetings,” says Bright. “But beyond that, too many meetings are just general discussions, where everybody rushes off at the end without a clear idea of what comes next.” No one can succeed at something if they don’t know what it is.

3. Put a cap on hours. “If you have someone who puts in 60 hours a week, then make that the limit,” says Bright. What good does that do? “In many offices, nothing is said about constantly increasing hours,” she explains. “So people just keep putting in longer and longer hours, not because they really have to, but because they are afraid not to.”

The result, as you may have noticed, is that staffers get exhausted and irritable, and the quality of their work takes a dive. By contrast, “if you let people know there is a limit, and you set that limit at the number of hours they’re already working, it makes an amazing difference.”

4. Schedule some downtime each week. “One of the things that has everyone so stressed is that they never get a chance to catch up,” says Bright. “If your email inbox is overflowing and your office is a mess because you haven’t had time to get organized, it makes that out-of-control feeling just that much worse.”

So try announcing that, say, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays is “get-it-done” time, during which no meetings will be held. Giving people permission to clear away the background noise of tasks left undone “can be an enormous stress reliever,” says Bright.

5. Help people set realistic priorities. “If you ask people for a list of their priorities, they usually have so many that it is obvious where their frustration is coming from,” Bright observes. “So you can help them set goals they can actually achieve. Again, it’s a way of creating successes and regaining some control.”

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How Do You Think of Your Employees?

October 18th, 2009 by admin

I saw this other blog today and thought it fits appropriately with respecting your employees? Your employees can make or break your business and how it is considered in the community or across the US.

Chief Brain Officer 17 Oct 2009 01:08 PM PDT Evolving Excellence
Kevin Meyer
Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is with how most organizations think of their people.  Yep, just a pair of hands.
This is driven in large part by traditional accounting that keeps that pair of hands on the expense side of the P&L and the liability side of the balance sheet.  So what happens when managers at traditional organizations look at those traditional financial statements?  The big light bulb goes off and they start running around trying to reduce that expense.  They begin to dream up ideas to make everyone work harder so they can reduce the number of hands, move operations thousands of miles across oceans to try to find cheaper hands, and perhaps try to find temporary hands to avoid paying benefits.
Fortunately there are some enlightened organizations that think a little differently.  In effect they zoom out a bit and realize something: there’s a brain connected to those hands.  That brain holds knowledge and training, is creative, and can come up with ideas that both reduce other costs and expand the top line of the business.
Not an expense, not a liability.  An asset worthy of investment.
That is how some companies can add labor cost and improve profitability at the same time.  And why companies like Toyota use robots only in situations that are dangerous or too difficult for humans, not to automate simply to achieve efficiency.  It takes a long time to fill a suggestion box in a room full of robots. When most companies must comply with using traditional financial statements, and are scrutinized by investors and analysts steeped in traditional accounting and focused on short-term results, it takes guts to choose a different path.  But some do, and they are becoming the winners.  They are the ones that aren’t lauded for “repatriating jobs” back to the U.S… because they never left in the first place.  They are the ones experiencing a surge in profitable business as fuel prices and political instability wreak havoc on far-flung supply chains.  They are the ones capturing new markets due to the ability to change direction on a dime without having to worry about language barriers and massive amounts of inventory on container ships becoming obsolete.
Perhaps part of the problem is due to terminology.  We’ve evolved from thinking of people as “personnel” and having a “Personnel Department.”  Most organizations now call it the Human Resources Department.”  Some are a bit further down the path and think in terms of “talent” or “knowledge.”  But those terms still convey a sense of expense and liability.  A resource, not an opportunity.

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Quality Down the Tubes

October 3rd, 2009 by admin

If you are wondering why I am writing about cars the Toyota organization has been know for starting the main process for having quality while being lean financially. They have obviously changed in one area to save money that has endangered the life of the driver’s. How far is your organization willing to go to cut costs? Do you learn from your mistakes or do you ignore the mistakes? The public expects quality and cost efficiency that will be passed on to your clients or the public in general. See Toyota’s mistakes below and do not follow in their footsteps.
Toyota’s Inexcusable Failure

Posted: 29 Sep 2009 02:34 PM PDT

by BILL WADDELL, Evolving Excellence

Many of us in the lean community – all of us long admirers of Toyota and ardent proponents of the business and manufacturing model they spawned – have had to make excuses for Toyota and rationalize some of their failings recently. The latest one, however, demonstrates just how far they have slipped from the principles that propelled them to greatness.

3.8 million cars recalled due to floor mats, of all things, getting caught up in the accelerator. What makes it so inexcusable is that it is not the first time. “Toyota recalled 55,000 Camry and Lexus ES 350 models in 2007 because of complaints of unintended acceleration caused by the mats sticking under the accelerator pedal. The NHTSA said consumers continued to report instances of uncontrolled acceleration in Toyota models after that recall.”

So much for quality, and so much for continuous improvement and learning.

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Is Your CEO Willing To Have a Cut in Pay?

September 27th, 2009 by admin

Here are the 10 largest (by revenue) U.S. public companies where CEO pay cuts took place:

General Motors (reduced to $1)
Ford Motor (reduced by 30%)
Sears (reduced by $50K)
FedEx (reduced by 20%)
American Express (reduced by 10%)
Motorola (reduced by 25%)
Eaton (reduced by 6 weeks’ worth of pay)
Continental Airlines (reduced to $0 for Q3 and Q4 of 2008)
EMC (reduced by 15%)
Cummins (reduced by 10%)

In this economy, it may require a cut in pay to remain strong or have a business to survive. Are you or is your CEO willing to take a cut in pay?

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How Unique Are You in Business?

September 20th, 2009 by admin

Business is competitive, and no one can win a race by following the leader.  You win by figuring out the most effective way to apply the principles for success to the unique situation in which you operate. Sometimes there is one good move for everyone in the same industry but you can’t all do the same thing in every aspect of the business all the time and have any hope of getting ahead. Where do you stand out in business?
Can you run a business like this?

There is no organization chart
There are no job titles or job descriptions
No bonuses and no perks
No regularly scheduled meetings
No approval levels for capital or expense spending
No goals
No offices or high-walled cubicles
If the peers accept the idea, then “management” is presumed to accept it – hence the need for very little management
If you know what is needed in business and hire the best professionals, can you have a successful business without all of the normal confining constraints found in the typical business world?

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Lean and Compliance

September 5th, 2009 by admin

Quite often the people in the company responsible for these compliance issues are guilty of first degree overkill.  Unless there is some particular concern, the goal of the company should be to comply with the law – period.  While under-documenting and under-training are a mistake, over-documenting and over-training are a waste of precious time and money.  Too often the people responsible for compliance – either out of zealousness to assure the company never has a legal problem, or out of a desire to build a way beyond the letter of the law.  Too often they use ignorance on the part of the rest of management, and a culture of fear of the wrath of the regulatory agencies to preclude oversight.

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Facts on the Cost of Health Insurance and Health Care Part 1

August 26th, 2009 by admin

By several measures, health care spending continues to rise at a rapid rate and forcing businesses and families to cut back on operations and household expenses respectively.

In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent — two times the rate of inflation.1 Total spending was $2.4 TRILLION in 2007, or $7900 per person1. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 TRILLION in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.1

In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent – two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.2

Experts agree that our health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems significantly increase the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers and workers and affect the security of families.

National Health Care Spending

  • In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.1 Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.1
  • Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.3
  • In 2008, the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2017.1
  • Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.3
  • Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.4

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Employer-sponsored healthcare premiums could double in 10 years

August 21st, 2009 by admin

A recent report produced by the Commonwealth Fund found that over the past decade, insurance premiums have been growing much more quickly than income in the United States, so much so that employer-sponsored health coverage for families increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2008. An even scarier finding: The report determined that rates could jump by 94 percent in the coming decade–to $23,842 per family.

The states with the highest premium costs for families–just over $13,500–included Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire. Idaho, Iowa and Hawaii were all at the lower end of the spectrum, averaging $11,000 per family.

The report found that currently, 18 states have premium rates that are equal to or greater than 18 percent of the average income for a household. These types of increases are not sustainable for families or employers.

With health spending projected to double in the next ten years if we stay on our current path, middle and lower income families are at high risk of losing their coverage.

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How to Get Employees On Board For a Change

August 19th, 2009 by admin

1.       Motivate Your People. Statistics state about 97 percent of people resist change. Change upsets their daily routines and makes them nervous. The first things is to inspire your employees one at a time to buy into your change plan. Be willing to work alongside your front-line supervisors, work with employees in small groups or be available for one-on-one meetings to explain how the change benefits the organization and the individual. Be patient with employees as they adapt to their new circumstances.

2.      Be Specific. Help each employee team member understand his or her new role in the company.

3.      Use Multiple Channels of Communication. Use every communication tool at your disposal including : internal newsletters/memos, e-mail blasts, division meetings and possibly even a blog.

4.      Listen. In order for employees to buy into change, they have to share in it. Invite and listen to team members’ suggestions. Let the employees show you how they feel they can align their jobs to your needs. After all, who knows a job better than the employee doing it? While this isn’t an “everyone gets a vote in the final decision, it is “everyone’s involved” consensus team building.

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