What it Takes to be Profitable

November 30th, 2010 by admin

I recently saw a quote by BILL WADDELL that can make a huge difference in any business.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are selling $250 dinners, or $1 flashlight batteries, it is the degree to which work is well done that determines your success, and no amount of manipulating the money can compensate for a lack of work well done.”

This quote can be found at www.superfactory.com

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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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What McDonald’s Can Teach Us About Financial Recovery

July 28th, 2009 by admin

I believe there are four important lessons that can be learned from the remarkable turnaround at McDonald’s.

1. How you grow matters as much as that you grow. The financial services industry would have benefitted from a focus on “growth by quality, not by quantity.” Clearly, the “growth at any cost” credo of some led to exactly that: any cost.

2. Changing your business model may not be needed, but belief in it is. Start by asking yourself what business you are in and whether customers still have a need for it. If they do, commit to it — fully. At McDonald’s, we knew that people still “deserved a break today” and we were willing to let go of all other initiatives (many of them very exciting) in order to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the core business.

3. None of us is as good as all of us. It’s the system, stupid! Understanding that you are leading a system, not a company or a person, is a critical insight if you want to successfully change something large. McDonald’s is extremely good at this. To some people (me included), it is a frustrating process. It takes time. It requires buy-in and plenty of patience and tolerance from everyone. It also requires adequate policing, oversight and incredibly detailed measurement systems. This is tedious work, and intimidating to those being measured. But it’s needed.

Large systems work best with a hard-wired operating system in the hub that enables innovation, entrepreneurship and decision-making in the nodes. The Internet would not have happened without HTML. Our country would not have prospered without the U.S. Constitution. But it is worth all the pain. And it must start with the humility that you are in the service of something larger than your own institution. As we say at BE-CAUSE — the company I founded — a purpose bigger than your product.

4. Plan your work, and work your plan. At McDonald’s we created a “plan to win.” Some would argue that it wasn’t perfect. Perhaps it wasn’t, but we decided that it was. And we haven’t looked back. Even through tragic circumstances — losing two CEOs in less than one year due to tragic deaths — the plan stayed intact and is still central today to the focus and alignment of the organization.

Information as per http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/cs/2009/07/what_mcdonalds_can_teach_us_ab.html?cm_mmc=npv-_-TOPICEMAIL-_-JUL_2009-_-STRATEGY2

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