Why you need measurements

Do you need measurements?

Over the past few weeks, I have written various articles about Continuous Improvement (CI) and using Continuous Improvement with AI and RPA. These articles touch upon how to use CI in your business and with AI.  But one thing that is important to note is that regardless of the size of your business, measurements or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are needed.  It is essential to understand what is going in your business, and the only way to do this is through measurements.  These numbers provide you with data that allows you to see what is going. When you combine measurements with “gut” feelings and Gemba walks, you can put together a great story.

Measurements are an essential part of your CI journey, regardless of the industry!

Within CI, data and measurements will help you determine your Point A (starting point) and then develop your Point B (goal). Measurements are required at both ends.  You will know where you are and where you are going. The measures of success are just more than how your business is doing. These measurements will help you see if you are on the right path and hitting the growth you want. The numbers represent your story, no matter how things are.  They will affect your personal growth, and to see real progress and to feel empowered, you need to see the numbers.  Behind these numbers, you will feel an emotional attachment.  If the numbers are positive, it will bring you great joy, but they will bring discomfort if the numbers are negative.

Why you need measurements

There are different arguments on the type of measurements you should use. For this article, I just wanted to stress the importance of using data and why.   It is essential to see why these measurements are so important.

To tell your story

If you do not have measurements, you will not have the data to tell the real story.  If you are not speaking with data, you cannot describe how things are going. 

The data can be simple! Do not make it too complex.

To know where you are! 

This may seem like the obvious one, but many leaders and owners do not know where they stand.  If you are not collecting data, you will miss some important things:

 

  • Are you on track toward your goal?
  • Do you need to readjust or pivot?
  • Are your employees satisfied?
  • Are your customers satisfied?
  • What are the costs in your business or organization?
  • Is your business or organization hitting revenue goals?
  • What are your profit numbers?

To know your measure of success 

How can you measure your success?

How do you know if you met your goal?

These two questions are why you need to track data!

If you are not meeting your goal, the data will show that you may need to pivot and make changes. When you reach your goal, the data will allow you to know if you can celebrate.

Remember, you need to celebrate along the way!

Final thoughts 

Collecting measurements should not be a daunting task.  It will be the opposite because the data can help you tell your story, know where you are, and know your success measures. As things progress, the data will allow you to see if you are headed in the right direction or if you need to adjust.  Continuous Improvement will enable you to adapt and move forward to your goal.  Collecting the data will allow you to move forward faster, even if you have to take a step(s) back.  Collecting the data is a step forward in Continuous Improvement!

 

Are you collecting data? If yes, why? If no, why?

If you would like to collect the data or why it is beneficial to you, let’s set up some time to talk.

Collecting the data is a step forward in Continuous Improvement!” – Lauren Hisey

 

 

Working Virtually

WorkingVirtually

It is not something new….

When I first started my Continuous Improvement Consulting business two years ago, I never met my first two clients in person. Everything that I did with the clients, from sales, contracts, and project work, was done over Zoom, phone calls, emails, and Google drive. While this concept is new to many people when COVID-19 hit a year ago, it is something that I have done over the past 14 years in different capacities. After having a great conversation last week with a few people, I stopped to think how interesting and comfortable people are becoming with this new way of working.  I decided to go even deeper.  I know how to work remotely and sell. For 2021, I would like to grow up on my own experiences. As we move into 2021, things will still be evolving.

Working virtually in a corporate world

While working in the corporate world, I worked with my Project Teams and my organization virtually. The various reasons why we worked this way was: lack of funding for travel, multi-country involvement, and the urgency to get things done faster when waiting for fund approval, or not everyone could travel. Despite all of these reasons, I could be successful without traveling when the time arises.  Sometimes I could get the Team together for a few days and then finish the work remotely.  But regardless of the situation of doing everything remotely or in person, I successfully overcame the obstacles.  Before all the excellent virtual tools and videos we have today, I used to do the work without seeing people’s faces.  Through the past 14 years, I have learned what has worked for me.

We do have the tools to be successful in a virtual world

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we do have the tools to be successful despite what we may feel.  Many people in 2020 have learned that they can meet and reach more people than they thought possible.  The reality is that I think a lot of us like that we can do this.  We can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time when the need arises. I’m not saying that we should continue to stay remote forever, but we can be successful if we need to keep up this way for a while.  My experience is corporate, and my first two clients have taught me this. The work I did with both of these clients was 100% remote without ever meeting them in person.

Virtual world client experience 

My first client was an international client with a global reach. At the time, the client needed to move fast, and working remotely was our best option to move at a rapid pace.   I never met this client in person or met with them on video.  I completed two big successful projects with the client.   My second client was unique; they did not have a physical office.  The owners and employees were all located in different states.  I met with them on video and even recording some important meetings for the owners when they could not attend meetings. We completed a very successful project with this client as well.    With both of these clients, I was able to do all of the strategic planning, workshops, process mapping, coaching, change management, improvement implementation, and Continuous Improvement plans for the future virtually. 

Hybrid environment

In my work with my clients and the corporate world, I know we can be successful regardless of what is going on globally.  We can do sales meetings, contract negotiations, Team meetings, networking, consulting, and project work while never meeting in person. While I think that in-person does move things along faster and miss the in-person interaction, I think we can continue for virtual for now.  As things start to improve with COVID-19 as the year goes on, I genuinely believe that we will be moving back to doing things in-person, with a balance.  Instead of focusing truly on doing everything in-person, I think there is a place for virtual and in-person.  We need to decide what is best for the situation, but if you need to do something 100% virtually, know that it can be done successfully. Over this past year, we have seen that we should continue to evolve as we move forward.

 

What are your thoughts about working virtually?

Do you like it or hate it?

 

” I know we can be successful regardless of what is going on globally.”

 

The Customer’s View

Have you ever experienced a time of poor customer service?

Have you ever thought about how smoothly a customer experience went?

Did you only notice when you have excellent or poor service?

Now stop and think how you felt during these times. 

How do you feel? Ecstatic or angry?

Do you want to blame the employees, the company, the website, or the IVR (Interactive Voice Response)?

I hope these questions got you thinking. Each day each one of us experiences some customer service.  You participate without even thinking about it.

What was your last customer experience?

In case you are stump here are few experiences:

  • Buying groceries off of Instacart
  • Ordering on the internet – Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Home Depot, Office Depot, Target, Walmart, etc.
  • Buying something in-person – groceries, home improvement, clothes, etc.
  • Sending mail or packages through USPS, FedEx, UPS
  • Going out to eat
  • Ordering food for taking out either through Grub Hub or directly through the restaurant
  • Using online banking systems
  • Call your bank or credit card
  • Trying to resolve an issue with online retailers or banking

The list goes on and on, but you get the gest.  Every day you are a customer that is experiencing customer service.  Regardless of the business or industry, there is a customer view.  You may not notice this, but there are times you do not even realize how seamless or pleasing the service was.  You do remember the fantastic or lousy services. It is usually the awful service that gets all of the attention. Outstanding service gets attention too, but not in the way horrible service does.

When I’m working with my clients, a lot of times, they come to me for the following reasons:

  • Their customers (B2B or B2C) are complaining
  • Complaints can range from defects, missed delivery dates, wrong implementation, long wait times, or slow service
  • Losing customers to competitors for all the same reasons above
  • Employees are working overtime to meet customer demand for either B2C or B2B
  • Missing SLAs with B2B or B2B to B2C
  • Long wait times for call centers, in-person banking or grocery stores, or online support
  • Missing delivery dates of services, installations, or goods
  • Increased costs due to overtime, rework, quality inspections, or delivery of goods or services with defects

When my clients are at this point, they need quick fixes not to lose customers and market share.  When you lose your customers, you lose both your current customers and your future customers. Yes, you are losing potential customers and revenue. 

But how do you know when the right time to fixing things?

It is a gray area to know when because when things are going amazing and your customers are not complaining, you do not want to change the status quo.  You are thinking, why should I change things because my customers are happy.  If my customers are satisfied, wouldn’t changing things make them unhappy?

Instead of thinking that changes will make your customers unhappy, think about improving things to keep your customers continuously happy.  Knowing your customer’s journey experience is essential. The customer journey is vital regardless of the business or industry that you are in. If one tiny thing goes wrong or there is a disruption in the business (think COVID), you need to adjust fast.  It takes one bad customer journey or service to turn everything from going great to foul. 

When my clients come to me with the issues above, the biggest problem I see is not just the processes themselves but also their customer’s journey.  I take the time with my clients to understand the customer’s journey.  When mapping the current state, I map it with the steps that a customer takes.  By taking the time to understand the customer journey through interviews, surveys, KPI metrics, complaints, or reviews, I can understand how the customers (internal and external) feel.

It is also not just about the customers too.  If your customers are unhappy, your employees may be unsatisfied too.  Taking the time to assess how your employees feel can also lead you to learn how your customers think.  Your front-line employees deal with customers daily, and they know what the customers are feeling.  Another way to see if your customers are unhappy is to see how your employees are doing.  If you see high turnover, overtime, or calling in sick, your customers may not be happy. 

So, when is the right time to understand the customer’s point of view? 

When things are going smoothly or when you start to see the issues listed above, the time is now.  If you wait too long, it will be a long, expensive road to fix things.  Besides improving the broking processes, you will need to adjust and figure out how to gain customer loyalty. 

Customer loyalty is the gold in business. If your customers are happy, they will not only write good reviews online; they will also recommend your company to others.  Word of mouth and referrals are the bread and butter of any successful business.

Do you know your customer’s journey?

If you need help understanding your customer’s journey, let’s set up a time to talk.

Do not wait till it’s too late to understand your customer’s journey!

Customer's View

Have you ever experienced a time of excellent customer service?

 

Where to start?

While working with a client a few weeks ago, I pulled out some basic tools from my Continuous Improvement (CI) toolbox to visualize the problems and problem-solving.  While this client had some data, we needed to dive deeper. During our sessions, the client Team realized that we need more than just data. While data does show us the current state and helps point us in the right direction, we need to do more than look at data.  All of the Control Charts, Pareto Charts, Histograms, or bar graphs only show so much.  We must go deeper than the data. We needed to understand where we are genuinely starting.

 Before the virtual “Kaizen” workshops, I completed virtual Gemba Walks with the Team to develop the current state Value Stream Map (VSM) and cross-functional map.  During the Gemba Walks, I built relationships with the Team to learn more about them, what they do, how they felt, and what ideas they may have for improvements. I either spoke to individuals or small Teams about their part of the process.  While these sessions were all virtual, this is something that I do with all my clients either virtually or in person.

Kaizen Events

Once the mapping exercises were done, it was time to bring everyone together to start the virtual “Kaizen” workshops. During the first few sessions, we validated the VSM and cross-functional maps. While going through sessions, things the Team uncovered many problems that we later validated with the data.  During these sessions, I used the

  • 5 Whys
  • Fishbone diagrams
  • Lean Waste
  • Affinity Diagrams

 Without the Team knowing it, they are learning to use the tools effectively.   They were brainstorming and problem-solving in an open environment because they knew they were in a trusted space. They were becoming better problem-solvers.  I also remind the client Teams that they are in a safe space and that titles do not matter.  What truly matters is their voice.  While I want decision-makers to be a part of the workshops to make quick fast decisions, I do not allow the Titles to get in the way. It is not about “I”; it is about “we.”  When looking at processes end-to-end for a product, service, back office, or front office, it is not about one person.  It is about the Team! I

As I move the Team into the following stages, they are starting to see the flow.  They realize that the schedule was built to move them along through the Kaizen Process, but there is also room to be creative, learn, and get to know people better.  Together the Team was developing something better, an environment that would be productive.  It is not all about the bottom line, but employee and customer satisfaction.

Using the right tools

Depending on the situation, I will pull out the right tools from my CI Toolbox to help the Team visualize. Most of the time, the “gut” feelings are correct because we can see them in the data from the start. But there are times that the data does not show everything.  Remember, we use the data to help point us in the right direction, but sometimes you need to dig deeper to get to the “root” cause of the problem. 

While we are moving further into the workshop, the Team starts to brainstorm improvement ideas.  There are so many ways to go about this. Still, sometimes if we cannot get together in a room with sticky notes and markers, I walk the Team through Excel or a board to generate ideas.

If you have all the money in the world…

 My favorite way to start these types of sessions is to say, “Do not worry about time or money!  Imagine you have all the money in the world, how would you solve these problems? No idea is too big or too small.”  After taking away the restrictions, this gets the ideas or juices flowing.  Just about 99% of the time, my client Teams come up with great ideas!  But I only give them so much time to come up with ideas as well.  I use Time Management to keep them on track and to only think about the task at hand.  I also guide them to go deep. During these sessions, they were not there to develop the Improvement Plans, Change Management Plans, or set up a “side” projects just yet. 

After the “time” has run out during these brainstorming improvement sessions, it is time to rank! While there are different ways to categorize improvements (and even root causes) through Affinity Diagrams, things need to be rank to determine the best path forward. While I wanted the Teams to go up with great ideas, you cannot implement everything because it may either too costly or doesn’t have enough impact.  I just wanted to remove the restrictions in their minds to get things the creative juices flowing.

With all my clients, I use a ranking system of all improvements based on the benefits for their customers or clients, cost and effort, and internal benefits to the company.  While we want the customer to be happy, we also need to make sure that there is enough ROI on the improvements and internal benefits.  Who wants to implement something that makes your job harder?  That is not the point of Continuous Improvement.

Which tools should I use?

As you can see, I’ve used many different tools when working with this particular client.  My thought going into each client is that I have all kinds of tools in my toolbox to use for the right situation.  While there are many advanced tools out there in the form of statistics (ex: Minitab or other stat tools), data analytics, or Big Data, I use the right tools for the right situation. The type of tool that should be used depends on the situation, the problem you are trying to solve, the data you might have, and how well you truly know the problem.  

I started to wonder if others thought in the same manner.  A few weeks ago, I decided to ask on Social Media what everyone’s favorite Continuous Improvement tool was.  The responses I received are:

 

  • Process Mapping
  • Visual Management
  • 5 Whys
  • Relationship Building
  • Gemba – go to Gemba – walk the process
  • Measurement System Analysis
  • Tim Woods – Lean Wastes – Have you seen Tim Woods lately?
  • VSM
  • RACI
  • Fishbone Diagram or Ishikawa or Cause and Effect Diagram
  • 5S
  • Standard Work

Each one of these tools is a part of my toolbox. I pulled them out when the situation is right.  The ones that I do use the most are

  • Gemba and process mapping together to understand the “as is” current state and to show the future state
  • Relationship building to truly get to know my clients and their Teams
  • Value Stream Map to learn the flows and the internal and external customer experience
  • 5 Whys when process mapping to learn and to also get the root causes to the problem
  • Lean Wastes
  • Data Analysis along with Measurement System Analysis after I completed all of the above
  • Fishbone and 5 Whys for further problems solving and creativity with the Teams
  • Standard Work – this is more of an improvement but is a must before any technology
  • Time Management

Keep it simple!

Sometimes, we need the more advanced tools, but you don’t always need to start there.  Always keep things simple at first, and then move on to advance tools depending on the situation.  CI is not always about data analytics and using every tool. Sometimes, it is as simple as the Gemba walk and processing mapping with relationship-building to uncover the business and process problems. After you figure out where the problems are, you can use data to help back up the gut feeling. Of course, if the data is not 100%, it is a starting point that often leads to improvement itself by setting up the right KPIs for the process and product.

The next time you think you need to use a fancy tool, remember it sometimes best to start with the simplest and cheapest tools.  By keeping things simple, you can begin to move faster in the right direction vs. spending too much time on the wrong thing.  It is better to start small and then move into more advanced tools.  It is the power of Continuous Improvement that teaches us that!

If you would like to learn more about how I can help you improve your business, let’s set up some to talk.

“Do not worry about time or money!  Imagine you have all the money in the world, how would you solve these problems? No idea is too big or too small.”  -Lauren Hisey

 

Continuous Improvement helping your business

 

As a business owner or leader, you may know what your starting point (Point A) and goals or endpoint (Point B) are, but you do not know how to get there. Many times, you just go without taking the time to set up any type of plan. Since you do not have a plan, you may be feeling a little lost or unsure. You do not know what your next move should be. The feelings of hopelessness begin to creep in. These feelings become even more significant when things happen that are out of your control. You are maybe feeling this right now because of today’s life-changing events.

The economy and businesses are starting to reopen. Do you know what your next move will be? While you want to do what is best for you and your business, you also realize that there it’s more than this. You are trying to figure out how to serve your customers and employees best. In addition, you want to keep yourself and everyone else safe and healthy. But you also need to figure out a way to increase your sales and revenue.

All of the business worries have a new twist to them today. You are still wondering if your plan from the beginning of the year is still relevant or should you just start over. Instead of starting over, now may be a good time to reevaluate your starting point (Point A) and your endpoint and goals (Point B).   You may not need to start over but just adjust your plan. Or maybe it might make sense to start over from scratch. Before you make that decision, there are some things that you can do to help you make the right decision and come up with a plan that works for you.

Within my own business, I develop a CI Plan for myself and my business that is best suited for me. I knew what my point A and Point B were, but I needed to adjust my CI plan for my business. I needed to figure out what was best for myself and my business during these life-changing events. I need to come back to CI and Ikigai. By combining both, I was able to define my why, my passion, and my mission. Once I had these down, it was easy for me to adjust my CI Plan. Instead of feeling hopeless, a CI Plan has helped me to be in control. A CI plan will help you get to your Point B so you can see real progress and feel empowered. With my own CI plan, I’m starting to see results by following the plan each day.

It is like when I set out to start training for half marathon with my husband a few years ago. At this time, never of us have thought about running except for the 10K we completed. We didn’t have a training plan or a nutritional plan. Together we picked out a half marathon we wanted to run. But in true Hisey fashion, my husband and I decided to take it one step further. We decided to complete the Walt Disney World Star Wars Run Challenge of completing a 10K and half marathon in one weekend. While many people might think that is crazy, it is something that my husband and I like to do. We want to take on tough challenges and beat them. So, we set out by setting up a training plan and nutritional plan that would allow us to complete both races without injury. We completed both races and got our medals. But we didn’t stop there, and we decided to run two more Disney half marathons that year to in Disneyland Paris and Disneyland in California. By completing these additional races, we were able to get additional challenge medals. We continuously improved our running and became better with each run.

 Creating a Continuous Improvement Plan

 

Continuous Improvement Plan

Step 1 – Determine your true point B

Point B is your goal! Take time to visualize where you want to be. Don’t rush this step but also do not get stuck in this step. Research if you need to, but remember, at this point, you just need a good enough understanding of where you want to be. You can always readjust your goal as you get further into your CI plan.  If your goal is significant, you will break down this goal into shorter manageable goals in Step 3. 

Your goal is your measure of success, and no one else’s. You can use other’s as a guide, but create a goal that is best suited for you and your business.

 

If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.

 

Examples:

  1. Long-term running goal: I want to run a Half-Marathon on October 5, 2020.
  2. Long-term business goal:
  • Increase revenue for my company or organization to $50K by December 31, 2020.
  • Increase revenue for my company or organization to $100K by May 31, 2021
  • Increase revenue to $2M for my company or organization by December 2021.

Step 2 – Understand your point A

Before moving forward, you need to understand where you truly stand. Your starting point or point A, and will determine what steps you need to get to your point B.   Your starting point should just be a good understanding of where you are today.  Just think about drawing a line in the sand; this your starting point.

Examples

  1. Running – Today, June 1, 2020, I have not run a mile.
  2. Business –
  • I just started my business, and I do not have any previous revenue.
  • Today, I’m only reaching 50 prospective clients every few months with my current marketing and sales plan. Out of these 50 potential clients, I’m only signing one new client every few months. My current marketing and sales plan/process is loosely defined and not repeatable. This is not allowing me to reach my revenue goals.
  • Today, my current organization or business is bringing in $1 M in revenue each year. We are projected to increase our revenue to $2 M next year, but we are unable to meet the demand if we continue down our current path. Our employees are unhappy, and the entire company is always putting out fires. We need to develop a better way to handle the increase in customer demand and ensure our employees are happy.

 Step 3 – Define smaller, manageable goals to help you get to Point B.

To reach point B, you need to set up smaller, manageable goals to get to your bigger goal. By doing this, you will start to see progress a lot faster. As you accomplish each smaller goal, take the time to celebrate the small successes. These small successes empower you to keep going and get to your Point B successfully.

Examples

Running

  • Short-term goal 1: Run 1 mile by June 1.
  • Short-term goal 2: Run 5 K by July 13.
  • Short-term goal 3: Run 10K by August 10.
  • Short-term goal 4. Run 9 miles by August 31.
  • Short-term goal 5. Run 13 miles by September 28.

Business: Increasing revenue (these numbers can be adjusted to your revenue goals for your business or organization)

  • Short term goal 1: Increase revenue to $20K by September 31, 2020
  • Short term goal 2: Increase revenue to $50K by December 31, 2020
  • Short term goal 3: Increase revenue to $75K by February 28, 2021

Business: Increasing the number of clients (by increasing the number of clients, you should be able to increase your revenue numbers.)

  • Short term goal 1: Add 3 clients to my business by September 31, 2020
  • Short term goal 2: Add 4 clients to my business by December 31, 2020
  • Short term goal 3: Add 6 clients to my business by February 28, 2021
  • Short term goal 4: Add 8 clients to my business by May 31, 2021

Step 4 – Plan to reach your goals

Set up a plan that you can follow each day and week to meet your goals. You will need to brainstorm what steps you are going to take each day. There is not one set plan for everyone or business. The plan should be unique to your business. Remember that each step is essential and not to skip steps to try to get ahead too fast. You need to put in the work each day, week, and year to get to your goals. Overnight successes do not happen. Success happens by doing the work each day to get to your goals.

For running this, it would be where you would set up the running and nutrition plan to get you to your goal. You could use a Couch to Half Marathon plans to get you there. But do the program that is right for you.

For a business, this is where you set up your business plan. You will set up the processes, marketing and sales plan, content strategy, etc. to get more clients or to reach your revenue goals. The plans to get where you need to go will be unique to your business or organization.

Step 5 – Carry your plan out. Just start!

You need to start toward your goal. Often business leaders and owners plan and plan, but they just don’t get started. Do not waste time; just get started! Even if a step does not work, you are still taking a step forward because you are learning. You just need to take one Step a time: one run at a time, one meal at a time, one step of the business plan at a time. 

Step 6 – Check to see if everything is ok at the target dates that you defined in Step 3.

Complete this step on a weekly and monthly basis. You will check to see if you are on your way or if something did not work right. If everything is going well with your plan, then full speed ahead. If things are not going well, readjust your plan and maybe even your goal. 

Examples

Running – Are you meeting your running goals?

  1. Yes, keep on going with your running and nutrition plan
  2. No, what happened? Did you get injured or you do not have enough energy?
  • Plan for a rest
  • Readjust your plan
  • Make sure you are getting the right amount of nutrition

Business – Are the steps you are taking getting you toward your goal?

  1. Yes, keep on going with your business plan
  2. No, figure out what is not working.
  • Experiment until you are on the right track.
  • Just make sure you are giving things the right amount of time to see results.
  • Do not change too fast!

Step 7 – Keeping doing each step until you reach point B

CI is a daily, weekly, yearly action that you do for improvement. CI is a continuous cycle until you reach point B. Little by little, you will reach your business and personal goals.

Step 8 – Success!! You have reached your Point B!

Celebrate your success!! Do not skip celebrating! You took one step, one day at a time to reach your goal. By celebrating, you are empowering yourself to see how far you have come. 

Take this time to relax and enjoy your success! 

Do not skip this. 

Let things settle and then move onto Step 8.

Step 8 – Set up a new CI plan for your next goal

Remember, step 6, where CI is a daily, weekly, yearly action? The beautiful thing about CI is that you can always have a CI plan to keep on getting better. Don’t stay in the comfortable zone! Get out there and achieve all of the success you want to do!

 

Just like I did with my business and running, I will share with you what you how you can continuously improve your business. You can start doing things today and work toward your point B. Now is the perfect time to figure out your CI Plan so you can begin to see real progress regardless of what is going on around us.

 Do you think you can use this CI plan? What are some things that can do today to get from your point A to point B?

If you would like to talk about setting up your CI Plan, let’s set up some time to chat.

Do not waste time; just get started!” – Lauren Hisey

 

 

Business Goal

Why your business goals will fail!

Do you have an idea of what your business goal is (Point B)?

Do you have a starting point (Point A)?

Are you unsure how to get from Pont A to Point B?

Does the journey seem scary to you?

These are often the questions a business leader or owner asks themselves. As the business leader or owner, you usually do not understand what is holding you back and what is getting in your way to reach your business goals. You become scared and full of emotions because you think you need to be further along. You are thinking this because it feels like everyone around you is succeeding faster than you. You are in the same place or moving backward. But what if I told you that moving from Point to Point B is hard, and there Six Causes that are keeping you from moving forward. You may not be able to see these causes even if they are right in front of you.  Sometimes these causes are intangible, and we may or may not be able to quantify them.

Let’s dive into the causes!

1. Perfectionism!

Perfectionism is a “personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high-performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.”

Often you are comparing yourself to others, especially if they seem to have everything together.  It feels like they are way ahead of you, and you can’t even figure out your next step or where to start.  What if I told you that everything in business is not perfect and everyone else feels just like you? Perfectionism keeps us from seeing where people are on their journey. You cannot compare your beginning to someone’s middle or end. Everyone is on a journey, and we are all in different stages.

 

Instead of hating your journey, you should embrace it. The journey is not always about the reward or the destination. My friend Karyn Ross always reminds me that “How we get there is as (or more important) than where we are going!” Enjoy and embrace the journey because you will have more fun if you do. The results will come if you enjoy what you are doing and put in the work.

2. Chaos!

Often, you will choose chaos or disorder because we do not know any better. You get stuck in the chaos because you don’t know how to get out of it. It is causing you to lose sight of what matters the most and how to get to your goals. All of the chaos you are creating is not serving your customers. It is driving them away because you have become reactive instead of proactive. The focus should not be on making more money for yourself or your business but on how you make your customers happy. By stopping the chaos and listening to our customers’ wants, we learn how to make them happy. Satisfied customers usually mean you are meeting your customer needs, which in turn makes your business money.

 

3. No Plan! 

You might say you have a plan, but you genuinely do not have a plan or not an efficient plan. Instead, you are all over the place within your business. You start to feel confused and overwhelmed. When you are hit with a crisis (just like COVID-19), you are reactive. Without a plan, you are not efficient, and you are not rapid enough to respond. Instead, you are stuck in chaos and not seeing any progress. You are trying a whole lot of different things at once instead of taking it one step at a time. You need to have a well thought out  Continuous Improvement plans not just for improvements but for times like we are experiencing right now. These plans allow you to combat the feelings of being overwhelmed and confused. Having a plan will enable you to move out of a place of stagnation and into a place with great opportunities to improve and move forward. You can start to climb the mountain again to success and prosperity because things are planned out.

4. Complexity! 

You are making things harder than they need to be. You are trying all of the new “flashy” things (technology, AI, etc.) only to see that they are not working. By adding complexity to any business situation, you are making things worse.  What if I told you that you do not always need all the tools, technology, and gadgets to be successful. Sometimes all you need to do is start with simple processes that work for you. You do not always need to add complexity to your business to become efficient and successful.

5. Not truly understanding your purpose and goals! 

Do you genuinely understand why you are in business? What do you want to achieve? What do your customers honestly want? The answers to these questions help to define the success of your business.   If you are not able to answer these questions, you may be feeling like you honestly do not know what you are doing. Not having a real purpose and goal with your business will keep you in this state of confusion and will not allow you to develop a concrete plan that fits you and your business. Not knowing what the real purpose is keeping you from truly from authenticity. By genuinely thinking about your goal, it will help you to make sure your Point B is accurate.  

6. Not starting!

 Have you thought about starting a new plan, but you are afraid to? You begin to think about what if you fail or if you take the wrong steps. Instead of thinking about failure, think about how succeeding. You will not fail or take the wrong steps. A step is either going to work or not work. If the step works, you are closer to your goal. If the step did not work, you are still closer to your goal. You are closer to your goal because you started taking steps instead of just waiting. You are much closer to your Point B once you start! 

Where you able to relate to these reasons? Are you ready to see why you are having such a hard time moving from Point A to Point B? You may not experience all of these reasons, but if you are just experiencing one of them, it’s keeping you from moving forward. If you can just eliminate one of these reasons, this will help you to start moving forward. You will get to your Point B so much faster. I have faith that you can move forward and reach your Point B. 

 

What is keeping you from moving forward?

 

If you would like to learn more about these six reasons, let’s set up a time chat.

 

How we get there is as (or more important) than where we are going! – Karyn Ross

 

 

My First 50 Lunches with Strangers 

Eleven months ago, I embarked on my journey to meet 100 new people with my Lauren’s 100 lunches with strangers.  I started down this journey because of my fantastic friend Bianca from Australia. We realized it was going to be sometime before we would see each other in-person. At first, we were sad, but she reminded me that we could control how we respond to things while we can’t control the world.  Over the past year, Bianca and I have spoken via phone, video chatted, and message one another.  Sometimes we the two of us talk, and other times, we included her fiancé and my husband.  While we are miles apart, I’m reminded of the special friendship we have and how we met playing craps in Vegas.  Through these conversations, I realized that we do not need to see people in person to stay close with our family and friends, but we can also network. There have been plenty of times I don’t see my family or my best friend for a while.  It is through text, phone, and video chatted that helps to keep us close.  My best friend and I either talk or text almost every day and it has been about a year a half since I saw her. We have kept close because of this. This should be no different with networking or doing business.  In fact, Zoom has opened so many doors for me that I had to reflect on my 50 first lunches with strangers.

I learned about 100 lunches through Lili Boyanva.  I was a part of Lili’s 100 lunches, and she was my inspiration to start my lunches.  Through Lili, I learned that we have a common connection through Karyn Ross and the Women In Lean group.  Lili also introduced me to Kaley Chu, who started the fantastic movement of 100 lunches with Strangers. It was a way for her to meet people out of her social circle.  While I’m no stranger to networking and an extrovert, I’m was a little hesitant to meet new people.  But Lili and Kaley inspired me to meet 100 new people, and we can use Zoom or meeting in-person. We do not need the constraints of a pandemic to keep us back.  Fear and choosing not to move forward is a state of mind that we can control regardless of what is going on around us. 

Through this journey, I’m reminded of Karyn Ross’s quote “that it is not about the destination but the journey.” It is about learning, paying-it-forward, and providing kindness. Networking and friendship are not about us but the other person.  While I’m growing through this journey, I also think about helping the other person.  Networking and meeting other people are not always about us, but the other person. It is about connecting and learning. You never know which direction each conversation takes and how much you grow from learning from the other person. 

When I hit my 50th lunch a few weeks ago with my lunch with Liston Edge, I never realized how much this journey would mean to me. At first, I started my 100 lunches,  to become better at networking. It was about becoming comfortable meeting people in different industries.  Along the way, I’ve met 50 wonderful new people, some close to home here in the Atlanta area and others as far away as Australia.  I learned more about myself than I realized, and learned that people are so kind and willing to help. Through this journey, I have discovered so many things like:

 

  • The appropriate audience for my business,
  • Where people are within their career
  • The different books I want to read.
  • How to sell through conversation
  • How to listen
  • How business leaders and owners think in today’s environment
  • Kindness in different parts of the world
  • The world is not such a big place.
  • We can make friends regardless of where we live.

 

The most important thing I have learned along this journey is that we should not allow time or space to get in our way.  It doesn’t matter how far away someone is; we can still connect with them via phone, text, or video chat.  Instead of waiting for tomorrow, we should take action today, even if a small step.  We need to throw fear out the window and take leaps of faith. Fear only holds us back from accomplishing great things.  Once we get rid of fear, we can achieve anything and set our successes. It is about doing what we love, helping others, and practicing gratitude! 

I just completed my 58th lunch, and I’m looking forward to the next 42. But I’m not in such a hurry anymore because I’m enjoying my lunches and the journey.  Who knows, maybe when I get to 100, I’ll extend my goal.  But for now, I want to enjoy the next 42, so I can learn and grow from each person I meet. 

Would you like to have lunch with me?

 

Schedule lunch

My first 50 lunches with strangers

“It is about learning, paying-it-forward, and providing kindness. Networking and friendship how people are so kind and willing to helpare not about us but the other person. .”

 

Business Goal
 

Do you have an idea of what your business goal is (Point B)?

Do you have a starting point (Point A)?

Are you unsure how to get from Pont A to Point B?

Does the journey seem scary to you?

These are often the questions a business leader or owner asks themselves. As the business leader or owner, you usually do not understand what is holding you back and what is getting in your way to reach your business goals. You become scared and full of emotions because you think you need to be further along.  You are thinking this because it feels like everyone around you is succeeding faster than you. You are in the same place or moving backward.  But what if I told you that moving from Point to Point B is hard, and there Five Causes that are keeping you from moving forward.  You may not be able to see these causes even if they are right in front of you.   Sometimes these causes are intangible, and we may or may not be able to quantify them.

Let’s dive into the causes!

Six Causes for business goal failure

 

1. Perfectionism!

Perfectionism  is a “personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high-performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.”

Often you are comparing yourself to others, especially if they seem to have everything together.   It feels like they are way ahead of you, and you can’t even figure out your next step or where to start.   What if I told you that everything in business is not perfect and everyone else feels just like you?  Perfectionism keeps us from seeing where people are on their journey.  You cannot compare your beginning to someone’s middle or end.  Everyone is on a journey, and we are all in different stages.

The journey

Instead of hating your journey, you should embrace it.  The journey is not always about the reward or the destination.  My friend Karyn Ross always reminds me that “How we get there is as (or more important) than where we are going!” Enjoy and embrace the journey because you will have more fun if you do.  The results will come if you enjoy what you are doing and put in the work.

2. Chaos!

Often, you will choose chaos or disorder because we do not know any better. You get stuck in the chaos because you don’t know how to get out of it. It is causing you to lose sight of what matters the most and how to get to your goals.  All of the chaos you are creating is not serving your customers. It is driving them away because you have become reactive instead of proactive. The focus should not be making more money for yourself or your business but on how you make your customers happy. By stopping the chaos and listening to our customers’ wants, we learn how to make them happy. Satisfied customers usually mean you are meeting your customer needs, which in turn makes your business money.

No Plan and complex
You need a plan and simplicity to climb the mountain!

3. No Plan! 

You might say you have a plan, but you genuinely do not have a plan or not an efficient plan.  Instead, you are all over the place within your business.  You start to feel confused and overwhelmed. When you are hit with a crisis (just like COVID-19), you are reactive. Without a plan, you are not efficient, and you are not rapid enough to respond.  Instead, you are stuck in chaos and not seeing any progress.  You are trying a whole lot of different things at once instead of taking it one step at a time. You need to have a well thought out Continuous Improvement plans not just for improvements but for times like we are experiencing right now.  These plans allow you to combat the feelings of being overwhelmed and confused. Having a plan will enable you to move out of a place of stagnation and into a place with great opportunity to improve and move forward.  You can start to climb the mountain again to success and prosperity because things are planned out.

4. Complexity! 

You are making things harder than they need to be.  You are trying all of the new “flashy” things (technology, AI, etc.) only to see that they are not working. By adding complexity to any business situation, you are making things worse.   What if I told you that you do not always need all the tools, technology, and gadgets to be successful. Sometimes all you need to do is start with simple processes that work for you.  You do not always need to add complexity to your business to become efficient and successful.

5.  Not truly understanding your purpose and goals! 

Do you genuinely understand why you are in business? What do you want to achieve? What do your customers honestly want?  The answers to these questions help to define the success of your business.    If you are not able to answer these questions, you may be feeling like you honestly do not know what you are doing.  Not having a real purpose and goal with your business well keep you in this state of confusion and will not allow you to develop a concrete plan that fits you and your business. Not knowing what the real purpose is keeping you from truly from authenticity. By genuinely thinking about your goal, it will help you to make sure your Point B is accurate.  

Starting line

6. Not starting!

 Have you thought about starting a new plan, but you are afraid to?  You begin to think about what if you fail or if you take the wrong steps. Instead of thinking about failure, think about how succeeding.  You will not fail or take the wrong steps.  A step is either going to work or not work.  If the step works, you are closer to your goal.  If the step did not work, you are still closer to your goal.  You are closer to your goal because you started taking steps instead of just waiting.  You are much closer to your Point B once you start!

 

Where you able to relate to these reasons? Are you ready to see why you are having such a hard time moving from Point A to Point B? You may not experience all of these reasons, but if you are just experiencing one of them, it’s keeping you from moving forward.  If you can just eliminate one of these reasons, this will help you to start moving forward.  You will get to your Point B so much faster. I have faith that you can move forward and reach your Point B. 

 

What is keeping you from moving forward?

 

If you would like to learn more about these six reasons, let’s set up some time chat.

Continuous Improvement!!

Happy Tip Tuesday❗

 
“Improvement usually means doing something that we have never done before.” – Shigeo Shingo
 
Have you ever felt anxiety at work, within your business or professional career❓
 
Do you want to get somewhere new but don’t know-how❓
 
This new place could be can be a promotion, growing a new business, expanding an existing business, growing a new organization, or just becoming an Influencer in your industry. These examples are considered improvements. But there are times that these improvements can be overwhelming and cause anxiety. There is a way to overcome these feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious by taking steps to get there. 
 
The improvements we are doing is something that we have never done before.

Continuous Improvement  can help us get there—one step at a time. But the most important thing to remember is that we need to start instead of waiting!

Continuous Improvement Steps

Here’s a simple way to start to climb the mountain of Continuous Improvement:
1️⃣Define your goal or problem
2️⃣Plan out your attack. Brainstorm
3️⃣Do your plans of attack
4️⃣Revise – Did you plan work?
✔️ If yes, continue what you are doing.
✔️ If no, relook at your goal or problem. Is your plan getting there? If not, revise it!
5️⃣Revise – Did you plan work?
✔️If yes, continue what you are doing.
✔️If no, relook at your goal or problem. Is your plan getting there? If not, revise it!
6️⃣You reach success!
 
One critical thought is to remember that you need to measure your success for you, your employees, your customers, and your business.
 
How are you going to Improve Continuously❓
 
Let me know your thoughts below.
 

If you want to learn more about how you can Continuously Improve,let’s talk. I can help through the steps through coaching or consulting.

 

The Value Lean Six Sigma Brings

After I wrote my article on Lean Six Sigma benefits for Small to Medium Businesses, I thought it would be beneficial to write about the hard facts with Lean Six Sigma. It is essential to understand the ROI and value  Lean Six Sigma brings, regardless if you hire a consultant or implement a program within your own company. 

Lean Six Sigma Benefits and Values

 

 

Before diving into the numbers, we should recap some of the benefits of Lean Six Sigma.

Hard Benefits

The hard benefits are generally tangible things, for example:

  • Reducing processing cost
  • Increasing revenue
  • Improving cash flow
  • Eliminating the need for capital expenditure
  • Faster quote to cash
  • Reduce the need to hire additional employees
  • Reducing operating costs
  • Reduce the need for extra inventory
  • Reducing machine operating time
  • Reducing overtime hours
  • Reducing cycle time to deliver the service or creating the product

Soft Benefits

LSS soft benefits do not have the same tangible effect as hard benefits.  However, these soft benefits are beneficial for the business.  Examples of soft benefits are:

  • Customer focus
    • The focal point becomes the customer instead of the company
    • Happy customers usually lead to more revenue
    • A good and bad review can make or break a business
  • Improved employee morale
    • Happy employees enjoy coming to work every day
    • Happy employees treat customers and other employees with respect
    • Unhappy employees can result in high turnover and loss of talent
  • Improved employee effectiveness
    • Employees perform better when they are happy
    • Better performance means satisfied customers
  • Leading by fact and alignment
    • LSS provides a way for owners, leaders, and managers to manage the company based on facts
    • LSS eliminates the need for guessing
    • LSS provides critical measurements for a business to define success

What is the value of Lean Six Sigma?

So what does all of this mean in the terms ROI and the bottom line?  Let’s dive into the numbers I compiled from some research and my success.

The numbers below I gathered through my research:

  • Allied Signal – Over the past 12 years, cost savings over $800 M
  • US Army – Cost savings around $2B in 2019
  • UCSD Medical Center – $ 4M in savings
  • Ford Motor Company – $300M in savings
  • Agilent Technologies – $ 2B in streamlining their Supply Chain

Sources: https://educhapter.com/2019/01/09/financial-benefits-of-lean-six-sigma/ and https://goleansixsigma.com/success/ and https://www.achieveprocessexcellence.com/support-files/continuous-improvement-success-stories-by-industry.pdf

Within my 12-year career in Lean Six Sigma, I have saved companies ~$14 M + in revenue and savings. Some individual examples of my successes are:

  • Reduce the time and improve the quality to post a job for external recruiting from 1 month to 4 days –
    • ~$800K in savings
    • Improved employee morale
  • Improved quality of client reports and services
    • $ 2M in revenue
    • Enhanced client relationships and employee morale
  • Improvement of two products cycle time and quality
    • $3.5 M in operating cost savings and revenue retention
    • Improved employee morale and customer satisfaction
  • Improvement in delivery cycle time for an international product
    • Improved employee morale and customer satisfaction
    • $5M in increased revenue and operating cost savings
  • Improved sales cycle time and quality
    • ~$1.5 M in revenue
    • Improved Sales employee morale
    • Improved communication with potential and new clients

What does this all mean?

Lean Six Sigma is beneficial to any business, no matter the size or industry.  The numbers above are only scratching the surface.  Just based on these numbers, it is easy to see the ROI on Lean Six Sigma and how it affects a business’ bottom line. 

If we look past the hard numbers, we can also see how Lean Six Sigma does have soft benefits.  Just the increase in customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction provides better brand awareness and improved market share.  These soft savings contribute to the overall bottom line.

Everything adds up to help create a successful business.  Any type of business, regardless of size or industry, can benefit from Lean Six Sigma to help them grow and become successful.

Have you or your company utilized Lean Six Sigma?  What are some of the benefits that you have seen from using Lean Six Sigma?

If you want o use Lean Six Sigma within your business, Contact Me.