It’s become very clear that there is a big difference between activity and action. When you are involved in “activity” you or your team members are moving, chatting, planning and/or meeting about business impacting actions you plan to take in the future. You are catching up on your emails and reading your text messages. Activity has to happen and can be productive as long as it leads somewhere. I was chatting with a colleague recently and he said that he sometimes feels like he is spending his time “moving around air” but not actually getting results. His air moving is definitely an activity, and IRead More →

How we think about and talk about what we “do” significantly impacts the satisfaction we get from the activity and the value others feel from the activity. Ponder these 5 phrases: I have to do. I could do. I will do. I want to do. I get to do. I would refer to these as the “evolution of doing”. If we think about our activities as have to or could do, the perception is that the activities are chores, and not something we want to do. Once we “get to do” something, it sounds like we received a gift or something that we are veryRead More →

Sales wants to add as many customizations as possible, but operations wants sales to sell “what is on the truck” already. I have seen this natural conflict or push/pull relationship at every company I have worked for, from packaging supplies, to online advertising to software. Having worked in both sales and ops, I have been both the requester and the rejector. What causes this conflict? Sales people want to please customers and they often believe that providing custom options and/or all the bells and whistles that the customers ask for, is what’s best for everyone. Their perspective is often about the short term gratification andRead More →

It is probably human nature, but when asked about a business problem or the reason for a dip in performance results, the responses that I often hear are about something or someone else and the responder forgets to look in their own backyard. If we changed this tendency and did look internally first, we would solve problems and improve organizational results at a much faster pace. Here’s what I mean…. In Sales: I worked in sales organizations for many years and when employees were not meeting their sales quota the most common reasons given were that their sales quota was too high or that theirRead More →

It’s not all about the SLAs or speed of resolution. When we consider options to improve the customer experience, discussions often lead to complex process improvements or expensive tool enhancements, but there is something we can all do that is relatively easy and almost free. This is to keep our customers well informed during the problem solving progress. There are three major components to the act of keeping a customer well informed: Acknowledge that work has begun on their problem. Share the problem solving activities. Set and follow through on time frame expectations. When I receive feedback in customer satisfaction surveys and directly from clients, keeping customersRead More →

What do working out at a gym and running a business operation have in common? A few thing. We might look around and see some bad fashion choices. We might find ourselves surrounded by a few muscle-heads. But, the focus of this blog post is that in the gym and in the office, there are comparable techniques that will improve our productivity. Background: It all started because I was bored. I had been working out regularly since I was in my early 20s and reached a point last November where both my brain and my body were bored with the routine and needed a jump-startRead More →

Have you recently shared your 2012 goals and objectives with your teams? As business operations leaders, we often describe what we want, but do not do a very good job explaining or defining “the how”. To consistently meet or exceed our objectives, we must understand the business levers, i.e. the most important and specific set of activities that will enable our teams to be successful over the long term. We must coach our teams on the most appropriate, proven set of behaviors that will get us from point A to point B. To define the right set of levers, you should consider these 6 steps:Read More →