Be The Person You Want Helping You

Lately, I have read a lot from many entrepreneurs about which is more important, to make a lot of money or to help the client who needs that help?

This is a fair dilemma. If you don’t help people and do good for them or their companies you really can’t make very much money because you will not have many customers. If you spend all your time helping people giving away most of what you do and not making a sufficient income, you will not be able to continue due to a lack of funds.

This reminds me of a similar debate in manufacturing. To provide the customer what they are paying for, the winds need to build quality products. To earn sufficient funds to pay for the lines running, asserting quantity must be built and shipped to the customer.

Poor quantity means not enough product to satisfy the customer or keep the line running. On the other hand, poor quality means returns, reworks, and loss of reputation.

Let’s  look at this in action. You have a young line with new builders who have only the most minimum of training. The manufacturing manager steps on the line and tells everyone they will build and package 350 units by the end of the shift, or else she will find new people to build her computers.

The new people, needing the jobs to support their families and themselves are terrified and start doing whatever they can as fast as they can. Quality inspectors, who work for the manufacturing manager (poor choice in organizational structure) are letting all but the most serious of errors through inspection believing if the units are bad they will fail at the testing stations.

Although it’s a squeaker, the 350 units are built and shipped by the end of the shift. Everybody feels elated. Even the manufacturing manager has something on her face, although it’s not sure if what people saw was a smile, or sneer. Alas, this is just the start of the story and not the happy ending. The units shipped have a myriad of flaws, and the customer believes some units have major flaws which require repair before the units can be sold on the open market.

The 350 questionable units are shipped back to the United States from Europe and with 400 units that were built but not shipped underwent re-inspection and repair. When planning the economics of the line, a re-inspection and repair of units at this magnitude were never contemplated. The factory now has to pay for transportation of units, storage of units, a work crew to inspect and repair units, certification of the work by the customer’s inspectors, and re-shipment back to Europe. This is what we call a hidden factory. It’s not something you plan for your factory to do. Not something you’re going to get paid extra for. It is just a drain on the resources of the factory.

Let’s move this back to our question of the day and are we out to help people, or are we after the big bucks.

If you help someone, hopefully, they tell a friend. And if you help their friend, they’ll tell someone else, maybe two. If you build a quality product and put it in a quality program and charge a fair price, you may go far. Doing good things for people grows a following.   

If your product is filled with errors, grammatical problems, ideas that are irrelevant to the reader you may find items being returned and fees requested to be refunded. That is never a good start and is certainly a bad end.

So, what do you do? Do the best that you can make sure your work is relevant to your customer and you go from there.  And…

Be The Person You Want Helping You.

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money

Have you ever contemplated what work really is? We learned fairly early in life, usually around 11 or 12, that if we go out and do something for somebody, we can get a reward. Five dollars to shovel snow from the walk or to weed a garden. Fifteen to 20 dollars to cut the yard depending on size. And as we grow little, babysitting money.

Even at a young age, these small jobs can be big bucks. Young, smart entrepreneurs can easily maintain a list of five or 6 yards to cut in a weekend earning them $75 to $100.

As we grow older, we can then hire the neighborhood kid or our own children for those jobs we do not wish to do ourselves. And then later on when everyone’s grown, once again we find is ourselves doing those jobs with one small catch. No one is paying us. Wait a minute?

Is what we view as a job promotion for a life we spent becoming something else? I don’t think so. Cutting the grass is cutting the grass. A labor of love?  Again, I don’t think so. I would often be happy just to let it grow. Pay the neighborhood kid to do it? Last time I did that, he demanded the money up front for scout camp and then, he never cut the yard.

Side benefits for cutting the lawn? It keeps my significant other from more complaints. And, a good completion, if lucky, may even result in a kiss. Yet, it’s something that still has to be done. You can’t stop grass and shrubs from growing.

We do a lot of things, for rewards that have nothing to do with money. Raising kids is work, and at the same time, it’s a labor of love. The reward is when the children grow into adulthood and find their positive directions in the world.

Taking care of the house is a job. The better you keep it up, the easier the job becomes. When you keep the house like I do you end up with a true work of art. My house is post-modern clutter.

We all have chores we must complete. Chores that are often considered paid jobs to other people. Any chore or job that is done is a direct reflection on the person doing it. If a chore goes undone, is that not also a reflection upon the person in charge and the person who is supposed to complete the chore? This is something to contemplate.

Almost every action you do is an action someone else gets paid for. Chefs cook dinners.  Barbers shave people. Home health care workers wash people. Critics watch movies and TV shows and talk about them. If you’re doing these different occupations, for yourself, you’re working for yourself. And you are giving to yourself what others would be paid. This may not be in the coin of the realm, however, think of the riches you have and those you gain in doing these chores. After all…

Real Riches Are Never Measured In Money.

SAM’s List

Thank you for allowing me to be back with you again.

I hope you had a chance to read yesterday’s blog and make a list of those concerns and problems which are trying to overwhelm you. One thing to remember is that you were rarely alone.

Because I do not know the specifics of everyone’s problems or what their list may hold, it would be wrong for me to suggest somebody perform a set of action items based on that list. Yesterday we talked about making a list, and the lesson plan called for you to make a list. This list will be for your use after we’ve gone through this week’s lesson.  By the end of the week, you should have a good idea of how it works.  If you want to ask questions at that point, please write or call me, and we can talk about them,  The list is a starting point so you can try what SAM is working on right now.

Remember SAM? We looked in on SAM last week. He was having problems, and we watched as he made an affinity diagram, and a cause-and-effect chart (Fish-bone diagram.) Cause-and-effect charts and affinity diagrams are great for pointing out concerns and problems. By changing the causes, you are able to change the effects.

SAM made a list last night.  SAM is a pretty smart avatar. And we are going to look at his list  and help to get things sorted out.

Sam’s list looks like this:

SM'S PRO

+= a safety concern     * = a Health Concern

The big thing to remember when you start looking at problems is that you are not alone.  You may have friends, family, significant others, social clubs, religious organizations, or neighbors. You also have this blog. Please remember that nothing is so horrible it can’t be worked out and good remedies taken. And also, please remember the rules of numbers. One person can be fooled, overtaken, or defeated however some people working as one can easily win the day.

SAM did a pretty neat job on his list. I did notice he left out some of the concerns he had listed earlier.  Although everything gets tackled in an order according to how it affects the overall flow of the home and work, if an item is not on the list, it misses getting considered.  The list will be in great turmoil if it is unnecessarily interrupted.

Please notice that SAM noted safety and/or health concerns.  Putting these issues towards at the top of things to fix helps to save money and heartache in the long run.

Did you leave anything off your list?  It is better to acknowledge a concern than to ignore it.  Ignored items have a tendency to come back and get us.

Consider this and tomorrow we will help SAM (who will have a complete list ready) to plan his order of attack on the problems and have some solutions ready to go.

I think you are really going to like the actions and ideas SAM and his friends have in store for tomorrow.

Thanks for being with us today.

We Need a Win-Win Situation

I hope all is going well for you.

Hope you haven’t had some days like I’ve had lately were problems just seemed to ooze out of the woodwork. Not bad problems, just annoyances the little things that can get under your skin and just build up. Sometimes I find myself trying to fight everything at once, and just being overwhelmed. Do you ever have times like that?

Do you ever have times where the car acted up? The wind blows the wind turbine off the house, and there’s a hole in the ceiling? Money gets tight, as the cost of food goes up? The toilet won’t stop running, and the place feels too hot and too cold both in the same day? Cleaning up the messiest room could be easy, yet first, we would have to get the rooms to stop vying for the ‘Messiest Room in the House’ award. Ever get despondent and throw your hands up in the air just not knowing what to do?

I have done this before, and probably most the people reading this have been there. The way I see it, there a few things we can do. We can stay in bed pull the covers up over our head and ignore everything. That means the problems win. We could ignore everything and just walk away. Unfortunately, the problems win again. We could try to tackle all the problems at once, yet, I’m pretty sure they would overwhelm us. I don’t mind somebody else winning I just hate to lose. We need a win-win situation.

 

Time to press for the start of the win.

 

If you have a system working for you, such as Covey’s four square using urgent, important, not urgent, and not important or, another system, stick with it and please share with all of us in the comments so more people can learn and/or be helped.

If no system is working well, please make a list of your problems and annoyances, and how often they happen. Tomorrow, we will show how to take the list of problems and cut it down to size.

Please remember that dealing with problems is the same as eating an elephant. You do know how to eat an elephant, don’t you? One bite at a time.

I’m looking forward to next time, I hope you are too.

On this day, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence

Hi, because today is a holiday, I wanted to pass along this holiday note for the fourth.  We continue our normal blogs tomorrow.

Long distance relationships almost never last.  Mine did not last, although we are still good friends.  The relationship between England and the American Colonies did not last, although Britain and the United States are the best of friends now.

On this day, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence. Actually, it was signed on the second of July.  With no mass communications and no copiers in 1776, it took a couple of days to write copies and to get the word out.

It makes me wonder.  If long distance communication were available at that time, would it have made a difference?  Money is the root of many breakups. Could, however, the economic problems, between England and the Colonies be settled amicably before they grew so large that the two entities had no choice except the War of Independence and the legal separation, which was akin to a divorce of peoples?

This sounds like an academic quandary to be debated, and yet, we are on the cusp of the exact same problems in the very near future.  The people of Earth are planning to colonize the Moon and Mars.

The distance to the Moon and especially the distance to Mars will test the ability of communications. Not that communications are as slow as the 1700’s, there is a lag time that will start out as a nuisance.

Just as with England and the American Colonies. When the colonists of the Moon and Mars mine their ores, their focus will be on their work and not as much on the massive cost the Earth spent to get them to their colonies and provide for them as they began.  The Earth, like England, may be in a rush to reclaim the money spent to set up the colonists.

Special care needs to be planned for the missions to ensure a premium is placed on collaboration and communication.  These must be real communication and collaboration processes, not just buzz words.

Understanding what lead up to the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago is vital to future plans of colonization.  George Santayana reminded us why, when he said, “Those who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it.” (Wikipedia, last updated, 2/13/2006)

A special thank you to Paul Nielsen for his discussions and suggestions on this blog.  Thank you.

Everybody loves to learn something new

Everybody loves to learn something new. It makes us feel good to know something new. Learning keeps us young in heart and soul. Although we love to learn, no one likes to be taught. There are several negatives which have a tie to being poorly taught. My goal is not to teach you. My goal is to help you learn.

As soon as you mention things such as TQM, 8 – D, Six Sigma, or any of the other quality and process improvement techniques, you automatically find yourself the only person standing in the room. Everyone else ran. Most hate these classes.

Everyone who was ever ordered to take a process improvement class has a right. And everyone who wasted time sitting through endless meetings trying to figure out something to change has a right. And, all those who put up with the corporate politics of leaders who would never let the change happen, has a right to hate the subject.

We are not going to do that here.

You are a smart person. And you are responsible. Everybody has different responsibilities. You may have a house or an apartment, a family and/or a pet, and bank accounts and credit cards which you maintain. You are pretty good at the things you regularly do. And you’re probably a whiz at some others. Don’t let anyone put you down.

Everybody has things that go well and things which tend to go off the rails from time to time. I’m here to show you a few ideas you can learn to do, which will keep the same thing from going off the rails every six weeks or so.

Ever have a small problem that interrupts the momentum of your morning? For me, about once every six weeks I can’t find my car keys. When I come back to look for them, I am accused of losing them for good, and we will never be able to drive the car again!

They usually have fallen out of my pants pocket. Or, were left in a jacket or pants which I had used the day before. On rare occasions when I’m carrying things in both hands they end up left stuck inside the front door knob overnight. Good thing I lock the screen door.

To this annoyance, I usually apply what’s known as a Band-Aid Fix. Something super fast, super cheap, and something allows for the annoyance to be ignored until the next time it happens. The bad thing about this type of a fix is that it guarantees whatever the annoyance is it will happen again, and probably sooner than later.

My Band-Aid Fix to this is to set out a bowl on a table or nightstand which I plan to put the contents of my pockets into nightly. How often does this actually happen? Usually, the first night I set the bowl out and occasionally the second. I’m not a bad person, I just get busy and forget. Therefore, it is only a Band-Aid cure and guaranteed to happen again at regular intervals.

Because I work for myself (I think that is called a vow of poverty,) I have time to look for the keys. If I had to be somewhere at a particular time, I could be in trouble. So what is a better thing that I could do to ensure I knew exactly where my keys are first thing in the morning?

Are we going to write a long and lengthy process and perform follow up on it every six months? Absolutely not! What’s the smart thing to do? Because it’s my wife and me, we could take a few minutes and think about it.

Some ideas could be as simple as having a key rack with hooks by the door, where I place my keys when I come home and take them when leaving. The key rack could be in plain sight so we could both keep an eye on whether or not we were using it.

Another option, we could hide keys outside the house because if the keys are hanging inside the house, sooner or later, we will end up locking ourselves out. Unfortunately, neither one of us are trusting enough souls to hide keys outside the house.

Another option might be to purchase a key finder. Amazon has a plethora of key finders that work with everything from a whistle to your smartphone. Cost is usually somewhere between $15, and $24.  There are more expensive and less expensive models.

So on a five-minute conversation with your significant other, (maybe 10 minutes,) you discuss the situation with someone and come up with three good ideas. Which is best? It’s not for me to say, it is whichever method is most foolproof for you. Usually, the best processes remove human intervention.

Just a side note, when I can’t find my smartphone, I use the house phone to call the smartphone, and then I walk around the house trying to hear it ring. Always great to have a backup.

Thank you for being with us today.  Until next time, we wish you well.

The Right Tool Always Works Best

Do Not Try This at Home.  Have you ever tried to put a nail into a board by pushing it in with your fingers? Or maybe just banging it in with your fist? It could get painful. Have you ever tried to drill a hole for dowel with your fingernail or really dig into it with the thumbnail? DO NOT try any of these methods. There are better ways. Just a few minor manual tools such as a claw hammer and a hand drill would not only be safer and less dangerous, they would get the job done a whole what faster.

Tools are a wonderful thing. Tools are there to assist you to do a job that you want to get done. The right tool always works best when used for the right job. There are manual tools and power tools, a screwdriver will open a can of paint, but it can also slip and cut your hand. Believe it or not, most stores will give you for free a little key to open your paint can easily and safely.

You don’t have to have fancy power tools all the time. A cordless drill always helps, or the circular saw if you cut a lot of wood. Yet, there is nothing more fun to watch, nor anything more enjoyable than seeing the happiness in a kid as he uses his first manual tool set to build his first birdhouse or his first sailboat. Although inexperienced, the young one is thrilled with his first tools.

Tools aren’t limited to carpentry. Mechanics have many types of tools to help every day. And, we have other great tools at our disposal.  I had a birthday yesterday which helped to remind me I am not the youngest rooster in the barnyard. I do not mind the slow walk toward senior citizenship, it does bother me when I feel I am acting the senior citizen stereotype.

The nice thing is, there is help using the right tools to keep me on point. Just like the carpentry tools, these tools can be very simple and manual or very complex and powerful. We need to play with them to understand which ones are right for each of us. Whatever we use, these tools should not cost us an arm and a leg. It doesn’t matter how much we would like to turn in that arm or leg for new one.

The last three weeks, we looked at goal setting and building a map to where we wanted to go in life. This week started out with a wonderful tool called a decision tree which helps you to record how you work on a problem or solution. The work can be done on a piece of paper, a notebook, on a tablet or a computer.

The decision tree doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective.  Simple is just as good. I’m sure there are people designing software to make the tree quite complex.

The simple fact, the decision tree is a tool. It won’t do everything for you, but it will help you with the task you’re trying to complete. I would like to show you some other tools you use to accomplish what you want to do, help keep your tasks straight, help show  what should be done first, help determine what is value-added, and what is not value-added. And, a few other things

If the tools start to look like something from process improvement class, you are probably right. Are we going to force everybody into groups to talk for hours each week and drag out long decisions over storyboards and printed slide presentations?  Oh, heavens no! We are going to simply take some tools and mold them, so they work for the needs of each of us. This means you’ll get to customize your tools to better do what you want to be done. In the end, the tools will help you to be on time, pay the bills when due, keep in touch with others, make better decisions, and save some money by spending it more wisely.

Bottom line, I’m not writing about the tools, is much as I’m writing about what you can do with them.

Have a great day and tomorrow will start with our next tool.

Thanks for being with us.