Archives for category: Leadership

The note below is simultaneously aspirational and somewhat nerve wracking. Aspirational in that it would be ideal to have: A. Company mission / purpose line up with employee purpose or B. A company be able to support an employee, beyond just compensation, in the pursuit of their individual purpose.  Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of employees.  Both aspirational and daunting, but achievable.

Nerve wracking because before most employees would consider opening up about their purpose, leaders must do so first.  Easy to write about being vulnerable and open, but not always easy to execute.  I make a point before each financial or operational review to discuss how employees in general are doing outside of work.  But that is very different than me being open about my purpose. That is also very different than probing deeper with an employee about their purpose and what the organization can do to assist.  This note has definitely given me a few things to think about and work on.  Hope you find some meaning in the note as well.

Creating strong links to individual purpose benefits individuals and companies alike—and could be vital in managing post-pandemic uncertainties.

Source: Igniting individual purpose | McKinsey

 

Rindge Leaphart

People who find meaning at work are happier, more productive, and more engaged. Four practical interventions can help make the search more likely to succeed.

Source: How to engage employees | McKinsey

Devex, USAID & DAI look ahead to the next 10 years and help gauge the skills you will need to thrive in a new era for global development.

Source: Next Generation Professional

A brief reminder that employee recognition is quite important.  Something most of us know, but I suspect don’t always follow.

These companies are finding success by rewriting the rules of business. None of them is perfect on its own, but together they show what the corporate ideal could look like.

Source: Yum Brands former CEO David Novak on the one thing that makes companies successful — Quartz

 

Rindge Leaphart

This post has been on my mind for a while, so I finally decided to sit down at the keyboard and share my thoughts.  Over the years I have interviewed my fare share of candidates.  The roles that I have interviewed people for have ranged from senior to entry level positions.  Irrespective of role, I have seen many candidates trip themselves up in the interview because they were not adequately prepared.  By prepared, I don’t mean having a dossier on the company.  In many cases candidates for both senior and junior level roles, have not completed basic research or just were not prepared.  A few examples include:

  • Not knowing what the company does
  • Not having reviewed the company website
  • Not having read the job description or remember what the job is, even though you submitted a resume and have accepted an in-person interview
  • Not having prepared any questions to ask the person interviewing you
  • Unable to remember (or unwilling to discuss) key accomplishments from you last position

The items above seem like common sense, but I have come across many people who were disqualified because of the aforementioned  items.  I know competition for talent is tough in today’s marketplace, but I don’t think it is too much to expect that people show  up prepared (as well as on time) for an interview.  Also, for folks conducting the interview, please take time to read the candidate’s resume.  Respect goes both ways.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

I’ll cut to the chase on this post.  Recruiting customer facing employees with the “Right Attitude” drives customer satisfaction and increased spend.  The genesis of this post is based on my grocery shopping experiences.  I frequent a number of grocery stores on a regular basis.  There are several, though, that I am going to comment on in this post.  I am always impressed when I interact with employees from the following grocery stores: Market Street, Whole Foods, and Central Market.  In my experience, these stores generally have higher prices and in some cases less selection than other grocery stores I frequent.  Even with higher prices and less selection of the foodstuffs that interest me, I continue to frequent these stores.  Why?  The employees.  When I interact with employees from these stores, I am always impressed with their customer facing skills.  The employees  exhibit a number of traits that I do not find in other grocery store employees.  These traits are as follow:

  • A positive attitude
  • Knowledge about the products in their store
  • Willingness to assist
  • Provide customer service with a smile

I have a recruited a number of employees in the past and while you can teach employees technical skills, I am not sure you can teach them the traits outlined above.  What I find interesting is that the majority of the employees I come across in said stores seem to all have the same type of positive attitude.  Hats off to the leaders of these stores for recruiting front line employees with the “right attitude”.  I suspect employee pay at these grocery stores is higher than at others.  If so, this is a great example of why paying more to recruit talented employees is worth it.  I am sure there are many other factors at play beyond salary.  Whatever they are, there is something to be learned from these companies and their recruiting policies.  People often talk about the great service provided by Nordstrom.  I believe employees at Central Market, Whole Foods, and Market Street are another example of how recruiting employees with the right attitude can positively impact financials.  Because of these employees, I gladly drive out of my way and spend more than I typically would on groceries.  I think the image I found below drives home the point.  Your thoughts?

 

Regards,

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

I’m not sure how I feel about this concept.  A quote from their website: “Upstart allows you to raise capital in exchange for a small portion of your future income.”  May be a very successful business.  I need to spend some time contemplating the implications.

Ex-Google exec brings Kickstarter model to careers of new grads – Fortune Tech.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

Many people have heard of the term Just in Time (JIT) as it relates to manufacturing, production scheduling, or delivery.  But have you heard of Just in Case (JIC) manufacturing? It is a term I coined years ago.  I coined the term one day while walking through a plant that only produced finished goods to order.  The business did not actively stock finished goods.  They stocked raw material and some sub-assemblies in order to produce with relatively short lead times, but in general they did not stock finished goods.  During the walk through, I looked at a work order for a part that was being machined.  The operator was machining lets say 30 parts, yet the sales order associated with the work order only called for 15 or 20 parts.  I asked the machine operator and his supervisor why they were machining more parts than were called for by the sales order.  The response I received was quite curious: “this is a really tough part to machine and we have many rejects, thus we produce extra parts just in case (italics added) we have to scrap a part.”  At that point a new term was born: Just in Case (JIC) manufacturing.  I asked the operator how often they actually had to scrap a part.  Neither he nor his supervisor could answer the question.

I told the supervisor that I suspected that they were overproducing and tying up unneeded cash in inventory.  Additionally, this was a plant that was trying to improve on-time delivery.  I explained to the supervisor that if they were tying up capacity by producing excess and unneeded parts, that they were impeding their ability to produce on-time with short lead-times.  The supervisor assured me that this didn’t happen often.  I then asked the supervisor to take a walk with me to the warehouse.  I asked the supervisor if he was sure they didn’t overproduce on a regular basis.  He assured me they didn’t.  I then asked one of the warehouse employees to pull up several recently completed work orders for parts that had been delivered to inventory.  When we checked several of the recently completed work orders, we found that a large percentage of them were completed for quantities that were larger than what the sales order called for.  At this point the supervisor was a little embarrassed, but there is more to come.  Employees on the floor ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS know more about what is going on in a plant than supervisors and managers.  Knowing this, I engaged the warehouse employees in a conversation on this subject and they assured us that this happened on a regular basis.  Once again, the supervisor was embarrassed.  At this point the employees told me about the T location.  Being an inquisitive lad, I asked what is the T location.  Their response: “oh that the is the trailer we have outside where we store all of the production overruns.”  At this point the supervisor was quite embarrassed.

As you might imagine the supervisor was besides himself.  But being a smart guy he put a stop to the overproduction and eventually eliminated the T location.  With several other changes we were able to improve the plant’s on time delivery performance as well as their financial performance.

Key takeaways  / reminders from that day: 1. I learned on that day that Inventory is the Root of All Evil.  If you want to know if you have a problem in manufacturing, check your inventory levels to make sure you don’t have an issue with JIC manufacturing.  2. I learned about JIC manufacturing. It is more endemic than you might imagine. Walk the floor and check your work orders to see if you have a case of JIC. 3. Always talk to the hourly employees, because they know what is really taking place on the floor.

Has anyone else encountered similar issues?

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

All below is a link to an article and photos of a trip I took to the Great Wall of China several years ago.  It was a fun yet somewhat scary hike on the Great Wall for reasons you can read about.  I hope you enjoy.  For those of you who are familiar, this was a Parable of the Sadhu moment.  My faith in the kindness of mankind/womankind was restored thanks to generosity of other travelers.

http://www.businessinsider.com/unrestored-section-of-the-great-wall-of-china-photos-2012-4?op=1

https://picasaweb.google.com/111971231433739375218/BeijingAndShanghai2008JuneJuly#

Rindge Leaphart

How does your organization develop the annual sales plan?  I’m always interested in how different companies develop their sales plan.  I’ve drawn up  a couple of simple charts below to illustrate how sales plans are sometimes developed.  The top down method is straightforward and  fairly easy to develop.  The problem with this method is that you don’t get true buy in at the divisional level.  I also believe that the probability of success (i.e., hitting the plan) is low.

On the other hand the bottoms up method is quite different. While I believe the bottoms up method delivers better results, it is much more time consuming to develop.  No pain, no gain?  With the bottoms up plan, much more useful information is developed and can be used across the organization.  Outputs include:

  • A detailed sales plan by product line and sales person.  With a detailed plan, that is developed by the sales person, you have much more buy in and accountability.  Of course you have to make sure the sales person develops a plan that is challenging.  There is always a concern that someone might turn in an artificially low plan.  One has to be vigilant with the bottoms up plan.  When developed in a robust and transparent manner, the bottoms up plan has much better chance of success.  In cases where the bottoms up plan does not match the corporate growth directive, the divisional GM will have solid data to support their plan.  In these cases, the GM can negotiate from a position of strength – a detailed bottoms up plan.
  • Detailed data by product line, which then can be used to drive both capacity planning and materials planning.  Don’t underestimate the importance of capacity planning.  With detailed data you have  the needed support to determine if you should add people, machines, warehouse space, etc.  From a material planning perspective, you now have data that will allow you to better negotiate terms and delivery schedules with your vendors.

I am a fan of the bottoms up plan.  What method do you prefer?  What method does your company use?

Rindge Leaphart

Sales Process