Deming's 14 Points for Better Quality

They might seem obvious but……

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is given much credit by Japanese industrial companies for helping them convert from WW II military production to a fast-paced, high quality product orientation in both consumer (think automobiles and electronics) and industrial segments (think robots and machine tools).  

Because the U.S. mainland was physically untouched by the war and there were plenty of consumers with sizable savings and pent-up demand, American manufacturers went all out for volume.  Quality was not Job #1 in the early post-war years. They came to regret this decision.

Deming’s fame spread and he was in high demand as a speaker and teacher to thousands of executives and managers, initially on Statistical

Process Control (SPC) and, later, on more general management and leadership issues. The Japanese were and are so appreciative of his work that each year there is intense competition for the Deming Prize for Quality. 

Continue Reading

Saying Goodbye to Windows 7

When Windows 7 came out in 2009, Microsoft made a support commitment of 10 years. The end of support for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance, updates and security patches will no longer be available.  Microsoft is pushing for all users to move towards Windows 10.

When Windows XP support was discontinued in 2014, the industry seemed to be surprised as to what the end of life cycle meant. One issue was that almost 60% of the ATM machines in the US were powered by Windows XP. After some discussions between the banking industry and Microsoft, they worked out an arrangement for Microsoft to provide an extended period of support. Other support extensions were worked out with large enterprise level clients. For the general population, nada.

Computerworld estimated (from August 2018) there were still 378 million PCs running Windows 7 worldwide. Microsoft announced that they will have an extended support agreement for sale in the form of a new product called “Windows 7 Extended Security Updates" (ESU), however at this time only Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users can be covered… and then only if those operating systems were obtained through volume licensing. For the general population (at this point), nada.

Continue Reading

Rethinking the Performance Review

Some of the hottest business topics today center around how to give effective employee evaluations and whether feedback helps people succeed at work.

For example, if you are manager or human resource professional, do you look forward giving 360-degree feedback to your employees – or to your boss? Does it encourage employees to improve their performance?

Let’s face it: Many managers and supervisors dread giving feedback. In two surveys conducted by leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman (each of nearly 8,000 managers), 44 percent of managers reported that they found it stressful and difficult to give negative feedback. One-fifth avoid the practice entirely. Even more surprisingly, nearly 40 percent of leaders conceded to never giving positive reinforcement to their employees.

Moreover, if you are an employee, think back to the most recent performance evaluation you received at work. Did you look forward to receiving it? Did it motivate you to learn and enhance your work performance?

Likewise, a lot of employees don’t like receiving feedback because when it’s given within the shadows of constructive criticism it stings and conveys a notion of what author Eric Berne used to call “I’m OK; You’re not OK.” No one wants a blazing “Not OK” label placed on their performance evaluation and professional reputation. So most people reject any constructive criticism that walks, talks or even resembles the slightest hint of “Not OK.”

Continue Reading

Defects and Errors Happen

Who takes the blame?

by Charles Waldo

In the last HCBM my article was titled “1,501 Ways To Bring Out The Best In People.” The article suggested numerous methods of recognizing and rewarding employee performance way above average. The assumption is that earned recognition, appreciation, and, sometimes, financial rewards given sincerely in a timely manner will make the employee feel better about herself and her job and will encourage her to repeat or, even better, improve that performance -- good for the employee and the organization.

What do you think about that assumption? Is it valid? Does it square with your experiences? How do most people respond to earned praise? How about you? Do praise and recognition raise productivity and/or quality? Does praise beget more praise? Or are bonuses and raises better motivators? But how often will these be available?

But things don’t always go right

To quote Murphy’ First Law: If anything can wrong, it will.

Observations of the “real world” clearly show that employees at all levels (including CEO’s) sometimes make mistakes; miscommunicate; resist, defy, or misinterpret directions; are dishonest; and on and on. People are not perfect, just human. It’s pretty hard to praise an employee for “doing something wrong” or “doing the wrong thing” no matter what their original intention. But was the error really their fault?

Continue Reading

Surge Protection

Keeping your equipment safe from dangerous electrical events 

By David Shinn

It’s a dark and stormy night, lightning flashing all about. Your power cuts off numerous times and then back on… you cuddle under a blanket and wait out the storm. But, when you try to turn on your computer there are no lights, no fan and no sign of life… and your refrigerator isn’t working either. All damage caused by an electrical surge. A lightning storm is an obvious sign that damage could be imminent, but there could be daily power quality problems happening that could cause just as much chaos over a period of time.

I had a client in a home based office one time that seemed to lose a computer (and a TV) every 3-4 months. After replacing the power supply in his workstation for the third time, I advised that we look a little closer to find the cause of these problems. I called a licensed electrician friend for a bit of troubleshooting. He found a few small issues, but the main problem was the grounding rod had never been connected to the main electric panel. So, instead of any surge being redirected into the ground, the surge would ping pong around the house electrical system dispersing energy through connected devices… and into the plumbing system in this case.

Note: Power surges can also originate from the electric utility company during power grid switching.

Continue Reading

Why We Lie

And how better management can encourage truthfulness

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

Here’s the truth -- anyone who tells you that he or she never lies is lying. We all are liars. We lie to be likable, to appear more competent, and to spare people’s feelings. To lie is human.
We lie often. According to a 2002 University of Massachusetts study, 60% of adults can’t have a ten-minute conversation without lying at least once. Moreover, people in the study who did lie told an average of 3 lies during their brief chat.

We lie to everyone. Our parents get the worst of it, according to James Patterson, author of the “The Day America Told the Truth,” with 86% of us lying to them regularly, followed by friends (75%), siblings (73%), and spouses (69%). Admittedly, most of these lies are the harmless type that slightly twist the truth in order to be polite or supportive. For example, perhaps the first time you were introduced to your boss’ new baby (who just happened to be a dead-ringer for Albert Einstein on a bad hair day), you joined the chorus of your fellow co-workers by exclaiming, “she is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen!”

On the other hand, sometimes we lie about things that matter and dishonesty can create serious problems at work. Pamela Meyer, an author and certified fraud examiner, maintains that “the workplace in particular, creates the perfect setting for dishonesty to fester because of the heavy competition and high stakes.” For example, a 2017 Statistic Research Bureau survey revealed that 31% of people admit to lying on their resumes. In addition, men tell an average of 6 lies per day to their partner, boss or work colleagues compared to women who tell an average of 3 lies a day to the same cohort.

Continue Reading

1,501 Ways to bring out the best in People

by Charles Waldo

Quick! How true are each of these quotes?

A soldier will fight long and hard, even die, for a small piece of metal tied to a bit of colored ribbon.   (French Emperor and General Napoleon Bonaparte)

Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying,  “Make me feel important…I crave recognition and praise.”.   (Cosmetic empire founder Mary Kay Ash)

The highest compliments leaders can receive are those given by the people who work for them.   (James L. Barksdale, former Netscape CEO)

Survey after survey show that as many as 50% of good employees who voluntarily quit their jobs or are actively searching cite a lack of appreciation of their work and efforts, especially by their boss,  as their primary reason.  (Various studies) 

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.   If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.  (Walmart founder Sam Walton)

Continue Reading

Updating Windows 10

Here are a few tips to avoid frustrating problems

By David Shinn

Since Windows 10 was introduced in 2015, it has been criticized for many issues. The one main issue is the update process. Windows Update is a service used to provide service packs and patches for the operating system and other software. It can also update hardware device drivers.

Back in 2016, Microsoft was very aggressive about upgrading Windows 7/8 users to Windows 10. In fact, Microsoft offered the upgrade at no charge for a short time. Depending on your update settings at the time, the Windows 10 upgrade was automatically-forced installed and surprise, surprise, surprise. This caused many problems back then and it could still be causing problems today in your Windows 10 updates. Old operating system files are still lingering and older devices may be incompatible with new drivers.

There have been numerous releases and updates. It can get confusing because it’s all referred to as Windows 10—but each major release has a particular version number. To add to the confusion, Windows 10 has been available as: Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 S.

Windows 10 S can only run applications downloaded from the Windows Store (meant to compete with the Google Chrome Book). The other versions of Windows 10 have the ability to install any software.

Continue Reading

Try a Little Kindness

It’s an effective, low cost business strategy

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

Here’s a simple question: When is the last time you saw an employee skip? I don’t mean skipping a meeting or skipping a task. I mean an actual skip – when individuals were so happy that they eagerly collaborate with colleagues, enthusiastically offer better customer service, and actively provide value at work rather than sleepwalk through their tasks.

I get it –most of us probably stopped skipping because we didn’t want to seem childish. What a shame. But what if a business leader could inspire that type of excitement and joy in their employees and customers? Perhaps their future long-term success (and the success of their business) is just hop, skip and jump away.

Continue Reading

Seeking the Top 10%: Part 2

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

By Charles Waldo

“Find me someone who gets things done; someone with the ‘Right Stuff.’”

I started my article in the last issue of the HCBM with the quote above.  Developing and keeping executives – or any employee for that matter – with the “right stuff” is a significant challenge and of critical importance to the organization.   Studies show that only about 10% of any typical workforce can be objectively classified as “major league players.” No organization will have all A+ employees but they are such major contributors and make such big differences that they’ve got to be both groomed for larger jobs and protected from would-be raiders. Note that what follows holds true for smaller as well as larger organizations with Hamilton County fortunate to have both types.

Continue Reading

Cloud based storage and backup solutions

By David Shinn

There are many options today for storing and backing up your documents, photos and music. For the past few years, cloud based solutions have been popular in both areas. There is really no “best” service. It all depends on your needs. The companies below have many offerings.  Storage vendors range from small free packages to large packages in the $20 per month fee area. Cloud backup vendors charge a monthly fee based on your backup space required, usually $12 to $40 per month.

What’s the difference between Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup?

Cloud storage vendors like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud and Amazon Drive offer space to store your files and share them among your devices. Some offer more robust team based sharing with a rights structure (admins have full rights and different user levels limit the ability to add, edit or delete files). I suggest that my clients make a backup of their Cloud data to a local external hard drive once per month as an added precaution. Vendors will tell you they backup your account data, but I have seen circumstances where data falls through the cracks based on timing.

Cloud backup vendors like Carbonite, Norton, and Acronis allow you to backup a data set from your site to a reserved storage area (not for being used or shared, just for a backup archive). Most vendors will have an online dashboard to manage your backups and all will have a reporting system to inform you of any problems that may arise. Most vendors feature FERPA, GLBA & HIPAA compliancy.

Continue Reading

The Ethical Negotiator

Is it wrong to take advantage of the unprepared?

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

The day and time for the negotiation has arrived. You are fully prepared to do battle – your goals are defined; you know what you want to achieve; your questions are prepared; and you even prepared answers to likely questions from your opponents. You have practiced, practiced, and practiced some more.

Within minutes, however, it is apparent that your opponent not as well prepared or doesn’t understand how the negotiation process works. This was not what you expected.

The late, great R&B singer Marvin Gaye put it this way: “Negotiation means getting the best of your opponent.” So, what do you do when your opponent is unprepared to do battle? Should you take advantage of the situation? And if so, how?

These are tough questions and answering them may involve balancing your negotiation power and interests along with your personal values, beliefs and ethics. Here are my recommendations.

Continue Reading

Seeking the top 10%

High Performers are hard to find

By Charles Waldo

Find me someone who gets things done; someone with the ‘Right Stuff.’” 

In an earlier chapter of my professional life, I joined one of the U.S.’s Top Ten executive recruiting firms, doing upper and mid-level management recruitments, mainly in the Midwest, including Hamilton County.  The above quote (or something like it) was often uttered -- with a lot of emotion (negative) -- by the CEO or another high-level executive during my first visit to their organization  to see if I could help them fill a key position.

In most of these exploratory discussions the executive would admit at some point that they had looked inside their own ranks first (the right thing to do) but came up empty-handed.  Not good. Then they ran ads, made industry inquiries, and contacted several contingency-fee- based recruiting firms. Again, no luck.

When asked why their efforts were unsuccessful, the executive generally responded with something like, “Oh, we got plenty of resumes, but I need a doer-type leader in this position; someone who has a track record of getting things done. Someone with the ‘right stuff.’  The fellows we reviewed all seemed to be “follower” types. We’ve given up on trying to do it ourselves and will pay your outlandish fee if you find and help bring on board the right person.”

Continue Reading

Tech Talk - Using Office 365 to manage your business

By David Shinn

I have migrated many of my small business clients over to the Microsoft Office 365 environment. Office 365 is a family of products that help small business owners manage their business by providing Office software tools, business email management, file storage and workgroup communication. Working a simple migration plan will get all your current Outlook data into the Office 365 environment… and limit losing any email in the transition. You can order and setup your account online at www.Office365.com.

Over the years, I have seen many companies offer different pieces of the business puzzle to help a business owner manage their organization and staff. I feel that Microsoft is the first company to successfully put all of those business puzzle pieces together to provide a total management/communication system under one roof.

Continue Reading

Beyond The Golden Rule

Why not go Platinum? Or even Double Platinum?

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

When you buy a product, you hope you’re going to get what a company is advertising. And when you support a business, you hope they’re being transparent and honest in their dealings – or they risk losing customers, shareholders, even employees. Unfortunately, some businesses learn the hard way that a lack of transparency and honesty are sure signs to customers that they should not do business with them.

Take Wells Fargo’s woes over the past several years. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the company $100 million in 2016, after it found that thousands of employees opened unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses. After this scandal rocked the company (and continues to), Wells Fargo’s employees, shareholders, and customers were left in the dust – not trusting in the company, its board of directors, or company leaders at all. That’s not good for business. It’s cost the organization and customers millions. They’re still working to dig out of the mess.

This year, the company started a new public relations campaign to try to move past this scandal, called Re-Established. One commercial is literally called “Earning Back Your Trust,” and rightfully so. At the same time, the company is working to reassure employees to trust in their employer. One executive recently told CNN that employees are “increasingly using the banks confidential hotline to report bad behavior,” which is what they want.

Continue Reading

Five Critical Questions for Your Organization

By Charles Waldo

Easily asked, but not so easily answered

As a reader of the Hamilton County Business Magazine,  the odds are very high that you are part of and/or involved with a number of different types of organizations:   Your place of employment, your church, synagogue, mosque or temple, a chamber of commerce;  you may be a school board member, on a civic board or committee, and so on. No less an authority than the late, great Dr. Peter Drucker contended that the leadership of all organizations, regardless of type, must (or should) periodically wrestle with the following  Self Assessment  questions if the organization is to move forward:

Question 1: What is our primary mission?

Question 2: Who are our primary customers?   Secondary customers?

Question 3: What do the customers (both actual and potential) value most? 

Question 4: What are our results? 

Question 5: What is our plan going forward?  

Continue Reading

Tech Talk: A review of current best practices in information technology

by David Shinn

Safely remove USB devices--- Eject

When using a USB device, like an external hard drive, it’s a good idea to properly eject the device rather than just unplug it from the computer.  Find the USB Safely Remove Hardware icon in the bottom right of your active toolbar, right click it and choose the device you want to eject. A message will appear on the screen, “Safe to remove hardware.” Unplug the device.

Continue Reading

Attracting Millennials

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

Your company’s ethics are more important than ever

While we may hate to admit it, this is often true: we are a culture that is obsessed with material wealth.

Back in the 1980’s, I envisioned wealth from watching the TV show, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," hosted by Robin Leach. His famous catchphrase from the show was "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!"

Today, we are still fascinated with watching and reading about people we believe are living luxurious and extravagant lifestyles. For example, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is not only one of TV’s most successful reality shows but has also become a way for many in America to perceive wealth. After all, wealth is associated with winners and everybody loves a winner, right?

If this is the case, then those who are obsessed with people with money should perhaps shift their attention to the richest group in the world. In case you haven’t noticed, Baby Boomers, born roughly between the years of 1946 and 1964, are the largest and wealthiest generation in U.S. history and collectively hold a staggering $30 trillion in assets.

But not for long. A large segment of Baby Boomers turned 65 in 2011. The oldest boomers are now more than 70 years old and the rest of the pack is not getting any younger. Albeit, if you are a delusional baby boomer, you may be tempted to proclaim that “70 is the new 20.” Baby Boomers, however, inevitably face the reality that no matter how many material possessions or material wealth they obtain, “you can’t take it with you.”

Now, Millennials – born between 1980 and mid-2000s – are the largest generation in the U.S. Collectively, there are 80 million Millennials. According to Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends, Millennials are collaborative, and more ethnically and racially diverse than older generations.

Continue Reading

5 Warning Signs of Unethical Behaviors in the Workplace

Cultural workplace norms can compromise ethics

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

Spring is my favorite time of year. I love the longer days, more sunshine, and the best part – the ensuing flowers and vegetables that will bloom in my garden. 

My parents are avid gardeners and in the early springs of the past, they would prepare the garden soil well in advance before planting the first seed. As a young child, my father’s deep voice would frequently advise me to pay close attention on how to till and fertilize the soil. I recall often complaining about how quickly the dirt would accumulate under my fingernails and into every crevice of my hands. No matter, my father would patiently remind me that “If you plant a good seed in bad soil, it will affect how it roots and grows.” In other words, the initial hard work of cultivating the soil coupled with close attention to light, water, and warmth would directly impact the quality and quantity of the future harvest.

Continue Reading

How well do you Manage your Boss?

Managing up is a valuable career strategy

By Charles Waldo

A long time ago, just two years after earning my B.S. in Marketing from Saint Louis University, I was fortunate to be hired by Dick Stull, the wily, very experienced,  relatively new general manager of Sherwood Medical Industries (now defunct) as his Marketing Coordinator (read “gofer”).  At that time Sherwood was the nation’s largest supplier of everything from band aids to beds and much in between to the health care industry, with over 250 salespersons in the field, operating out of ten regional sales and operations offices.  Dick had been the CEO of several mega-hospital systems and the largest trade association for hospitals. But this was his first crack at running a large, public, for-profit supplier organization and the pressure was on to meet some rather ambitious goals.       

I was a willing worker but very green. Luckily for me, Dick took me under his wing and laid out my key responsibilities. He emphasized that he was depending on me to keep him out of unexpected trouble. I would be a significant part of his “success story,” as he would be of mine.  As I soon learned, there was NO ONE who could more influence my “success story” than my boss, whoever it was.

Continue Reading

The Smoke and Mirrors of Scammers

Don’t fall for these common internet scams

by David Shinn

There are thousands upon thousands of virus and malware attacks daily. As long as there are human beings to take advantage of, scammers will attempt to trick you into giving them your personal and credit information. Always be suspicious! Never allow anyone to remote connect to your computer unless you know them.

Here are the top four current issues.

1) General incoming calls and emails

If a person calls you and identifies themselves as being with the Internal Revenue Service, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard or they want to improve your website ranking in Google--- they are scammers. Give them no information and click the red disconnect button on your phone.

Examples:

The IRS call will notify you that back taxes are owed and that a credit card must be used for immediate payment. The IRS will NEVER call you. They will always send a letter to you via the US Postal Service for any formal communication.

There are many scam emails going around: Apple or Netflix emailing that your credit card on file has expired… Someone has shared a file for you to view on Dropbox…   Email from UPS that a package will be returned if you don’t give them a delivery address.  All fake emails and infected links--- delete them.

Continue Reading

Whoa to the Bro Culture at Work

Cultivating workplace respect is good for business

By Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

At the start of 2017, Uber, Amazon and Apple were regarded as the tech’s industry most successful companies. By the end 2017, however, they all were accused of cultivating “bro cultures” in their respective workplaces.

What is bro culture? At its best, it is a workplace culture that encourages fraternal “old boy networks” that inclusively support and encourage networking with fellow males, while at the same time blocking female employees from participating in the male-dominated decision-making circles. Bro culture supports the exclusion of women to foster and support values that maintain “the way we’ve always done things around here.”  This adage is often actualized as an barrier that rejects difference to maintain the comfortable “company way” of conducting business.

The common denominator in bro culture workplaces is an impenetrable career-related glass ceiling for women and others who cannot or do not emulate fellow bros employees’ behaviors and attitudes.

Continue Reading

What Books are CEO's Reading?

Their reading lists might surprise (and benefit) you.

By Charles Waldo

“A person who will not read has no advantage over a person who cannot read.”  ( Author Mark Twain) 

“What book(s), both fiction and non-fiction,  are you reading these days?” is the simple question the highly respected,  management consulting giant McKinsey& Company asks a few CEO’s of both U.S. and non-U.S. organizations from time to time.  The results are then shared via e-journals with clients, possible future clients, and other interested persons. These quarterly publications also have several articles on cutting edge topics from leading academics, consultants,  executives, and political figures.  It is of Harvard Business Review quality, in my opinion.   (To no-cost subscribe go to www.mckinsey.org and follow the prompts.) 

Here are the books, both NON-fiction and fiction, that TEN United States CEO’s, from a variety of types and sizes of organizations,  reported reading during mid-2017. Lack of space prevents listing the NON-U.S. executives’ choices but we’ll overview them shortly.  

Note that there are thousands of persons in the U.S. wearing the title “CEO” or something similar. Hearing from just ten does not provide a reliable picture of all, but their choices out of the thousands of titles available can suggest good resources for your professional and personal development. 

Continue Reading

Transparency: It Cuts Both Ways

Transparency in business can be a very good thing. Sharing timely, relevant and accurate information with employees is an ethical and respectful practice that can help steer a business or organization away from failure and toward success.

Employees seek and appreciate leaders and managers who freely share information. A recent study conducted by TINYpulse that analyzed data from approximately 300 companies and more than 40,000 responses found that management transparency was the top factor when determining employee happiness. The more transparent leaders were, the more employees trusted them. 

To cc or to not cc

Sharing information with employees and customers can enable workspace awareness, build trust and help companies achieve goals. Moreover, transparency can enable better decision making. But transparency also has an opposite side – a “blind side” of excessively sharing critical information that can backfire and threaten to cause more business pain than gain for everyone.

The development and utilization of transparency does not guarantee success. For example, managers and leaders who excessively share too much “what” and not enough “why” often create a blaming culture that discourages employees and diminish motivation. Too much transparency of employee errors can also result in people hiding innovative ideas. Elevated levels of visibility of mishaps can reduce creativity as people fear the watchful eye of their superiors.

Furthermore, managers who consistently use transparency in order to punish bad behavior and recognize good work may also communicate moral standards that are impossible to meet. When employees have this impression, they are motivated to resist, resulting in less citizenship behavior. Even the best employees can and will occasionally make mistakes.

Continue Reading

Rising to Your Level of Incompetence

A promotion can be disastrous. Be aware of the Peter Principle.

By Charles Waldo

During 40 years of college teaching and management consulting I built up quite a holding of books of many types. No book got pitched as long as it could be squeezed on a shelf or stacked someplace. Recently, while “weeding” in preparation for moving to a smaller home, I “re-discovered” two excellent books that warranted re-reading: The Peter Principle:  Why Things Always Go Wrong (1969), and The Peter Prescription: How To Make Things Go Right (1972), both by Dr. Laurance J. Peter.*  

Each takes a light-hearted, satirical look at a serious issue that arises in all areas of organization life:  failure after a promotion.  A sales manager gets fired after years of success as an individual contributor.  A professor doesn’t make it as department chair or dean after years of brilliant teaching.  Pastors are cut loose from their latest and largest church after five previous successes.   Professional baseball players start in Little League and for years fight their way up the baseball “food chain,” finally make it to the Big Show, but don’t stick. The phenomenon is everywhere.

Getting “Peterized”

“In a Hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of Incompetence.”

What do you think?  Is The Peter Principle often true?   Does an employee’s competence in the current job lead to promotions into higher level jobs until he gets into a job he cannot perform well (isn't competent), then gets “buried,” terminated, or quits?  Have you seen this phenomenon acted out?  Have you been “Peterized” or know others who have?  I was once.

Back in the early-70’s most of the managers in the company I was with felt The Peter Principle was truer than we wanted to admit. A serious example was the loss rate in our national field sales force, which was about 50% in the first two years of a customer service rep (the usual source for new salesmen) being promoted into the field. We tagged that “getting Peterized.”   If they survived the first two years, they usually lasted many more. This 50% incompetency rate also applied to successful field salesmen promoted to district sales manager. Qualities that made them successful (competent) salesmen were not sufficient or appropriate for successful sales management.

This attrition rate was very costly, in both human and financial terms. So we took Dr. Peters’ Prescriptions seriously, asked lots of questions similar to those shown below, made changes, and cut the failure rate to about 10% in two years.

Continue Reading

Have you a Dream Deferred?

Act on it now, says the creator of “servant leadership”

By Charles Waldo

The title of this article was the title of a talk given by Robert K. Greenleaf in spring, 1967 to a group of soon-to-be sophomores at Ohio University (Athens).   Subtitled “On Opportunity in the Next Three Years,”  these students had applied to be part of the Ohio Fellows Program, a three year venture aimed at helping the selected students realize their potential for service in the public interest….regardless of their particular vocational track.

Although given over fifty years ago in a relatively obscure setting without fanfare, Greenleaf’s talk has been reprinted thousands of times and is still one of the best-selling  publications offered by the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Leader as Servant

Greenleaf, a native Hoosier, was born in 1904 in Terre Haute.    He began college at nearby Rose Polytechnic Institute, now Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.   But, wanting a liberal arts rather than a technical education, he transferred to Carleton College in Minnesota.   After graduating with a math major in 1926, he immediately joined AT&T in its Minnesota “Baby Bell” division. After three years he transferred to AT&T’s Manhattan corporate headquarters where he carved out a long, distinguished career as a top-level, internal consultant in management and organization education and development. Along the way, both before and after retiring in 1964, Greenleaf was a lecturer and guest speaker at such distinguished schools as MIT, Harvard, Yale, Virginia, and many others. A life-long student of how organizations do (or don’t) get things done, Greenleaf eventually distilled his observations and conclusions into a series of essays with the common thread of the “Leader as Servant.” He formed the Center forApplied Ethics in 1964, with the name later changed to the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, which it still is today. 

Initially , Greenleaf  was talking to 18 and 19 year olds in the tumultuous mid-1960s  (Viet Nam, the draft, race riots, the Hippy revolution, the Kennedy assassinations, the Beetles’ “invasion” of the U.S., and so on), before some of the readers of this article were born.

Greenleaf was talking with the early Baby Boomers. Did they have dreams? How did they turn out? Did they defer some never getting the chance to achieve them?

Continue Reading

Why Good People Make Bad Ethical Choices

Empathetic people can stray in pursuit of success at any cost

by Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow

For many women, having children and starting a family is an integral part of the vision for their lives. Getting pregnant, however, is not easy for all who seek it. About 6% of married women in the United States are unable to get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex, while 12% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a child to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For years, an accomplished and trusted Indianapolis fertility physician, Dr. Donald Cline, provided what seemingly was the miracle of pregnancy to a myriad of desperate women and their families. Over a period of years, he assured his patients that he could help then conceive by using an anonymous medical student or resident. By all accounts he was a benevolent and understanding doctor who sincerely cared for his patients and got fast results for those who yearned to become pregnant.

Yet, this seemingly trust-worthy, intelligent and respectable physician committed countless unethical and illegal acts by impregnating his patients with his own sperm. In 2016, Dr. Cline admitted he felt pressured about 50 times to use his own sperm to inseminate his unwitting patients when he did not have access to donor sperm. Not only by his own admission were these acts egregious misrepresentations, but Dr. Cline’s conduct was unethical because it could lead half-siblings and other related individuals to marry each other without realizing their genetic connections to one another.

Continue Reading

Developing Leaders the Toyota Way

Its commitment to its employees is long-term

By Charles Waldo

Organizations vary widely in their methods of identifying and raising leaders.  Some take the “Learn on the job, sink or swim” approach, where it’s up to  individuals to develop themselves.  At the opposite end of the development spectrum are those organizations which use long-term, elaborate processes that might even include several, fully-paid years off earning a graduate degree.  Generally, the larger the organization the more formalized the development process.

Where do you turn to for guidance on leader identification and development?  Fortunately (or confusingly) there are hundreds of “how to” books and magazines; thousands of independent trainers and coaches; zillions of seminars and training events; scores of universities; and so on. How do you select the leadership development method that is best?

One proven method is to identify organizations which have been highly successful over the long haul, the assumption being that to be successful they have had and do have effective leaders. Then find out what leader development methods they use and evaluate which your organization might adopt or adapt. Identifying long-term, successful organizations is not so hard, but getting “inside” them to discover their leadership development strategies can be another story.

Toyota is either #1 or #2, depending upon how measured, in worldwide car sales.  Toyota is pushing to be #1 in the U.S. with almost 2.5 million unit sales in 2016; directly employs about 136,000 associates in four U.S. final assembly plants and numerous parts supply plants; and is indirectly responsible for hundreds of thousands of other Americans employed by suppliers. Quality levels, especially as measured by J.D. Powers, are almost always at or very near the top of ratings charts. Toyota is surely doing something (or a lot) right.  But what and how does one find out what that is?

Fortunately, Toyota is very open about how it does The Toyota Way – its operating philosophy, culture, and strategies.  Dr. Jeffrey Liker, professor of management at the University of Michigan, has studied Toyota intensely since the early 1980s and, with co-authors, has published eight very detailed books about various aspects of Toyota, especially Toyota USA.   One such book is The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development (2012, co-authored with Gary Convis, former Managing Director of Toyota USA). Here are a few key principles and practices.

Continue Reading

Social Media: Business vs. Personal

by Susan Young

It’s important to keep them separate 

Social media can be a very personal communication medium. And, it can serve as a powerful business-building tool. Yet, there are areas where people blur the lines between business and personal on social media, and this is a dangerous line to cross. If you are a small business owner, you may have both business and personal social media accounts. You may use your personal social media accounts to post on behalf of your business. How is a business owner to know what is appropriate and what is not in the new world of social media? And what are the best ways to keep your business and personal matters separate?

Start with Yourself

To leverage social media from a business standpoint, we must first start by setting up, reviewing and getting comfortable with your personal social media profiles. Most people have set up at least a basic profile on LinkedIn for networking and job searching, and a Facebook or Twitter profile for connecting with others and viewing local, industry or national news and happenings. Social media sites allow you to set up an individual profile in addition to a business profile. By first taking the time to get to know the social media channel you’re planning to use for business, you can better understand how to maximize the channel for your business. Some ways you can do this include joining groups, adding friends or connections, and following other relevant individuals, companies and organizations. Start noticing the information coming across the daily news feed. Pay attention to the advertisers using the social media channel and their messaging. Once you have become familiar with the social media platform, the benefits of using it, and the typical style of posts, you can focus on your business account.

Continue Reading

Take a look at the Toyota Way for your Organization

Can The Toyota Way Become Your Way?

by Charles Waldo

Does the name “Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker” ring a bell with you? Probably not. How about “Toyota Motors?” Just about everyone knows that name and you could be one of the millions of consumers driving one of its brands (Prius, Camry, Lexus, and so on).

The Toyota WayDr. Liker’s “claim to fame” is as one of the world’s foremost researchers, writers, and consultants on The Toyota Way-- the philosophies, culture, and practices that have led Toyota to its position as a premier, mass automobile designer, producer, and seller. In 1982 Dr. Liker joined the University of Michigan’s business school as a junior professor, just when the U.S. automobile industry was in serious turmoil in the midst of a national recession. U.S. automakers pointed their fingers at “Japan, Inc.” as a major cause of their troubles. Dr. Liker was invited to join a team of UM profs beginning to study the relationship between Japanese car makers’ very high quality, especially at Toyota and Honda, and their sales successes. He has been at it ever since, authoring or co-authoring eight books on how – and why – Toyota does things, beginning with The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From The World’s Greatest Manufacturer, published in 2004, which is what this article briefly looks at.

“But, whoa,” you might say. “My organization is not a manufacturer, we don’t do automobiles or auto parts, we’re less than twenty-five employees, and we’re certainly not Japanese.

We’re not anything at all like Toyota. Why should I spend time on this article, much less on the full book?”

Valid questions. But the truth is The Toyota Way can be universally applied since it deals with universal principles of human and organizational life. Many organizations, just as varied as yours, have already done just that. These are management “best practices,” period. They can help make any organization better.

Continue Reading

Sorting Out Social Media

by Susan Young

Which Sites are Right for Your Business?

Sorting out Social MediaYou may have started to or wanted to jump on the social media bandwagon, but are still unsure of whether you're making the right decisions. The good news is that you don't have to participate in all social media sites to make an impact. You just need to find the right social media sites to reach your target market. Here is an overview of your main options.

LinkedIn​: Great for B2B, Hiring

LinkedIn is known to be the social media site for the business-to-business (B2B) audience. It is like an online resume, where individuals can post their career profiles (essentially an online resume), and talk about their personal brand and career goals. The value of a LinkedIn profile is that it’s searchable for companies looking to connect, hire or do business with that person. The more connections you have, the more business opportunities.

Start with building your own profile and adding connections from clients, colleagues, and others you know. If you have sales people, they need to be active on LinkedIn if they sell to other businesses. Individuals can share business-related or industry news and information. They can recommend or ask for recommendations from others, which serve as good reviews for your business. People can also use second-degree connections to get introductions into previously unknown companies or prospects.

You can create a business page and build up a following. Individuals can create custom content articles or blog posts to share on their newsfeed, which is seen by all their connections. Advertising options can help build a following. Since people on LinkedIn are interested in advancing their careers, this social media site is great for job postings and HR-related activities.

Continue Reading

Funding the Gap - Guest Column

by Ann O’Hara

Legacy Fund seeks out and serves the county’s most pressing needs

Since 2007, I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of Legacy Fund, Inc., the Hamilton County community foundation. In 2016, the Board awarded more than $500,000 in grants to Hamilton County charitable organizations. While directly impacting Hamilton County, Legacy Fund’s mission and role is not always understood. One of my goals as incoming Chair of the Board of Directors is to raise awareness of Legacy Fund’s strategic focus to the Hamilton County community.

Legacy Fund, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1989. It is a “community foundation” meaning it is exclusively dedicated to benefit the individuals and their families living in Hamilton County.

Continue Reading

Management & Motivation Principles

By Charles Waldo

30 One-liners with some smiles

Extraordinary professor, author, and consultant to top leaders Dr. Peter Drucker published  Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices in 1973.   Although Dr. Drucker (died in 2005) authored over sixteen other books and scores of articles that appeared in all the notable business magazines,  Management was his giant…..all 803 pages.  I read this tome from cover to cover but must confess that, while I found it interesting, especially his historical and international perspectives on organization and national business development, not much of it “stuck” – just too much and too deep.

Over the years I’ve found that for me (and many of my business students and consulting clients) the KISS principle (Keep It Short & Simple) works a lot better for imparting management and motivation principles that seem to sink in and stay.And, if a little humor is added, so much the better.   How about you?

For your consideration and use here are thirty quotes from a wide variety of authors, including the infamous “anon” (anonymous), that have been around for years and repeated many times. Despite their briefness – or, perhaps, because of it – they can help anyone become a better manager, employee, spouse, parent, or friend. Why not try a few on “for size?”

Continue Reading

Signs You’re Failing at Social Media

by Susan Young

(And What to Do About It)

There are plenty of columns these days about how to get started in social media. In fact, as I was researching this column, I found that the previous columnists have done a great job of introducing the topic, relaying important trends and providing industry insight into how social media works. By now, most of your businesses have probably created social media pages, and may be regularly posting content. But have you evaluated how successful your social media marketing has fared thus far? Here are the top signs that your company is failing at social media, along with some advice on how to turn the tide:

Continue Reading

The Rule of 100

By Charles Waldo

It’s all in how you frame the deal

Many HCBM readers run “sales promotions” of various kinds for their businesses, often involving pricing issues. Maybe it’s “Buy one, get a second at 50% off.” Perhaps it’s “$5 off the regular price,” or, “10% off the regular price.” Whatever the “formula,” the seller wants to move product. But what pricing strategy will best do that?

Dr. Jonah Berger, Marketing Professor at the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania) offers some useful insights on this question in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster Publishing, 2013). The book is chockfull of findings from the behavioral sciences explaining why consumers act as they do – sometimes in ways that appear on the surface as irrational. One strategy Berger describes is the……

Continue Reading

Is The Office Obsolete

by Robby Slaughter

We Need a Remote-Work Revolution

If you work in an office today, there’s a strong possibility that you would get a lot more done if you didn’t have to work in that office. It turns out that, although we think of glass towers containing cubicles and filing cabinets as the places we go to accomplish something, the “office” as most of us know it, is a terrible place to get anything done.

The primary reason, as entrepreneur Jason Fried notes in an editorial for CNN.com, is that “the modern office has become an interruption factory.” Fried is painfully correct. Workplaces aren’t like school libraries, where silence is golden and quiet intellectual pursuit is the foundation of progress.

Instead, our offices are buzzing with conversation, ringing phones, shuffling papers, whirring copy machines, squeaky hinges and clunking footfalls. If you are lucky enough to have your own walls, you can escape some of the chaos by closing your door, however most of us work in cubes and must battle dozens of interruptions per hour.

Continue Reading

Stepping into the New Year: What to Look For in Fitness Devices

Excerise Devices for 2017by Michael Bauman

As the snow begins to fall and the world wraps itself up in a blanket with some hot chocolate by the crackling fire, thoughts begin to turn to Christmas, carols, and presents. With January, and the lines of people with their signed New Years Reso-lutions in hand right around the corner, you might have considered looking at some of the fitness devices that are out there as a stocking stuffer or a gift for a friend. But with all the options to choose from, how do you know what will fit their style and preference? Here are some factors to consider.

All day vs Training

Any tool that can be used for motivation or to help facilitate more movement throughout the day is a “step” in the right direction. But what should you look for in a fitness device? It really depends on what you are using it for and what you want to track.

There are two main types of fitness devices: the all day trackers (for general fit-ness and health) and the training trackers (primarily for training for a specific event or sport). Most fitness devices track steps, stairs, calories, and quality of sleep. The training trackers do all of the above but also typically include your heart rate, and have GPS features to give you data about distance, speed, pace, and your route. They are usually waterproof, and sync with your smartphone to show texts, calls, and emails.

Continue Reading

What Qualities move Employees Up?: These “Common Core” Attributes will Improve your Career Prospects

By Charles Waldo

What are the qualities exhibited by “employees on the move,” especially managers? Those who “make things happen.” Those always in the right place at the right time doing the right things. Your “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” people. Those who get frequent calls from headhunters. Are those qualities – if they can be identified – common to all “shakers and movers” or are only some qualities needed for success in some organizations or under certain conditions but not in others?

This is not an academic question since finding the answer(s) can lead to better hiring practices, better human resource development practices, better placement and promotion decisions, and better individual and group performance. The answers can also serve as your self-development checklist since no one will be more interested in your professional development than yourself. If you don’t take your development seriously, who should – or will?

Continue Reading

What Are Your CSFs?: Are you Measuring what Really Counts?

By Charles Waldo

Years ago, when just out of Saint Louis University’s B-School, I worked for a mid-sized, publicly-traded company in St. Louis. My desk happened to be near the office of the president, an imposing, rather gruff character. He had the habit, when walking through the building, of randomly stopping at an employee’s desk to ask “What was yesterday’s stock price close? Was it up or down from the day before?”

CFS FactorsI don’t believe anyone ever got fired for not knowing the answers but they did get “the look.” Employees (including me!) were terrified of being asked and not knowing so most everyone kept their eyes focused on these two figures. The president even had bulletin boards all over the building with the two figures updated every morning, so there was no excuse for not knowing.

I asked my boss, a division general manager, why the president did that. He said the president felt the most common corporate performance denominator all employees could relate to was the stock’s daily price. He wanted all eyes focused on it all the time. One could argue about the validity of his view but the daily stock price was THE primary Critical Success Factor for him and, therefore, for us. At my initial low level entry position I had almost no effect on the stock’s price but, nevertheless, was focused on it. As time passed and promotions came I saw the potential usefulness of CSFs, came up with several for my units, and tried to get all eyes trained on them. They seemed to work.

How about you? Do you have Critical Success Factors that you focus on constantly? What are the “make it or break it” results for your organization? For your part in it? What about for your personal life? What spells “success?”

Continue Reading

Keeping an Eye on Social Media: Good Trends to Embrace…Bad Trends to Avoid

by Kristen Fettig

Social sharing and personal publishing with blogs and new media have led to a virtual stream of information noise. It’s important to filter out the negative and hone in on the positive. Learning what adds value to your life instead of just wasting your time is best practice. On the other hand, learning about things to be wary of will help you and family avoid falling victim to unscrupulous cyber creeps.

Be wary of these New Trends

There is a new app that is very popular with tweens called Musical.ly and a spinoff, Live.ly (which aims to compete with Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope). It’s a creative venue to post and share music and perform live lip-syncing with other “Musers”, but there is a dark side. It has been criticized for overtly sexual overtones in dress and music, making it a place for sexual predators to find fresh prey. Kids have access to all songs, including inappropriate ones for tweens. There is also a location feature that can pose a safety hazard if it is enabled. To make sure this is safe for your tween, keep tabs on their “friend” list, and only accept other kids they personally know, hide the location settings and make the account Private.

Continue Reading

Dr. Franklin's “Thirteen Virtues:” Timeless advice for business and life

By Charles Waldo

Benjamin Franklin was an American original, a true Renaissance man. Born in Boston in 1706, at age seventeen and with only a rudimentary education, he left his family and headed to the fledgling city of Philadelphia to seek his fortune in the printing and publishing industries. This he did very successfully and, along life’s way, also became a militia commander, a representative from Pennsylvania to the second Continental Congress, was a member of the select committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence, was a long time Ambassador to France, being instrumental in getting French support for the American Revolution, and was a key architect and signer of the initial Constitution.

Franklin was also a noted scientist and inventor– ever hear of the Franklin Stove? Or the lightening rod? He helped found the first Philadelphia Fire Company, the first fire insurance company for the common person, the nation’s first free public library, and what is now the University of Pennsylvania. Plus he became the U.S.’s first Postmaster. He was called “Dr. Franklin” by many although the title was honorary, given to him by several illustrious universities such as Harvard and Yale for his many contributions to American – and world – society.

Continue Reading