Shareholders measure success through share price, debt ratios and other financial measures. For this reason and others, management teams make decisions that attempt to maximize financial performance – buying equipment, investing in systems, right-sizing the workforce, etc. What about the subjective decisions that management makes? These decisions involve interactions with people – attending meetings, solving problems, encouraging feedback, protecting power, etc. These decisions seem somewhat disconnected from dollars, so little thought may be given about

Read More

What if…it was possible to view corporate cultures in a whole new way? What if… the ways people interact at work could be re-framed as an engine capable of generating profit? Both are possible. Designing a “Culture Engine” is something every company could be doing. Unfortunately, executives see their people as more of a cost or liability than an asset that could supplement the bottom line. The First Step in this work: A shift in

Read More

Many problems are identified, valued and placed on project reports for future work. Solutions may require capital and/or process improvement work. What about the problems that never make it to the project report but are frequently talked about behind closed doors? No meetings are held to solve these problems, but people spend a lot of time wrestling with the conflict, confusion and losses that stem from them. Management and sometimes the workforce are aware of

Read More

Everyone knows that it takes a lot of power to run production equipment and facilities. You can see the physical power lines, cables and transformers as you travel around the property. You budget for the monthly power bills, often in the millions of dollars. You know that without electrical power, there would be no production.   There is a second stream of power that is invisible and rarely recognized because most of the time it

Read More

This program is one of my favorites. Every Friday night a CEO “discovers” good people when he cuts through the management layers, policies and processes to learn the truth about his organization. The same is true in mining – good people are caught up in bad processes. High level managers judge people’s performance and potential by what they deliver to the bottom line. What if management barriers are creating hurdles that hide the potential of

Read More

Process changes would be easy and relatively quick if they could be done in a vacuum (i.e., isolated from barriers that are often management-induced). How many times have you begun an improvement project and “bumped up against” a department that would not work with you to capture the benefit or a management process that could not be changed? When this happened, you had two choices: 1) modify the process to accommodate the barrier and compromise

Read More

Webster’s definition of brutal reads: “extremely ruthless or cruel, crude or unfeeling in manner or speech, harsh and unrelenting, disagreeably precise or penetrating”. Many of you know people like this: • Their words often reflect anger, resentment, intimidation, arrogance and/or impatience. • They hold others accountable for a level of perfection that far exceeds what is reasonable or necessary to do a job. • They believe that a brutal management style is THE ONLY WAY

Read More

As a management consultant, I meet fear everywhere I go. I am not talking about the fear of change, but the fear of speaking the truth about a problem. Losses, sometimes in the millions of dollars, occur when people are afraid to talk about a problem or raise a concern, maybe because of company politics or what will happen if the problem is exposed. Examples of these losses include lost production, higher costs, errors in

Read More

Have you noticed the high level of activity in switching out CEOs and other executive team and board members? It’s happening in large and small lmanufacturing and service companiess. This morning I reviewed one business  publication and saw at least 20 announcements about new executives that were expected to bring a higher level of performance than their predecessors. I wonder if the people coming in are aware of the barriers that prevented the last guy

Read More

When hearts, and mindsets are impacted by the change process, expectations are high and the needs are great. People have many skills that can increase productivity, but culture change is the greatest challenge. Specific skills are generally lacking in this area. For those working at companies with a history, your needs may be the greatest. Chances are you have been through acquisitions that changed the face of your culture. It was up to you to

Read More