Archive for January, 2013

To Know Me is to Love Me…Would You Give Me a Chance?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We are all so different.  Some folks are visual (ah… that would be me), some are more analytical and if a person is one or the other than you can bet each side loves each one sometimes but is disgusted with the other most of the time.

Internet romances have been the rage but it wasn’t long ago that most people thought they were for losers, psychos or fortune hunters.  Maybe internet dating is a good thing, people talk like old friends and learn about each other without the stress of the “first date.”  I am not dumping on that at all. But we live in a world now where technology connects us as well as disconnects us.

Example #1:  Significant other finds their “beloved’s” cell phone, check through the texts and “POW!”  There are fireworks and they aren’t the good kind either. People like Tiger Woods and Brett Favre know this fate only too well and even better this is all used in lawsuits.  And in both cases, it wasn’t just the heartache that was inevitable,  it was the wallet break that went along with it.

Example #2: I saw a nice couple in a coffee shop the other day.  They held hands as they walked in and in fact one of them held the door for me and greeted me with a smile.  Left me feeling pretty good.

Every one ordered and I sat down across from them.  And there they were, one talking and one staring at his cell phone.  Now if this guy had included her in what he was reading and punching onto the phone, then fine.  But he was very distracted and she went on about a situation she was dealing with.  He had his eyes down and kept clicking away.  Finally looking up he said, “Oh sorry babe, I was texting.”  (This is not a gender thing, this is a manners thing.)

Since this smartphone held power over a human to human interaction, you have to wonder, if it wasn’t an emergency, why did this happen? Is it so hard to put down the phone, flip it upside down and look each other in the eye and talk?  When did we stop being human?  It wasn’t a point in time, it has been an evolution.

I have taken to leaving my phone in my car on customer appointments.  What’s worse than texting during a face to face encounter?  They can see they aren’t as important as whoever is in your phone. AND you are doing this in PERSON.

In 20 years, well maybe 10 – where do you think this will lead us?

Communication: Mutiny

Monday, January 21st, 2013

It is understandable that animals “pack up” and under the right (or wrong circumstances) turn into cannibals.  It is a bit amusing to me that I went to my favorite bird seed metal trash can only to find this:

A couple of  mice camped out in the bottom of what I thought was a sealed can, munching on sunflower seeds and oh yeah, what was left of their buddy.  Perhaps there were more of them, I do not know.  Just found 2 and bits and pieces of another guy.

Sure it is gross to think about.  But hey, it happens.  “Survival of the fittest,”  right?  There are two ways out just like there is in life.  A person either becomes the bait or is eating the bait.

How many of you have read “Who Moved My Cheese?”  Again, it is involving mice.  But it takes the behavior of 4 mice and it is up to you to equate it to how people you know behave.  How we act under certain circumstances.  But in the Who Moved My Cheese?  situation; it takes 4 types of personalities and breaks them down into very simple terms.  It is a quick read and I often read it annually just well, “BECAUSE.”

1) Because there are new people in my life either professionally or personally and Who Moved My Cheese helps me understand them and how they think.

2) Because it REMINDs me how I think and how I approach things. (Often very different approaches)

Communication and lack of it starts wars, ends wars, destroys friendships and businesses.  With everyone using Facebook to throw out what they are doing or thinking and equally a number of people NOT engaging in conversations on or off line, because they think automatically everyone knows what they are doing.

They don’t know.  Many people lurk on Facebook just to see what you are doing whether they care or not.  They never bother to engage in conversation.  They may be “takers” in general. Here is a post I did earlier that may further explain this line of thinking.

It is also possible that sometimes the person that makes the post has their own agenda for posting.  We all know these people and often times any one of us may be that person.

Don’t forget the power of physical contact or a phone call.  Body language and voice inflection go a long way in keeping your relationships solid with people’s communication styles and habits often being different than yours, this is more important than ever.

What Have I Learned? (Part I)

Monday, January 14th, 2013

It has been years since I first learned the Theories Of Constraints philosophy. Like DECADES ago.  And like Total Quality Management and other “flavor of the month” advice that seemed to come our way in manufacturing, you just went along for the ride. Basically,  you were being paid to listen and not DO your job.  A lot of it felt like “fluff”  during those years.  This felt different. We were given  the book The Goal and it stuck with me as did the brainstorming sessions that our company held.

I have long left the manufacturing world and  tho I am still a “marketing geek” now what we are doing seems  (to me) is harder to grasp.  In manufacturing, you can see stuff being made.  You can SEE it. You can SEE when it is made well. You can SEE when it is made not so well.  When it “rolls off the line” you can SEE a finished product.

During my manufacturing tenure, it was first clothing, socks, boys sweaters, belts and accessories and then medical equipment.  In every case REWORK killed us.  Costs money.  Costs of wasted time, costs of frustrated customers and our sales force; then cash flow, revenue suffered. To me, “back in the day”  seemed that it was much more a black and white world – you could SEE results. Engineers and production folks were ACCOUNTABLE for failures because EVERYONE saw them.  Finger pointing existed, but it wasn’t as easy to blame the “wrong guy” and get away with it.

  • Enter technology.
  • Enter communication and technology.
  • Talk about the big black hole of the Blame Game!

TANGIBLE products that look good, don’t break, perform to a customers expectations or when you really WIN – you exceed them! Lots of what is done is hidden in lines of code or done in a way that people don’t see the flaws until it has long passed and it is in the customer’s hands.  Then, it is always something “on your end.”  Your computer, your browser, your email and now your phone.  We’ve all heard it.

Nonetheless, I am reminded of Eli Goldratt and The Theory of Constraints and what really is, The Root Cause Fix?”

The next couple of posts will discuss this. Perhaps if folks read these posts you may see yourself, your family or your coworkers in the words?  This thinking can be applied to work, home life as well as what you are tying to accomplish for yourself.  In marketing research we often say, “WHAT is the PROBLEM?”   Sometimes it is very easy to come up with the SYMPTOMS, but what is the real PROBLEM –  Eli Goldratt would say, if we cannot determine the PROBLEM there is no way in knowing what the “Root Cause Fix” may be.

You may not be in the manufacturing field now or maybe you never have been in manufacturing but it does remain that no matter the industry or situation, fixing a bunch of symptoms may be just that.  The PROBLEM still remains.  That is the hardest part.

 

 

A Confession

Friday, January 11th, 2013

I am painfully aware that I have been really lax in this blog.  It isn’t because I don’t want to do it, I have other blogs that I write for, some for my company and some for other companies.  But more and more there seems to be a space where I would love to say something. Maybe get it off my chest or to think that someone is listening out there, to share.  And some of the topic matter manages to run counter with the themes of other blogs that which I contribute.

For bloggers, we know that blogging is hard.  It takes discipline, it takes a plan.  Even if that plan is to just vent your frustrations about things, you need to do it regulary.  This is where I have fallen down.  I also diluted my efforts so instead of 1 or 2 posts in a week on 1 or 2 blogs, it has turned into being no posts on either one.  🙁

I started blogging for myself a few years ago.  I wanted to learn how to do it.  I made the mistake of thinking I needed 2 with different content on each one.  That all sounds good but when your business has you running 50+ hours a week and a home life that is pretty unsettled, it is a recipe for disaster.  So here we go again, I may have said this before but one of my old bosses said to me, “Cotiaux, you can eat an elephant, one bite at a time.”  Strange quote to some of you but when you are drowning in the Pool of Overwhelming, this makes sense. Your inclination (or mine) is to throw my hands in the air and say, “Screw it, I can’t do it.” But the Overwhelming Pool – is deep but not long, so I just need to swim to the other side and go after that elephant!

For those that don’t blog many people think it is purely a waste of time.  Would they say that about writing an article for a newspaper? (While traditional print media is failing at a sad but alarming rate.)  Or are they the same people that dump on anything they know nothing about?

I think it is mostly #2.  Double entendre?  

So stay tuned.  I am going to try again.  Don’t mind posting a comment here if you think there is some content I should blog about, content is always tricky.  I am interested in the content you want to read.  I am also interested in the content I know something about.  (As I previously stated, too many people spout off about things they know nothing about! )