Eli Schragenheim

Dr. Goldratt famous saying “Tell me how you measure me and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave” shows one dark side of any measurement: it impacts the behavior of the people involved, actually the behavior of the whole system.  The hope of management is that the impact would be positive:  people will do their best to achieve the best results.  Unfortunately in most cases the opposite is happening.  Just to illustrate another problematic side we don’t always keep attention to:  when the prime measurement is to make money then some managers might break the law and other moral rules in their quest for making more money.  The 2008 crisis is just an example of the impact of money as a prime, measurement.

The Theory-of-Constraints (TOC) went deep into the clash between the local performance measurements and the global ones, showing how the local disrupt the global. This is certainly…

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Like These? I do…

Posted: March 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Don’t try to be different, own the fact you already are.

Be fierce with your time, but generous with your heart.

Presence, not presents.

The biggest wall you’ve gotta climb is the one you build in your mind, you don’t need a hammer to knock it down, just the will to act.

Find awe, let it shake you, melt you, lift you, then share it.

Ritualize the mundane to make room for the brilliant.

Have a strategy, but be open to serendipity, the best things in life are rarely planned.

Life is a story, if you wouldn’t read the one you’re telling, write a different ending.

Genius begins with a burning question, what’s yours?

You will never have perfect information, act anyway.

It’s more important to choose than to choose right.

Don’t confuse genuine peace of mind with the passing lack of angst that follows the demise of a dream but precedes a mounting wave of regret.

Easy is not always right.

Embrace the Thrash.

Uncertainty is a signpost of possibility.

Align what you do with who you are and you’ll become what you need to be.

Build a tribe, people matter.

Love so deeply it cracks open the world.

Hug people hello, then hold onto the ones who don’t run for the hills.

Serve others, but don’t live your life through them.

Expose your soul, vulnerability is a gateway to strength.

Pause often, listen deeply.

Move your body, feed your brain.

Lighten up, if you can’t laugh at yourself, others will happily do it for you.

The quest to create something from nothing is a wholly irrational act, do it anyway.

Lean into the abyss, do the thing that scares you most.

Create, don’t replicate.

Failure is only failure when it doesn’t move you forward.

A Good Life isn’t a place at which you arrive, it is a lens through which you see and create your world.

Rise up.

Be your own guru.

This IS the big show.

Success for Independents!

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Business

Yes, it is possible, very much so.

During the week I was once again told that there will be only be the big players left in the market by the year 20xx blah blah blah…

Most people have heard that the “newest player” in the big box market is supposed to have made HUGE improvements to the service levels over their competitor.

So here’s my experience with shopping at both of these guys in my local area:

Big Green –

A lady stands in the middle of the entry door as we walk in, she says g’day to us but doesn’t make eye contact, she’s busy fiddling with her phone – gee, that was a warm and sincere welcome – not!

We walk to the gardening dept to find what we’re after (some chicken wire and netting clips) – but the clip tool is out of stock. There’s no one in sight, so we make our way to the Tool shop, I ask the fella in there if he has the tool, he says yes & then searches the shelves for several minutes before finally admitting, no, no such animal lives in “his world”.

Oh well, “let’s get a bin for the horse feed” my wife suggests. We see a stack of them on a main end, on special and head over there. The first 5 bins I pulled down were all broken around the handles. I stacked the broken ones on the floor until I found an undamaged one. A young fella comes over with his apron on and asks if I need a hand, I said “no mate, but all those are broken, maybe you should check the rest of this stock and take them out the back away from customers and to organise a credit”.

Ignoring my suggestion he pushed them back into the end with his foot… Yeah, why not annoy the next customer too?

Mmmm, my project is going to take a little longer than I expected. I thought sourcing material was supposed to be easy in these big box things?

So my plans are changed a bit and I decide to head over to “Big Blue” to see what they can help me with.

Same meet and greet person standing in the middle of the front door, same insincere nonchalant welcome to the store.

We want to check out some CD or DD ply… so we hike our way to the far end of the store to the trade section. I ask the trade guy in the drivethru where the CD ply is… he points to an aisle and says “halfway down on your left hand side about eye level”

“cheers mate” I replied and headed off in that direction, only to find that’s where the Formply lives.

I return to him and tell him I wanted CD or DD ply, he replies with “what’s that?” I couldn’t help smiling as I wondered why he sent me down the aisle when he didn’t even know what product I wanted….

“CD ply mate, or DD it doesn’t matter to me, 8′ x 4′ or 6′ x 4′ if you have it”

“Oh” says the blue apron, “we’d keep that inside, near the fence palings”

“no you wouldn’t!” I said “it’d be out here somewhere I reckon”. Mr Blue Apron then yells out to a lady in a blue apron who’s passing by, “this bloke wants some kind of ply, CC or something!”

Mrs Blue Apron then tells him, and us, that they don’t stock ply. I had my doubts and so I questioned her… “you’ve got brace ply, formply, marine ply but no CD or DD ply?”

“yep” was all she said as she walked off. I looked at Mr Blue Apron and he just stared at me like a Muppet with ping pong balls for eyes – expressionless. Frustrated, I was able to find a pack of CD ply in 12 mm (I wanted 9 mm or 7 mm) and I called the Muppet in the blue apron over and showed him the large stamp on the side of the pack – “see, it says ‘CD PLY’, stamped on the side of the pack; if someone else is looking for it, here it is”, he smiled and said “I’m a plasterer mate, I don’t normally work in the Drivethru”.

Damn! I’ve now wasted 1.5 hours in these places and still can’t start my little project at home. How the hell does a builder manage to get what he needs, in a hurry, and get back to site?

I looked at the cars lined up in the drive-through of Big Blue and sure enough, there was a couple of tradie utes parked there, another glance to the trade counter and I saw a bunch of people waiting to get served by the two young girls in blue aprons, including a couple of tradies… and they didn’t look happy at all!

Simply saying you’re going to have better service, doesn’t make it so, no matter how much you advertise it.

In the end, my summation of this experience is that both big boxes performed very poorly in their service, product knowledge, customer care, and plain sincerity when they said “g’day”.

All easy to fix, but of course someone has to give a toss, someone in control of the department has to be on the floor to see what’s NOT being done and then guide the staff towards their “stated objectives”.

I’m guessing they’re all madly rushing around in offices doing reports for the hierarchy, or making sure the price tickets are clear, neat and tidy, for when the big boss comes to visit. Nonsense – all of it! And the hierarchy never realises it because all they care about is the figures at the end of the day, not how many people they made happy, or many they p’d off.

Just serve the customer, with honesty, with care for their project, with sincerity and with the sole intent of creating a customer for the next 5 years with everyone they serve – I would GUARANTEE results!

This message is apparently too difficult to get across to the big box leaders – the independents, they MUST adhere to this message and do everything they can to create the customer for life. They’re small enough to care about every person who walks in their door and small enough to train staff correctly and small enough to know when they’ve got it wrong… the sale figures reflect it instantly!

Don’t let the bloke who told me there’d be no independents left in the future, turn out to be right. Serve those customers with a vigour and sincerity that you’ve never experienced before and you will grow your sales, long term!

Imagine if there was no one else left but the big boxes – I reckon that’d simply be “self serve” hardware.

“And” Is The New “Or”

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Business

by Jonathan Raymond, E-Myth

Business has generally been an either/or proposition. You’re either the boss or a worker, an owner or an employee. You’re either at work or in your life. You either have fear or you’re a strong leader. You either manage through intimidation, or are afraid of your own authority and end up being too distant or too nice.

Is the answer systematization or having great people? Do I focus on maximizing profit or building a great culture? And on and on. The “and” calls us out – to a bigger world and a bigger version of ourselves. It challenges us to live into hard questions.

How can I be passionate about every aspect of my business or work and not get lost in the details? How can I stand for myself as a leader without apology and at the same time live the truth that I’m always bigger than my role – that I define it and not the other way around?

There’s a global business transformation underway. It’s about meaning, it’s about evolving our relationship to work so that our businesses become rich and alive places of passion and purpose. It’s about discovering and inhabiting your own unique style of leadership, and finding how creating spaces for others to become more of who they are at work is the fuel for increased profitability and growth.

If there’s one word that’s the touchstone for the leaders taking up this challenge, it’s “and”. The “And” Goes Deeper.

A coherent business philosophy, one worth buying, should be big enough to help you achieve your professional goals without running from your humanity or common sense. It should make an “and” where before there was “or.”Mediocre philosophies focus on intentions (selfish or selfless?), behaviors (good or bad?) and results (win or lose?) – with no “and” to be found and no inquiry into motivations and the deeper questions of “Why?”

When I look at the marketing in business, the ideas being sold can only reinforce the status quo because they perpetuate the either/or way of looking at things without knowing it. They repackage outworn and tired ideas about “strong” leadership, myths about work/life balance, and superficial nonsense about “positive thinking” and “manifesting success.”

These ideas take us further away from ourselves instead of closer.
And a new philosophy – dare we say, paradigm – doesn’t offer techniques or strategies for coping – it offers a new vista.

The world is full of opposing ideas. A new philosophy has the space to contain both sides of an argument from a third place – a place that integrates the wisdom and discards the downside of both sides of the status quo “argument.” Here’s ours:Hierarchy and Collaboration – because real leaders hide from neither and foster both.Self-Interest and Caring – because it’s in your self-interest as a human being and as a business to feel your actual impact on others.

Work and Life – because trying to “balance” the two is ridiculous (and impossible).

Creativity and Discipline – through management that’s based in the courage to confront uncomfortable topics.

And most importantly,Meaning and Money – because the best employees (young or old) demand it, and the world is getting hungrier for it by the day. Maybe the “and” is what will drive the next great global economy. Not the economy politicians talk about, but the one you and I are trying to build in our own world every day by trying to evolve as leaders, to help our employees reach their own dreams as we strive to reach our own. How big do I dare to imagine my role could play in that world? What if 10% of the 6 million small businesses had the confidence and self-honesty to accept that “they built it” AND at the same time got help to make it better? What if there was one “and” that mattered more than all of them that we somehow lost along the way.

What if real self-responsibility AND actual caring are one and the same thing – and together are the fuel of the next great global economy? What if the hardest thing to imagine is not that the world would change, but that you were one of the people who had the courage to step up and make it happen starting now? What if your business was one small part of this global transformation, and this was the year you could finally look back on and say that was when it really changed?

Wishing you a successful 2013.

2013 Goal Achievement

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Business

Before moving on to your next project it is worth spending some time to celebrate your success. It provides a way to say thank you to your team and helps with motivation.

Always publicise your successes both internally and externally. This will help raise you and your teams profile and credentials for future projects.

Completion of a project and the steps along the way can be intrinsically rewarding for project team members. Outwardly celebrating successes also can be a source of motivation for the team.

When project milestones are reached, they should be communicated to project team members and stakeholders.

Small rewards for team members who go above and beyond their duties also should be considered to communicate a job well done.

These rewards can come in various forms, from certificates of appreciation to recognition in the organisations staff newsletter or on its website.

Taken from the mind of Andrew Baxter.
The story of Greece is really at the core of the current wide ranging problems in Europe – more on that in later articles – but what is the possible Greece Economic Outlook 2013?

Greek debt has been rapidly rising – estimates put Debt to GDP at more than 170% – clearly not a good indicator of anything other than a major problem. The cause of this is significant government borrowing, poor economic management and rampant tax evasion – again, all the hallmarks of a major problem.

Reading this may seem like the lecture we probably all had from our parents, when we were younger, on looking after our money, and wise words they no doubt were and a shame not everyone took it on board!

So what are the options? Pay back the money – hmmm tricky, especially when you are used to spending so heavily. Add to that, with the broader economic slowdown, your income would be expected to be a bit lighter too – paying debt off of a smaller income… hmmm.

Secondly, cut your spending back – sounds obvious really but the austerity measures – and granted, they are harsh – really didn’t find a welcome reception from the broader population – hardly surprising but at the end of the day, the reality and who likes change, especially when your own outcome is less for you.

Thirdly, actually start collecting taxes that are due – again, pretty obvious to those on the outside. On this subject, consider this; Tax evasion is rampant in a country that so desperately needs tax revenue, to restore and pay off its enormous debts. In Greece, there is a swimming pool tax – and until recently, only 324 households were registered as having a pool and paying the tax. Aerial reconnaissance revealed 16,974 in the Athens area alone. Go figure!

Even more ridiculous, is that 65% of the population declare an income of less than 12,000Euro, and only 20,000 people admit to an income of more than 100,000 Euro. To put that into perspective – there are more Porsche Cayenne’s registered in Greece than people admitting to an income of more than 50,000 Euros. These figures simply don’t add up and tax evasion is estimated at more than $20bn a year – it has to be close to being a national pastime.

Fourthly – how about refuse/actually not pay back the debt. This is known as default and is not a great place to go. Most people aren’t very happy when this path is taken – as effectively they are writing the money off. Other countries have done this – Russia, Argentina and Iceland have all been there and look at them now. The short term pain is horrific, but there clearly is life after default.

Fifth – how about take your bat and ball and no longer play. The option of dropping from the Euro, back to Drachma is also a possibility. Again, this is not overly palatable – but certainly a realistic prospect. An interesting sidebar is that Greece has spent more (as a proportion of GDP) on its armed forces than any other of its European cousins, with the exception of the UK. Not that relevant? With unemployment running at such high levels, what are the chances of social unrest, especially amongst the youth generation? More so, what are the chances of a military coup – reasonable, I would suggest, given the Country’s history, and the depth of the economic problems. After all, it’s kind of hard to get paid when your counterparty is replying to you, albeit from the turret of a tank!

So, how about this instead – Greece drops from the Euro, the debts get written off, and then we all head down to the local Taverna for some Ouzo and Koftas – of course, with a “cash only” bar!!

Posted: November 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Independents Rock!

Quickly fading are the days when a father handed down his trusted hand tools so the family plumbing business could carry on for another generation. This trend is affecting all of our lives in ways we never expected.

As Baby Boomers retire, more jobs for skilled workers open up, but there aren’t enough skilled tradies ready to meet the growing demand. As skilled tradespeople become harder and harder to find, who is going to fix the A/C when it quits on a 45C degree day or re-tile the roof when it’s damaged by Mother Nature’s fury?

Skilled tradies play a vital role in our society, and it’s time we recognise their contributions.. Whether an auto mechanic, roofer, bricklayer, plumber, welder, electrician or carpenter — every professional tradie deserves our respect. After all, these are the men and women who build our country and keep it running strong.

Visit us…

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