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July - September, 2014

Volume 4, Number 3

In This Issue

·    Golden Oldies

·    Strategy or Tactics?

·    Free e-Book on Managing Change

·    Gerunds Are Your Friend

·    Featured Link

·    Making a Killer First Impression

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Golden Oldies


I recently volunteered to help set up for our local library’s annual book sale.   There were thousands of books ranging from the 1940’s to 2014 – it was a literal sea of titles that were being stacked up.  

As some of the business books flashed by, there are certain titles that can quietly rest in peace (“Winning Through Intimidation”), and other oldies that are humorously outdated (anyone remember “Dress for Success”?).

Some, however, are timeless and as relevant today as the day they were first published.  “How to Lie With Statistics” (1954) is a quick-read classic every OpEx practitioner should be required to read.   Ditto for “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (1989).   It’s kind of sad actually, that great business authors like Tom Peters, Denis Waitley, Dale Carnegie, and others are names that register blank faces when mentioned to today’s workforce.

Here’s a challenge – support your local library.   Before the end of the year, go to your library and check out an old-school hard-copy book – the kind with pages you actually flip.   The challenge part II – re-read a timeless business classic or discover an author from the last century and witness firsthand how relevant some of those tips can be!

Have an excellent quarter!



Jeff Cole


JCG Management Consulting

Strategy or Tactics?


Operational Excellence methods like Lean and Six Sigma can actually be utilized several ways – either strategically to help run your organization, or tactically to address everyday process problems.  From the board room to the boiler room, these methods help.  How are you using them?

Here are a few tips to kickstart your efforts in both arenas:

  • A fast way to strategically focus your efforts is this 4-step process:
    • Build a matrix listing your key strategic metrics down the side and your key business processes across the top.
    • In each intersecting cell, indicate (High, Med, Low) the extent to which that process impacts that strategic metric.
    • For each process, assign two grades (A, B, C, D, F) – one for speed and one for the quality of the output.
    • Strategically, the biggest bang for your buck will be to use OpEx in addressing the lowest scoring processes with the largest impact to the metrics!
  • Tactically, you can kick start OpEx efforts in any department in a number of ways.  Here are a couple examples:
    • Have a “Waste Warriors” contest to see who can find and eliminate the biggest sources of waste in the department.
    • Some hospitals tell their staffs to “pick any department metric” and use the methods to improve it.
    • Some plants assign a quota to their employees to make x-number of quick win improvements each year.  Draw names for monthly prizes.

Free e-Book on Managing Change

E-Book Cover

Ever wish you had a way of invoke mass behavioral change where you work?  Sadly, short of mass hypnosis, there’s no magic way to do that.  There are, however, some best practices in getting people to change and follow new processes in organizations.   That is the topic of our latest e-book “Street Smarts for Change Management”.   

This is a collection of some of the monthly columns JCG President Jeff Cole has authored for the Process Excellence Network over the past six years.    Here are a few of the things you’ll learn:

·         Three dials you control to help manage change overload

·         10 ways to ensure change efforts fail

·         Four ways to ensure you are not your own worst enemy when changing processes

·         Nine secrets of organizational change your employees won’t tell you

·         A surprising look at who resists change the most in an organization

·         Six must-have tools for every change agent

·         An interesting look at the phenomenon known as “change blindness”

·         Ten ways that communication cascades fail

Click here to download your free e-book…

Gerunds Are Your Friend


Many OpEx methods like Six Sigma focus on improving business processes.  Some folks initially have a hard time figuring out exactly what a process is.  The secret lies in understanding our new friend:  The Gerund. 


Ever heard of a gerund?   Unless you’re an English major, there’s a good chance your answer is no.  Gerunds are words that end in “ing”.  Most of those are action verbs.   So what?    A process is a series of repeatable tasks leading to an outcome.   “Repeatable tasks” is a code phrase for “action verbs”.    In plain language:  Anything you do that ends with “ing” is typically a process!   Running, hiking, fishing, swimming – all processes.  So are designing, manufacturing, delivering, servicing, teaching, meeting, invoicing, inspecting, and so on.    If you have a process that’s too slow, OPEx methods can make it faster.  Ditto for the following conditions:  process output not meeting customer requirements; the process costs too much, has too much waste, is too complex, etc.


Bottom line:  Look around your organization and list the things you do ending with “ing”.  If any of those are causing you “pain”, consider applying process improvement techniques to relieve the pain!

Featured Link

More and more companies are outsourcing various jobs.  Now, you too can follow their lead and outsource a number of your time-consuming tasks, freeing you to focus on more productive endeavors.

Websites like TaskRabbit and Fiverr allow you to take various time consuming tasks, and for a low fee, have someone do those for you.    TaskRabbit focuses more on domestic tasks at home.  Fiverr lets you offload a number of business-related chores for $5 USD, ranging from developing PowerPoint slides for your next presentation, to creating a professional custom voice-over introduction that will make you stand out.

Making a Killer First Impression


Networking is important in anyone’s career.  Making a good first impression is a crucial part of that.  According to Inc. Magazine columnist Jessica Stillman in their October issue, people tend to make judgments early and those impressions are hard to change.  

She goes on to offer up four tips for making our best first impression:

·         Polish Your Look – Research shows appearances tend to significantly influence first impressions.

·         Let the Other Person Talk -  If you let the other person have the floor first it makes you appear trustworthy, warm and can establish trust.

·         Decide on Your Intention -  Focus matters as does energy level.  Before entering any networking-type event, think about who you would like to meet and the image you want to convey.

·         Reveal Your Flaws – Revealing that you are only human can help create a more genuine interaction.

For more interesting lists and tips, visit www.inc.com.


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