The one thing you dare not automate

The personal touch your clients appreciated when you were small can get lost in the chaos of growth. It eventually feels like tedious, recurring, mind-numbing work. That’s when someone like me suggests that you automate it. Just don’t automate the wrong things. Why automate? Automation outside of manufacturing environments is mostly about doing tedious things […]

When problem solving, look for simple solutions

Problem solving discussions on news broadcasts, in newspaper op-eds, on social media, and in political speeches have a consistent thread: “We can fix it by changing (one thing).” Most problems are not particularly simple. Societal and economic problems are incredibly complex, even in a small community. Winning a game of chess against Bobby Fischer or IBM’s […]

Planning got you wrapped around the axle?

It’s that time of year: Time to assess the year as a whole, work-wise, and figure out how to go forward with what you learned. Yes… it’s time to finish next year’s planning. Yes, finish it. If you haven’t started, carve out some time over the next two weeks. I know, the holidays are here […]

Quality management’s slow ROI

We talk about numbers, metrics, & dashboards from time to time. One of the more difficult things to measure, much less manage, is quality. Is there a single measure? Some might suggest Net Promoter Score as an ideal single measure. NPS ranges from -100 to 100. It represents the willingness of a company’s customers to […]

Went to the gym once. Didn’t work.

You’ve probably heard about things that didn’t work in someone else’s business. The story probably included an assertion that whatever isn’t working for someone else also wouldn’t so won’t work in yours. The tool itself is generally irrelevant. More often than not, the problem is a lack of consistency. Execution isn’t easy. We do the […]

The ingredients of effective criticism

Today we’re going to use a common political event (and some football) to discuss the effective delivery of criticism. Recently a new candidate joined a local political race. The new candidate’s campaign has spent plenty of time pointing out things that are broke, need attention, or didn’t go well. That doesn’t mean the candidate has […]

Why your growing company needs to work slower

You might have seen last week’s discussion of automating administrivia and clerical work simply as a systemization of the E-Myth. That’s fair, but remember that the goal was to reduce cognitive load on focus workers. We didn’t eliminate ALL administrivia and clerical work – and you can’t. Discussions on scaling a growing company rarely cover the […]

Raise productivity by lowering cognitive load

Are you trying to figure out how to help your team become more productive? Traditional efforts to raise productivity will help, but are they enough? At some point, you’ll find that the law of diminishing returns will take over. Rather than give up, you & your team need to reassess the team’s workload and how […]

Discarding clients & the math of job security

How often are you discarding clients? When fussy, needy, and/or high-maintenance clients complain repeatedly, there’s significant temptation to simply toss them out with the garbage. Some business owners build “filters” into their marketing designed to repel such clients. When an existing client provokes thoughts of “Life’s too short to deal with this“, who fires them? […]

Training: One cure for sales problems

When having a conversation about sales problems, I might remind you about the folly of only taking cash (depending on the type of business). I might also remind you to eliminate the tedious & annoying out of your buying process. There are cases where that’s useful, but mostly – it isn’t. But not today. Today, […]