Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! (Proverbs 4:7 NLT)

The Pursuit of 100x More Value

I spend more time than most thinking about process and systems.  It’s just part of how I’m wired.  A system can come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are more important than others (think heart monitor vs stock ticker… both are data visualization systems, but one can mean the difference between life and death).  I am convinced, now more than ever, that the most important systems for us to focus on are the ones for managing ourselves.

For a moment, hold that thought.

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A Paradox of Process

There are not many people who will read this post.  For now. is off to a slow start.  But, I am totally convinced that there is something meaningful to be shared about systems in life and business.

The reality I’ve seen in the last few months is that I don’t know exactly how to share it.  I’m going to try something a bit different for a while.  I’m just going to start writing until I figure it out.

“Sometimes, you have to write to figure it out.”  – Dan Pink (quoting his college professor)

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Transform the World Around You

How do I get started with systems?  What foundational systems do I need to begin with?  I know I need to improve my systems to scale my business, where do I look first?  When is the right time to start thinking about systems in my small business?

I get these questions all the time.  Good questions.

Here’s a confession from a self-proclaimed small business systems expert: Sometimes I still don’t know.

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The Glory Days of “Restructuring” are Over

You know the following scene.  Last year’s company results missed the plan.  Last quarter’s results were downright ugly.  Rumors fly as the CEO tells the “Street” that cost cutting measures will be taken to right the ship.

Then it happens.  On an unsuspecting Monday morning, everyone is escorted into the HR office, one by one.  Some walk out with new jobs, and others walk out the front door with a box of their stuff.  The lucky ones keep their jobs.

Here is your warning, business leaders.

Your next downsizing may be your last.

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When It’s Broke, Fix It.

Not all of the 7 Deadly Wastes are easy to see.  Many new business owners have never even heard the term “overprocessing,” let alone taken action to remove it from their business.  Gaining a deep knowledge of Lean and the 7 Deadly Wastes can be a huge competitive advantage.  With that in mind, try not to be insulted by the simplicity of the final chapter in this series… Defects.

It’s obvious that when you flat-out miss the target, the result is waste.  So how do you get rid of defects?  That my friend, is less obvious.

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Start Your Attack on Waste, Just in Time

There is no silver bullet when it comes to Lean systems.  No “One Ring” that rules them all.  But, if you asked me which of the 7 Deadly Wastes is the most critical to get right, it would be Overproduction Waste.  The effect of overproduction is almost entirely more waste.

The effect of overproduction is almost entirely more waste.

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Do you know what your customer values?

Good enough.

This has been a challenging phrase for many, including myself, who tend to err on the side of perfection.  Under-commit and over-deliver, right?  I am a believer in doing more than customers expect, and “wow” them by your product or service.  It’s a great way to build loyal customers for life.

In lean thinking, everything beyond good enough is waste.  Don’t forget that customers pay for value, not perfection.

Don’t confuse “wow” with “waste” in your business.

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There is No Salvage for Wasted Time

You’ve heard dozens of smooth quotes about time.  The great equalizer.  The only resource we can’t get more of when we want it, or need it.  You’ll never have time if you don’t take time.  Start a discussion of time with a deep thinking philosopher, and buckle up.

In a world where immediate gratification and impatience characterize our expectations (remember how slow dial-up modems were?), you might not believe that Waiting is one of the 7 Deadly Wastes.  Just wait and see…

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Stop Confusing Movement with Progress

We live in a society today that glorifies being “busy.”  It’s a badge of honor to have worked a 70 or 80 hour week in many social circles.  Let’s reverse that trend.  As we have been studying in this series, there is no glory in spending a lot of energy on waste.  Instead of cranking up the hours, focus on eliminating waste.

Never mistake motion for action.

– Ernest Hemingway

It may be time to stop moving.

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Unlock the Cash for Growth in Your Business

Does this advice sound like you?

“If you are cooking anyway, make a quadruple batch of casserole.”  

“What you really need is to invest in a deep freezer.”

“Everybody should buy staples (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc) in bulk.”

These are just a few of the results I found when searching the internet for ways to save money.  There are hundreds more tips just like them.  Buy your toilet paper rolls by the hundreds and save an additional two cents per square.  Stock your basement with a year’s supply of all the essentials and you will be on your way to early retirement.

It makes sense, really.  Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, and other mega-stores have been able to lower prices immensely by selling in bulk.  Therefore, the road to great savings is buying in bulk.  More is cheaper, and inventory must be the king of low cost, right?


Increasing batch size is NOT a strategy for you to save money.

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Stop Trying to Run Faster – Instead, Shorten the Distance

It’s Black Friday, and you are out shopping for mad deals with your family (Disclaimer: I am NOT a fan of shopping in total chaos, but it helps make a point so roll with me).  You finally find the perfect gift for your sister, a kitchen gadget, but can’t decide between the two brands available.  Looking closely at the two items, they appear identical except for the price.  One is $30, the other $45.  Remembering that Grandpa always said, “You get what you pay for,” you decide to ask the salesman for assistance.

“What’s the main difference between these two items?” you ask with curiosity.

“Honestly,” the salesman replies, “they are identical.”

Confused, you reply, “So why is this one $15 more?”

In a matter-of-fact tone, the salesman answers.  “Oh, because it was flown around the world, put on a train across the country, then driven across town before I picked it up and walked it over here.  All that distance is gonna cost you.”  The salesman walks away, leaving you puzzled.

Which one are you going to buy?

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How Waste is Disguising Itself as Value in Your Business

How much time do you waste every day?  Think about it.  Let’s pretend you work 8 hours a day (I said pretend)… how many of those hours would you argue are wasted?  What about for your employees?  How about your competitors?  Just take a guess before you read on.  You may be shocked to see what others are saying.

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

– William Shakespeare

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