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

Foundational Thinking for Process Improvement Teams

Businesses everywhere are betting on process improvement initiatives to grow profits, usually through implementing some flavor of Lean or Six Sigma.  As a student of both, and obvious fan of the Systems Mindset, I think this is a good bet.  So does one of the most influential growth business leaders of our time, Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles.

“We are so bullish on Lean that we’re confident that the first company in any industry to fully embrace the methodology will dominate.

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish

Before you start tweaking all your procedures to eliminate waste in hopes of total marketplace domination (sounds nice, doesn’t it?), you need to understand the foundation of every great system.  Failure to understand all 4 Building Blocks of Better Systems puts your process improvement teams at risk of wasted effort.  Trying to eliminate waste, it is easy to make changes to a process or procedure without seeing the negative impacts on the entire system.

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3 Powerful Systems Perspectives from Business Thought Leaders

When I was growing up, one of the few shows on television I was allowed to watch unsupervised was Reading Rainbow.  Anybody else?  Looking back, it makes me laugh that I watched a television show… about reading.  Lucky for me, my love of reading remained, and I have never binge-watched anything on Netflix for an entire weekend.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

– Harry S. Truman

In the world of business, there are incredible minds sharing their experience and knowledge with us through their books.  One recurring concept is fundamental to taking your business to the next level: having a Systems Mindset.  I strongly believe this is a foundational requirement for any business leader to break through the ceilings they face growing their company.  In the famous words of LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, “Of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”

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Not sure about Checklists?  Look at who is using them.

You know how when you buy a new car, suddenly you start seeing that car everywhere?  When you drove that pretty new ride off the lot you felt pretty special… then you saw three of the exact same model in the drive through at your local coffee spot.  The past week I had that exact experience, but replace new car with new checklist.  If you are looking for simple systems to grow your business, you’re going to love the power-packed places that checklists showed up.

There are many examples, but I want to jump straight to the checklist that knocked my socks off this week.

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Step-by-Step Transformation through Better Checklists

It only takes one bad experience to lose a customer for life.  As you grow your business and serve more customers, the chances to make those mistakes increase.  Being able to deliver extraordinary value is hard enough.  But to grow, you must deliver that value without mistakes every single time.

One common mistake made in every area of life is the error of omission.  In plain English: we forget something.  Have you ever had cookies without sugar?  Exactly.  The challenge is that not all errors of omission are immediately evident.  You could forget to follow a key step in your process today, and not have a problem until a week, month, or year from now.  Try to diagnose the problem, and you don’t know where to look.

When it comes to “bang for your buck” in the world of business systems, a checklist is like the torpedo that blew up the Deathstar.

– Zach White

I want to show you how easy it is to improve your life and business using checklists.  This is a step by step guide to decide what type of list you need (yes, there is more than one), how to make your checklists effective, and remove any excuse you have for not taking action now.  But first we need to CRUSH a couple of myths.

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Total Thesaurus Meltdown

In one of my early interviews with a local entrepreneur and marketing expert, we talked about the word “system” and its meaning.  We had a great conversation about how many different definitions flood our minds when you see the word.  You can imagine the challenge this presents for marketing any business whose products (like mine) are all about systems.  His parting advice on the subject I wrote down in my journal.

The word “system” is not ideal.  Strike it from your vocabulary!

Ha!  That’s not good.

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106 Year Old Wisdom for Your Business

“Flavor of the month” is a brilliant ice cream marketing strategy (who doesn’t love ice cream?).  Unfortunately, it also describes the constant evolution of management jargon and buzzword systems claiming to revolutionize your business.  I found an interesting exception.

In 1911, a system was invented in Michigan that is now widely adopted around the world.  Management ideas that stand the test of time are rare… when was the last time you heard anybody talk about the flavor of the century?  Over 250 million Americans rely on this system, and it can easily be called a lifesaver by every single one of them.

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Business Advice from your Grandma

There is nothing like the smell of Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  Three cookies before dinner?  You better believe it.  Only Grandma would let me spoil supper.  God bless Grandma.

I am an engineer, and it’s safe to say that nobody has ever mistaken me for a baker.   For part of my career I designed cooking products for one of the world’s largest home appliance manufacturers.  Some of my friends were concerned that a guy who cooked like me (not sure I would call it cooking) was being paid to design an oven.  Valid concern

Here is the great news: even a mechanical nerd like me can make amazing chocolate chip cookies.  I am talking full-out melt-in-your-mouth goodness that causes even the strongest souls to spoil their supper.  Go ahead and drool, then ask yourself… How?

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