A few months ago, I read a blog (I can’t remember where I read it or who wrote it) about how note taking in meetings is changing in today’s world. With tablets and smartphones and laptops and WiFi, etc…more and more people are taking notes electronically.
The blog was about people who get upset when technology is used in a meeting because they think the person isn’t paying attention. The thought is the person is doing email or something not related to the meeting. And yes I have seen that.
I have been inching towards using technology to take notes even though I still like my pen and paper. I have found it is easier to share with others and storing takes up little memory versus large filing cabinets with all the paper in it. My computer search is faster than going through a filing cabinet and Microsoft OneNote makes it note taking easier on a computer.
With that, I think there is still etiquette to be used when using technology to take notes.
- If it is a large meeting (about 10 or more people), it may be OK just to open up the computer and take notes because several people will be doing it
- If it is a large meeting and no one else is using technology you may ask the leader of the meeting if it is alright to use your computer or tablet device. You can ask off to the side before it starts or at the very beginning of the meeting with the whole group because others may want to do it also.
- If it is small meeting (less than 10 people) or a 1-on-1 type meeting, you should ask if it is alright to take notes electronically.
- A 1-on-1 meeting you still might consider using pen and paper. I know this is extra work but sometimes if you are using a computer, it can get in the way and block the view of the other person. The computer can feel like a wall between you.
- Understand the meeting before taking notes. Some meetings don’t require you to need to take notes, so there is no need to have your computer or tablet open. Maybe detailed notes will be handed out. Another example are kaizen events. Notes don’t need to be taken by individuals in kaizen events. All the notes are captured on the flip chart paper and post-its. It is more important to have everyone 100% engaged.
All and all, taking notes electronically can be a good thing and is something more and more people are doing. It is alright to do. If you are a person using technology to take notes have some etiquette and understand who is leading the meeting and the purpose before opening your computer or tablet and typing away.
When creating change it is not always easy working with people. People are the largest variable in any change you want to create. Because of this, different people and situations have to be handled in different ways.
One way is through demonstration. Do the work on a project and show them the benefits of working in the new way. Either show them after the changes are made or have them work alongside you as you make the changes and work in the new way. This way the person gets first hand experience of the benefits.
Another way is coaching. Have them do the thinking and the work on an improvement. Learn by doing. Be there with them, side-by-side. Let the person bounce ideas off you. Ask questions back to them so they develop the thoughts around what actions to take and the benefits gained. This is usually very powerful, because most adults accept change and improvement when they completely understand it and what it can do. This is a great way to gain the buy-in and understanding.
A third way is giving a large learning zone. Give people the time and the freedom to make changes on their own without a ton of bureaucracy. They will make mistakes. It is important not to make it punitive for making a mistake. Ask what they learned and how are they going to correct it. It is amazing what people can accomplish and do when they have the comfort zone to learn.
There is not one way to help people learn. You have to understand the situation and the person to best develop a plan to help them learn. If it is something critical to running the business the learning zone may be smaller because you can’t afford to allow a mistake that shuts the business down, but coaching may be a good way. The next time expanding the learning zone may be better.
If a person has baggage that prevents them from wanting to do improvement then maybe the first way is best. Drag them along and let them see how it can benefit them.
People are our biggest variable to change, but they are also are most valuable resource.
Art Byrne is an execute that has been implementing lean in several companies around the world. He started our with GE and gained experience with Danaher Corp before becoming the CEO of Wiremold where their lean turnaround is featured in the book “Better Thinking, Better Results“. Since leaving Wiremold Art has used lean to turnaround companies as a partner with J.W. Childs Associates. Art brings his vast experience to the readers.
Name of the Book: The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company
Author: Art Byrne
Publication Date: 2012
Book description: what’s the key message?
Art really drives home the message about a company can only be truly lean if the leaders are setting an example and leading the way. A lean executive does not dictate what others need to go do. A lean executive does it himself.
Also, the executives have to transform the people. Get everyone to buy-in from the shop floor to the executive suite. There is no room for people that won’t buy-in. In order to do this, as the leader you need to engage in the change and lead it. Not support it.
Art lays out his principles to follow to becoming lean:
- Work to Takt Time
- Create one piece flow
- Utilized Standard Work
- Connect Customers to Work by Using a Pull System
What are the highlights? What works?
Art does a fantastic job of giving multiple examples of how he engaged employees and led the change even as a CEO. This brings to life how it can be done and the thought isn’t some dream a consultant made up.
I really like how Art lays out obstacles to achieving his lean principles. Accounting and standard costing is the biggest obstacle because it can show a negative result or cause bad decisions when doing things that are helping. He then explains the changes that are needed and gives examples of the changes and how the finances would look different.
There are more examples of other metrics that Art recommends for a lean company.
Another powerful section of the book is how he used lean to grow businesses and profits even during tough economic times. Art even lays out a strategy for looking at companies when thinking about acquisitions.
The real life examples as a CEO and board member of companies really drives how a lean turnaround can be achieved. A CEO must do a 180 from the traditional methods to do it and a leap of faith will be needed, but the reward is very high.
What are the weaknesses? What’s missing?
This is a really good book, but I do see one thing missing. Art speaks from a CEO or executive viewpoint, which is great, but what if you aren’t an executive?
One question I would like to see answered is how do lower level employees help executives want to do a lean turnaround? Sure, one answer could be give them the book, but that probably won’t change everyone’s mind with just a single read. How do you help an executive that seems to want to do it, do it? Give them that final push and really start to see the benefits?
The book can also give the feeling that if you don’t have an executive leading and doing everything in the book then you might as well not go through with lean because you won’t be successful. Art does not say that explicitly. The book just gives that feeling.
How should I read this to get the most out of it?
I recommend this book for anyone but especially high level level executive or CEO. Art lays out a great game plan and a compelling case for the executives to transform their work and create a lean turnaround. Read the book straight through and then re-read it as you develop a plan to change your company.
I would also recommend it for more Wallstreet and finance people. It would enlighten them on how to look at companies that deliver long term value to their customers. Not just short term gains.
New followers of the blog can use this as an opportunity to read posts they might have not seen in the past. While, long time followers can use this as an opportunity to re-read some of the top viewed posts.
This post will count down the 10th thru 6th most viewed posts of 2012. Enjoy!
5. Sportscenter Has Killed U.S. Manufacturing (June 2012) – Previous Year Ranked #3 – Manufacturing is fundamental. The U.S. has lost it’s sights on the fundamentals and is just worried about the flashy. The U.s. needs to get back to the fundamentals in order to get back on top.
4. Need the Mental Toughness of a Navy SEAL (February 2012) – Inspiration of a Navy SEAL got me thinking about the mental toughness it takes to create change.
3. 5S in the Office (September 2010) – Previous Year Ranked #1 – Most viewed post for two straight years now. A look at using 5S in the office. What is going too far and how to use 5S in the office properly.
2. Keys to Sustaining 5S (September 2011) – Tips to help sustain (the 5th ‘S’) the gains made from implementing 5S.
1. Why Are Lean People Seen As Lean People? (February 2011) – Previous Year Ranked #2 – Exploring the question as to why lean people are not seen as more than just lean experts. Looking at a process from end-to-end seems like a good business practice no matter what the role.
I look forward to more posts in 2013!
I was looking at the Top 10 posts for 2012 and noticed that only 2 posts from 2012 made the Top 10. Both posts were from earlier in the year. I finally realized that a post from about May on in the year has very little chance to overcome posts that have a 5 month or more head start on gaining views.
I decided to highlight 5 of the most popular posts written in 2012. Then in January I will post the Top 10 posts for the year.
Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!!!!
5. Misinterpretations of Lean vs. Six Sigma (April 2012) - How Six Sigma and Lean can be misrepresented in what their purpose is.
4. Strategy A3 Downloadable Template (April 2012) – This is the post about the new downloadable template to help with strategy discussions.
3. Visuals Used in the Office (October 2012) – A couple of visual management examples from the transactional workplace.
2. True Mentoring (May 2012) – This is my take on true mentoring versus fake mentoring that goes on in business today.
1. Need the Mental Toughness of a Navy SEAL (February 2012) – Inspiration of a Navy SEAL got me thinking about the mental toughness it takes to create change.
Have a Happy New Year!!!!
Patrick and Joyce Del Rosario are Filipino business and career bloggers. They work at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of diploma of management and small business courses.
In every business there are defined leaders that help steer teams in the right direction. Problems arise when these leaders put antics before strategy and begin to conjure up different and detrimental ideas about how the business should be motivated to operate. These antics have the potential to change the course of project or company and can be either the success or the downfall of an organization.
If you are a leader, chances are you are aware of the tactics and strategies you use to keep your employees motivated. What you are likely unaware of is the true impact this can have on their motivation and work performance – that is until you get the end results and then it may be too late. Here are some of the top antics to avoid doing as a business leader.
- Don’t treat employees like a number – Your employees are people. They come to work like you do and they have lives away from the office like you do too. Treating your employees like a number and pushing away their personal needs is a sure fire way to lose acceptance in your leadership skills and respect for your position.
- Don’t forget your own mission statement – You may have sat down with your team to outline a mission for a project or for the company, but can you remember all of the components that went into drafting this important statement? As a leader, you must live and breathe this mission statement in all you do and all you motivate your employees to do. Not knowing it shows a lack of care on your part and your team will notice.
- Don’t forget to encourage positive performance – Praise goes a lot ways, especially in the workplace. When you praise your employees, you inspire them to continue doing their best. When you recognize them for nothing but their downfalls, they will curl away from you for fear of more lashings and not have the motivation to do better.
- Don’t leave your team behind – When you show up late and leave early every day you are sending a signal to your team that you have no care for your position or for their hard work. Instead, as a leader you should stick by their side as they tackle a difficult project or encourage them as they put in the extra effort it will take for your team to go from good to great.
- Don’t look like a slob – Non-verbal cues are just as meaningful as what you say. When you show up dressed like you just rolled out of bed with stains on your shirt and your hair a mess, your employees will see your lack of care for your position before they hear it. Instead, wear clothing that you will be proud to be seen in. This will allow you to command respect instead of disgust.
- Don’t blow off e-mail or voicemail responses – When a person takes the time to e-mail you or call you, they have spent a portion, albeit a small portion, of their time reaching out to connect. When you blow off this connection you essentially let the other person know that you have no respect for what they were calling to tell you leaving them feeling frustrated and pushed aside. This can be detrimental to team morale. To avoid it, keep current on your e-mails and do your best to call people back quickly.
- Don’t make threats – Threats can come in the form of something as simple as telling someone that they could be easily replaced or by commenting about future performance reviews. If an employee needs a boost a better tactic is to encourage and mentor them to achieve their best.
As a boss, the way you act and speak has a profound impact on an office. Use these tips to help remember what not to do.
Scott Adams does a great job of nailing how typically organizations take on transformational change.
(click on image to enlarge)
Two concepts I see Scott Adams touch on here. The first one is the idea of just speaking about transformational change will cause transformational change. It isn’t enough to just talk about it or say it. It is very hard work to create transformational change.
Which leads into the second concept shown. Transformational change does not have to be bad or painful on people..causing us to want to hurl. It can be good and as management we need to convey a clear message and show actions that back that message up. We have to consider how people process change differently and create change plans with that in mind.
If all else fails….just show them this cartoon.
How is the culture in your organization when it comes to confronting upper management about decisions or direction that may hurt the company? Does your culture allow employees to push back on upper management about a decision? Or does your culture shy away from pushing back afraid the manager will get angry or upset and hold it against them for bringing it up?
We can’t allow our cultures to be afraid to bring up decisions that may be costing the company money. We have to have the fortitude to raise the question and challenge it appropriately. I’m not suggesting to confront leadership with every decision or to do it in an emotional way because you have passion about the decision.
There is a proper way to raise an issue.
- Understand the Current State – Understand what the decision was and how it is understood to help the organization (grow revenue, cut cost,etc…). List the ways the decision is affecting the organization in a negative manner (Causing cost in another area).
- Gather the Facts – Once you have the list of the benefits and negative impacts you need to quantify them. How much revenue is the decision actually generating? How much cost are we saving? What is the cost in the area being impacted negatively? How much rework is the decision causing?
- Make a Recommendation – If you believe a decision is not what is best for the organization then that suggests you have an idea of what would be better. What is the recommendation you have? Quantify what you believe the results would be? Why do you believe that?
- Get Your Ducks in a Row – Think of different angles upper management could take. What are the facts around those options? Would they say, “Become more efficient in the other are.”? If so, how would you become more efficient? What would it cost to implement the efficient way? What would be the savings? When would it pay back?
- Present Your Case – Set up a meeting with necessary people and present your findings. Do it in a business-like manner and stick to the facts. Don’t let emotion control the discussion.
I have found over the years that approaching situations in this manner usually brings out a great discussion and upper management respects the way you handled the situation.
Nobody likes to be lectured about how the decision they made was wrong. It can be disrespectful. Show them it isn’t emotional. It is factual. A lot of times they may not have known what their decision was doing to another area or that it was actually costing the company money looking end-to-end.
I have approached different leaders in this manner several times over the years and all but one case the leader changed their decision once they saw the facts. The other time they still stuck with their decision which was their choice since they were the leader and the decision maker but at least the facts were presented.
How does your organization handle situations like this?
The main tenet of lean is to deliver value for your customer. The customer is someone that uses the product or service whether it is internal or external. The customer helps to define if something is value added or not. It is critically important to listen to the customer and understand their needs and how to deliver that value.
Sometimes the designer of the product/service can get too caught up in what they want to deliver to the customer or what they believe they need and miss what the customer needs. When this happens the customer can become frustrated and will not adopt or use the product/service. This leads to less credibility of the designer. Over time people will go around or cut out the designer.
An example. A group of designers build a process without input from the users of the process. When rolled out the users don’t use the new process because it is not a process that can not be executed in reality. The designers should have had the users of the process in the sessions helping to build the new process. During this time, the designers should be listening to the users and asking questions to gain clarity of what would work not trying to convince the users of how they should work based on their thoughts.
There is a fine line (or grey area) though. The designers should ask questions and push for improvement where they think it can happen, but with input from the users. If you are taking the time to improve something then push for all the improvement you can get. The designers should help to do this. It is a fine line to walk but when the designer crosses over it is usually easy to tell.
The customer input is the most important part of designing anything. A product. A service. A technology. A process. Anything. Listen. Ask clarifying questions. Understand the customer needs. Deliver value for the customer.
Last season a favorite TV show of mine had it’s final season (House). This season a new show has started that I am enjoying quite a bit (Elementary). The common thread in both shows is the main character is enthralled with solving the mystery. The main tool they use is direct observation. They are incredibly keen with what they see and what it means.
A trait both main characters share is the lack of social grace. They can be considered jerks with the way they ask questions. Yet, people overlook this because they solve the mystery.
I know these are TV shows, but to be that great at directly observing work, do you have to forget about social grace? Does it allow the person ask more direct questions easier? I don’t think so. I may not be Dr. House or Sherlock Holmes but people can observe without losing their social grace. I just find it interesting how TV portrays people with a keen skill for directly observing.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe a person can ask questions and directly observe without being a jerk and do it at an extraordinary level?