February 23, 2011

Transitions

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , , , , , at 10:34 pm by lindaslongview

I cannot believe that Dannon finally pulled La Crème yogurt (my favorite!) from the marketplace altogther.  I have chased it from store-to-store, letting out a gleeful gasp everytime I found it again in new and different store (only to have it disappear again):  Safeway → Target → Nob Hill.

Now appearing in the yogurt aisle of my supermarket is a plethora of brands of “Greek” yogurt.  I have tried many and to me they just do not measure up in creaminess and texture.  I am hoping that creamy comes back in style and I will eventually find something that I like as much as La Crème.

Not to trivialize the major transition facing my consulting practice clients, this loss of my favorite yogurt helps me to understand why shuttering my year-old business, Process Confidence, has been so wrenching.  Even though I am extremely happy and excited about my decision to transition back to full-time professional employment (a great opportunity!), for my clients, my sudden unavailability is a similar involuntary loss.

Over the long view we will both get beyond these transitions…

I am grateful to my clients for making my consulting business a success.  I enjoyed helping each one achieve process confidence.  I cannot believe how much I learned in the past year about the practice of consulting in general, accounting (taxes), marketing, and sales, all while practicing the technical skills that I know best. Thank you!

I continue to wish all of my clients process confidence even though I have embarked on a new adventure.

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March 28, 2009

Measuring Success

Posted in Business, Technology tagged , , , , at 5:30 pm by lindaslongview

magnifyingglassAs a process development specialist, measurement advice, admonitions, and charges are entirely imbedded in my psyche. As I think about measurement, the two adages that immediately surface in my mind are Goldratt’s observation: “Tell me how you measure me and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave” (this is about the behavior of people in organizations) and Deming’s popularization of what has now become the Six Sigma mantra of “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control” (this is about improving inanimate processes).

The challenge with measurement is sometimes it is hard to figure out how to measure something or collect the data in real-time. I, for one, have developed some of the kookiest measurement schemes ever (if you are interested, ask). Yet some measurements do not lend themselves to monitoring over time – they do not become systems or processes. As such, I have always been a bit envious of internet based processes and marketing campaigns for which is almost trivial to collect data real-time.

As a hard-core data junkie, when I read Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres, I was in awe and intensely jealous of the ease with which definitive process improvements were possible. However, I read a blog post yesterday that reminded me that even though it is may be easier to measure and improve (some?) marketing campaigns, organizations sometimes do not take the long view and measure performance!

So, even though it is well known that measurement is a key to success over the long view, organizations require constant reminders to measure their success. Consider this your reminder…plan your systems to include measurement and build them that way!

Do you have a measurement story?

March 16, 2009

Credibility

Posted in Business, Technology tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:44 am by lindaslongview

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This weekend, a friend of mine pointed out to me that my technology management advice does not have the credibility of Jack Welch.  He’s right – I’m no Jack Welch. Nevertheless, I thanked him profusely, because it made me realize that I need to communicate my superpower (what value I provide).

I work at the “action level” building processes and products deeper in the technology organization than Jack typically works (at least these days).  That’s not to say that I don’t respect his insights and wisdom, I do.  However, it is the “action level” niche for which I am passionate and for which my insights are most relevant.  In a sense, I have simply made the world smaller – I am not competing with Jack Welch.

In the process development marketplace, what I sell is confidence:  confidence to staff that management makes good decisions, confidence to management that goals are being met, and confidence to investors & media that the organization can do what it says it will do. That is my superpower.  To that end, it is my sincere goal to own the word-pair “process confidence” in my niche. (Thank you Scott, I crystallized my word-pair using your worksheet: 24 Questions to Discover Which Word You Own).

Have I achieved the elite (10,000+ hour) level (in process confidence) that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book Outliers:  The Story of Success (pg. 39, “….the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works.  That’s it.  And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t just work harder or even much harder than everyone else.  They work much, much harder.”)?   I have certainly invested in learning, practiced extensively, and made changes in my environment to ensure that I continue to ratchet up my game.  This blog is part of that process.  I hope that you find value here.  Let me know what you think.