Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – September 30, 2013
This weekend I completed the Tough Mudder challenge. A series of military style obstacles set out over a tough, hilly course. This challenge is both physical and mental, as you spend hours climbing up and down ski hills, hurtling yourself over barriers, jumping into ice baths, crawling through mud, and climbing over walls. It was an amazing and unique experience.
 
What was most amazing was the sense of community one had with the other challengers taking part. Since this was not a race. Teamwork and camaraderie were the key focus of the event. People were always pumping each other up, cheering each other on, and helping each other get over the various obstacles. Everyone was there to support everyone else and get them through the challenge. That is what a community is supposed to be.
 
This is unlike a more recent example in my neighbourhood where people are trying to set up an online community to share information. The problem is that some people use it for their own gain, or their own amusement. There is a lot of insulting comments made, some even bordering on inappropriate. People are hesitant to make comments and others avoid the online community altogether.
 
So why does one community work and the other doesn’t?
 
Here’s what makes a successful community:
  • The community members have a common goal (business improvement, good education for kids, neighbourhood safety, completion of a challenge, and so on).
  • There are people in the community who help facilitate the development of the community.
  • The members of the community have each others best interests in mind, not their own individual interests.
  • There is a level of trust amongst community members and they share information and ideas openly.
  • The community provides more value collectively than the members of the community would achieve on their own.
  • The community members attract other like-minded people to join the community and add even more value.
I am now a proud member of the Tough Mudder community, and look forward to next year.
 
If you would like to see pictures from the event, click here.
 
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.

Completing the Tough Mudder challenge

On Saturday, I completed the Tough Mudder challenge. This challenge is a military style obstacle course set on a ski mountain. I spent four hours running (and walking) up and down ski hills, crawling through mud, climbing over walls, and jumping into cold water. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Here are some pictures from the event.

Screaming like a warrior after completing the event.

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Walking through the human car wash to get cleaned up.

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Donating muddy shoes after the event.

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Performing Preventative Maintenance on Your People

We perform preventative maintenance on machines, so why not on people? I know it sounds strange but there are steps we can take to avoid the people problems that every organization encounters. Here are some thoughts.

  • Have regular informal checkins with employees to take the pulse of the organization.
  • Ask your direct reports if there is anything they would like to work on, but haven’t had the opportunity to.
  • Hold casual get togethers regularly with your team to talk specifically about outcomes and how better results can be achieved.
  • Walk around every day and get a sense of what everyone is working on and what kind of support they need.
  • Work on some initiatives directly with your people and give them leadership opportunities. Only then will you know how well they can perform.

Too many organizations only react to people issues, and by then it’s too late. As a manager, you need to understand who is on your team, what their strengths are, and whether or not they have the skills and tools to achieve results.

Performing preventative maintenance on your people can save you from ugly firings, bad hiring, and poor decisions.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – September 23, 2013
I recently wrote an article identifying 12 levers of growth. It was in response to the same question from many of my clients, “Where will my growth come from?” Here they are: 
  • Improve internal performance.
  • Make strategic acquisitions.
  • Be a connector.
  • Product innovation.
  • Expand product and service offerings.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Improve talent management.
  • Focus on knowledge management.
  • Unbundle services.
  • Expand geographically.
  • Evaluate opportunities better.
  • Offer additional upstream or downstream services.
You don’t need to tackle all of them, but you should be able to select one or two and move forward on them. For more detail on each of the 12 levers and a visual depiction, click here for the original article. 
 
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.

Operational Excellence Global View – How the Big Name Companies Achieve It

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Andrew discusses how successful companies use innovation, speed and managing/attracting talent, to achieve operational excellence.

Operational Excellence Global View – Emerging Economies

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Andrew discusses three elements in operational excellence that up and coming countries are using.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – September 16, 2013
Despite all of the technology we have developed and all of the different methodologies we follow, renting a car is still THE most ineffective process I have ever observed. To be honest, I’m not sure what is so difficult about it, but I watch customers spend 15-20 minutes in line getting paperwork done for their rental car. It is painful to watch.
 
Let’s break this down and make it as simple as possible. What do rental car companies need to know before they will actually give you a car? That you are legally able to drive and that you will be able to pay for the car. So why is the process any more difficult than this:
  • Do they have any cars available?
  • Do you have a driver’s license and credit card?
If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then all the rental car company needs to know is whether or not the customer wants insurance and whether or not they will fill up the gas tank.
 
Maybe the problem with renting a car is that there are too many options. How many different sizes of car does someone really need? Why give the customer a gas option? What about simplifying the pricing model? All these choices only confuses the average customer and slows the entire process down.
 
We know the process can work well because we know it is much quicker with the highest rewards customers who arrive, get their car information, and pick any car in a specific row. Those preferred customers don’t spend 15-20 minutes getting their car. Why not try to replicate that process (or at least parts of it) with all customers? Why not ask customers for more information when they initially book their rental car? Why now try self-serve kiosks? They work for airlines, retail organizations, and even hospitals.
 
We know the process can be done better, yet rental car companies are still not able to do it. It makes me wonder if they are capable of making the changes and content with frustrating their customers.
  
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.

12 Levers of Growth

Here are 12 levers of growth to consider for your organization:

  • Improve internal performance – Focus on operational excellence and find ways to improve the way you operate. Focus on results and outcomes, and only perform activities that help move you towards those results and outcomes.
  • Make strategic acquisitions – Growth by acquisition is a viable option for many organizations. Especially with the amount of consolidation going on in various business areas.
  • Be a connector – Be at the forefront of bringing healthcare providers together in a more integrated way. Engage existing customers better to create ambassadors for your brand and take advantage of the exponential value of customer retention.
  • Product innovation – Develop new products or services, or enhancements to your existing products and services. Generate revenues in areas that you never have before.
  • Expand product and service offerings – Review your current opportunities and look for new opportunities for growth. Your largest opportunities might represent a small portion of your current business, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it as a growth opportunity.
  • Increase brand awareness – Toot your own horn. Develop case studies. Gather client testimonials. Take the industry lead on an important topic. Put yourself in the middle of an important conversation and help raise the bar for everyone.
  • Improve talent management – This means not only managing existing employees better, but hiring the right people in the first place. Start with outcomes and accountabilities, then worry about background and experience.
  • Focus on knowledge management – Determine how to best capture and share information across your organization to take advantage of all you have to offer. Then figure out how to do that for your customers.
  • Unbundle services – Look at your product and service offerings and see if there is an opportunity to separate them. You may be giving something away for free that customers would be willing to pay for.
  • Expand geographically – Take you products or services to another region or country. Find one that aligns well with your current business model and knowledge of the customer.
  • Evaluate opportunities better – Improve your ability to evaluate opportunities so you only focus on the best opportunities. Develop criteria that will help assess opportunities. Stratify your prospects and your customers based on specific criteria so you can maximize performance and profitability.
  • Offer additional upstream or downstream services – Look at the entire process that you are a part of and find additional services you can offer that would be of value to customers. How can you help them improve their performance?

Levers of growth

I hope these help you come up with new ideas to increase profitability and performance.