The DGAS Principle

DGAS stand for Don’t Give a S*&! and it is a good principle to do business by if you are in the advisory business like me. It doesn’t mean you are malicious or mean or provide bad advice, it means you can’t worry about how people react to your advice or your insights. It means you give the advice that you think is right, and not worry about how people react to it, because you know it’s the right advice.

As a consultant and strategic advisor, here’s what DGAS means to me:

  • You don’t chase bad prospects or opportunities
  • You don’t worry about “lost” business (which is really business you never had)
  • Your happiness isn’t tied to whether or not you close business
  • You tell clients and prospects what you are thinking, not what they want to hear
  • You build relationships on your terms, not others
  • You follow your process, not that of others
  • You don’t worry about things you can’t control
  • You don’t put undo pressure on yourself to do too many things at once
  • You don’t overthink things
  • You do your best and go home

What does DGAS mean for you?

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 1, 2014
Too many organizations spend time and money working on strategy, and not enough on the execution and implementation of that strategy. They go on these wonderful strategy retreats where big ideas are discussed, but very few organizations come back with a clear cut plan on which of those ideas will be implemented and how.
 
Implementation is far more important than the development of the strategy. Implementation ability is what separates you from your competition. Your organization will derive a lot more value from the implementation of the ideas being discussed as opposed to just the development of the ideas themselves.
 
Here are some strategies for making implementation and execution more sustainable and successful: 
  • Involve key employees at various levels in the development of the strategy so that they take ownership of its implementation.
  • Have someone accountable for driving and accelerating the implementation of the strategy.
  • Develop clear success metrics for the implementation at all levels of the organization so that the direction is clear and aligned.
  • Spend time developing the appropriate implementation plan and anticipate adoption roadblocks so you can remove them or figure out ways to go around them.
  • Be willing to invest lots of time and money in the successful implementation so you can develop the required skills.
There are a lot of organizations that struggle with the implementation side and therefore look for outside help, and there is nothing wrong with that. I do lots of this type of work for my clients.
 
If you invested in having someone help develop the strategy, why wouldn’t you invest in having an expert come in and help you maximize results through the implementation?

To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336

Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.

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 – February 3, 2014
Last week I held a workshop on Operational Excellence at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Toronto with more than 20 managers and executives from different industries and different organizations. The day was filled with great discussions about the components of operational excellence, the key elements for implementing successful change, and how to engage employees to help organizations improve performance and maximize profitability. In between all of these great discussions, we found time for some good networking and interacting.
 
Here are some of the key insights from the workshop:
  • Operational excellence is a mind-set, not a tool or a methodology. It must be present in every action and decision organizations (and individuals) make.
  • Organizations need to pursue excellence, not perfection. Perfection leads to disappointment, excellence leads to improved results.
  • Operational excellence happens on the front lines of an organization, so empowerment of employees and productive failure must be prevalent in the culture.
  • Organizations need to focus on outcomes and results to ensure the tactics they perform will add value. Too often we focus on the completion of activities without knowing what we are trying to achieve.
  • Effective execution of a strategy is what differentiates great organizations from everyone else.
  • An effective way of increasing employee retention is to solicit ideas for improvement and act on them.

If you would like more information about the workshop or its content, don’t hesitate to contact me. 

To request an interview or more information, please contact:
 
Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2014.

Why can’t hotel check-in be like airline check-in?

A recent article in the Globe and Mail discussed how some hotel chains are beginning to use apps and kiosks to check guests in, so those guests can bypass the front desk.

Here are some musings on that idea:

  • Airlines are already doing this by allowing passengers to check-in online the day before their flight and use electronic boarding passes, so the technology already exists. The unknown factor is whether guests want to bypass the front desk.
  • Disney Hotels uses floating staff with iPads to check guests in, thus providing a person to speak with, but avoiding check in lines. They actually check you in while you are unloading your baggage so there is virtually no waiting from the time you arrive at the hotel to the time you have your key.
  • Hotels want to be careful about how hard they push this idea out to customers as checking in at the front desk provides them an opportunity to engage with their guests. If they lose that opportunity, they will need to find a different way of engaging. Maybe a quick phone call or visit 30 minutes after the guest arrives.
  • Offering a choice lets the guest decide, so it doesn’t mean removing the front desk altogether.
  • The online check-in or kiosk would seem to be attractive to business travelers or guests arriving late who just want to get to their room and don’t need the live interaction when they check-in.
  • Like any other technology option, success will be in how it is rolled out and executed, not the technology itself.

Being a Successful Entrepreneur

There are many books that will tell you how to be a successful entrepreneur, but I wanted to simplify it. Being successful as an entrepreneur, and especially a consultant like myself, requires certain characteristics. If you can master these, you will be successful:

  • Confidence
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Passion for what you do
  • Organized
  • Strong leadership
  • Good work ethic
  • Show respect to others
  • Have a pleasant disposition
  • Work with speed
  • Open-minded to learning and new ideas
  • Have the power of language
  • Offer pragmatic solutions
  • Work with humour

This is a good list to start with if you want to be successful in any career that requires you to work with and influence others. Let me know if there are other characteristics that you feel were not on this list.

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 2, 2013
As another school year begins, our children begin another season of learning and development. But it’s important for us to remember that learning and development should never stop. The most successful organizations are those that have a culture of ongoing learning and development. They challenge their own internal operations and look for better ways to operate. The most successful people are the ones who realize that they can always get better at what they do. They practice, they hire coaches to help them improve, and they look for opportunities to perform what they do in different ways.
 
Ongoing learning and development should be a part of who we are. It means always looking for ways to improve the way we live and the way we perform our craft, whatever it may be. On this labour day, remember how important learning is to being successful and think about what you can do in this school year to improve and develop who you are.

  
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.

What separates the best from the rest?

I was out with a colleague yesterday and he asked me “What are the factors that separate the successful organizations from the rest?” I thought about it for a minute and replied with two key traits:

  • They are able to align their tactics with the strategy and direction of the organization
  • They foster a culture of innovation (I define innovation as making incremental improvements) and excellence

Aligning strategy and tactics mean that everyone in the organization not only knows the in which direction the organization wants to move, but also their specific role in helping the organization get there. Too many organizations focus on the completion of activities, not the achievement of results. And those activities are often not aligned with the future state the organization wants to achieve.

Fostering a culture of innovation and excellence means that employees come to work looking for ways to improve the way the organization operates and they make choices that add value to customers and business partners. Collaboration is key and so is ensuring that the metrics used to show success align with the culture the organization wants to maintain. Metrics often determine how people behave.

There are many other things that are important, but these are the two key things that make organizations consistently successful. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate yourself in these two areas?

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 – April 29, 2013

We have this obsession with perfection that actually may be a detriment to our success. When you strive for perfection, you make everything black and white. You either achieve perfection or you fail. It’s as simple as that.

But when you strive for excellence, there is no finish line because excellence is in the eye of the beholder. Each organization and each individual has their own definition of what excellence would mean for them so you never actually “achieve” it. The success is in the journey.

Striving for excellence and pursuing it allows for incremental improvements. This ability does not exist when you focus on perfection. Even though when you try to achieve perfection you will inevitably make incremental improvements, you will never take advantage of them because of your pursuit of the perfect solution. Until you find that solution, you will consider the endeavour a failure.

When you strive for excellence, however you define it, you remove the pressure to be perfect. You don’t have to find the ultimate solution, only one that improves the current situation. Those constant incremental improvements are what separates the great companies and the great people from everyone else.

They are satisfied with incremental improvement because they are not chasing the abstract concept of perfection, they are chasing their own definition of excellence.

What’s your definition of excellence for you and your organization? I think once you answer that question you will have a clearer vision of where you want to be.

 
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.