Auburn Works

Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

August 2011 Blog Posts (18)

Turn Facts into Wisdom - Practical Leadership Tips

My job involves a lot of windshield time as I travel among Auburn Technical Assistance Center clients. To pass the time productively, I listen to podcasts on a variety of topics. One of my favorites is the Business 901 podcast by Joe Dager (who happens to also be an…

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Added by David Hicks on August 29, 2011 at 7:00am — No Comments

Performance Management - Making It Better

Over the last few weeks we discussed the pro's and con's of four different formal performance management approaches. All of these approaches have the potential to be useful tools in performance management, but most fall short of their potential. What could be done to make them work better? A good start to answering these questions might simply be to ask the managers and employees what value they see in the current system being used. But even more fundamental to effective performance…

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Added by Brian Flynn on August 29, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments

Moment of Truth for U.S. Manufacturing

If the U.S. continues to neglect the manufacturing sector, output could fall by half to meeting less than 40 percent of the nation’s demand, according to a new study by Booz & Co. and the University of Michigan’s Tauber Institute for Global Operations, Manufacturing’s Wake-up Call.  The study was compiled using analysis of U.S. industrial competitiveness with a survey of 200 manufacturing executives and experts.

The authors point out three significant…

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Added by Walker Jackson on August 26, 2011 at 3:33pm — No Comments

Lean Sales and Marketing slide deck from Agile Cincinnati

At Agile Cincinnati last week, I had the opportunity to present the Lean Sales and Marketing presentation, It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean Anymore! The reason I picked this title is that so many identify Lean with waste reduction. I view Lean and PDCA from the aspect of knowledge creation. The first part of my slide deck discusses that and the new…

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Added by Joseph T. Dager on August 25, 2011 at 8:11pm — 2 Comments

How do you protect your profit margin and insure your long term competiveness?

The owner of a business made the following comment at a class I was teaching recently:  “The profit on the last 5 jobs was below expectations”.  Were his expectations to high or were there unexpected increases in labor or material?  Was the bid accurate to obtain the normal profit margin?  Did the company hold a debriefing on each project to determine the costs that were out of line to maintain the normal profit?  Were changes made to address the issues to do better on the next…

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Added by John David Hayes on August 24, 2011 at 10:49am — No Comments

The best way to run a small business is: "Trust with Verification"

The phrase “Trust with Verification” was coined by President Regan.  Regan made this statement when trying to control nuclear arms with Russia.

I have thought a great deal about this lately.  I want your business to be successful and I don’t want anyone to benefit from your business except you who have taken the risks and worked hard to have a successful business.  We have all been guilty of trusting someone for no good reason.

I recently became aware of incident in a medical…

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Added by John David Hayes on August 22, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Sure ways to waste money - Practical Leadership Tips

Folks are always looking for the next sure thing. Lottery ticket sales figures are a visible sign of how people want the quick and easy route to success. Unfortunately, as leaders we often look for the easy way out, too. Here are a few actions you can take that will guarantee success (if your goal is…

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Added by David Hicks on August 22, 2011 at 6:36am — No Comments

Waste Walk Warriors

Auburn Technical Assistance Center has been partnering with an organization where I recently participated in a Management Gemba Walk.  This organization has been very typical to other organizations in that they have a culture that jumps directly to solutions.  The good news is that they recognize this as a shortcoming and they have been diligently training and practicing their problem solving skillset. 

During the walk, I noticed a significant culture change when I saw the following…

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Added by Rick Battye on August 19, 2011 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

ATAC helping hospital create improvement culture



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Added by Mitch Emmons on August 19, 2011 at 11:10am — No Comments

Leading through the Fog - Practical Leadership Tips

As a leader, do you ever feel like you are driving on a foggy highway? You know where you want to go and the route you would like to take, but can’t clearly see the obstacles in your path.



As we work with clients in many types of organizations, we face a common challenge; lack of visibility. The…

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Added by David Hicks on August 15, 2011 at 7:00am — No Comments

Performance Management: Mulit-source feedback

Over the last three weeks we have discussed management by objectives, SMART goals (and goal setting in general), and rating systems. The last common practice we need to look at is multi-source feedback, or 360-degree performance rating systems. Multi-source systems gather performance information from a number of sources, such as the individual's supervisor, peers, subordinates, customers, and any other source that may have working knowledge of the employee's performance. This form of…

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Added by Brian Flynn on August 15, 2011 at 5:30am — No Comments

Gemba Walk Questions- Practical Leadership Tips

Checklists can be wonderful things.  As a pilot, I’ve been trained to use checklists for every phase of a flight: preflight, takeoff, enroute, emergencies, descent, approach, landing, taxi, and shutdown.  The purpose of a checklist is to ensure critical procedures & sequences are followed…

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Added by David Hicks on August 8, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Performance Management: Rating Standards

The first two performance management practices we discussed, cascading organizational objectives and SMART goals, both relied on some form of goal setting. Goal setting tends to focus on the outcomes achieved, and in most organizations outcomes are important, but it is just as important how we achieve these goals. As a result, many organizations adopt some form of competency rating system. 

 

Rating systems in general are quite prevalent and usually well accepted.…

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Added by Brian Flynn on August 8, 2011 at 5:00am — No Comments

Alabama Job Creation: Our Entrepreneurial Environment is Ripe for Improvement

Where are all the jobs in today's economy?  Many leading policy makers advise economic developers to spur innovation and entrepreneurship rather than trying to recruit the next big industrial project. (some say the days of  major projects creating more than 1,000 jobs are pretty much over)

 

In Alabama, Governor Bentley has taken a pledge not to take a salary until the state's unemployment rate is around five percent (today it is at nine).  The Governor has taken the positive…

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Added by David Mixson on August 4, 2011 at 3:35pm — No Comments

Leadership, Focus and Engagement

Last week, I participated in the Construction Industry Institute’s (CII) annual conference in Chicago.  The 2011 theme was “Driving predictable business outcomes in a dynamic global market.”

 

Two of the presentations were insightful.

 …

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Added by Tom Chandler on August 2, 2011 at 8:24pm — 1 Comment

E3 Program Benefitting Alexander City Firm's Bottom Line

 

AmTech – Economy-Energy-Environment (E3) Improvements

 

Industry

33441…

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Added by Mitch Emmons on August 1, 2011 at 10:22am — No Comments

Painted into a Corner - Practical Leadership Tips

 

As I travel the country for Auburn University, assisting companies with lean implementations, one of the first signs of resistance occurs during the discussion of standards.  Just last week, a supervisor said, “the operators feel like standards are painting them into a corner and don’t allow room for dealing with problems.”…

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Added by David Hicks on August 1, 2011 at 7:00am — No Comments

SMART Goals: Are they really that smart?

Last week we discussed the idea of cascading objectives as a method of performance management. This week we take a look at another common form of goal setting: SMART goals. SMART (specific, measurable, aggressive, realistic, and time-based) goals are goals that the manager and employee set collaboratively. These types of goals, usually limited to 3-5 per performance management cycle, are said to provide employees job specific direction, provide clear expectations for what is required on the…

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Added by Brian Flynn on August 1, 2011 at 5:30am — No Comments

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