For this series about the crossover wisdom between work and life I talked to Heidi Gehris. Heidi is Senior Manager of lean strategy and marketing within the heathcare consulting practice at Moss Adams and a certified lean workshop leader.
HOW THE TOYOTA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM APPLIES TO LIFE
The Toyota Management System (TMS, also known as the Toyota Production System) offers an alternative to an ad hoc approach to daily work and life, which can be chaotic when you don’t know your priorities. It becomes something like a religion, or martial arts, with rituals that you practice regularly.
For this series about the crossover wisdom between work and life I talked to Andrew Connors about how wealth helps people pursue their higher purpose. Andrew is a partner with Fairport Asset Management (Cleveland).
The Value of a Family Mission Statement
For many of the people we work with wealth is a tool that helps them realize their purpose in life. Wealth itself doesn’t give them meaning. They already have purpose and meaning and their wealth helps them pursue that purpose.
For example, once a year we meet with every generations of one family for the sole purpose of discussing what is important to them and how are they doing in achieving it. Having a cohesive and tight-knit family that is not defined by their wealth is very important to the parents. Wealth can build walls in a family and these meetings make sure that does not occur and that they collectively thrive and support each other. We recently met with the whole family with the goal of creating a family mission statement.
Most middle-American families don’t think about needing a mission statement. We work with many family-owned businesses where there are a lot of personal, family and business dynamics. Creating a family mission statement gets everyone on the same page. A mission statement at is its core is meant to capture what your purpose is, where do you plant your flag!
For this series about the crossover wisdom between work and life I talked to Anand Sharma about lifelong learning and leadership. Anand is the retired founder and CEO of TBM Consulting Group. He currently leads the South East Asia Leadership Academy (SEALA). SEALA is currently looking for high potential, mid-career leaders to apply for their next session starting in January 2019.
Learn from People with Practical Experience
In my ongoing education I was picky about which professors I studied with. I would only select professors with practical experience. During my undergraduate years, I found that the professors who had only been teachers were like parrots repeating back what they’d read. They had no personal experience to enrich the learning. The teachings from professors who had worked in industry before becoming academics came from the heart, not from repeating what they’d learned in books. That has stayed with me throughout my life.
Over the years friends have asked me to counsel their sons and daughters about what they should do next in their education. In most cases, after undergraduate school, their parents wanted them to get a graduate degree. I advised almost all of them to get 2 to 5 years of real work experience so that they would better understand human dynamics and demands. Getting that first makes graduate school much more meaningful.
For this series about the crossover wisdom between work and life Ted Stiles talks about learning to lead through trial and error, paying attention to root causes and seeing the big picture. Ted is a partner and vice president at Stiles Associates, a retained executive search firm. In addition to filling senior-level positions, Ted helps his clients understand how to build a lasting lean transformation and leadership infrastructure. He speaks about leadership at industry conferences and is a frequent guest lecturer at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
Track What Matters. Be Transparent and Inclusive.
I’ve had a huge opportunity to learn from experienced lean and operations thinkers who I’ve met and interviewed over the past 12 years. After a while you start to see patterns, particularly when talking to them about their second or third runs at implementing a lean management system, and trying to unlearn top-down, command-and-control leadership behaviors.
As a firm, we have learned from these individuals while trying to help improve the performance of our own operations at Stiles Associates. We have a tremendous amount of variation and resistance to standard work. After pushing standardization with limited success, we decided to start tracking and sharing high-level delivery metrics (lead time and other indicators of productivity).
We now have a visual management board in our office and share weekly metrics with the team. Simply doing this let us have a better understanding of what is actually happening in the operations and where we need to focus and provide support.
We also stopped pushing standards and asked the team to help address the performance gaps via value-stream mapping and kaizen events. This helped us realize that certain things we had always done were non-value-added. For instance, we discovered that writing long, expository candidate reports were not valued by our clients and created an unnecessary burden on our team to produce.
It is all a process of trial and error but along the way we’ve had better overall results and more valuable conversations as an organization about the barriers to continued improvement.
I am sure my wife is tired of me asking, “What is the problem you are trying to solve?”
For this series about the crossover wisdom between work and life, we talked to Michele Linn about focus and making space for meaningful work. Michele is co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research which helps marketers develop and publish original research that grabs their audience's attention. Previously, she led the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute (CMI). She has written hundreds of marketing-related articles and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.
Work on the Right Things, One at a Time
There are busy people and productive people. Busy people always talk about how busy they are. Productive people get things done.
As a marketer, it’s easy to be busy. We all have a to-do list a mile long that reflects all of the things we could do. To be productive you need to identify the right things to work on instead of moving from one shiny idea to the next.
As Joe Pullizi [founder of CMI] once remarked to me, we need to be like “a horse with blinders.” Know what you want to accomplish, get laser-focused, and then knock them off our list one-by-one.
I’m in the midst of starting a new business. We have a plan for how we want to grow and what we want to be known for.
You can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
I am an independent leadership and management writer, editor, researcher and journalist. For the past ten-plus years (wow, has it been that long already?) I have helped business leaders and companies tell powerful stories.
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