Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find your answer here, let me know and I will get you the answer.
Q: What is contagious performance improvement?
A: It begins with people-centered leadership, where people are given the opportunity to perform and constantly improve using their strengths, while part of self-managed teams. This creates the contagious culture that people want to be part of.
Q: What is the single most important aspect of this culture?
A: There are a few, but people involvement is the most important. People are your most valuable investment, which is often underutilized. This culture leverages people's diverse expertise and strengths as your competitive advantage. Remember, people deliver the same experience to the customers that they receive from their leadership, especially senior leadership.
Q: What is the difference between change and improvement?
A: These terms are often used interchangeably but are quite different. Change is the process of becoming different, which is not always good. Improvement is a conscience effort to become better. Change is certain, improvement is not. Improvement CANNOT happen without change, and ideally change SHOULD NOT happen without improvement.
Q: The need to improve seems like common sense but not common practice, why?
A: We live in the "Information Overload Age" and most people are too busy and not sure where to begin.
Q: What makes you so knowledgeable about contagious performance improvement?
A: For nearly four decades as a crash test dummy for contagious performance improvement, I know what works and how to help people make it a recurring reality.
Q: What is the difference between you, a “People Improvement Coach” and a consultant?
A: I’m not concerned with the semantics, I’m concerned with providing value and delivering results. A bulk of the value I provide is coaching. My passion is continuously improving my eclectic approach to improving people. My process is very simple; I assess, I educate, I integrate and I get out of the way! Depending on where I am in the process, I could be performing the role of a coach, consultant or a variation of both. I do whatever it takes to help ordinary people do extraordinary things.
Q: How would you summarize performance improvement?
A: Lowe's Home Improvement says it best, "Never Stop Improving". I will add two points of emphasis; never stop improving your strengths and don't improve what should be eliminated, improve what remains.
Q: What is the difference between customer satisfaction and customer expectation?
A: A customer may reluctantly accept a product as being satisfactory but really expected something different. I do not recommend performing to be satisfactory or meet expectation, but perform to be remembered. Look for opportunities to create a memorable moment. They are usually simple things yet they create moments of significance.
Q: How do you define a contagious performance improvement culture?
A: It begins with people-centered leadership demonstrating their willingness to invest in their people. There needs to be a culture of trust and candor, coupled with a coordinated approach to systematically and constantly improve everyone's strengths. This culture needs to be innovative which allows you to proactively improve. The culture also needs to be agile which allows you to quickly implement improvements and respond to unforeseen impacts. Speed is an advantage. The recurring monetary benefits are a reduction in wasted time and material costs. Other benefits are reduced distress and improved people loyalty.
Q: Why do we need to be concerned about performance improvement?
A: Performance improvement is about constantly improving all aspects of operational performance. Many organizations lack a formal process for improvement, therefore greatly limiting their potential. Some improvements are small and appear insignificant by themselves but will represent a noticeable return on investment over time. Companies who do not embrace performance improvement tend to follow the classic devastating patterns of lay-offs and other reactionary steps that give the false impression they are doing what’s necessary.
Q: Isn’t performance improvement "tinkering" with our people?
A: Every organization has the opportunity to improve their performance, even when things appear to be running smoothly. Uncertain economics and changing customer expectations represent just a couple dynamics that impact an organization’s course. An organization that embraces performance improvement will recognize and adjust to impacts quickly. These adjustments can be so often and small the appearance is business as usual. In contrast, organizations that do not embrace performance improvement will be blind to impacts and eventually need to take drastic actions, such as lay-offs.
Q: Does an organization need a Vision and Mission to be successful?
A: No, but without them an organization’s efforts are aimless. These statements create clarity, align efforts with an agreed-upon focus and is a foundation for all decisions. Without them, individual visions and missions tend to rise up resulting in conflicts, delays and lost revenues. These can lead to unnecessary turf wars which waste time, energy and money. These statements prevent the classic "Ready, Fire, Aim!"
Q: We have acceptable performance, why do we need to improve?
A: Acceptable performance is considered barely satisfactory. Customers may reluctantly accept your products until they can find someone else who gives them what they expect. How long will your organization survive if you are not improving? If you are standing still, you are falling behind. If you find yourself in this situation and would like help, contact me to schedule your free improvement strategy conversation.
Q: What does an organization need to begin performance improvement?
A: It begins with people-centered leadership and their willingness to involve their people by making a substantial, on-going commitment to education and knowledge sharing, in the form of visual knowledge management. Without their investment and support, it's extremely difficult to establish and maintain performance improvement. Trusting leadership can more than double the positive effect on successful people involvement.
Q: What's the big deal about people involvement?
A: People are your organization's most valuable investment. Their uniqueness, knowledge and wisdom should be your competitive advantage. Most people know what aspects of their responsibilities should be improved but lack the knowledge, tools and techniques to improve. Highly successful organizations realize lay-offs create fear, erode morale, stifle innovation and are counterproductive. To prevent these problems, successful organizations perform careful skill matching and a coordinated, systematic approach to continuously improve their people, processes, performance and ultimately profit.
Q: How long do we have to do this extra performance improvement stuff?
A: Performance improvement is not a one-time event, rather an endless journey. It is the most often overlooked compulsory system of all. It comes from small, incremental improvements. Performance improvement will reduce rework, scrap, recalls, returns and ensure the execution of a well thought out, coordinated and systematic approach to continuously improve your business operations. It begins with visual knowledge management.
Q: We survey our people annually, why do we need to further involve them?
A: Surveys are a good tool but should not be solely relied on for the pulse of an organization. Annual surveys reflect only your people’s perception and represent a moment in time. There should be constant two-way communication and knowledge sharing throughout your organization as well as with your customers and suppliers.
Q: The timing is not right but can we still improvement performance?
A: Timing is never going to be right. There is never a better time to begin improving than now. If your organization is serious about performance improve and securing your future, you must do what is necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, contact me to schedule your free improvement strategy conversation.
Q: What will it cost our organization to improve our performance?
A: It is not solely your investment to learn how to improve performance, but also the costs of rework, unproductive time, client complaints, product recalls and any cost expended for unacceptable results. Organizations that invest in and adhere to a structured approach, will benefit from performance improvement and out perform those who don't.
Q: What makes great companies great?
A: Great companies are people-centered, establish a contagious performance improvement culture and make substantial investments in education. Great companies are great because they take care of the little things. Great companies learn from their mistakes and improve. Also, not being afraid of having fun plays a large part in their success. Most organizations have good intentions but lack focus, follow through and the knowledge required.
Q: We have had lay-offs and hire people back. Doesn’t this save money?
A: It often takes organizations 12 to 18 months before the financial benefits of lay-offs commence, due to severance costs and other effects, including the negative impacts on the surviving people's productivity. By the time savings start to take effect, the economy and organization are often beginning to rebound, so many organizations are forced to conduct costly group hiring and orientation. They often hire some of the same people laid off or people with similar skills. The costs associated with hiring replacements can be high, such as recapturing the loss of knowledge. These high costs reduce the ability to recruit the best people. It is also difficult to recover from the emotional damage to surviving people, since some may leave because they don’t want to be the casualties of the next lay-offs.
Q: Do we need to learn new jargon?
A: I greatly simplify the terminology along with the best tools and techniques, making it easier for you to succeed and self-improve. This allows you more time to concentrate on your core business.
Q: We have a suggestion system, why do we need another program?
A: A suggestion system relies on the submitter identifying an opportunity for improvement and the solution. Solutions which are not obvious, will not be suggested and therefore continue to waste time and resources. Your largest opportunities for improvement are normally not obvious and are a component of larger problems. Organizations that compliment suggestion systems with a structured approach to identifying and eliminating waste, are better able to succeed. Most waste is concealed in the everyday processes, which are typically altered to compensate for waste rather than identifying and removing it. If you would like assistance, contact me to schedule your free improvement strategy conversation.
Q: We are a small company, can we benefit by implementing performance improvement?
A: Yes. Performance improvement is universally applicable. I make proven tools and techniques available to all organizations, regardless of type, size, product or location.
Q: If we implement performance improvement do we have to join different organizations?
A: Definitely not. You can benefit from performance improvement without the recurring expenses of joining different organizations, although you may benefit by joining some organizations.
Q: Why should we document our processes when everyone knows what to do?
A: Everything is a process whether or not it is documented. Without documented processes there will be constant variation, which wastes time and money. To successfully repeat and stabilize a process, you must document it. Once a process is stable, it can be improved and possibly automated. Processes are an excellent method to retain and share knowledge, especially if your people are new, promoted or leave unexpectedly. The best approach is visual knowledge management, which is six times more effect than words alone, increases productivity 25% and reduces education time as much as 80%.
Q: We hold a large market share, why should we be concerned?
A: Competitive advantage is temporary and only lasts until your next improvement or until your competition improves. A competitive advantage averages less than a year, with today’s ever changing global marketplace and customers having access to a wealth of information. What you are doing today won’t be good enough tomorrow. Performance improvement is a necessity.
Q: Why is our customer’s perspective so importance?
A: Customers who receive a satisfactory product but are treated poorly may perceive the poor service as overriding all the benefits of your product. However, a customer who receives an unsatisfactory product but gets prompt and courteous service may still remain your loyal customer.
Q: I am considering starting my own business, can I benefit from your services?
A: Actually this is the best time to establish a contagious performance improvement culture, before any expectations or less than desirable culture forms.
Q: What if we invest in developing our people and they leave?
A: I realize it is not appropriate to answer a question with a question, but what happens if you don't invest in your people and they stay? Ignorance is expensive.
If you can’t find your answer here, let me know and I will get you the answer.