Friday, December 18, 2009

Time to Look Back and to Look Forward

Another year is coming to its end, and it's time look back at what we have achieved. It's also time to set objectives and plan actions for next year.

How was your year? Did you meet your objectives? Did you stay focused? Did you manage to keep your work and life balanced?

How about next year? How are your objectives? Are they focused? Will you be able to keep yourself and your relationships healthy?

I received the seasons greetings below from Gemba Consulting. It is spot on.

I wish you all happy holidays and a successful new year!


How many things are on your agenda for 2010? Whether you are the CEO of a major company or the leader of your own life this is a question we all must ask ourselves as we prepare to meet the coming year. When teaching the TPS approach to strategic planning and deployment known as hoshin kanri there are several critical conversations we must have.

The first and most important is to limit the annual objectives to only the vital few, three to five at most. This is incredibly difficult for most to do since we all want and need to do so much. Yet to be as effective as possible we must focus most of management team's effort on the vital few breakthrough objectives.

What happens to everything else we need or want to do? We must deselect these other initiatives, integrate or turn them into enablers for the breakthrough objectives, or handle them through daily management. The capability of senior leaders to delegate to junior leaders much of the daily management and problem solving that occupies them can be a breakthrough objective in itself.

I wish all of you improved health, success and well being in 2010!

Jon Miller
Gemba Consulting

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Keep Talented People

On the comments of my previous post my regular commentator Daddy asked: "have you ever thought of becoming a professional consultant by yourself?" That is a tough question to answer publicly, as Daddy is commenting anonymously, and the only thing I know for sure is that he is from Finland (and could even be my boss or his colleague).

Here is my honest answer.

Yes I have thought of becoming a consultant. Several times a year, every time I work with good consultants. But I have too many reasons for not to take the risk. The company I work for meets several criteria that are important for me, and for any business.

Opportunities for professional development

Some weeks ago The Wall Street Journal published an article called How to Keep Your Best Executives. I am not an executive, and if I am talented or not, is for other people to judge.

Reading the article made me realize that I do not have a satisfaction gap on the opportunities for my professional development. The most important opportunities are summarized on the picture in the right, for details see the article.

I am given increased responsibilities and challenging tasks to develop diverse competencies. I am allowed and encouraged to accumulate marketable skills, to expand my professional network, and to build my professional reputation. Partly through my blog, which is no secret.

Matching values

My values match the company values. We are among the companies having received recognition from UN for outstanding Communications on Progress regarding Corporate Social Responsibility reporting.

We are included in the Cleantech Index which is comprised of 78 publicly listed companies that are global leaders in cleantech across a broad range of industry sectors.

Business fundamentals

We have a solid foundation for Achieving Business Excellence with (1) high-quality products and services, (2) solid financials, and (3) reacting to change.

Management fundamentals

We pay attention to important management fundamentals of (1) vivid vision, (2) best people, (3) robust communication, (4) sense of urgency, (5) disciplined execution, and (6) extreme customer focus. For more on these, see my earlier post about the book Awesomely Simple where these criteria come from. Or check how I rephrased the list as advice I gave my management team when I gave them the book.

Continuous improvement

Nobody's perfect, and we are working on to improve some of the above. I am able to influence many of them. From inside.

Yes I have thought of becoming a consultant, but why would I?

Instead, would you be interested to join us?

Monday, December 14, 2009


Two years ago I saw Presentation Zen guru Garr Reynolds talk about a new way of presentations. To me it was really eye opening and gave me a totally new of seeing, creating and delivering presentations.

Last summer he delivered the following keynote speach about simplicity. His earlier talk is included in my earlier post Presentation Skills

The presentation is 43 minutes long, and you can read Garr's thoughts about it in his blog. I decided to post it today, because tomorrow Garr is delivering a presentation at Apple Store Ginza.

I will be there tomorrow. Last time I saw him had such a lasting influence on me and I realized that the search for simplicity was a common topic in many books.

Simplicity has became 2nd most frequent tag in my blog. Below some examples:

Let's keep it simple!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lessons Learned = Some Advice

I created this blog about 3 years ago because I realized there were quite a number of things I needed to cover in my first management position. About two years ago I started updating my blog and it has become a way for me to process the challenges I face in my job.

Now it is time to summarize the lessons learned - next week is my last week in my current position before relocating back to the head office.

Today I gave my management team a book called Awesomely Simple by my friend John Spence along with the following advice:
Please remember to
  1. Comment, follow and communicate the direction set by the head office
  2. Develop our people
  3. Ensure smooth communication locally and globally
  4. Make sure that our processes concentrate on important things
  5. Systematically manage all of the above
  6. Last, but not least, please remember that everything we do must serve our customer
It's that simple, but it's not always easy.
These points pretty much cover all the challenges I had, and all the lessons learned during the past years. What is left outside is mainly the challenge of change resistance when trying to change the way things used to be done - when trying to lead a culture change.

I did my best, I hope with these advice you can do better!