Golden Insights Blog

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Thomas Putnam

Program ParticipantsPeople that are viewed as good problem solvers are valued. We know they can help. They just seem to have a knack for figuring things out. In truth, we all have different abilities and skills, and some people ARE better at getting to the crux of the problem. But, how do they do it? Is problem solving a learned or innate skill?

John Novak

Improvement TeamsAn effective continual improvement program needs to include involvement from everyone in the organization. Achieving this level of cultural awareness takes time and must be nurtured employee by employee. One of the first questions that employees ask is, “What do you want me to do?” If we can’t define the roles we want employees to play when it comes to improving processes, how can we expect a cultural transformation to take place?

John Potkalitsky

DMAICDMAIC comes to us from the Six Sigma community and PDCA comes out of the Lean community. 8D (Eight Disciplines) was developed by Ford Motor Company to solve problems. All three are valid roadmaps on which you can hang any of the tools for analyzing processes.

Bob Jewell

Program ParticipantsAs I mentioned in my last article, project management has become a critical skill for efficiently and effectively aligning valuable resources to achieve an organization’s important operational, strategic and sales projects. In this article, I’d like to address something that all three of these categories of projects have in common. They are all constrained by three elements – Time, Cost and Requirements.

John Novak

What is Lean?Today more than ever, organizations are faced with the challenge to reduce costs and increase capacities while delivering increasingly better products and services. Facing global competition in the marketplace, organizations are struggling to be competitive, struggling to be profitable, and most importantly, struggling to survive. Dr. W. Edwards Deming once commented, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” With the reality of going out of business, organizations in all industries are asking, “How do we change our approach to business to keep us relevant in our industry?” 

Stephen Skillman

DMAICAs a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, I’ve been known to think differently than others and my family has noticed. And many people have no idea what it is or what it means. “Martial arts? When did you do that? And what does Lean Six Sigma mean?” Ugh! They’ll never understand. Or, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to let them see me in action and they might just gain some insight into, “What is Six Sigma?”

Bob Jewell

Program ParticipantsIn any organization, work can be broken down into two categories – operations and projects. Operations are the organization’s on-going, repetitive activities, such as manufacturing, staffing or accounting. These activities are primarily focused on keeping things running. On the other hand, project work is temporary in nature, having defined start and end dates; project work produces unique outputs. Though both categories of work have some things in common (people, resources, goals), they require different sets of skills and tools.

Kristy Frieden

Strength Finders by Tom Rath

Can you answer yes to the following question? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? According the author Tom Rath in the book Strengths Finder 2.0, those who answered yes to this question are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to have a better quality of life in general. According to this study by the Gallup organization of over 10 million people, only a third of them “strongly agreed” with this statement.

Deborah Easton

Program ParticipantsSay the phrase, “We need to hold people more accountable” to your team and most of them will likely have a negative reaction. Why? Because for many, the connotation of the word “accountability” was created by an unpleasant experience involving blame, coercion, criticism and more work. What we say we mean versus what they perceive is often contradictory.

Ned Parks

Chess BoardAsking for permission to have a conflict conversation? Ned, I thought you were nuts when you suggested we get in a circle for our meetings, now I know you are.

Kristy Frieden

Program ParticipantsProviding difficult feedback to an employee is one of the most challenging tasks for a supervisor. Nobody likes having to tell someone that they are not doing a good job. And certainly nobody wants to hear it. Employee defensiveness, even complete denial of the situation, can often be a typical employee response. 

Scott Tackett

2017 GoalsAs we approach another end to the business year and, hopefully, are planning for the coming business year, I genuinely encourage you all to reflect upon the past year’s successes and failures to determine where that one extra degree of effort either made the difference or could have made the difference in your businesses.

Bob Jewell

Program ParticipantsIn my last article, I wrote about two of the common traps decision makers can fall into. In this article, I’d like to share two key questions that must be addressed when making a decision – who should make the decision and who should be in involved in the decision. The answer to the first question is pretty straightforward – generally it’s the individual who is in charge. But the decision maker has some options when it comes to the second question. Let’s explore them.

Ned Parks

Group of People in a CircleGather in a circle? Ned, are you crazy? This is a workplace not some hand holding kumbaya love fest! No I am not crazy and you don’t have to be kumbaya love fest to pull this off. The circle is the most prevalent geometric shape natural to nature. Everything you see has a circular shape to it; the moon, earth, sun, clouds, trees, animals, (some of us are a little more circular than others) and so on.

Tim Kraft

Program ParticipantsSome very interesting people attended the leadership skills programs I’ve taught. One was Dan, a recently promoted supervisor who’d spent many years in the Navy. In the program, we talked about the value of having discussions with employees regarding work assignments, upcoming changes and decision making. It was critical, I explained, to listen to employee input and concerns, and then reach consensus on the best way forward.

Kristy Frieden

Core Values SignWhat is it about someone that makes them a great leader? Is it their status, outgoing personality, likeability, relatability, vision, ability to create a great strategy and execute it? I’ve always been interested in the subject of leadership and what makes some people so good at it, while others (despite all the classes they take, books they read or coaching they receive) are not. As an avid reader on the topic and observer of others, I find that the foundation of great leadership is self-awareness. 

Bob Jewell

Program ParticipantsStripped down to its essentials, business is about one thing: making decisions. Therefore, decision making is an important skill of leaders in all levels of an organization. It’s also one of the toughest and riskiest skills. It is a skill that can be sidetracked by a number of psychological traps that can undermine decisions. These traps can even cause great leaders to make bad decisions at times. Sometimes the cause is bad luck or poor timing, but more often than not bad decisions are the result of biases that as humans we bring into our decision making processes.

Deborah Easton

Photo of a MeetingHave you ever seen an adult engage in a tantrum usually exhibited by a toddler? Have you ever been the recipient of someone’s silent treatment? Have you ever found yourself doing a favor for someone while wondering how you allowed yourself to be maneuvered into doing something you really didn’t want to do? Most of us have had experience with people who regularly break the rules of polite decorum and who frequently disregard others’ boundaries.

Tim Kraft

Question Mark PhotoOne of the common traits of human behavior is that, when making decisions, we typically evaluate the choices based on our perspectives and emotions at the moment. That results in decisions focused on the “right-now” or a very short-time horizon. You can probably recall impulse purchases that seemed like a great idea at the time, but once you got the item home, you wondered what in the world you were thinking. 

Kristy Frieden

Accountability LadderIt seems that in every class I teach, I’m asked, “How can I get my direct reports to do what they are supposed to do?” I hear comments like, “I feel like I’m a babysitter” or “No one takes initiative” or “Everyone comes in and dumps their problems on me and expects me to fix them.” These comments are all too common. So how do we get our employees to take initiative and get the job done?