Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There Ain't No Recession :: Part II

Commerce Department reports that once again the economy grew in the last quarter (1stQTR08)
The past quarter's growth of 0.6% is the same as the last quarter of 2007. Also positive. Therefore, given the textbook definition of "recession" — there is no recession in the USA. Yes, some segments are depressed. But others are doing quite well, thank you. And yes, the "working definition" of recession is still valid: "If your neighbor is unemployed, it is a recession. If you are unemployed, it is a depression." So, would someone pass along the good news to Warren Buffet and the host of the NBC Nightly News. Oh, sorry. Guess the "news" that the economy is doing okay does not fit everyone's agenda. -ski ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Phone: (330) 432-3533 tag: ©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Dodge Challenger :: Oh Yea!

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Throughput, Please

Due Date Performance

Your most important metric, yet the least requested feature in that new project description. Why is that?

No easy answers

For years, I talked (and perhaps even preached) that "Time equals Money." Not enough time to complete all the requested features? No problem, just throw money at the project. Not enough money? Strip out some features in order to finalize the project.

Of course this never works. We somehow convince ourselves that it will, yet the proof is lacking... big time! Consider your last major project. Let me ask you (and myself) a few simple questions.
Was the goal (purpose, mission, end results) clearly stated? A goal without a timetable is a wish; did you have a time line? Did you complete the project on the original (first!) due date? In over twenty years of managing projects, I can tell you from experience that question number one is always crystal clear at the beginning, but looks more like the Tuscarawas River (mostly muddy, most of the year) by the end of the project.

Second question: always. I cannot recall more than a hand full of projects that I have worked on without very demanding time lines. In fact, the only that comes to mind is the writing of my first book, Purple Curve Effect. Yes, that means several other efforts are afoot... but I digress.

Third: rarely. Everyone that has participated in any sort of project knows the dance: lets trade away functionality (or money or time) in order to complete the project anywhere near the due date.

Enter Tony Rizzo. Project Guru of the first order. A few years ago, during an exchange on what else but projects, he mentions the "four accuracies" with regards to projects. I say, "Say what?"

Everyone knows the holy trinity: time, functionality and budget

So, I say, "I give up, what is the fourth leg of the infamous three-legged dilemma of every project model?"

Accuracy relative to deliverables

Sounds crazy. Everyone knows what the project is suppose to do! Everyone knows the budget. Everyone knows the time line. Everyone knows the functionality that is required.

Again, at the start of the project, yes. Everyone would agree that everyone knows everything about the project. But do they? No way. In 99% of the cases it is my expert opinion that everyone is absolutely and hopelessly clueless! Why am I am so sure? Just look at the results!

No way does your last completed project (or any project) look like the "expected" results documented in the original deliverables. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Nixon. It just ain't gonna happened. Unless and until you change your approach. Most everyone has heard the expression, "To keep doing the same thing, over and over, and to expect different results, is the height of insanity." Einstein said it. I've said it. You have probably said it!

So, why don't we change?

We simply do not know how. Period. End of discussion. No room for debate. Subject closed.

Every time the media calls for a new recession (reminder: in the USA, we are not in a recession, regardless the stupid remarks made by otherwise very intelligent people), there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of businesses that simply refuse to participate.

Therefore, make a decision!

Decide not to participate in any economic down-turn

Great. Now what? You are going to need more throughput. Recall that I over-simply this concept, and define it as, "more money in your pocket." Recall also that there are only two constraints: internal and external. Finally, recall that I focus on internal constraints. However, one of my clients is the master at solving external constraints, so I am happy to make the introduction should you need one.

Internal Constraints

Eli Goldratt is brilliant. he gave us the perfect tool to determine where the internal bottleneck is killing our throughput: the "bitch & moan session!" Bill Dettmer refined the process a bit, by promoting the Crawford Slip method to get a better handle on things, and to help shorten the session (as well as reduce the level of frustration participants often feel).

If your business is like the other 99.5% of all other businesses (again, in the USA, as that is my domain of experience), the cause of the bottleneck is going to fall into one of several categories. Yes, your business is unique. Yes, your processes are different that most every other business. I get it. Do you?

If your project deliverables are not significantly accurate (say 97% just to paint a target on the wall), then you cannot increase your throughput.

Let me say that again: poor accuracy with regard to deliverables equals poor due date performance.

Now what?

Pick up the phone.


Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Luke Short hits the Jackpot

Olde West Antiques

Check this stuff out... especially for that collector that is hard to buy for!


to be or to do

Don Vandergriff invokes Col. John Boyd

Great post. The answer (the question was "how to"): H. William Dettmer's book on Strategic Navigation, as practiced by yours truly. It requires a dynamic yet determined focus on results. Your remark is "spot on":

"The first thing any organization has to do is define its endstate (a good commander’s intent, long term contract)."

Check out my Dynamic 4^3 Process™ — then lets talk.


P.S. You might want to check out the Boyd Speakers Bureau.

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

google highlights Earth Day

Anyone recall the date of the first Earth Day?


P.S. What will you do differently today?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Get Laziness?

With all thy getting... Laziness?

The brothers Heath (Made to Stick) have an interesting post... however, the sound byte really bites!

"Americans have one of the worst personal-savings rates of any industrialized nation... For every $1 in income earned, the average American spends approximately $7,300 on a plasma-screen television."

Land of the indebted?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ben Stein :: American Hero

Ben Stein is one of my heroes I am trying to think up a national award worthy of his contributions to America and common sense. Like many, I first (officially) discovered him in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I would assume that I met him through the speeches he helped craft for Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford. Speaking of common sense, this is a great TV clip I found his web site: -ski

Great post by Dr Lisa Lang

Maximizing Profits

This is a great post by one of the leaders in throughput, Dr Lisa Lang of the Science of Business. I had this exact scenario unfold at client site a number of years ago.

Within a week I had determined the weakest link (push distribution model), but was not permitted to address the constraint. During my brief engagement, I explained that certain products did better in one of the outlets, than others. I explained that if we were playing a team sport, there would be more passes to the "open player" so to speak (given that basketball is wrapping up another season).

Not gonna happen in most companies.


I get measured on my store, not the whole company's performance.

Too bad.

Game over.


P.S. Need help improving your throughput? You have my number!

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No Balance

Not when it comes to money!

I probably covered it best in Purple Curve Effect, but as R.W. Schambach loves to say, "it bears repeating!"

This year I had this feeling, so I started on my tax return early... I started yesterday. Sure enough, it took me until 2pm today to finish. I did very little else. Well, I did sleep last night. But I applied the focus necessary to complete the task, given printer problems — from two different printers!

So what. It got done.

Now back to making money.

What obstacles are you letting get in your way? Consider turning off the cell phone for 24 hours. What is the worst that could happen? Better yet, what is the best that could happen? It has nothing to do with "will power" or even determination.

Successful people do what the masses will not do: put themselves in a position to win. It is that simple. Oh sure, you can make it more complicated... explain it away, tell yourself all sorts of great excuses. Let me pick on the sales people listening in: not closing enough sales?

Look around: who should we blame?

The economy? Your spouse? Your employer?

Zig Ziglar tells a great story that years ago, in his pots & pans days (yes, before he sold million dollar consulting gigs, he sold pots and pans door to door — and we think we have it tuff! But I digress...), Zig tells of his company holding week long sale contests. And the sales team was alerted weeks ahead. Long story short, they wanted the salesmen to "get ready" to focus. By giving the staff notice, they could start to practice. They could get all the cares of life out of the way. Tell the significant other, "honey, its gonna be a long week." Don't hold supper.

But the shear volume of product moved was amazing.

And the rewards!

Why? Focus. Plain and simple. They expected to move a lot of product. They posted goals on the walls at the office (and I would suspect that the better salesman had similar posters at home!). Every distraction was put off for one whole week.

May I suggest that there is no recession. Regardless the stupid remarks made by otherwise intelligent folk. Like the analyst that claimed that the definition of recession (requiring six months of down indicators) was no longer valid in light of GE's poor performance.

How asinine!

I would have fired him and NBC's nightly news anchor for retelling it (although I do not recall him giving proper credit).

Because GE's commercial real estate arm got hammered (by what? a few points!), that does not give anyone the right to shout "fire" in a crowded room. And that is EXACTLY the effect.

There is no recession. Regardless what the mainstream media tell you.

Today's economy "is not your father's Oldsmobile" to quote a great line. Oil price alone cannot cause a recession. The weak dollar should be having huge positive ramifications on the balance of trade? Why are very few pundits shouting about this fact? But again, I digress...

Balance is what you make of it. So we all need to get off our backsides, and rejoin the fight. Not just the folks in sales. What can you do Mr. Warehouse Manager to help sales make more sales? What can you do, Ms. CPA, to help sales make more sales?

I recall telling you that everyone is in sales!

Me included.

That next in coming call might just be me... with a sales proposal!


P.S. Need help selling something? You have my number!

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Johnny Bunko

Johnny Bunko trailer from Daniel Pink on Vimeo Why didn't I think of this? Manga Format? Johnny Bunko dot com -ski

Growing Your Business

Sophisticated Finance Indeed

Robert Hacker is virtual fountain of wisdom... having just discovered him via LinkedIn, I have spent several hours consuming his blog and Excel worksheets. This guy is good!

Plus, he shares my love for stick men!

I have spent my career on the small end of the business stick, knowing that most of my knowledge would transfer to much larger organizations. Now, I am not so sure. However, the good news is that I prefer my end of the pool. It seems more "hands on" to me.

Allow me to encourage you to spend a few minutes on his blog. If it is not for you, no big deal. But what if this is the teacher that must appear for you to take the next step? Methinks that is exactly the case for me.

Thanks Robert for sharing so openly.


P.S. Be sure to check out his Excel modeling.

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Built to Last :: Take Two

1999 Excelsior-Henderson Super X

Regrets? I have a few. About a year ago, I sold my Super X.

What a great bike. In case you are not sure, it is the bike on the left. Searching for a new bagger, I wonder if I will find a suitable replacement. Probably not.


Built to Last

Built to last: Science Direct dot com

In 1996, while consulting at Lexis-Nexis (LN), I served as Billing Technical Lead on a project that created the Science Direct web site. LN was one of the few places that I ever worked where the library was larger than my mine. It was a great time to be coding for eCommerce.

I helped create a "billing record" that took web activity and routed it from Oracle to the in-house COBOL billing system. I was privileged to select my own tools... like OraTcl, and hire team members (Hey Roger!).

Today, one of my google alerts popped up a link on ScienceDirect. Wow.

Wonder if any of my code survives?


P.S. Just before I left LN, we used that billing record to roll out a critical app for another eCommerce app for Lexis-Nexis. I love it when a plan comes together!

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 11, 2008

BMW X6 Born in SC

BMW's new X6

This is a great article on the newest BMW X series, birthed in Spartanburg, South Carolina. But hey SKI, "What is the throughput connection?"

"Also interesting to note is that the BMW factory, with its polished floors and synchronized ballet of Kuka robots, feels so high-tech, it's almost -- well -- Japanese. Should be, I can tell by the color-coded bins, placards with words like 'One-Piece Flow', and JIT (Just In Time) mentality (whizzing forklifts) that BMW has implemented the industry's gold standard for production efficiency -- aka TPS or Toyota Production System."

As the expression goes, I was not born in South Carolina, but I got here as soon as I could! And learned that Lean (TPS) was already here...


P.S. The term “lean production,” first used in "The Machine That Changed the World" (Harper Perennial, 1991), was coined by a member of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP) team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was a collective synonym for the Toyota Production System.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Constraints Management Model :: CMM

Picture worth a thousand words (click on image for larger version) H. William Dettmer has granted permission for me to share this chart. It captures the reason for my excitement for his Constraints Management Model (CMM), which is the combining of Eli Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC) and Col. John Boyd's OODA Loop. As documented in Dettmer's Strategic Navigation. If you are not a military history buff, skip the first 26 pages. But if you are serious about producing results, this is the one Dettmer book to own. Of course, like most of us, you will want The Logical Thinking Process as well. -ski P.S. If it is not obvious, the power of CMM is in the action that Boyd brings to the table. The action that the OODA Loop demands of the implementor. If your projects are places where resources go to die, then buy this book today! Disclaimer: H. William Dettmer is client, however, we make no income from the sale of his books. ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Phone: (330) 432-3533 tag: ©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Need A Keynote Speech

It has been five years...

I closed this keynote speech with one of my favorite quotes:

"Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the people that you meet and the books that you read."
—Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones

Some of the people that I met include Grant Lindsay, Warren Tyler and Joe Distefano. Each have helped to refine my thoughts and approach to business. Some of the books that I have read include "Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing", "Made to Stick" and "Purple Curve Effect —SKI's Throughput on Command". Could not pass up the chance to blow my own horn!

Have Speech
Will Travel

One of my favorite shows (still, I now have some episodes on DVD) was "Have Gun — Will Travel". Where Paladin lives in this great hotel in a great city (reminds me of this last year on Hilton Head Island!) and takes on clients in need of a problem solver. His business card has been the template for many a modern version... guess I am giving my age away.

But I digress... Need a speaker on throughput? sDBR? CCPM? Strategy?

Call me.


P.S. While this speech is still valid, today, I would be preaching my Dynamic 4^3 Process as the door to significantly more throughput.

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Buzz :: You need Buzz!

How to get your message out

Someone asked on LinkedIn how to build excitement about their training process. It hit me: build buzz!

Just so happens that Ron McDaniel already wrote the book on the steps necessary... so I was quick to point the questioner in Ron's direction.

Do I know what you do for a living?


Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (330) 432-3533

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mohan Babu on Pre Sales

Our guest blogger is K Mohan Babu of garamchai dot com. This abstract to Mohan's articles on the importance of the "Pre sales" process is quite insightful.

What is Pre Sales?

Pre Sales includes the entire gamut of activities involved in preparing to engage with prospects, clients and others and includes specific responses to client requests. Clients or companies that need software services and project implementations generally call for proposals or expect responses from their vendors and service providers.

Although it is hard to generalize on the nature of or the contents of such proposals, most documents follow a structured framework: detailing the project, asking vendors for suggestions or solutions or proposals along with cost estimates regarding the work to be done.

Typical Pre-sales support activities include:

  • Responding to client requests
  • Supporting client visits
  • Visiting clients and/or making presentations
  • Competitor Analysis and market scanning
  • Sales Support
  • Interfacing with other internal groups
  • Marketing support
Mohan's article may found via this link. -ski

Friday, April 04, 2008

Joe Distefano :: Paughco MC LLC

Donald Trump could learn a thing or two from Joe D.

My good friend Joe Distefano ("Joe D.") is at it again. This time rolling out the new wheel division of an old company, Paughco, Inc. I can only assume that the "MC" in Paughco MC LLC stands for motorcycle. Disclaimer: Joe is a client of LLC.

As told on several occasions, I met Joe back in 2004 while serving as interim COO (actual title: Director of Manufacturing) for Red Horse Motorworks, LLC. He jumped into the mix and came up with a truly "win-win" solution for us and his wheel company employer, and we became fast friends. We have done the various industry trade shows together, like Sturgis, VTwin Expo, and Daytona Beach Bike Week.

One of things that sets Joe apart, he really does understand holistic (or systems) thinking. He had other products that helped the cause at Red Horse. Because of his connections, my efforts in purchasing were turbocharged! Some short-sighted idiots (at least two that I know of) are now bankrupt, I would suggest in no small part to their close-minded approaches. And listening to the wrong people. Remember, as Jim Collins shares, it is the RIGHT people that make all the difference in the world. And although I digress, Joe D. is the still the right man!

If you need a "go to" person in the motorcycle industry, Joe D. is it. Sorry Donald.

Tell Joe, "SKI sent me."


Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
(330) 432-3533 | fax (954) 252-3927

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Changing the World

Thinking is Required

Reut over on LinkedIn, asks a question... which led me back to this great post from a year ago. Wow, how time flies.

Consider adding your two cents to the collective.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

SKI reminds: No Recession in 2008

Do Not Let the Media Fool You!

Best Buy (and others) continue to report results that exceed forecasts... and your mass media outlets continue to talk of recession. Now, they even have Bernanke playing along.

Reminder: You do not have to participate

As old Doc Brown said (in Back to the Future III), "Your future has not been written. Your future is whatever you make of it... so make it a good one!"

I could not have said it any better.


Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah
Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV
(330) 432-3533 | fax (954) 252-3927

©2008 LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Get Paid to Fly

A Contract is a Contract

Commercial airline
Flybe had to get creative to get their rebate check... I love common sense!

Reuters is reporting that Flybe has given the term low-fare airline an entirely new meaning: it is paying 172 people to fly back and forth across England and the Irish Sea to help it meet a target for passenger numbers at Norwich airport.

Richard Jenner, managing director of the airport in eastern England, called the British carrier's move "ludicrous" and said the target had to be met by regular fare-paying passengers.

I doubt it. If it is not in the contract, intentions count for very little.

Jenner: write the check!