Monday, 31 March 2014

Differences between successful and unsuccessful people

Below are the 16 differences between successful people and unsuccessful people claim;
1. Embrace change vs. Fear change
Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. With the world moving so fast and constantly changing, and technology accelerating faster than ever, we need to embrace what’s coming and adapt, rather than fear it, deny it or hide from it.
2. Want others to succeed vs. Secretly hope others fail
When you’re in an organization with a group of people, in order to be successful, you all have to be successful. We need to want to see our co-workers succeed and grow. If you wish for their demise, why even work with them at all?
3. Exude joy vs. Exude anger
In business and in life, it’s always better to be happy and exude that joy to others. It becomes contagious and encourages other to exude their joy as well. When people are happier they tend to be more focused and successful. If a person exudes anger, it puts everyone around them in a horrible, unmotivated mood and little success comes from it.
4. Accept responsibly for your failures vs. Blame others for your failures
Where there are ups, there are most always downs. Being a leader and successful businessperson means always having to accept responsibility for your failures. Blaming others solves nothing; it just puts other people down and absolutely no good comes from it.

5. Talk about ideas vs. Talk about people
What did we all learn in high school? Gossip gets you nowhere. Much of the time it’s false and most of the time it's negative. Instead of gossiping about people, successful people talk about ideas. Sharing ideas with others will only make them better.
6. Share data & info vs. Hoard data & info
As we all learned in kindergarten, sharing is caring. In social media, in business and in life, sharing is important to be successful. When you share you info and data with others, you can get others involved in what you are doing to achieve success. Hoarding data and info is selfish and short-sighted.
7. Give people all the credit for their victories vs. Take all the credit from others
Teamwork is a key to success. When working with others, don’t take credit from their ideas. Letting others have their own victories and moments to shine motivates them and in the long term, the better they perform, the better you'll look anyway.

8. Set goals and life plans vs. Do not set goals
You can't possibly be successful without knowing where you're going in life. A life vision board, 10 year plan, 3 year forecast, annual strategic plan, and daily goal lists are are useful tools of the mega-successful people in your life. Get your vision and goals down on paper!
9. Keep a journal vs. Say you keep a journal but don’t
Keeping a journal is a great way to jot down quick ideas or thoughts that come to mind that are not worth forgetting. Writing them down can lead to something even greater. You can even use mobile apps or your Notes function in your phone. But don’t fool yourself by saying you keep a journal and not following through.
10. Read every day vs. Watch TV every day
Reading every day educates you on new subjects. Whether you are reading a blog, your favorite magazine or a good book, you can learn and become more knowledgeable as you read. Watching television, on the other hand, may be good entertainment or an escape, but you'll rarely get anything out of TV to help you become more successful.
11. Operate from a transformational perspective vs. Operate from a transactional perspective
Transformational leaders go above and beyond to reach success on another level. They focus on team building, motivation and collaboration across organizations. They're always looking ahead to see how they can transform themselves and others, instead of looking to just make a sale or generate more revenue or get something out of the way.
12. Continuously learn vs. Fly by the seat of your pants
Continuously learning and improving is the only way to grow. You can be a step above your competition and become more flexible because you know more. If you just fly by the seat of your pants, you could be passing up opportunities that prevent you from learning (and growing!)
13. Compliment others vs. Criticize others
Complimenting someone is always a great way to show someone you care. A compliment gives a natural boost of energy to someone, and is an act of kindness that makes you feel better as well. Criticizing produces negativity and leads to nothing good.
14. Forgive others vs. Hold a grudge
Everybody makes mistakes; it’s human. The only way to get past the mistake is to forgive and move on. Dwelling on anger only makes things worse - for you.
15. Keep a “To-Be” list vs. Don’t know what you want to be
A “To-Be” list is a great way to strategize for the future. I want to be an elected official one day. I want to be a TED speaker. I want to be the CEO of a public company. I want to be a great father and husband. Unsuccessful people have no idea what they want to be. If you don’t know what you want to be, how can you achieve success? What do you want to be?
16. Have Gratitude vs Don't appreciate others and the world around you.
Moments of gratitude, each and every one, transform my life each day- and unquestionably have made me more successful and more happy. The people who you are grateful for are often the ones who have a huge part in your success. Be sure to thank everyone you come in contact with and walk with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation and even wonder, about the world around you. Gratitude is the ultimate key to being successful in business and in life.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Kotter's 8 step change model

Kotter's Eight-Step Model

According to John Kotter, 70 percent of all major change efforts in organizations fail because organizations do not take the holistic approach required to effect that change. Organizations can increase their chances of success in transformational change by following the Eight-Step Model.


Step 1: Create a sense of urgency
First one needs to develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. This provides the spark to get things moving. It means trying to identify potential threats, develop scenarios about what could happen in the future, and examine possible opportunities; and then holding open, honest, and convincing dialogue about what's happening in the marketplace and with the competition.

Step 2: Form a guiding coalition
It is often important to convince people that change is necessary. This requires strong leadership and support from key people within the organization. To lead change, according to Kotter, one needs to bring together a coalition, or team of influential people, whose power comes from a variety of sources (job title, status, expertise, political importance, etc.). This "change coalition" needs to work as a team to continue to build urgency and momentum around the need for change.

Step 3: Create a vision for change
People need a clear vision to understand why they are being asked to do something new. When the leadership "paints" the new vision of change, people see for themselves what you're trying to achieve, and then the directives they're given tend to make more sense. One the vision is understood, create a well-defined strategy to execute that vision.

Step 4: Communicate the vision
It is necessary to communicate the vision to the organization frequently and powerfully. Embed the vision into everything the leader does. The leadership needs to "walk the talk" and demonstrate the kind of behavior that's expected of others.

Step 5: Empowering broad-based action
The structure for change needs to in place; continually check for any barriers to it. This means changing systems or structures that undermine that vision and structure for change. Get rid of obstacles and empower the people who execute the vision and help the change move forward.

Step 6: Create short-term wins
It is critical to have some quick wins. This will motivate employees in pursuit of the larger goal of change in the organization. Without this, critics and negative thinkers can slow down and hurt the change process.

Step 7: Build on the change
As Kotter notes, many change initiatives fail because victory is declared too early. An early win is not enough. To build on new initiatives, you need to change the systems, structures, and processes that don't fit into the overall new scheme. This can mean bringing "new blood" into the coalition. "Continuous improvement" must be the mantra, and each success or failure presents an opportunity to analyze what worked, what did not, and what can be improved.

Step 8: Anchor the changes in the corporate culture 
For any change to be sustained, it needs to become embedded in the organization's culture. The leadership should clearly articulate the connections between new behaviors and organizational success. The coalition team should talk about progress at every opportunity, telling success stories about the change process and how it can be repeatable across the organization.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Three imperatives for great Project Managers

We all have good ideas. The hard part is making them happen.

Here are the three tips with the biggest impact:

Be strategic, not tactical. The biggest mistake most managers make is that they spend their days and nights focusing on tactics when they really need to think about strategy. Tactics are important. They relate to the details, the fine-grain specifics to execute against a tight deadline. But strategy asks whether the milestones being created are the right ones. In the case of one System Integration business in the north of England, teams were overweight with technical project managers and lacked strategic thinkers who could prioritise what mattered. The results were hundreds of milestones that related to product launches details and documentations, without an overall picture of which products were the most important to customers. Strategy is all about making trade-offs. In a world where you can’t do everything, what are the one or two things you really need to focus on?

Talk about the red. In most organizations, managers spent their time sitting in steering committees hearing about how great things are going. That’s a waste of time. Talking about “red” is nearly always a more useful conversation than talking about “green”. In the same business with system integrator, I talked with senior executives, but I realized this meant changing the culture around failure. People were so afraid about losing their job that they weren’t able to do their job properly. When senior leadership started normalizing failure, employees felt more comfortable flagging when things were going off track –and working out how to fix them. Let’s be clear: it can be pretty demoralizing talking about failure all the time. Senior leaders need to know how to thank people who use their time well, and focus on the things that matter –especially the bad news.

Have leading, not lagging, indicators. Red is good. But amber is much better. Many managers aren’t able to tell their bosses if a project is off target, over budget, or past schedule until it has actually happened. Far more useful is to have lead indicators. These are triggers built into project plans so that managers have foresight into what’s going wrong as it’s happening. The key thing here is to focus on goals that really matter. If budget savings are what you care about, create lead indicators that phase in incremental savings. If being on schedule is the highest priority, create lead indicators that focus on completion to deadlines. In a cost-savings program in a major mining company, one manager built an intricate plan that culminated in big-buck savings in the final milestone. That’s no good. Much better is to break this final milestone into mini steps. Building good lead indicators means thinking about what really matters and giving that issue sufficient visibility.

We all want to be effective in our organizations. But ask yourself: are your current tools working? Following these three principles is a good step towards turning good ideas to great execution.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Descriptive and Inferential Statistics

Statistical procedures can be divided into two major categories: descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.

Before discussing the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics, we must first be familiar with two important concepts in social science statistics: population and sample. A population is the total set of individuals, groups, objects, or events that the researcher is studying. For example, if we were studying employment patterns of recent UK college graduates, our population would likely be defined as every college student who graduated within the past one year from any college across the United Kingdom.

A sample is a relatively small subset of people, objects, groups, or events, that is selected from the population. Instead of surveying every recent college graduate in the United Kingdom, which would cost a great deal of time and money, we could instead select a sample of recent graduates, which would then be used to generalize the findings to the larger population.

Descriptive Statistics

Descriptive statistics includes statistical procedures that we use to describe the population we are studying. The data could be collected from either a sample or a population, but the results help us organize and describe data. Descriptive statistics can only be used to describe the group that is being studying. That is, the results cannot be generalized to any larger group.

Descriptive statistics are useful and serviceable if you do not need to extend your results to any larger group. However, much of social sciences tend to include studies that give us “universal” truths about segments of the population, such as all parents, all women, all victims, etc.

Frequency distributions, measures of central tendency (meanmedian, and mode), and graphs like pie charts and bar charts that describe the data are all examples of descriptive statistics.

Inferential Statistics

Inferential statistics is concerned with making predictions or inferences about a population from observations and analyses of a sample. That is, we can take the results of an analysis using a sample and can generalize it to the larger population that the sample represents. In order to do this, however, it is imperative that the sample is representative of the group to which it is being generalized.

To address this issue of generalization, we have tests of significance. A Chi-square or T-test, for example, can tell us the probability that the results of our analysis on the sample are representative of the population that the sample represents. In other words, these tests of significance tell us the probability that the results of the analysis could have occurred by chance when there is no relationship at all between the variables we studied in the population we studied.

Examples of inferential statistics include linear regression analyseslogistic regression analyses,ANOVAcorrelation analysesstructural equation modeling, and survival analysis, to name a few.


Frankfort-Nachmias, C. & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2006). Social Statistics for a Diverse Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Seven core principles of the Toyota Production System

  1. Reduced Setup Times: All setup practices are wasteful because they add no value and they tie up labor and equipment. By organizing procedures,  using carts, and training workers to do their own setups, Toyota managed to slash setup times from months to hours and sometimes even minutes.
  2. Small-Lot Production: Producing things in large batches results in huge setup costs, high capital cost of high-speed dedicated machinery, larger inventories, extended lead times, and  larger defect costs. Because Toyota has found the way to make setups short and inexpensive, it became possible for them to economically produce a variety of things in small quantities.
  3. Employee Involvement :Toyota organized their workers by forming team and gave them the responsibility and training to do many specialized tasks. Teams are also given responsibility for housekeeping and minor equipment repair. Each team has a leaders who also works as one of them on the line.
  4. Quality at the Source: To eliminate product defects, they must be discovered and corrected as soon as possible.  Since workers are at the best position to discover a defect and to immediately fix it, they are assigned this responsibility. If a defect cannot be readily fixed, any worker can halt the entire line by pulling a cord (called Jidoka).
  5. Equipment Maintenance: Toyota operators are assigned primary responsibility for basic maintenance since they are in the best position to defect signs of malfunctions. Maintenance specialists diagnose and fix only complex problems, improve the performance of equipment, and train workers in maintenance.
  6. Pull Production: To reduce inventory holding costs and lead times, Toyota developed the pull production method wherein the quantity of work performed at each stage of the process is dictated solely by demand for materials from the immediate next stage. The Kamban scheme coordinates the flow of small containers of materials between stages. This is where the term  Just-in-Time (JIT) originated.
  7. Supplier Involvement: Toyota treats its suppliers as partners, as integral elements of Toyota Production Systems (TPS). Suppliers are trained in ways to reduce setup times, inventories, defects, machine breakdowns etc., and take responsibility to deliver their best possible parts.

Five ways to get the job done well and shake the work place.

    1. Refuse to Accept Fogginess

Lack of clarity about what needs to be done is one of today’s worst ongoing workplace practices. When dealing with this from bosses and peers alike:

Ask: “How do you define success?” Never leave a meeting or take on an assignment until you have clarity on this. If the company or your boss is constantly fuzzy on this, make a pain in the ass of yourself until you get clarity. (If you don’t, don’t blame anyone else for all the challenges that follow!)

Ask: “Can you help me prioritize?” Everybody expects everything done right away. Yet that’s impossible! Keep going back to your boss until you get the top three things that have to be done that day or that week.

Ask: “What’s the most important takeaway?” Everybody is good at communicating everything. Few are good at clarifying the one thing that matters most. Every meeting, every exchange — keep pressing for the most important takeaway until you get it.

2. Model Clarity

Ghandi is quoted as saying, “Be the change you want to see.” That applies here. Every meeting, every exchange — make sure you communicate clear and concise answers to the three questions above.

Deep clarity really does shake things up. In a world filled with overload, clutter and crap, the radical successes we cite always work hard to be simple and clear.

Additional tip: Know, Feel, Do…Fast! Everyone you communicate with wants three things as fast and as simply as possible:

• “What’s the one thing you want me to know?”
• “Connect with me emotionally. What’s the one thing you want me to feel?”
• “What’s the one thing you want me to do?”

Continually convey those three things and you will be cited for awesome clarity.

3. Do It Anyway. Stop Listening to “No”

It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission. It’s time to live this to the max.

Yes, if you work within a bureaucratic bog, this may be scary. But you have no choice. The world is moving faster than your boss. Every successful leader I’ve ever worked with or interviewed has said that they followed this approach long before it was politically safe for them to do so.

4. Think Epic. Be Epic.

Audacity matters. Incrementalism (as in playing it safe) is death.

We are in an era of continuous personal disruption. Social-media guru Chris Brogan said it best: “There is no solid ground anymore.” That means you have to go bold to find new ground.

Every leader and company and product that we celebrate today made a bold move long before it was safe to do so. Start thinking and being bolder. Now.

Which leads to the most challenging of all ways to shake things up…

5. Disrupt Yourself

You are capable of so much more than you are doing right now.

And yet, if you are like so many of us, you suffer from Pogo Syndrome — named for the 1940s cartoon character who uttered: We have met the enemy and he is us.

The biggest and boldest and best way to shake things up at work is to disrupt yourself. Unlearn faster. Change your assumptions faster. Focus more on being resilient and adapting than on creating stability. Be an insatiable learner.

Start there and you will truly be a disruptive hero — to those you work with, to those who love you, and to yourself.

Bill Jensen’s new book, “Disrupt! Think Epic. Be Epic,” is based on interviews with 100 disruptive heroes. He blogs at

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Lean Leaders and the GTS4

I'm often asked: "What should our leaders actually do in a Lean culture"? People want to know specific actions to guide their activities. They want a "recipe" to follow. Some folks want to wave a magic wand that suddenly transforms everything. Wouldn't it be great if anything were so easy?

In reality, Lean has to be lived, felt, breathed, seen, and experienced. It must be reinforced by senior leaders who walk the walk and set high expectations for team members. When I was at Sony, the Japanese trainers commonly used the word "go see." At first, this sounded like the kind of directions we were given as kids in school, but when I thought more deeply about it, I realized they were speaking about particular behaviors. Behaviors and actions that created good habits, developed the character of team members, and fostered a learning culture.

So when I am asked about leadership and responsibility, I reply that lean leadership is a way of doing business, not simply a process to "think" through or try on for size. I call this idea (which really is a way to remember key behaviors and actions) "GTS4" (GTS to the fourth power)". What does it mean? Here are the four steps involved in the GTS thinking process:

Go to See → Grasp the Situation  Get to Solution  Get to Standard = GTS4

The starting point for any lean thinking activity (and the beginning of the PDCA process) is Go To See (GTS), also known as Go To the Source (GTS). This habit is hard to develop, since we tend to rely on assumptions formed from our experience or from what someone has told us. My Japanese trainers would often say, "Please! Go Looking!" They may have known just a minimal amount of English, but we always knew what they meant. When I visit the gemba with clients they usually struggle to answer my questions because they lack the facts—the measurable data to work with. Instead, they have assumptions. It is only when we GO SEE and talk with the people who do the work every day that we can uncover the truth of what is really going on. 

Why GTS4? Going to see is just the beginning. Once we GO SEE, we must then Grasp The Situation. We do this by asking the right questions! Let's start with the three most essential questions a company and its leaders (at every level) should be asking themselves:

  • What should be happening?
  • What is currently happening?
  • What is your measurable (gap) between the two above?

The first question is aimed at defining the ideal state, or standard. The second question defines your current state. Consider your problem as the gap between these two conditions. This type of "thinking" is really the first step in framing a problem in the Plan-Do-Check-Action (PDCA) process. In this clarifying the problem step, it is essential that you have a measurable "gap". This enables the problem owner to see a measurable difference once the process is defined, root cause(s) found, and countermeasure(s) implemented. So the answers to these two questions should always be quantified! For example, this visual shows the Ideal-Current-Gap:

The Gap

This gives us a $21 gap we can begin to break down and ask more questions about!

Most companies I work with (even ones you'd think should know!) can't answer those three questions. As a result they have difficulty framing a problem as a simple gap between what should be happening and what is actually happening because the measurability just isn't being tracked at the process.

I was trained with this thinking at Sony, so these questions feel natural to me. But helping others develop this kind of thinking is a challenge. Too many leaders are too busy running around trying to fight fires or make fixes based on loose assumptions. This type of problem solving is weak at best, and surely not repeatable for long-term sustainability.

The next GTS is to Get to the Solution. If you have properly grasped the situation then this leads you to ask further questions like: What are the processes that address the gap? Then we look for the places, blocks, bottlenecks or "points of occurrences" within processes that help us understand root causes and finally, countermeasures. As mentioned above, this is PDCA. If we are able to complete this process by practicing the last GTS, and our countermeasures are effective, then we want to proceed to the fourth and final step: Get to Standard.

Knowing what to do as a leader can feel like an unwieldy question. But consider GTS4. It's not easy, but it is fairly simple. The challenge is less a matter of being lean than it is asking ourselves if we are really practicing lean thinking—a way of thinking that starts by going to see, grasping the situation, getting to a solution, and ultimately, getting to a standard. It won't feel natural at first, but it can be learned!

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