Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A URO for Job Seekers?

If you find you need help finding a job, then maybe it's time to look at things differently. 

This TED (or TED-like) presentation shows the process one young guy went through. Job hunting as a college graduate looking for some decent employment in the 2008 economy was not easy. Hunting jobs was not easy for anyone at that time. The way he dealt with the situation was innovative and it led him to create, essentially, an URO (UnRefusable Offer) type of offer to present to employers he wanted to work with. Although he probably did not look at the situation through his customers' (the hiring organizations) eyes, he did realize how his offer greatly reduces their risk. Best of all - it worked.

Past thoughts about hiring

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seeing The World Through Another's Eyes

TOC promises a lot of benefits to those who embrace it, be they individuals or organizations. Yet those promises can materialize only if change occurs. And we all know change is hard. We've seen and remember that people don't resist change just because it is change. If the change is right for them they embrace it. Yet, the fact still remains that changing is hard and considering 'no man is an island' (John Donne), this change is most likely going to require the cooperation of others. To get this cooperation 'they' will need to see how this change fits them, and it is 'our' job to show them, as this is 'our' change. Only after we have proven that this change truly fits, will there be a chance of 'them' taking ownership.

In order to get others to buy in to the change, clearly we need to see things from their point of view. We must look at the current reality and the proposed reality through their eyes. Understand what constitutes a valuable pot of gold for them not for me (or us). Understand what are their risks, not ours.  Find their mermaid and crocodile and understand the impact these have on them.  Not an easy thing to do. No sir.

Now, I know it is not easy to see the move to TOC through your team members eyes. These are people you know, people who have many similarities to you, people who communicate with you. So, if that's hard, how hard will it be to see things through your customer(s) eyes? Horrible, isn't it? Horrible, but essential if you want to develop an Un Refuse-able Offer (URO), if you want to create your Decisive Competitive Edge (DCE), even if you just want to improve sales.

Well, I'll admit it is not easy in any way, but I will also remind you that that's what the TP tools are for and that to make it a bit easier you can always start by deliberately analyzing your view point and then, once you've gotten that out of the way, you can concentrate on the more important 'THEM'.

Anyways , a few years ago Best Buy put out a campaign just before Christmas that, for me, epitomizes seeing the world through another's eyes. It seems clear to me that the ad agency behind this campaign truly understood Best Buy's customers and the people they buy gifts for. I hope you find this as inspirational as I do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2012 - Which Conference to Attend?

As you know, I have just returned from Kiev after attending the TOCICO 2011 European Conference. I had a great time there. This being my first TOC conference, I learnt a lot from both the professorial speakers and the local case studies. I also made some great connections. I even got lucky and won a prize in the lottery they held at the reception. In "The Choice" luck is defined as preparation meet opportunity - how lucky would I have been spending the weekend with the family as always?

During the conference the subject of the 2012 TOCICO International Conference came up. Well, I had pledged myself to go, but that was before I knew there was a European conference. Now, of course I still want to attend and I do realize that both my leaning and my networking will be significant. "Look at it as an investment" I was told. The issue I have with this investment is the risk. The risk we take when making any investment is the risk of that investment becoming a down right expense. That trip to Kiev was an expense, one I could allow myself. I took on this expense in hopes it turns out being an investment and I sure am trying to make that happen. Yet I am not currently using TOC to create my personal income, so it was out of pocket money for 2011 and, for all I know, will be out of pocket money that is non refundable and non deductible in any way in 2012 as well. I've done my math, going to Chicago is going to cost me at least $1,000 more than going to Kiev again, simply because Kiev is so much closer than Chicago. That's why I view it as a greater risk.

What will I end up doing? only time can tell as there is still plenty of time to change the facts behind the decision ... So I'm hoping for another stroke of "luck".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's so bad with a flow line?

I've got some more to write about the time I spent in Kiev, but it is so amazing how much 3.5 days away can disrupt the flow of life - I am still trying to get on top of things. So until I settle down, I took a couple of minutes to dig this advertisement up in YouTube (no link, you's all know where it's at). I like looking over advertisements since you can find great examples for different things and somebody else payed to get them done at high quality...

Here is a lovely ad from Visa, that manages to explain why the flow line can't handle variation. This is why Henry Ford said his famous "They can have a car in any color they want as long as it is a black Ford Model T" (I may have re-phrased the original), this was not a personal idiosyncrasy, but rather a basic fact of life that the factory he had built to be so efficient as to allow a car for every worker was based on a flow line and could not support any variety greater than 1.

BTW, there is another instance of this clip on YouTube claiming it demonstrated TOC manufacturing. Of course it does not, since TOC (as explained by Dr. Goldratt in "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants") will only advocate a flow line where it can fit, and the way the process is set up in the clip, it can't since not all customers can be served without compromising something (the process or customer satisfaction). Now in this artificial example only a very small change is needed to fix the issue. What would you change here?

Edited to add:
I've been going through my old posts and found this one about the train that never stops. Can you see a difference between the two systems?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Will you allow me a little brag?

Carol Ptak really likes my blog. OMG! This is such a compliment to me, after all she co-authored "Necessary but not Sufficient" and she is enjoying reading ME?
Oh, the fulfillment. Oh, the meaningfulness (is this a legit word?). Oh, the utter horror of knowing I have such a standard to live up to. Nah, just kidding. I'm trying to be very natural in my writing and I totally enjoy doing it.
It is funny, though, we had a lecture about living a meaningful life, a subject Dr. Goldratt and his daughter, Efrat, covered in "The Choice". It was delivered by Christoph Lenhartz, who connected the process of clear thinking to the work of Viktor Frankl, the "father" of "Logotherapy". We were told there are three ways to create meaning in our lives - by what we create (giving to the world), by encountering people (getting from the world) and by our attitude towards unavoidable suffering. Well, I feel I just created meaning in both the first and second ways - through my writing and my (unbelievably fun) encounter with Mz. Ptak.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How We Communicate is Important

When  was in Kiev (yes, I know you know I went to the conference, but I WAS in Kiev when this happened) I kept thinking of you, the readers of my blog and how I will post this and post that. One thing I thought about was this advertisement clip. The post was clear to me, the subject, the connection to Theory of Constraints, everything. But by the time I got around to digging it up I could not remember what got me going in the first place. It still feels right, though.

I find this clip has a very powerful message about communication and conflict situations. I suggest you watch it first with the audio OFF! Now before you run it again with the audio on, let me tell you these two actresses are doing a great job here. Of course there is a catch, but I won't tell you what it is, turn on the sound and hear for yourself.

{BTW, I noticed a lot of readers view this blog through a translating site, so if English is not for your ears, I've added a transcript below for the translating tool, as the text is relevant}

Here's what I see here, when we find ourselves conflicting with others we many times get into a "fight" mode. Think back about arguments and fights you've had over the years. As soon as the disagreement starts we become entrenched in our own corner, defending our needs or wants or point of view with all our might. This is greatly intensified if, coming into the 'discussion', we predict the other side will not react as planned. We are armed and ready and so we are ready to misinterpret any of her reactions as a declaration of war. Now, as soon as we go into "fight" mode we turn off "communication" mode and thus we stop listening to others and start listening only to our inner voice. We hear only those things that can serve as "ammunition" in the next "round". Do you remember this Magritte painting?

Well, can you agree that an argument is not communication, then?

As stated here, the Theory of Constraints requires change and it requires cooperation from others. To get others to cooperate with the change offered communication must be used to get buy in and commitment. You can't argue your way into convincing them that you understand and that you have a valuable offer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The III European TOCICO Conference

I just returned tonight from the conference. My head is still spinning from all the learning and insights I got. It was a very special experience for me and it will probably take me some time to completely process it.
Here are some quick "take away"s I noted down throughout the days:

  • People have the means to live but not a meaning to live for - we are no longer fighting to survive, we are looking for a meaning
  • We each create the meaning for ourselves, so it is our duty not to interfere or hinder or create obstacles to the ability of others to create their meaning (a tad more on meaning can be found here)
  • Success (or failure) do not come from the uniqueness of the product but for the uniqueness of the product
  • "Where there is a tail - there is a dog" (attributed to Eli Goldratt) this means that when all you see is a "tail" - a handful of clients with a special need there is a "dog" you don't see - a real market potential for a new offer
  • Projects fail because time estimates become time commitments
  • Analyze success (better than expected results), not just failure (below expectation results), it holds opportunities you can capitalize on, but only if you can understand them
  • TOC implementation requires a paradigm shift, compromising drastically increases the possibility of failure of the implementation
  • Win Win offers do not sell themselves, especially when the environment is saturated with suspicion and mistrust
  • The conflicts of my clients are my conflicts
  • The reason to really learn a subject matter is for improving it
  • The bigger the base - the bigger the jump
Let me know if you'd like me to elaborate on any of these, or if there is any particular detail you'd like to know about the conference.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You Need a Conflict to Evaporate a Cloud

Earlier today, for some reason, I remembered my first (and last, as of today) try to get my boys (Then 9 and 6) to use the EC tool. Even tough we managed to reach a solution it was a total failure as the solution worked just once, and probably because I made it work. Today as this experience popped into my mind I realized what went wrong.
Here is the story, in short: Once a week, early in the morning, the boys get a magazine in the mail box. Every week they would rush to get it and then start quibbling right away over who gets to read it first, while getting ready for school and on the drive there. So on the week I was at Goldratt House doing the "TOC for the Ever Flourishing Organization" workshop, I decided to use the tools and help them solve this conflict. I sat them down, listened to each and tried to write the cloud. We came out with something lame. The wants were clear - each wanted to be first. The needs they stated were, at least to me, not relevant and somewhat foolish. The real issue was the common goal, I had to force one on them - this should have been a huge blinking warning sign for me, but I was a Mama with a mission, I ignored.
Well, thinking it over I realized that I was trying to draw a cloud where there was no conflict. They had no problem with the situation, perversely enough (in my eyes, totally natural by any other point of view) they wanted those quarrels to go on. The problem was, of course, mine and the conflict was, sure enough, between me, wanting peace and quite as I drive them to school and them, wanting to keep up the good fun of having the other blow up.
Looking at the situation from this angle the first thing to pop up is the common goal (easy after reading Lisa Scheinkopf's example about her daughters). It was "make sure Mom doesn't lose her temper". The wants I already know and there is really no point in trying to figure out the needs - they are no longer fighting over this....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Theory of Constraints with a Personal Touch

I first came across the name Chesapeake in Lisa Scheinkopf's book "Thinking for a Change". Well, I went looking for them on the web and I really liked their Newsletter and was very impressed with how the personal and professional come together in it.
Seems worth following.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tool update -

Just wanted to share that I'm working on my first TP project and I came across this web site that offers a Visio-like, web based, tool. All I had to do was register and start working. The tool is easy to use, for some reason I find it a bit less frustrating than Visio and, graphically speaking, the results are great.
The free account lets you hold up to 5 public diagrams on the server. So if you need more diagrams or privacy you'll have to pay a monthly fee and upgrade. I'm still in my 30 days trial so I can define documents as private. Another great feature is the ability to collaborate with others as you build your diagram. The site sends them a link to connect and they can edit the document as well.
There are no TOC specific abilities, of course, but if you are not ready to commit or know you'll just need a tree here and there it seems like a great tool. Here's an example of how it looks:
Of course I could have taken on  Flying Logic's 30 days trial (I reported on the TP training in their tutorial here) but I don't feel ready for that commitment. At the end of that trial period I'll have to make up my mind - pay or leave and I am not expecting enough TP work in the coming weeks to support that decision, so a TP supporting tool will just have to wait and I'll just have to work a bit more. If you decide to purchase  check it out in Amazon.