The branch manager at one of the first jobs I ever had used to quote the John Maxwell saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” all the time. Seems simple. For me, though, the question is how do people ‘know you care’? If you’re a leader, is just saying “I care about you” really enough for people to know – and believe – that you care? I don’t think so. For people to really ‘know that you care’, you have to ‘show’ them. And, the best way that I know to ‘show’ someone that you care is to spend time with them. Focused time. Time listening to what they have to say (without constantly looking down to check your phone or watch)…time watching how they do the work they are doing and seeing where the work is difficult for them (without constantly pointing out what they are doing wrong or how you would do it instead)…time with them in their space, and not just in your office. Often, in business, we think that monetary rewards or other material incentives ‘show’ people that we care, and overlook the simple, powerful and human message of caring we share when we spend time truly focused on others. In my experience, if we want the people who work for us to truly care about our customers, and our organization, the only way to get them to care, is to spend our time with them to SHOW that we truly care about them. What do you think? How do you ‘show’ people you care?
It’s 2019! As we start the New Year, I have a few questions for you:
- What will YOU create?
- Who will YOU help?
- How will YOU make the world better?
Why am I asking? Because 2019 is the year to turn YOUR ideas into reality. To speak in YOUR voice. To share YOUR ideas with the world. Why? Because YOU, your ideas, your experiences, your skills and your point of view are unique. Often, we get so caught up in taking in what others put out into the world, that we forget that we are just as creative.
So, this year, I’m challenging you to CREATE.
- CREATE a balance of reading what others write and post with sharing your ideas, experience and insights on social media, podcasts, books and
- CREATE a balance between taking courses and certificates and ‘learning-by-doing’ to create solutions that haven’t been thought of yet
- CREATE time to spend on the things that YOU are passionate about. Whether that’s knitting hats for cancer patients, playing piano for your local children’s choir, or creating Kindness Kards with children at your local elementary school.
Because, when you practice your creativity, you find out that you can be more than you ever thought you could be and do more than you ever thought you could do. At home, at work, in your community, your country and the world. There are seven billion people in this world, a host of problems, and we – and our creativity – are the only ones here to solve them.
So…I’m going to ask you again…
- What will YOU create?
- Who will YOU help?
- How will YOU make the world better?
I can’t wait to read your posts and books, see your drawings and hear about the creative solutions you come up with! Happy New Year…and keep me posted!
Day 4 of the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
Today’s Reflection – and Challenge – is about asking TO help!
How often do you think about asking TO help someone? Not asking for help you need, but proactively asking someone else what help they need?
In our twenty-four-seven-three-hundred-sixty-five-days-a-year-non-stop-world it’s easy to get focused on ourselves and our needs…and forget to look outwards and see that other people are just as busy and overwhelmed as we are. And that they need our help just as much as we need theirs.
So, today, for the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge…
Ask someone how you can help them! And then give them the help they need! Helping others is a great way to practice kindness, and, you’ll feel great too!
Did you know that February 11 – 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Week? To celebrate, and to help people improve the world, I’ve decided to create a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. Just like the KRC Creativity Challenge, I’ll be uploading a post a day challenging you to participate by doing your own acts of kindness. The Challenge prizes?…Well, that’s easy: happiness for others, good feelings for you, and a better world…one random act of kindness at a time!
So, here goes…Day 1 of the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge:
How We Get There is as Important as Where we are Going! Last week, I was reminded of the importance of treating people who are learning new behaviors and ways of thinking, kindly. A number of the people I was coaching were frustrated and disappointed that they didn’t hit the targets they had set for themselves. Although they made good progress, they didn’t quite reach the goal. “That’s okay,” I said. “A target is simply that. A target. Sometimes we hit it and sometimes we don’t. When we don’t, we reflect on the gap and ask ourselves ‘why’? Then we take what we’ve learned and continue working. And besides, you’ve made great progress! Think about all the practice you’ve had and the experience you’ve gained! You should feel good about your efforts this week, not bad!” As coaches and leaders, it’s important to treat people kindly, and help them see the value of their efforts. if we’re focused only on ‘hitting the target’ as the measure of success, we might forget that the way we reach those targets, is just as important.
Here’s today’s Random Acts of Kindness Challenge:
Find a way to help someone who struggling to reach a target or goal feel good about the effort they’re putting into learning! Whether it’s lending an ear to listen, or a reminder of how much they’ve progressed, your random act of kindness will help them think more kindly of themselves as well!
One of the things that always surprises me is the preference of words over pictures that most of us seem to develop as adults. Although understanding the world through images and pictures comes before words (think of the picture books you enjoyed as a child) as we get older it’s as if we somehow forget the power that images have to convey meaning. Today’s creativity exercise is designed to help you build a bridge b tween words and images.
For today’s practice write the first word that comes into your mind on a piece of paper. Then add lines, shapes, and colors to turn it into a picture of what the word says. (You might remember doing this spontaneously as a child! While you’re doing the exercise to day, remember the joy you had creating when you did it!)
Karyn: Noah, can you tell us a little about AME and Hennig, your role, and what Goellner’s approach to continuous improvement is?
Noah: Hennig and AME are sister companies in the manufacturing industry, and are both part of the holding company Goellner Inc. AME does a lot of high precision machining, and is segmented into 6 strategic operating units. Hennig has been the leading manufacturer of machine tool protection, chip conveyors, and coolant filtration systems for over 55 years. My role at Goellner Inc. is Global Director of Continuous Improvement. Our approach to continuous improvement is to focus on developing our people with problem solving skills through a “learn by doing” approach through rapid experimentation. Through Hoshin Kanri, we align all our efforts to our vision statement “To make our customers successful”.
Karyn: I know that many manufacturing companies don’t think they need to use lean in services. Why do Hennig and AME?
Noah: What happens on the manufacturing floor is only a part of the overall customer experience. We strive to make each of our customers successful, and to do so we need to look at improving all aspects of the customer experience. It is not enough to have exceptional quality, a good price, and some of the fastest lead times in the industry. These things are all very important, but the fastest manufacturing lead times in the world mean very little, if we take too long to quote, or are unresponsive to providing help or support. Creating the best overall customer experience from start to finish, in everything we do, is the best way to help our customers be successful, not just manufacturing product.
Karyn: How do you think you will be able to make your customers more successful by using lean in both manufacturing and services?
Noah: To make our customers more successful, we are re-engineering our organization around the needs of the customer and our vision statement. We have restructured our sales, engineering, and manufacturing groups and collocated them into QROC’s (Quick Response Office Cells), in order to provide the quickest responses to our customers needs. We also created a new role in our company called our “Customer Success Specialist”. Through this initiative we are creating a continuous flow of the “Voice of the Customer” through real conversations and relationships in order to truly understand the needs of our customers through their own voice. Then we will be aligning our organizational efforts to fulfilling these needs on a continuous basis, including Continuous Improvement, and innovation in product, process, and customer experience.
Karyn: What are some of the challenges you’ve had in introducing lean in services to a manufacturing company?
Noah: Some challenges in doing this are that it can be more difficult to find good resources on lean in services. There are not too many great books like “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” out there. So the fun/challenge becomes to focus on applying the concepts of lean into area’s outside the manufacturing floor and into all processes of the organization. Often many of the people are not used to these concepts at the beginning, but I have realized that when we work together towards a common goal, the creativity of our people can accomplish anything. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that we need to reset our thinking to stop assuming we know what to do, and what our customers want, and really take the time to communicate and listen to what our customers have to say.
Karyn: What do you think that the biggest benefit of having coaching on an ongoing basis is?
Noah: The benefits of having Karyn’s help with coaching on an ongoing basis have been huge. She has been crucial in providing a fresh customer-centric perspective, to not only get on the right course, but also providing the discipline and know-how to stay on the right course. Karyn’s help in the creation and use of visual management systems and Kata coaching has helped us learn to see the issues we face on a daily basis in a way so that we can better use our creativity to solve them. Her positive attitude and encouragement turns difficult problems into fun challenges, and her experience and knowledge in lean, and especially lean in services has been a massive factor in helping us bring out our own creativity to help continually improve our ability to make our customers successful.
For further information, please contact Noah at email@example.com.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how KRC is partnering with Hennig and AME, please visit Hennig’s Commitment to Excellence website page.
Last Saturday, my dog, Karma, went out for breakfast. Yes, you read that correctly – my dog went out for breakfast! How did a dog go out for breakfast? And what could that possibly have to do with creativity?
Let me tell you…
First thing you need to know is that Karma loves two things more than anything. One is his breakfast: mashed organic pumpkin mixed with glucosamine and probiotics! (He’s basically allergic to almost every food a dog can eat). The second is our next door neighbor, Michael. Since Michael’s family’s dog passed away a few years ago, Michael often comes over to play with Karma and take him on extra walks; over the years Michael and Karma have developed a special bond.
This past Saturday morning, Karma patrolled the backyard as usual, while I prepared his breakfast. When I opened the sliding door to call him in, though, something unusual happened. Instead of barreling in like a shot, Karma just stood there and looked at me and his dish of food, with what I can best describe as a ‘conflicted’ look on his face. Then he looked to the side…and that’s when I saw Michael heading towards our yard.
As Michael came around the fence he saw me – and Karma’s dish full of breakfast – too. “I was hoping to take Karma over to my house for a while this morning, but I see he hasn’t had breakfast yet.” Looking crestfallen, Michael added, “Maybe I can come back and get him later.” As he turned to leave, I saw how sad Karma looked too.
And then it occurred to me! Michael could take Karma AND his breakfast over to his house. “What a great idea,” said Michael! I handed him the dish and Karma’s leash and off the two went! A happy Hollywood dog story ending, right?
But it’s actually more than that. It’s a great example of what, as I define it, creativity is really all about:
Combining and synthesizing knowledge and understanding we have from previous experiences and putting them together in new and unusual ways.
Or, in other words, thinking about how to accomplish something using what I call “AND” thinking, instead of our normal “either/or” thinking.
Usually, when we work on solving a problem or figuring out how to achieve a goal, we tend to employ “either/or” thinking. For example, how many times have you heard the people you work with say “we can either have high quality services or low cost for our customers?” Or, “You can either have speed or accuracy…you can’t have both?” That’s “either/or” thinking.
Problem with “either/or” thinking is that it’s limiting. And today’s customers aren’t willing to accept those kinds of limits. Today’s customers want “luxury service at coach prices”; they aren’t willing to accept either quality or cost, they expect both. And we, as creators of those services, need to give them both:
That’s where “AND” thinking comes in. How can we give customers the quality they want AND price our services more cheaply than our competitors?
We do it by combining/synthesizing knowledge and understanding we have from previous experiences in new ways!
And that’s where Karma going out for breakfast meets creativity!
If I’d used “either/or” thinking either Karma could have gone to Michael’s house or he could have had breakfast. And at least one of my ‘customers’ would have been unhappy.
Instead, I used “AND” thinking to generate a novel solution that combined learning from previous experiences: have Michael feed the dog breakfast at his house. End result? Two very happy customers,
And that’s exactly what we want. Happy and satisfied customers. Who get everything that they want, not just part.
So, next time one of your customers asks for something, instead of using “either/or” thinking to satisfy part of their request, ask yourself “How can our dog go out for breakfast on this one?” Generate a list of all the things you know about the situation and see how you can combine them in new ways.
That’s what creativity and service excellence is all about!
If you’d like to learn more, I’ll be presenting a webinar on How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence, hosted by KaiNexus, on March 28th from 1 pm – 2 pm ET. You can sign up here: http://hubs.ly/H06kxl70
This month, Joe Draheim of National Taxi Limo discusses how coaching helped him to develop his ‘discipline practice’ in his personal and professional life.
Karyn: Joe, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you’re currently working on?
Joe: I come from a technology background but decided to start a more practical business, National Taxi Limo. Currently, though, I’m gravitating towards taking what I learned from starting NTL and putting that learning back into a more technological business and into some personal projects that I’m passionate about.
Karyn: When you and Karyn first met, you were just starting your own business. Can you tell us about how practicing discipline helped you with that?
Joe: Practicing discipline helped me immensely in starting my own business. Prior to last year, I wasn’t good at managing time or money…I was kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants guy. I had to use discipline to learn to manage both my time and money accordingly so I could be successful both in my business and in my personal life.
Karyn: How has working on creating a ‘discipline habit’ affected you?
Joe: I started to learn discipline a long time ago, in a place I love – my safe place – the gym. To make a ‘discipline habit’ I took the lessons I’d learned from going to the gym, the only place I’d been disciplined before, and combined them with the lessons I learned from Karyn, my coach. This allowed me to create habits of good time management and finishing what I started which I applied both to my business and other areas of my personal life.
Karyn: What have been the biggest challenges of working on being more disciplined?
Joe: I come from a long-line of hard-working blue collar dreamers. I had to use the discipline habits to actually do the work to turn my dreams into reality. If you aren’t disciplined it’s easy to talk about doing things, but hard to actually do them. And unless you do things your dreams can’t turn into a reality. It’s hard to change. Being disciplined enough to change has been my biggest challenge.
Karyn: What would you recommend to others who want to become more disciplined in their work and personal lives?
Joe: First, find your passion and then find a coach and listen to what they say and put it to use. And, the most important thing, REALLY, the most important thing is to enjoy the struggle...because…how we get there is as important as where we are going. You’ve got to understand that discipline is the struggle and you’ve got to enjoy the struggle to make discipline work.
For further information about Joe’s work (and yes – as well as owning National Taxi Limo, Joe is a fabulous web designer), visit his website OnWord Web Design.
A few months ago, I created what I call ‘Love & Kindness’ buttons. Now, wherever I go – grocery store, coffee-shop, library, mall, to name a few – I anonymously leave a ‘Love & Kindness’ button along with a small slip of paper saying something like ‘All We Need is Love’ or ‘Practice Kindness Grow Love’. I imagine that some people who find them put them on and wear them…maybe they pass them along to a friend…maybe sometimes they’re thrown out…
I’ll never know and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve done something that I believe will make people stop and think about the importance of love and kindness. Now and always.
When my children were little, people would ask me what I hoped they would be when they grew up. I always answered the same thing: ”Kind”. Many people thought that was a strange answer, but not me. Because I truly believe that if we treat everyone with ‘love and kindness’ everything else will work out and be alright. Everything.
So, that’s why I’m giving out ‘Love & Kindness’ buttons. A small thing to turn my personal and professional vision of a world in which everyone treats each other with love and kindness into a reality.
As the Dalai Lama says “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
What are you doing for World Kindness Day?