Blog (Recent)

Many companies rely on outside talent — consultants, freelancers, technical experts — to do strategic work. These temporary workers can do more than contribute to individual projects; they can also help mentor your full-time staff. Invite them to brainstorming meetings, so that younger employees can learn from their ideas. Involve them in after-action reviews, so they can offer their perspective on how your team can improve on future projects. And invite them to share their knowledge of innovations in their field during brown bag lunches. Outside experts are likely to have networks that don’t overlap with yours, so you can also look to them to make connections between your staff and new, interesting people. 

Posted by: Paul Robbins

When you take over a team, your new employees are inevitably going to evaluate whether you are fit for the job. You can build their faith in your competence by producing results early on. Pick three or four simple, well-defined problems that matter to your team or your boss, and solve them in a way that’s consistent with company culture. Don’t overreach with these quick wins: Only choose a few that you know you can get done. Knock down roadblocks by identifying a few of the obstacles that are holding your team back. Can you get a famously difficult executive to sign off on a resource request? Can you persuade other business unit heads to untangle a tricky project plan? Confront these tough issues, and your team will know you can get things done.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Posted by: Paul Robbins

For an outcome-centric company to carry out marketing’s promise, sales organizations must know the customer well enough to understand the specific outcomes it seeks. This requires a strong partnership between sales organizations and customers. In the case of an industrial equipment manufacturer selling “uptime” instead of a device, for example, sales needs to work with multiple customer stakeholders to define the service level agreement. This is inherently more complex and requires the sales team to work across its own organization much more closely, especially in areas such as pricing, operations, engineering, customer service, after-sales support and sales operations. Organizations must be prepared to improve or modify selling skills, sales incentives, internal coordination and sales and service processes to make this work right for the customer.

Becoming outcome-centric requires more than changes to marketing and sales, however. Product development teams will need to focus on delivering products as a service to enable real-time service level monitoring. This way, engineers and product designers no longer have to make educated guesses about how their products perform in the field, because they can collect actual performance data instead. For instance, Cummins, the leading diesel engine manufacturer, has been gathering real-time performance data of its engines and is using it to identify how engines can be made to work more efficiently. Customers benefit from improved engine uptime and lower maintenance costs. Another advantage of this change: It could help solve a common challenge in industrial manufacturing where customer feedback on product usage fails to make it back from the sales team and other customer-facing staff. Product performance data helps inform future improvements. But just as important, it tends to compress the new product development cycle. Industrial manufacturers may soon have to compete like technology companies, racing to beat the competition to get the next-generation product out the door.

Pricing is another function that has to adapt. While many manufacturers today use a cost-plus or market-based pricing model, pricing in an outcome-centric organization must change to something like price per outcome or usage. This is critical if manufacturers are to capture a greater share of the revenue from the outcomes they help deliver. But for many industrial companies, developing advanced pricing capabilities has not been a priority.

After-sales support and customer service are also affected as they increasingly focus on predictive interventions. For example, many equipment manufacturers are automating service scheduling and parts replacement. To deliver outcomes, customer service teams must be tightly integrated with the commercial organization so they can anticipate customer issues and proactively offer solutions (e.g., automatic rerouting of a misplaced delivery). Presently, these functions tend to be siloed from the upstream marketing and sales organizations. This will have to change for many companies seeking to become outcome-centric.

Finally, the sales operations organization may become bigger and more important. Business intelligence is a strong competency in outcome-centric companies. Wherever they are, such organizations need to gather and analyze multiple streams of real-time customer data so they can identify and recommend improvements. Sales operations may be the logical group to perform this function on top of its traditional role of supporting the sales team.

Becoming an outcome-centric organization is arguably one of the most important strategic decisions your company can make. And it’s becoming more feasible every day, thanks to technology advancements and the Industrial Internet of Things. Without an outcome-centric mindset and operational model, companies risk falling behind. But it involves a foundational shift in organization and culture. Embracing this major undertaking and maintaining the discipline to follow through will likely mean the difference between future success and stagnant survival.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Some people might tell you that the only way to manage a work disagreement is to straighten things out right away. But that isn’t always true. Sometimes, your best option is to do nothing — let the comment go or simply walk away. Doing nothing isn’t a cop-out. In fact, we do it all the time without even realizing it. It’s a smart choice if you don’t have the energy to invest in preparing for or having a difficult conversation, or if you suspect the other person might be unwilling to have a constructive discussion. Letting the issue go will keep the relationship stable. But this approach won’t work if you stew about the disagreement, making you more likely to have an outburst later, or if you start to act passive-aggressively toward your counterpart. Only do nothing if you can put the conflict behind you.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Getting many people to think about a complex problem is often the best way to come up with a solution. But you have to take steps to make the collaboration efficient. When you invite others to contribute to a project, respect their time and show up prepared. Bring together the people who are closest to the problem. Be clear about who is coming and why, and spend time considering how you’re going to tackle a problem. In some situations, it may make sense to keep the conversation open-ended and brainstorm with team members by saying: “What do you think? What’s your perspective?” In other cases, it may be simpler to share your views and ask others to weigh in: “I value your input. Here’s what I’m thinking. What am I not taking into consideration or factoring in? What resonates, and what doesn’t?”

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Castool have started using a post process treatment on shot sleeve inserts we call 3P. Insert life has increased by 300 to 400%.

 

 

Posted by: Paul Robbins

If a friend tells you about an ordeal they’re facing or a mistake they’ve made, how do you typically respond? In all likelihood, you offer kindness and comfort. But how do you treat yourself when you make a big mistake? You’re probably much tougher — springing to self-criticism, hiding in embarrassment, or ruminating on your perceived shortcomings. The next time you face a setback, try taking a self-compassion break. As soon as you notice that you’re upset or under stress, see if you can locate where the emotional discomfort resides your body. Where do you feel it the most? Then admit to yourself, “This is hard” or “Other people feel this way too.” If you’re having trouble finding the right language, it can help to imagine what you might say to a close friend struggling with the same issue. Can you say something similar to yourself, exhibiting the same kindness?

Posted by: Paul Robbins

As a young professional, you might worry that you’re too junior, inexperienced, or new to speak up in a meeting. But unless you participate, you won’t catch the attention of your senior colleagues who have the power to bring your career to the next level. Find something to share that will make senior staff notice you — and your potential. Don’t underestimate the value of the experience that you do have, which might very well be pertinent to the situation.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

The pace of work everywhere has increased. We’re all expected to do more in less time. So what should you do if someone on your team takes too long to get their work done? Start by finding the source of the sluggishness. Your employee might be struggling with a new task, or devoting too much time to certain projects because they’re a perfectionist. Don’t make assumptions. Even if you have an idea of what the root cause might be, ask the person directly. If you approach the conversation with curiosity, you’ll be better positioned to brainstorm workable, effective solutions. Give them guidance on where you want them to emphasize their time, and on how long something should take. Someone who is a perfectionist will benefit from clear deadlines. If the situation gets better, be sure to recognize their improved performance.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Pages