When not to call me

Being a self employed professional, a consultant, has its benefits and its downsides. The good thing is you’re responsible for your own success, the downside is that only you are responsible for your own success. This means you have to do your own acquisition, chase down the next customer or the next project.

Private Phone” by Nick Demou/ CC0 1.0

As I teach companies about segmentation, targeting, defining persona’s etcetera, I also advise my customers to think about who you don’t want to serve. As Seth Godin says, sometime you create something someone doesn’t like and that’s cool, because it’s not for them. I think this holds true for many businesses, including my own.

I remember a high school teacher in a discussion on ‘what to be when you grow up’, saying that part of knowing what you want is also about being specific on what you don’t want. Knowing what you don’t want is sometimes easier than thinking what you want. It can give clarity. Imagining your ideal but also your worst customer.

So, here’s what I don’t want:

Following the hype

Lean is on the rise. More and more big, successful companies are adopting versions of lean. Many see the turnaround Larry has made at GE, many read the books about Toyota or have looked at the shareholder value created by Danaher over the years.

And yet very few understand what it really is, what it takes and when it fails. When people are just looking for the next theory because the read about it, call someone else. Not me.

Our president told us to

I hate it when people want to start using Lean tools, only to show to their bosses they’re doing it. Without actually believing in it or even without actually understanding it. Only out of vanity, only to look good.

In these cases, you know it’s going to fail…massively. The success of lean adoption is for a good part driven by leadership. Leadership participation, leadership commitment and leadership accountability.

Doing things only because someone else tells you is not sustainable. If the president stops pushing, will you suddenly drop your business transformation? Not me.

We need to fix our business now and we hear this can help

The classic saying is that you need to fix your roof when the sun is shining. The assumption is that a transformation is best done when you can focus on it, when there are not too many other things troubling your mind.

And yet, many turn to lean (and specifically A3/Problem Solving) when the rain is gushing through a massive hole in the roof. (First emergency advice: stop digging!) A hole that has always been there, a hole that has been willingly ignored because there was no need. Not me.

One of the presidents I used to work for used another analogy. Great if you’re riding the high wave, but beware that when the sea withdraws, the rocks come to show.

So who should call me?

You should call me if you’re interested in understanding how some of the Lean basics can drive true competitive advantage, based on true customer understanding and creating value. If you want to experiment with tools to fix your pricing and generate more margin to invest in innovation, for the benefit of your customer.

Call me when you’re aware of the hole in your roof and you’re willing to invest in a hands-on process for solving problems, any problems. And for preventing the next storm to blow another hole in your roof.

If this post didn’t scare you, call me!

Drop me a message and let’s have a chat or a coffee. Black with sugar.