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Step Back a Bit

The journal of my journey. Life is filled with realizations. Unrecorded, they are lost.

My  collection of insights is the list of the single most important business lessons I learned in a given year. Step Back a Bit is simpler – It’s the things I realize anytime, that help me understand and be a better teacher.

If you have any comments please feel free to email me.

Processes define your business

If you’re a small business owner or manager and have got there through persistence, dedication and hard work, this process-management tool may be the “Swiss Army Knife” that you need to get to the next level. If you work in automotive or any kind of Engineering environment, this article will …


Meetings need their own job descriptions

A major source of stress in the workplace is wasted time. Interminable meetings seem to be the worst offenders. Some meetings can be incredible; but unclear agendas, late start and end times, and people who are invited just in case wreck it for everyone. Those things contribute to a well-deserved …


Never be blindsided again

Change is inevitable, and the more surprising it is, the less we like it. Creating your own agenda for change puts you back in control. It allows you to keep going on the things that matter most. Take action on this, it’s the first of four keys to effective management. …


Easily eliminate workplace stress and conflict

Managers are often faced with the reality that people are humans and not all dedicated, enthusiastic high achievers. Or that those who are can burn out! Sometimes, however, there are relatively simple ways to attack the root causes of stress and conflict. Take back your days with four simple tools …


Graphic: Sales Management as a Process

I usually work verbally or with a whiteboard. I helped a client with his Sales activities and he asked me to write down the notes of our discussion, which resulted in this post here, which I also published on LinkedIn. He was horrified – apparently spending two hours with a …


Effective sales management for small, growing companies

Sales Managers are usually really Salesperson Leaders, which can be very challenging in a small company. There are few areas where the manager’s results are so easily quantifiable. Firing bad reps doesn’t get you out of the hot seat yourself! By having your team focus on these six key areas, …


What’s really supposed to happen at work?

Sometimes there’s a simple solution to the conflict and systemic failures that can arise at work. We just need alignment between management roles and company processes. Every process has to have an owner, and everything that’s supposed to happen has to have a process. This can seem like a massive …


Beat the hamster-wheel feeling at work!

Instead of having a never-ending stream of emergencies to deal with, imagine coming to work each day with a to-do list that has been written on your own terms. I have found that having a small number of improvement areas – pillars, you might say – with a clearly-written vision …


Safety? Or Profitability?

Your first visit from the local machinery safety inspector can be a source of panic. The rules seem excessive and even a cause of offshoring. I have found over and over, however, that there’s always a way to come out ahead. Done right, there’s no reason to settle for less …


Breakthrough after Breakthrough

A team that commits to a short-term improvement cycle gets quickly aligned and can suddenly start making rapid progress, seeing breakthroughs with every figurative turn of the wheel. Never Getting to the Fun Stuff It’s amazing how fast time slips past without results when you have an improvement you know you …


A generic management model

Each step is itself a process:


Business Improvement seen as a System

I’m assuming you have some area of responsibility, whether that’s a company or a department. You also help somebody achieve something by providing some product or service. Do you see what I’m trying to prove here? You have a customer, whether that’s an internal customer who is the next link …


You are a diamond in the rough

I haven’t written this down before, it’s a story I tell.  I read about it 20 years ago and gradually it has become a way of looking at life. It isn’t perfectly representative of the industry it describes but that’s not the point. I told to a friend who’s an …


A 10-year-old’s wisdom: Make Work More Good

I was working on training materials the other night and asked my son, “If I was standing in front of a bunch of business owners and had to tell them how to make their companies better, and I didn’t know their companies, what should I tell them that would work …