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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Strategic Planning

Since I'm on tour giving presentations on Strategic Planning, I'll share some of it with you. One of the things I talk about are the four elements of the Strategic Plan:

Products & Services




Products & Services are the products and services that you're going to offer to you customers. For most organizations you're probably talking about broad product lines or service offerings, but for smaller organizations you might be more specific, defining individual products or services.

Markets defines the markets where you're going to sell your products and offer your services. These might be geographic markets, types of customers, demographics of customers, or however you segment your markets.

The Financial element is one that is often confusing to people. In the Strategic Plan, we're not talking about the budget or sales or revenue forecasts. What we're doing is defining the financial structure of the organization over the planning time period. We're setting financial goals, defining where we're going to be. This is different than what most organizations do, and requires a different mind set. Set the target, then we'll work on how we're going to get there.

The fourth element is Structure. This is defining what the organization will look like, how it will be structured, so we can reach the other goals we've defined. It might include things like new plants or facilities, new departments, a re-structuring from what we look like now, or even individual positions that need to be added and filled.

As an example, let's look at what might be included in a Strategic Plan for the Hawaii State Rugby Union. The first thing that has to be decided is the time frame fro the plan. For a small, fledgling organization, a two-year plan is probably appropriate. So let's use two years.

What you want to do is define what the organization will look like two years from now. Products & Services for the Union include a variety of things. The weekly games are an important part, so we'll include them. We have one tournament each year, but maybe two years from now we'll have two tournaments. One might be the local tournament, with all the local teams, and the other might be an international tournament, like the one the Harlequins used to put on. Services might include annual coaching and referee clinics, so that we can train new people and keep the current people up-to-date with their skills. Maybe we want to add some sort of fitness training clinic for everyone in the Union who wants to attend.

For Markets, the Union might want to expand so that it includes teams on all the islands. It might include adding some games on the mainland. Remember, these are goals we're defining over the time period of the plan. We'll talk about how we get there later in the process. Our goals must be realistic, but they should also be stretch goals.

The Financial element defines our financial structure. Maybe we say that one of your goals is to have total revenue of $50,000 annually at the end of year two. That would include team dues, tournament fees, sponsorships, sales of Union merchandise, and anything else we come up with. We might set goals for the profitability of the tournaments, or total sales of merchandise.

Finally, the structure. We've got a structure now, but what will it look like at the end of year two so that we can achieve the other goals we've defined? Maybe we need a marketing director to help get the word out about rugby, to advertise the tournaments, and just raise the level of awareness to the general public. If we've defined two tournaments as a goal, maybe we need a dedicated tournament director to act as the project manager for both of them. We might need to formalize the structure that includes the referee committee, the Hawaii Youth Rugby organization, the select side selection committee, and the disciplinary committee. We might need to add a coaching committee to address the needs of the coaches and run the training that we defined as a goal.

That's part of what we're looking at when we do Strategic Planning. We set out defined goals, then we work to get the entire organization, and everyone in it, moving in the same direction, towards meeting those goals.

On the road

I'm currently in Santa Rosa, California. I came up here to conduct a seminar and give a dinner meeting presentation. The seminar was canceled, but the presentation went well. I gave my Strategic Planning presentation, which seems to be of interest to people. Many organizations perform something they call Strategic Planning, but they're not getting the results they want. My presentation is titled Effective Strategic Planning, where I define Effective as actually achieving the goals and objectives you've set out. Many other organizations do not perform Strategic Planning at all. Some do some sort of annual planning, but that's not really getting them anywhere. A few organizations actually do perform Strategic Planning with a fairly high level of success, so that's always nice to hear. They still might be missing a few pieces that could drive their performance higher, but they serve as a good example showing that it can be done.

From here I'm going over to Sacramento, where I'll give the Strategic Planning presentation again. Then I'm down in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale for a presentation on Lean and Six Sigma: Working Together.

I've been hauling some of my books around with me, to sell. I learned that it's always best to have at least a couple with me anytime I'm giving a presentation, or even going to a meeting. When I give a presentation or conduct a seminar, there is absolutely no sales pitch involved. That's not what the people are there for. But people always ask about my book, so I keep some with me just in case. Of course, after hauling them around with me I forgot to bring them with me to the last presentation. Doh! I really don't want to carry them back home. Besides wanting to sell them, I need to offload some weight from my luggage. For one, I bought a coupld of books at the conference in Orlando. I bought the last two books in Dr. Harrington's 5-book series, The Five Pillars of Excellence. I had the first three, so figured I should get the last two so I have the full set. Yes, I'm a book hoarder. My personal library is quite extensive. Meaning I have no more room for more books and should really try to start purging some, especially the ones that are in boxes in storage.

Hawaii Rugby Results Week 5

Here's the results from Week 5. Also, this marks the end of Round 1 of this season's competition. Round 1 winners are the Barbarians. This weekend starts Round 2 of the season. The winners of Round 2 will play the winners of Round 1 (Barbarians) for the Championship. If the Barbarians win Round 2 also, they will be declared the Champions this season.

Along with this season's competition, the Union will be selecting players for a Select Side Touring Team. Besides their playing ability, selection criteria will include the player's discipline both on and off the field. Sportsmanlike conduct is vital to rugby, and rugby's image to the public, and is an important selection criteria for Hawaii rugby's touring side. My hat's off to the Union leaders for making this part of the selection criteria.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New links

I'm adding a couple of new links to the Rugby Owned Businesses list. For those of you who are wine lovers, check out Hooker Wines. And, I'm sure you can guess what position this gentleman played - yes - Hooker, or number 2. I probably shouldn't speculate about wine produced by one of our height-challenged brethren. Could be worse. Could be a winger :)

Next is Tor Consulting. I just met this gentleman this evening at my presentation on Strategic Planning. He consults in the area if Balanced Scorecard, which compliments what I do and what I was speaking about.

Hawaii Rugby Results Week 4

I'm a little behind while I'm traveling (and missing the games), but here's Week 4 results:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Conference Gem

I found my gem at the conference on the last day, at the last session. It was a Friday afternoon, after two days of conference and two days of pre-conference courses. Which means that by then the attendance at the sessions had thinned out considerably. And that’s too bad. I had given my second presentation at the next to last session on Friday, and had a pretty good crowd, but I know a lot of people were already heading to the airport. By the last session people were pretty sparse. I was a bit worn out after giving my two presentations and not having much sleep (which was odd, because I almost always sleep well), and wasn’t planning on going to any of the last sessions myself. None of the sessions looked interesting enough to draw me in, but I decided to go to one anyway. I picked one that was a little different for me, a session about a school district in Texas.

And that’s where I found my gem.

When I got to the room where the session was being held, there was only one other person there. Two more came in, but the first person left, so there were only three of us in attendance. A gentleman from the Aldine Independent School District in east Texas, around Houston, talked about how the performance of the schools in their district made a dramatic turnaround. It was truly fascinating and impressive. In 1993 the school district was in extremely poor shape in terms of performance, and they realized they were in severe crisis and had to do something. At that time they were introduced to the Baldrige Criteria, also known as the Criteria for Performance Excellence. They decided to use the criteria to improve their schools and their performance. And, boy, have they ever. From being at the bottom in 1993, to being an award winning district in 2004 through today, they have made incredible gains.

That in itself is impressive, but how they made the turnaround is a wonderful story. Given that over 80 % of the households in the district are “economically challenged” and near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, makes their results even more impressive. How did they make their improvement? By using the Baldrige Criteria and with a lot of hard work. The Baldrige Criteria itself is just a framework. It doesn’t tell you how to do anything, it just provides criteria that must be addressed if you want to achieve excellence. How you actually address those criteria is up to you. This school district did things like develop an effective communication system district-wide so that everyone knows what’s going on, implemented a peer review system that brought teams from one school to another school for evaluation, which also contributed to greater understanding an learning by the evaluators, and a system for providing structured help to poorer performers that allows them to improve faster.

This little gem of a presentation showed that the tools for improvement, for performance excellence, are there. You just have to use them, and have the will to make them work. That’s where the first criteria, Leadership, comes into play. Leadership provides the will to succeed. If leaders provide the will, you’ll find the way.

In the Land of Mickey

I’m in Orlando, the land of Mickey Mouse. I won’t see him though; I’ve been attending the ASQ Quality Management Division Conference. It was quite excellent. It’s a relatively small conference, about 600 people, but that was a good size. It provided great opportunities to meet people and have a conversation with them. I met some wonderful people, very pleasant to speak with, and interesting. You get a wide variety of people at conferences, meaning a wide variety of occupations and jobs. Even at a conference on quality management there were people from many different industries and jobs. I met people from NASA, Pratt & Whitney (the aircraft engine manufacturer), the University of Texas Cancer Center, a steel company (Gerdau Ameristeel), the US Army Corps of Engineers, a couple of consultants, a school district in Texas (Aldine Independent School District), and a student. And that’s just the people I both had a conversation with and got their business card.

I enjoy meeting new people, but this isn’t something I could do just a few years ago. I’m basically pretty shy, and never used to be able to just walk up to someone at a conference or meeting and start a conversation. That is, until I started hanging out with Frank and Ken. They’re amazing, how easily they meet people and start a conversation with them. Especially Frank. He can walk into a room and within five minutes get to know half the people like he’s known them for twenty years. So I started watching them to see how they did it, and started practicing. I found that all it really takes is just to say “hi” to someone. So that’s what I do, I just say hi to whoever I’m sitting next to or standing next to. It sure beats spending the whole conference watching everybody else talking and having a great time. Try it next you go someplace where you don’t know anyone.

I came to this conference to give two presentations, which I did. Why two? Because in the call for papers it said you could submit a maximum of two, and if you submit two, the odds of getting accepted are better. So I submitted two, and both were selected. The worst they could do is say no, right? So why not ask? I thought they went well, and since at least a few people came to both, they must have been pretty good. It feels good when someone comes up to you after your presentation and tells you they got a great gem that they were missing and are going to take it back to work with them and put it into practice. For at least one gentleman it was the methodology that I presented (and is in my book, The Small Manufacturer’s Toolkit) for selecting “the right tool for the job.” Several people got their gem from my Strategic Planning session; and that methodology for selecting the right tool for the job always turns on the light bulb for some people.

In my next post I’ll tell you where I found my gem at the conference.

Slow Wireless

I'm trying to make a couple of posts, but there's no internet in my room (I'm in a hotel in San Francisco) and the wireless connection in the lobby is poor, at best. I'll post my entries as soon as I can. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's not failure if your learning

I'll write more on this, but I have to share this for now.

During the coaching clinic I attended, I had to keep asking myself if I was in a rugby coaching clinic or a business seminar. The similarities were striking. My book, Business Lessons from the Rugby Field, is practically writing itself. One of the things the instructor said was that you have to let the players fail during practice sometimes. That's how they'll learn. If you only show them the right way, and just drill that into them, they'll never know what to do in a real game situation. If they never fail, they'll never learn what doesn't work. If they don't fail, it means they're not trying new things.

That's the same thing I tell businesses. If your employees aren't allowed to fail, they're not trying new things. If you don't try new things you can't grow. You have to fail so you can succeed. It's not really failure if you're learning something.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rugby results week 3

Along with this week's results, some commentary by me.

I made it down to the park for some rugby last Saturday, and it was great. One thing that's great is that all the games are played in the same place (Kapiolani Park). As of now there are three games every Saturday. The first one starts at 1:00 pm, and the other two follow. Everyone is in the same place, and it's quite the festive atmosphere. How many other places get this to happen?

I only saw one game, since I'm busy preparing for my trip, writing my book, and assorted other busy things, but it was a good one. The Barbarian vs. Kalihi Raiders. A close game by two closely matched teams. The Islanders have won all their games so far, so I'm going to try to make sure I catch their game this week.

The games and the organization of the Union have been looking good. A big Mahalo (thank you) to everyone who's putting in the effort to keep things moving forward. Thanks to Ma'afu for the effort at the top; Etu and Saga for their efforts with the referees; Lofi for his scheduling, and especially with reporting the results; and Kevin Perry for his valiant efforts with Hawaii Youth Rugby (hang in there Kevin). There are many more people putting a lot of effort in too, with the teams, the clinics, and all the little things that are needed to keep things going. All your hard work is paying off.

As always, we need your support, and your generous donations. It takes a lot of money to run the whole of the rugby organization; the adult Union, the youth league, and all of the individual teams. But the rewards for everyone are great; the players, the volunteers, and the community.

We've got some work ahead of us with the youth, especially here on Oahu, but we're going to get there.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Going on tour

I'm going on tour. I'll be giving presentations and conducting seminars. Here's the itinerary:

February 21-22 - ASQ Quality Management Division Conference, Orlando, FL
Two presentations: 1) Effective Strategic Planning, 2) Selecting the Right Tools for the Job (based on my book)

February 26 - Redwood Empire Chapter APICS, Santa Rosa, CA
Seminar and dinner meeting presentation - topics TBD

February 29 - ISM Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, CA
Lunch & Learn presentation - Lean & Six Sigma: Working Together

March 4 - Sacramento Chapter APICS, Sacramento, CA
Dinner meeting presentation - Effective Strategic Planning

March 5 - ISM Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, CA
Two 1/2-day seminars - 1) Lean & Six Sigma, 2) Selecting the Right Tools for the Job

March 5 - Mission Peak Chapter APICS, San Jose, CA
Dinner meeting presentation - Lean & Six Sigma: Working Together

If you're interested in attending any of the events, please contact the organization listed (just go to their website), or contact me and I can point you in the right direction. If you'd like to have me speak to your group or conduct a training session or seminar, please contact me.

Hawaii Rugby Stats

Rugby season has started, and here's where we're at so far: (thanks to Lofi Fuatogi for this update)

Note: If anybody knows and easier way to post tables into a Blogger post, please let me know. I saved this as a PDF, then saved it as a JPG to post it.

Where have I been?

Been busy. Missed two weeks of rugby matches. What would cause me to miss all that rugby?

First was an APICS meeting. We had our quarterly District meeting here in Honolulu. The chapter presidents from the Pacific Western District meet quarterly to learn from each other, find out what's going on with the Association, and to get to know each other better. The benefits of these meetings are great. Instead of all the individual chapters operating in a vacuum, we learn from each other; what's working, what's not going so well, what new things are you doing. As an organization, we're much stronger by working closely with each other rather than trying to compete with each other or go it alone.

That's all well and good, but why would I give up a day of rugby to sit in a cold room in a hotel basement, when I've done this many time before? That's easy... it's the people, the friends I've made. At this point in my career, APICS doesn't offer me a whole lot. I've got my certifications, I've already published one book, another will be out soon, and more are on the way, and most of my work is at a higher level than where APICS is at right now. But APICS has been good to me throughout my career, so I like to give back when I can, and I've made some wonderful friends that I like to visit with. I can visit them without APICS, but it's a good venue to get together as a group, and I get to meet new people and get to know others better.

So that's one weekend. The next weekend (last week) I attended a rugby coaching clinic. Missed watching rugby at the park, but got to participate in activities at the clinic. My old, out of shape, body wasn't expecting tackling activities, but except for a little soreness, I held up pretty well.

The course was outstanding, as was the instructor, Peter Baggetta. The course was the Introducing Rugby course, from USA Rugby. There was a rather involved online component before the class, and that was my only complaint. Not that we had to do it, but the quality of it. I understand why they have the online portion, for prep and to reduce the in-class time, but if you're going to do something, do it right. The online portion needs to be revamped.

The Introducing Rugby course is geared towards coaching players who are new to the game (hence the name), and the course was primarily a "how to coach" course. The philosophy of coaching is vastly different than what those of us in the class were used to. We grew up in the model of teaching a skill and performing endless drills until we got it right. With lot's of talking by the coach. This is the "how" to do something and the execution of it.

The new philosophy makes lots of sense when you think about it, and when you see it and put it into practice. The idea is to first focus on the "why" and "when" to do something, or the recognition of a situation, to then assess the situation, learn how to make a decision regarding the situation, and then executing some action. On the rugby field the player needs to first recognize what's happening, how play is unfolding. Then they need to assess the situation; what are the options available, who is in a position to exploit those options? They have to then make a decision on what action to take. The last step is to actually execute the action.

In traditional coaching, the last step, the execution, is the focus. A player can play the game for years, learning to execute flawlessly, but still not be able to recognize the situation and make a valuable assessment of it. With the new philosophy, new players are introduced to the game by participating in semi-structured activities, and being allowed to play and have fun, rather than being drilled into a bored stupor.

I also have to commend USA Rugby for sending us instructors, both Josh for refereeing and Peter for coaching, who are really in touch with the island culture and the obstacles we face out here. They both really spoke to our needs and our situation. Thank you.

And, since USA Rugby always needs money, don't forget to buy your Adopt-A-Rugger and Hug-A-Rugger merchandise, where all proceeds are donated to USA Rugby.