Life is like fighting in a ring. Unless you're Mohammad Ali, which you aren't, you are going to get hit, more times than you'll be able to connect punches. Life hands you opportunities everyday, and you've got to climb in that ring and go for it with the intent of winning, even at the risk of getting knocked out for the ten count. Getting knocked down isn't your failure. Your failure is refusing to get back up and try again.
I found out that if I feel anxiety or fear, I face the source and say "Thank You for the opportunity" and, for some reason, I'm no longer anxious or afraid.
Face it, this new normal will not go away.
It caused hardships some worse than others and, like a heavy sledgehammer, slammed hard without much time to prepare. It was a hurricane that showed up with no warning, and businesses reacted the best way they could to survive.
As time passed, running a business has taken a new face, some uglier than others.
The best way to avoid being in the "line of fire" is practice "best defense".
Wear a mask
One challenge that I face as a martial artist nearing 70 years old is the workout. Though I spend much of my training practicing Tai Chi and Qigong, which are slow moving and practical for old timers like me, occasionally, I don on a karate gi (uniform) and perform kata, which are pre-arranged movements for exercise, good health, martial arts self defense, external and internal development. After doing it, I feel compelled to train more, as long as my body can handle it. Though many may argue, it takes it toll on muscles and joints, especially those riddled with years of abuse and arthritis.
I had not practiced this kata in about five years, which makes this workout difficult with me thinking about the sequences and performing at the same time.
Like Nike says it so well, "One more time."
One of my jobs as a consultant is to audit companies. There are several types of audits that I, personally, work on: one that is purely objective and the other that aims at identifying the cause and effect of company matters that were identified as problematic. I built a checklist against the Standard Operating Procedures general and specific to the sore spots. I notify the department head in advance about this checklist and the corresponding SOPs. This way, there are no surprises.
For a first-time audit, I meet with management and go over the process. We discuss the basics, and target problem statements that they would like to address. I ask how they would like to see this data and modify my checklist to accommodate their request. With that established, I develop a level of expectation of what to look for as potential failure points.
Though I may not advise the division date and time when I will arrive, I give them enough warning for the selected department to prepare its employees, process and equipment. I have, on occasions, set my checklist to management to thoroughly prepare my visit. In my experience on both sides of the audit process, I remembered it being standard practice to forewarn the auditee.
If I show up unannounced, it's because I've been tasked to check up on specific issues or problem statements. I’m given a preview or a list of suspicions some intelligence on what to look for. By showing up without a notification, it resolves a “Hawthorn Effect” where the preparation does not truly reflect the practices of the department but a primed version that is not representative of the division thereby hiding “hidden factories” that affect quality, safety and productivity.
When I conduct the audit, I presume the department and its staff are competent and versed on the procedures, especially if I had no history with the client.
The SOPs are my means to verify and validate my visits. Though I use standards based upon ISO as a method for pass or fail, the SOPs provide the strength and basis for compliance and grading.
It’s that easy.
Those who fall in the gray area are commented on the checklist, but the grade I give them still stands. The division can contest it after the report is submitted.
The audit, though daunting and revealing, is a powerful tool for process and continuous improvement and should be a routine part of a company’s annual routine.
It is customary for me to interview employees during audits, failures identified or revealed, unless glaring and evident like driving a vehicle with a flat tire
One example that I immediately bring attention to are incomplete forms discovered with missing signatures or dates, on packing slips or bill of lading, like proof of delivery and transfer of ownership not verified.
This is basic and fundamental.
Every once in a while, instead of practicing tai chi slow, I speed up the movements to make it more like a karate kata and imagining myself fighting others (bunkai). It's also a good work out. On other days, I try to do this same form, slowly, sometimes taking a full hour to complete it.
Words are powerful.
When we write, say, and think, it affects our subconscious, tells us how to act and react, without our knowing it.
For example, I’m thinking of the word “ Harmony“. Years ago, as a musician, mostly in high school, I played in a band. My instrument was the baritone, sometimes known as the euphonium , a smaller version of a tuba. It supported deeper tones and melodies. my contribution, as with others, was to play in tune, rhythm and musical cooperation, listening for blends and balances, creating for the moment, harmony.
In the laws of gender, Yin and Yang, fulfillment is based upon a concept, a compliance of work in progress, pieces of a puzzle creating a picture, parts snapping into place, one piece at a time. Words like appreciation, fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness come to mind. A very wise woman once told me, “do your part. Do your best. And God will do the rest.“
The symphony of life that coordinates the brass, wind, string and drums continually rolls out the tune of life with a conductor, endlessly, waving his wand.
Each of us has an instrument to play. To keep this world spinning, we need to stay in tune, play the notes on our sheet, and listen to the universe around us, as it ensures perfect harmony.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi (translated means “grand ultimate fist”) is an internal martial art created about 300 years ago, when a Buddhist monk observed movements between a snake and crane fighting. The monk emulated these movements and created a method of martial arts. Years passed and this exercise was developed into what we know now is Tai Chi and Kung fu.
|Picture courtesy of dreamstime.com|
I asked for a tracking number, and was then told that I’d have to wait several weeks for the manufacture to restock the distributor’s shelves.
Wow. Not good.
Why is it's easy to understand that stuffing eight pounds of cheese cannot fit in a four pound bag, but yet companies continue to over sell or overbook?
A college kid in the 1970's got involved in the martial art, motivated by Bruce Lee, Kwai Chang Caine, and Lo Lei in "Five Fingers of Death," a long haired hippie in bell bottom pants, tank top tee shirt and a fu manchu mustache, I took a dive and entered a karate dojo.
I can say the first day in class was foreign, alien, whatever.
Like everything else during this time of my life, when I encountered something new, I spent more time watching, observing, emulating, saying nothing, and hoping my “wild flower” imitation not attract attention. Except for those wearing starchy white karate uniforms with various colored belts announcing their ranks, I noticed others like me, stretching awkwardly, in quiet corners, not making eye contact.
Check this out because it’s pretty funny. I get this call from a nice sounding fella. He told me that I was eligible for a hearing aid and proceeded to ask the question, “do I have a problem hearing?” I told him “no.” And then he hangs up. How rude. So? If I had a hearing problem, and answered his question, isn’t that the first clue that I could hear him loud and clear? And then if I did say yes? Then I would not have been able to hear him. Talk about a waste in telemarketing, but then, it’s a job. We all need to work.
Now think about it? How many of us can focus on one thing; for example, a job to be done without distraction; multitasking, listening to headsets while cooking, watching television while texting, or thinking about a multitude of things while walking to work.
How many of us can concentrate on a single, isolated thought for, say, one minute, 60 seconds?
This simple exercise is what the TaiChi and Qigong masters are teaching and asking everyone to practice as a way to defend yourself against the SARS- Covid-19 virus by building your immune system. It’s simple and easy to learn and can be practiced anytime of the day except right after eating. You can do it for as short or as long as you want providing that you breathe freely, move slowly, flow and “breathe grasshopper, breathe.” You can practice it sitting or in standing position. Please be safe, healthy and alive.
Just recently, I read an article about how the Chinese are using an age old qigong exercise called baduanjin or 8 piece brocade to strengthen the immune system, our own defense against the coronavirus (see https://lnkd.in/gpnQ3iP).
|Courtesy of rtor.org|
Here I am, in front of a lap top, writing, creating this post in the middle of the SARS COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The infections and deaths it’s causing (and continues to cause) add to a long list of challenges beginning with the lack of medical equipment, supplies and personnel.
I am not saying that it’s fun, the right thing, nor does it makes me happy in any shape or form.
It’s just how it is, and those who are my age agree that it’s life, a reality, and we deal with it or don’t.
On occasion, I’ve been approached by small and medium sized companies.
Some are start-ups.
Many are established.
Others are handed down from generation-to-generation, modifying practices to accommodate trends, customer satisfaction, and up-to-date processes for profitability.
So when I asked for copies of their business plans, their standard answer is “it’s all in my head.”
|Courtesy of votehemp.com|
Remember, just because we face crisis, that does not mean you stop what you're doing. The market is on your side, and you have a great opportunity of making a great living, as long as you're vigilant about your goals and your willingness to do what it takes to succeed.
Below are the links to, kind of, like a directory. This way, you can use this post as a reference, a go-to place for information.
My goal later on is to produce short videos to supplement the content. In the meantime, you enjoy it but most of all, it helps you sell more of your products!!
Each topic below will take you to a LinkedIn article I wrote in the site.
|Courtesy of GPE Strategm|
|Courtesy of House Theater|
First, I am not, by trade, a marketing guru. My specialty is continuous improvement, the same management methodology that Toyota and Motorola made it famous. Their processes not only saved trillions of dollars but made much more. Part of the paradigm that I will be using and writing on contain these philosophies and ideas.
|Courtesy of cbc.ca|
In severe cases, if this is not managed, the practice may have to turn away patients, which can present a problem for those with conditions that require treatment. And this would not be good. The alternative is to wait even longer waits in over crowded urgent care centers or hospital outpatient emergency rooms.
|Courtesy of Oprah.com|
- Process and
This important post affects thousands of men and women working in the oilfield industry. In days past, I’ve read articles (way too many) as key indicators in the field I work in. Lower gas prices mean lower demand and to balance this imbalance, supply is reduced. The Saudi’s and OPEC have done so with the effect of bringing prices up which we’d all complain and point fingers of blame. Now China's economy's tanking that further drives more instability in the world trade market. Regardless, production becomes less of a priority especially when drilling new horizontal fracked wells cost about $60 per barrel.
Years ago, I worked with the Director of QA/QC and was tasked a Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA). When I heard about this particular issue, I cringed thinking about how we were going to identify the cause and then fix it. Together, along with a group of others, we spent about an hour on a white board, drawing charts and implementing the Ishikawa Fish Bone Diagram and asked the 5 Whys, affinity diagram, and multi-voting ideas -- basic Lean Six Sigma stuff.
Question is: Can this same principle apply in a Lean Enterprise environment?
As a trainer, I've been asked to provide a simple explanation of what Lean Six Sigma is. When I tell people it's a science based statistical backed behavior and processed management system, I get blank looks.
After teaching martial arts for over 40 years, I’ve found that karate to be effective and useful in training Lean and Six Sigma.
I have to admit, I’ve taught martial arts longer than LSS, but when I do sit down with students in a classroom situation, the sensei comes out of me, not as tough as finger-tip or knuckle pushups, but disciplined enough.
As I’ve met individuals who sat for a weekend or for four straight weekday classes, take test, walk away with impressive certificates, I’ve had, on many occasions, realized that these LSS student have no idea on what they’ve learned much less implement their new found knowledge. Intellectually, they’ve satisfied an important part of learning but not the skill to affect change where, sooner than later, they’ve simply abandoned the training.