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“It isn’t just the low-hanging fruit we go after.” ~Ray C. Anderson
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I have read that the Chinese symbol for crisis is union of 2 characters. In Chinese, ”crisis” is an interesting word and is derived from DANGER and OPPORTUNITY.  Whether it is true may be debatable, but in any transformation, executives must be open to new ideas and wisely choose people who will be a catalysts for change. Sustainability is a new mindset.  This new mindset promotes ethics, promotes stewardship recognizing that our planet has limited resources, and ultimately promotes elimination of natural and man-made waste. Therefore, the danger is the reduction or eradication of our biosphere in the next 30 years or the opportunity to preserve our planet for this generations and future generations.

Ray C. Anderson was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Interface, a global modular carpet company. He was also the first Sustainability pioneer who awakened to the fact that our business paradigms are based on a take-make-waste model. This model, created by Paul Hawkens, demonstrates how most businesses create revenue from poor business practices without considering any environmental impact and exploits society.  It rewards short-term performance without acknowledging long-term consequences.

As a pioneer and visionary, he recognized his short-sightedness and selected a team to help him transform his enterprise.  Anderson searched, not for one expert, but a team of experts to address his corporation’s needs (Dr. Michael Braungart, Bill McDonough, Paul Hawken, L. Hunter Lovins,  Amory Lovins, et al).  Each brought different experiences, different knowledge bases, different mindsets (e.g., architecture, law, environmentalists, chemistry, etc.), but each commonly promoted sustainable development. These team members are still thought as today’s thought leaders for transforming enterprises into new sustainability developed corporations.

In a recent LinkedIn discussion about “circular economy”, I made this comment: “The graphic is crisp, clean and tells an aspirational story, but I would have expected added thought / value from McKinsey. There are many models that have been developed over the last two decades and as you pointed out there are other references to a circular economy.”

The conversation did no reach a conclusion about the diagram, but my obvious problem with the diagram was twofold. First, it did not show how disruptive technology would be integrated tool formulating the solution for a  circular economy. Second, the ultimate goal for Sustainability is the elimination of wastes (e.g., emission: water, air, land). So why would landfills be noted?

McKinsey Global Institute discusses for “trend breakers” from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. In the 20th century, the great moderations (1980-2000) was based on demographics drove economic growth, capital was cheaper, resources were cheaper, government privatized and cut taxes, and each generation was better off than the previous. Trend breakers included: debt crisis, urbanization, aging and disruptive technologies (The term “disruptive technologies” was coined by Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen as the critical influence to innovation.)

As the Romans said; “Caveat emptor, Latin for ‘Let the buyer beware!’’ Be prepared and objective. Don’t accept web site “solutions” as the ultimate answer for your situation. In most cases, your environment is unique. Understand the basics and integrate your organizations strengths (e.g., commitment, change management, project management, LEED certified architects, IT specialists, etc.) to take advantage of opportunities and avoid the dangers. Be careful and understand what a diagram portrays, for it may not be the “silver bullet” you are looking for.

I would recommend reading Ray C. Anderson’s book, Mid-Course Correction, as I believe it laid out the foundation of Sustainability that is not too different today. When I taught a graduate class in Sustainability. I strongly recommended this reading to my students. Not only does Anderson identify areas of opportunity, but he visually represented an enterprise maturity model that could be overlaid in almost any enterprise. His vision and experience would be of interest to anyone who wants a better understanding of today’s consultants and their differing approaches.

My recommendation is to be educated about what Sustainability is. It is a shared value that considers business, environment and society. It is a long term mindset. It is best implemented by business, as government is often too slow and expensive to implement change. Include your stakeholders, for sharing sustainability objectives with your Customer, Supplier, etc., and it will ensure your corporate direction and provide them transparency as a tool for communication and negotiation.  (This approach was used as a mantra at Interface and leveraged by Walmart in its corporate transformation. All stakeholders need to be aware of the reasons for the transformation, its benefits and commitment by the company’s leadership.)

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Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
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Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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The following article was published by ReliablePlant and written by Herb Lichtenberg. This is a well written article that provides good information regarding the value of “lean”, “lean thinking”, “lean manufacturing” and “lean enterprise” concepts.  Several themes reverberate throughout: over-production, inventory, transportation, waiting, movement, defects and over-processing. I hope this article proves helpful, and please feel free to share your feedback in the comments section below.

Lean” has assailed our vocabulary the same way that it has attacked waste within a plant or process. From “lean thinking” to “lean enterprise” and “lean manufacturing,” the word has created many catchphrases. But what does it mean to be “lean”? It entails shedding waste in order to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.

The two most popular process improvement methodologies in use today, lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, originated at Toyota and Motorola, respectively. These pioneering companies are discrete manufacturers. Not surprisingly, the subsequent evolution and development of these two methodologies has focused mostly on improvements in discrete manufacturing. Each methodology has a central focus that has been the basis for its structure and tools. For lean, it’s the delivery of value to the customer through the elimination of waste – anything that is non-value added from the customer’s perspective. For Six Sigma, the central focus is the elimination of defects – products or services that do not conform to the customer’s specifications. Read more …

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As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.

Today, we have many sources of information and knowledge. That is true for topics surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Business Transformation, etc. I have discovered some very good videos that are supported by the Creative Commons (CC) license and comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information, please go to originating sites for more information (TED, YouTube, and other  web sites). We hope you enjoy these videos and share with your friends and colleagues.

 

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Peter Drucker dies at 95

As Stewards, we must anticipate change for our Future, rather than have the Future change us. Our Transformation Paradigm supports that Vision, involves your organization and provides flexibility for infusing a variety of Best Practices, while integrating Sustainability with Qaulity. That mindset is focused on smart Leadership choices to improve your organization through Sustainability fused with Lean Six Sigma.

Transformation is a journey. That journey is based on a forward thinking approach to discover new and better ways to improve efficiency, productivity, performance and profitability. In the current environment, the work we perform, how we do it, where we do it and the process of actually completing the task is undergoing a significant paradigm shift. That insipid “globalization” is a reality and a derivative of the global economy that has emerged. By combining Sustainability and Quality management disciplines and principles, then your organization has an approach that gains, while leveraging a repeatably Continuous Improvement framework.

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Thunderbird School of Global Management

Image via Wikipedia

As a Thunderbird, like almost any TBird, we all know that the school was created out of the foresight of Lieutenant General Barton Kyle Yount in 1946. His pragmatic approach was a solution to post WWII difficulties faced by Americans doing business overseas. Yount sought to offer a course of studies that would provide expertise in international management. From its inception, the school was focused on improving knowledge and understanding of global interests.

I attended and graduated in 1980 with my MIM in hand. Having enjoyed my experience at Thunderbird, I was pleased to have an international career and work with peoples of different cultures, business practices and mindsets. I have always been proud of my alma mater and its ongoing search for excellence.

In 2007, I elected to take early retirement from EDS and established my second venture in business consultancy. As part of that plan, I began on a new journey of writing a book about sustainability and quality management.  After over three years of research and writing, the book was published in 2011.

I realized that if my consultancy was to focus on sustainability, I needed to aspire to a higher level and increase my credibility. I researched a variety of certification programs and they all seemed to be lacking depth and in some cases, a vision.

While reading an alumni newsletter, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Thunderbird had begun an offering of an executive certification in Global Corporate Social Responsibility. It was a match and timing could not have been better.

After completing the 8-week course, I can definitely recognize the knowledge gained. It was also a good validation tool what I acquired in my research. Looking back and I must acknowledge the content, thoughtfulness in course material, exposure to high-level sustainability principles, and participation in forum discussions based on case studies provided an excellent learning experience. I am definitely looking forward to the next course.

When asked to write about my course experience, I quickly agreed. I was curious what was Thunderbird’s current point of view. I went to their web site and discovered their mission and vision. They read:

Mission: We educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide
Vision: We will dramatically grow our positive impact in a world economy in dire need of the global leadership talent we were founded to provide

As a returning alum, I feel certain that Thunderbird continues to go down that untraveled global path and its guiding star is steering us to a new journey to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. That journey will be the new business model for transformation for the 21st century. From Thunderbird’s inception, the school was focused on improving knowledge and understanding of global interests. I think  General Yount would be proud of its mission and vision for the future.

About the Author:

Ralph Jarvis is the author of “Any Questions?”, a primer for leadership to improve their current business organization through Sustainability that relies on Lean Six Sigma practices. He is a senior management consultant with more than 30 years of International Business and IT experience. His engagements include a variety of Fortune 500 companies; federal, state, and Indian Nation governments; public sector agencies; as well as, not-for-profit organizations. Ralph Jarvis graduated from Texas Tech University with his Bachelors in Business Management. He earned his Global MBA in International Finance at Thunderbird School of Global Management and received his second Master’s in Management Information Systems at the University of Dallas, where he graduated with Highest Honors. His company, Jarvis Business Solutions, is a certified Lean Six Sigma practice and is a Business Transformation consultancy.

Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2011, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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Here are the 10 key issues that typically lead a CEO or business owner to decide to exit the business, usually through a sale, at less than desirable financial results.

•    The company is overly dependent on short-term debt. No cash reserves have been established to meet short-term cash situations. Also, cash shortages preclude funding essential business growth strategies. Serious cash needs can cause short-sighted actions.
•    Management structure is too thin. The CEO is so tied to the business that there are no resources for the CEO to share management responsibilities. Thus decision-making, sales, marketing, operations and growth are restricted to the CEO’s abilities and available time.
•    There is no succession planning. There is no training and grooming of a potential trusted successor. And, there is no active plan or resources to recruit from the outside if an internal candidate is not available.
•    Managers have no “ownership” in the business. Senior managers are vulnerable to outside offers when they have no real economic ties to the business. Equity incentives or bonus plans can support vested interest in business performance or solid, committed succession.
•    A specific business strategy is lacking. There is no strategic business plan to focus resources effectively toward goals and to increase profits. This is critical and rarely done consistently in small business today.
•    The CEO dies or is disabled. Being prepared for the calamities that can ruin a business is a responsibility a lot of business owners do not take seriously enough. Insufficient financial and management preparation for the death or disability of the CEO can create chaos for those left to sort out the issues.
•    There is disproportionate risk through personal guarantees. Because of personal financial guarantees required for the business, a major crisis could ruin the business owner. Overlooked are the opportunities to share the responsibility and liabilities of the business.
•    Family and other ownership issues exist. Family succession, majority shareholder issues including divorce, the death or departure of a shareholder, or even conflict between shareholders often precipitate non-economic exit decisions. More often than not, decisions are made with more emotion than reason. The opportunity most often neglected is to engage a business advisor to assist in sorting out the varied interests and prepare viable alternatives in advance.
•    The business is no longer enjoyable or CEO fatigue sets in. Many CEOs and business owners reach a point where they no longer wish to endure the pressures of the business. They have lost their enthusiasm and commitment. This condition is not only an impediment to growth, it often creates a lull that puts the business in a vulnerable position. An interim, part-time CEO/business advisor may be the alternative that works best outside of a sale of the
business.
•    The assets of the CEO or business owner are unbalanced. Most personal assets are in the value of the business. Little independent retirement savings have been established for the CEO/major shareholders in the event of a business downturn. In the absence of a strategic exit, the sale of the business is required as a retirement alternative.

Source: CEO Advisor Blog, This entry was posted on October 6, 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Retrieved: 30 November 2010

Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2011, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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Date Line: 28 February 09

Change Now and Reap Rewards – Part 1 of 3

PRINCIPLE’S NOTE: In today’s business climate, the emphasis is on survival. Change is sourced from internal innovation, processes and procedures or from external influencers such as interest rates, competition or limited resources. As a leader, you have lemons in your enterprise and you need to make lemonade from them. In other words, you have an opportunity to take the next step in optimizing your organization and produce tangible rewards. JBS provides transformation solutions for business, IT and government arenas, from concept to reality, through people, ideas and technology.

Note that additional collateral is available for free download from the web site. Please feel free to pass along this information, to colleagues, you feel could benefit from our services and solutions. We also have over 50 free links of specialized web sites that provide policy direction from think tanks, sustainability issues, US and international initiatives, and various out-of-the-box thinking. Please browse these repositories and feel free to bookmark those of importance.

In today’s climate, very few news stories provide the consumer good information as to how one can act to minimize expenses and adapt their lifestyle. I believe we have choices, we are not helpless and we need to share information in order to evaluate our own personal needs and be proactive and adapt to our changing economic environment.

Part 1: The Approach During a Recession
Especially in today’s business environment, adaptability is a key characteristic of any successful business. That adaptability is also a reflection of the leadership of the company to be flexible during difficult times.

“In my view, adaptability is about managing your portfolio of businesses effectively, scanning the horizon for opportunities that may arise, and making decisions on a continuous basis about which of your businesses is best suited for carrying out a given activity.”
Source: Ralph Norris, CEO, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

External recession strategies for business: Simply think strategically, but execute tactically and adjust to the government, market and industry signals. Now is the perfect time to consider when that adaptability injects change it then can create opportunities for improvement, efficiency and productivity by refining your strategic thinking. Consider these external strategies:

1. Work with your investors [bankers, VCs, family, etc.] and share your recession strategies. Look for their endorsement and elicit their suggestions. Recognize that their buy-in may provide a bridge for future funds.

2. Investment and acquisition opportunities are more prevalent in a recession. Competitors may want to shed portfolios or product lines that would enhance and boost your core business.

3. Find out what are key satisfiers for your customers. Go out meet with your key customers, send out surveys, build relationships that provide insight.

4. What are existing competitive substitutions for your products and services? What are the startups that provide new approach that is faster, better, cheaper?

5. Look for business values that refine your product and service value. Look across industries where more value for less is apparent. Copy their success, but don’t sacrifice yours.

6. Look for alternatives to enhance your product or service lines by providing cheaper, less complex solutions.

7. Create new opportunities through networking your partners, suppliers, competitors and investors.

8. Go beyond the contract and handshake. Go beyond what you promise, build relationships and beat out the competition.

Internal recession strategies for business: Don’t be myopic and overlook opportunities internally. This is a time to pursue internal transformations, as well. Also, some of these seem they should be external points, but the defining characteristic is that those points originate within the company culture and internal mindset. Here are internal strategies to consider and promote sustainability:

1. Every customer is a diamond in the rough, potentially precious. Take GOOD care of each of them, especially the repeat customer.

2. Reevaluate your entire pricing structure. Maintain your margins by market testing increase or decrease pricing strategies.

3. Don’t rely solely on the web. Be proactive and meet the people loyal to your products and services.

4. Evaluate your core business needs. Assess and increase its value. Don’t loose your focus.

5. Managing resources are important and employees are usually the key resource often overlooked. Keep your employees in the communication loop regarding change and how the change process will be implemented.

6. Know your strategic value to the market. Do you provide products and services on cost, quality, flexibility, service timeliness, partner relationship or other areas?

7. A recession is an opportunity to increase the quality of your human resources. Hire quality people for open requirements. Be methodical. Take you time in assessing the candidates. Make the best decision for your company. Remember, change can be a catalyst to improve your organization and morale.

8. Refinement and prototyping extend your knowledge on how your business can be improved. During a recession, your efforts can quickly pay-off when the market opens up, when cost reductions are replaced with productivity, or when new product or service introductions have been postponed to take advantage of the uptick.

9. Cash flow is the heart beat of your company. Monitor it. Keep you accounts receivable, timely, current and limit bad debts.

10. Cost reduction is important in a recession, but understand the consequences. Know where to reduce. Look for efficiencies in processes. Increase your productivity through reduced costs, but recognize the downsides.

11. Look for strategic investments for they may get a price break during a recession. Focus on new processes, equipment or technology that produces efficiencies, productivity, quality and cost reduction. More importantly, recognize the project implementation’s lead-time and plan accordingly. Don’t rush into a quick fix or cause stress your organization cannot handle.

Next Blog: Let’s focus on your customer’s perspective. They are key to your survival and success. Survivability, in part, is due to your market presence and the value your products and services provide to your customer.

Source: Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2009, For services: http://www.jarvisbusinesssolutions.com

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