It's All About the Data

It's All About the Data
It's All About the Data

Monday, December 30, 2013

All-In Strategies

I have received many nice comments about my blog post about being all-in  - Are you all-in?.  

What is interesting is that I have also heard that it is impossible to be all-in these days.  Some of the obstacles stated are:
  1. Frustration - how do I work with people at my company that are not all-in?
  2. How do I get others to be all-in?
  3. How can I get others to notice that I am now all-in?

Work is full of frustration.  Lack of time, competing priorities, office politics, etc.  Some team members get so frustrated, they just give up.  We all feel frustrated at times.  It may seem that some of your work colleagues do less, talk more, and don't seem to be as invested in success as they should be.  What are some strategies to overcome your frustration?
  • Realize that there are some people who will never be all-in.  Don't invest your time in them.  They are 'energy suckers'. 
  • Consistency - that is the key.  Be consistent in actions and interactions.  You are either all-in or not - there is no 50% all-in.

Getting other to go 'all-in' is not possible with words, or emails, or meetings.  Your team members must decide for themselves to be all-in.  Show them through your actions, your enthusiasm, and your conviction.  That example, through your actions, is the only way others will see the benefit of being all-in.

You want management to know you have upped your game.  What do managers want to see:
  • Actions - not Words
  • Interaction/Communication - not 'Yes Man'
  • Enthusiasm - not Passive/Aggressive
  • Proactive - not Reactive
  • Value Add - not Status Quo
  • Work Within System - not going Rogue
  • Think about how Company makes profit - not your Paycheck.

With the new year, start a new dedication to being all-in.  Stay the course, see the prize, and feel the satisfaction of a career well done.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Intersecting Circles - Hedgehog v Fox

There is an old fable about the hedgehog and the fox.  It is a discussion about whether you are a person who needs one defining idea or can chase many ideas at once.  It is from an essay by a Greek poet and then further expressed in an essay by Isaiah Berlin  - (  "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

Which one are you - a hedgehog or a fox?

Is it better to be a Hedgehog or a Fox?

In today's fast-paced business environment, there are many ideas to chase.  In fact, those new technologies and opportunities just keep coming - should they all be considered?

Should you put all your chips on one big idea - risking a better idea you did not explore, ,or put one chip on them all in hopes that one of them 'pay off'. 

I am not suggesting I know the answer, just some strategies:
  • You don't have enough time to chase them all - so prioritize.
  • Constantly evaluate new technologies and see where they might fit.
  • In today's technology landscape  - you better be a bit 'foxy'.


The hedgehog concept is interesting as it describes the intersection between passion (being 'all in'), economic growth (value proposition), and what you are best at (another aspect of being all in). 

The sweet spot is in being a fox about technology and then a real hedgehog about focusing in on your passion.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What I learned from Ayn Rand

In the business world, words such as collaboration, synergy, and crowdsourcing are used to describe the current business philosophy of 'the sum of the parts is greater than the whole'.  This approach promotes a work environment where the team shares ideas and works for a more complete solution.  So how could anyone be against that?

First, I learn new concepts, ideas, and strategies from my workmates, my clients, and from corporate management.  I thank each of them for making me better, stronger, and more agile.

My concern is that the following team traits can happen:
  • In some work environments there can be givers and takers.  Givers grow with new information, stretch to be better, and share that new knowledge with others.  Takers sit back and let others do the heavy lifting while learning to mimic what others have learned.
  • Also, some are doers and some are revisers.  Doers risk the pioneering process (stretching for new ideas and strategies), while revisers can sit back and say "well the new solution is not quite good enough".
  • Givers and Doers are 'all in'.  See my blog - about being 'all in'.

An interesting movie to watch is the final courtroom scene in "The Fountainhead".  Ayn Rand (, author of the "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" believed that  success should be evaluated on what a person creates, not what is stolen from others.  See Howard Roark's speech at

So, what is my point ? 
  1. If you learned something new, give credit where credit is due.
  2. If you have found value in a company, its products, and its people - demonstrate that value through loyalty to that company/product/team.
  3. There is nothing free in this world.  So if knowledge is passed to you, expect to pay for learning that new information.

It was suggested to me recently that in the new millennium, all information will be free to all without additional payment, in fact, intellectual property should be shared freely, so 'the whole' will benefit.  I reject this notion.  What is the motivation for new intellectual property, if there is no monetary gain?

Be a Doer and a Giver.  Support with your pocketbook those companies who provide you with new information and new ideas.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monetization - Why is it important to YOU !

I spent a lot of time recently trying to explain monetization to colleagues. 

The term "monetization" may also be used informally to refer to … charging fees for something that used to be free, or attempting to make money on goods or services that were previously unprofitable or had been considered to have the potential to earn profits. (Wikipedia)

Monetization is the ability to make money on an idea, concept, product, or service.  Money, meaning profit, and not simply revenue (at least in my definition).  Why is this important to you, and your company?

  • Free does not achieve the goal of profit.  Unless your free product or service leads to other profit revenue (called 'give to get'), then giving something for free actually moves you away from your goals of profitability.  Moving forward, the customer will expect that level of product or service for free (or even the expectation that you pay them!).
  • Monetization shows that your product has value.  If your product or service is free, then it has NO VALUE.
    • Example:  Bottled Water.  If we get the bottled water for free, we never seem to finish the bottle.  If we pay $4 for that same water, we make sure we finish the bottle.  Same water, different value.
  • Technology (cool products) does not, by itself, create value. Solving problems brings value and therefore creates monetization.
  • You must have a value proposition to 'monetize' your work - see my blog post

How do you take something from free to monetized:
  • Don't ever make something free.  That is an oversimplification of the issue - but clearly get your 'give to get' in alignment.  This is especially true of services.
    • Make sure the give is defined.
    • Make especially sure when you will receive your get.  Often the when is undefined and therefore the 'when' never happens, all the while the other side has gotten the 'get'.
  • You must ask your customers what opportunities they are trying to leverage, and align your product or services to those customer opportunities.
  • ADD VALUE.  Value is not the special way you do your service, your new user interface, or some obscure packaging feature.  It is the problems your customer is having, and your ability to solve that problem, creates value.

So there is a lot of talk about that all data, information should be free to all.  Stay tuned later for another blog, but needless to say - data is free, but not manipulating the data to get the useful/relevant information you need.  Therefore, the monetization is the manipulation (organization, synthesis, and usefulness).

Think about how to monetize your service, your product, and most especially how you will 'monetize' yourself each day.  What is your personal value proposition?

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Negotiate - What you do every day

"Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties" (Wikipedia)

Just as all of us who work are part of a sales organization, ALL of us who interact with others are involved in negotiation.  However, negotiation has gotten a bad reputation, based upon the 'win at all costs' that exist in today's hype-competitive business environment.  There seems to be a notion that negotiation is about getting the other side to surrender, as expressed in this quote:

"Negotiation means getting the best of your opponent" - Marvin Gaye

I believe something different.  I have some experience in negotiating - with a weak position, with a strong position, out of necessity, as the 'hired gun', and even when I desperately wanted to be anywhere else but at the negotiation table. 

Those who manage people in a business environment, negotiate with their team members all the time.  Team members negotiate with their team leads also.  It is a two way street.

Here are some things I have learned - maybe these observations will help you in your next negotiation.

  • If the other side cannot give you what you desire (such as ordering a BigMac at a Starbucks), all the negotiating skills, yelling, and desk pounding will not get a resolution.  Look at your expectations ( "You cannot negotiate with people who say what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable" - John F Kennedy.
  • Facts sometimes get in the way of emotions.  This is often my fatal flaw - I think facts should always rule, and in some negotiations, facts just get in the way.  Let the other side get their emotions 'expressed'.  "The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it out of emotion and deal with the facts" - Howard Baker.
  • Some say that being dispassionate is the key.  I have been in too many negotiations, where one side did not care - I promise you, there never was a resolution until each side cared about the outcome.  Each side may have different reasons for a resolution, but they wanted a resolution.
  • Try to understand the other person's position.  Not just the technical aspects, but the social, economic, and cultural side of why/how you are negotiating. 
  • Leverage is the key and the danger.  If I leverage you, by withholding money, to complete a task well, what are the chances that you will be 'all in' (  In my mind, leverage is the gentle balance between forcing and coaxing.  It is crucial that the harder the leverage point, the clearer the path to the other side getting what they desire.

So, where can we get some guidance?  I personally like the "GROW" process (

  • Goal - where do we both want to be at the end point.  If your goal is to 'kill' your opponent, you can quickly see why these negotiations never work.
  • Reality - this is usually where facts can get in the way.  Maybe the 'reality' is not only about the facts, but how people feel about those facts.
  • Obstacles/Options - Overcoming obstacles is the key to a good negotiator.  What is the 'roadblock' that is stopping a solution.  In lean thinking, it is almost always systematic roadblocks that cause problems (waste or error).  I have seen the an obstacle to be as simply as "I want to get paid 10% down to buy materials", and I have seen negotiators say "no", because they had leverage.
  • Way Forward - Actions steps moving forward. 

The GROW process also works for conflict resolution and mentoring.  If you are not familiar with the process - check it out. (

"The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half way" - Henry Boyle

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The benefit of Failure

One fails toward success - Charles F Kettering

Whenever you say the world 'failure',  people hold their breath.  Who wants to admit failure?  
What I hear about failure most often is.... 
  • Failure is why people get fired - right?
  • Competency by definition does not allow for failure?
  • If I admit failure, people will think I am stupid?

Why do a blog about failure.  Here are some of my thoughts that I have tried to express when I am mentoring team members.

  1. If you are trying, you will sooner or later fail.  It is only those who don't try that may avoid failure, but then again, they don't experience success either.
  2. We learn FAR more from failure than we ever learn from success.  Success breeds complacency.
  3. Failure is a positive experience when a good post-mortem is done. Post Mortem Blog

It then comes down to attitude.  We all fail, we all should improve.  Some examples:

  • You have lost your job - what could I have done to be more "all in". All in Blog
  • The project wasn't done on time - what could I have done to remove workflow pinch points.
  • Sales goals are not being met - am I touching my customers like I should, or am I hoping the sales come to me.  "My phone didn't ring today".

Continuous improvement is the name of game, and you only improve when you feel the need.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Commitment to Change

We all believe that we are good at 'change'.  We are 'champions of change'.  But is that really true? 
  • Why are people, in general, so resistant to change?
  • What does it take to implement change (personally or professionally)?
  • What is the one key attribute?

There are multiple phases people go through during change:
Internal Response
External Response
Not me
I am an agent of change
Why me
It is not time for change
What change
We change all the time
Poor me
The other guy won’t change
Why now
Who can I blame for change
The new me
I was the agent of change

These phases are inevitable, it is only our external response we have control over. 

In every successful change implementation it takes three key elements, without these keys, the change is doomed at least to a bumpy road, and probably to either under-achievement or failure.
  1. Upper management buy-in.  This cannot be under estimated.  Without executive buy-in, the change is destined for stalling.  Mid-level management will test the business resolve of upper management and can smell weakness in a heartbeat.  Momentum is lost, and delay is what happens.
  2. Have a plan.  Seems obvious, but much of change happens without a fully resolved and documented plan.  Firms implementing change often say 'we are really smart and we will figure it out'.  This is misguided and often leads to delay of change.  Hire a qualified consultant, with resources to bring to the table, and give implementation consultant the input needed for a plan that is both reasoned and documented.
    1. What problem are we trying to solve?
    2. What are we willing to do to assist?
    3. What is our corporate culture and what works best for our type of company (not based upon budget, but upon other successful change).
  3. Define Conditions of Success.  See my blog - . Success requires a goal line.  A mutually agreed goal line.  Then the change needs to be constantly measured against the goal line.  This is different than metrics.  Here is an example:

A project requires a new software to be implemented.  The existing software opens in 1 second.  The new software opens in 2 seconds.  The metric says 100% decrease in performance (2 seconds vs. 1 second).  The Condition of Success is the user should not notice the change from using existing software to new software. 

The problem is that metrics (numbers) can be manipulated to either forecast failure or promote success.  Metrics are not the only predictors of change success.  A defined and agreed upon Condition of Success will be a better indicator of a successful implementation than metrics.

What is the one crucial part?.  Commitment.  Commitment by all the parties involved, the customer and the consultant.  Commitment is more than "I will pay you if you provide this for me".  Commitment is the dedication of management buy-in, consultant time and effort, customer involvement and response, and dedication to conditions of success. 

Unless Greek mythology Sisyphus is your hero (, look at your next change implementation from a different perspective.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech

Monday, November 4, 2013

When am I done? Why is the customer unhappy?

Within all agreements there is the expectation that the customer will be satisfied.  This basic tenet of contract law is assumed, but rarely documented well in the contract or agreement. How will we know if the customer is satisfied?  When things go bad in a project, more times than not, the problem starts out with the client feeling that their needs are not being met - in other words unsatisfied.

Lean thinking has a concept called Conditions of Satisfaction (COS).  This concept applies to any endeavor/project, whether it is a construction project, IT project, or any other customer-based service.  Conditions of Satisfaction is defined as:

Criteria by which the outcome of a contract, program, or project may be measured.

What does a Condition of Satisfaction include:
  1. What are the expectations of the customer?  How often do we assume that or project/service meets those expectations.
  2. Have the Conditions of Satisfaction been documented/validated/verified and confirmed by the customer?
  3. Are the Conditions of Satisfaction(s) defined in a actionable way?

The project will be done by January 1, 2014.
The project schedule will be defined later.
The training will be three days.
The customer will be satisfied with the training.
There will be three (3) solutions provided that meet Owner's objective as outlined in Section A.
A solution that will meet the customer's goal will be provided.

These actionable items require two key elements:
  1. Actionable items solve project requirements. The requirements that the project must solve needs to be written in a clear and defined way.  Each requirement shall be stated in a precise manner, and solve only one issue at a time.  There may be multiple requirements in a project.
  2. The requirements also need to describe what the customer is to do.  Some call this NIC (not in contract), but I believe that Conditions of Satisfaction needs to include what the customer is providing.  I have found the best projects are one where the customer is fully engaged in the process, including providing elements of the completed project.  This dual, written commitment makes for a better partnership between the customer and the provider.

During the project, these COS requirements are reviewed at every meeting, and special attention is paid to them prior to the completion of the work.  A project cannot be complete without agreement on completing the Conditions of Satisfaction requirements.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's expe

Monday, October 28, 2013

Big Red Button vs. Elephant Eating

When a consultant is asked how to solve a business problem, the customer/client is often interested in an over-arching, one big button solution.

This approach has two problems:
  • Trying to solve problems with the 'big answer' denies an improvement loop, both by the consultant and by the process itself.
  • It is very hard to solve any problem with just one answer.

There is an old saying "How do you eat an elephant, One bite at a time" .  It is really true.  So what are the key elements:

  • Start with baby steps.  This is the one bite at a time to eat an elephant.  One of the advantages most overlooked is that this method (a stepped approach) reduces anxiety those affected by the change will feel.
  • Adjustments can be made.  If everything is defined, and set in stone, the implementation team (consultant and customer) will be reluctant to modify the process.
  • But the key issue is:


Continuous improvement is one of the main tenets of lean thinking, lean services, etc.  W. Edward Deming, pioneer in the field of Lean, proposed that feedback from a process and customers must be evaluated against goals.  This feed-back loop allows for course adjustment, realignment, and even discovery of a different problem statement.  With feedback, a better process is possible.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time and provide feedback of each bite.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Overcoming the Blame Game

Presently, I am in the Business Analytics Certificate program at the University of Washington, and part of the class deals with how to get groups to be committed towards a goal.  Each class, the students are asked questions about our commitment towards our goals in life.  It is called "Conversations that Matter"  (The tip of the cap to Peter Block of designedLearning + Gary Mesick and Shelly Lawrence of the UofW).

One set of questions asks about how to transform Blame to Ownership.  Before I get into the questions, to review the issues:
  • How many discussions are we involved in each day that revolve around:
    • Whom to blame
    • Whom to 'throw under the bus'
    • It can't be me !
  • Is this productive time, or wasted time
  • How can we overcome the blame game.

Here are the four questions (which can either be done on a scale of 1-7, or in sentence form) that should be asked in the group (at the start of the process/project) and answers should be said out loud. This forces commitment to the responses.


Great question.  If the process, decision, or project is not valuable - then why bother.  I think what happens is that if it is not valuable to all the team members, then it is easy to sabotage the process, the decisions, and undermine the endeavor by adding 'dead weight'.


Another key question.  If we plan to sit there with our arms folded, then why be there.  If we plan to 'snark' at every opportunity, that is no help.  But worse of all is to not participate to the fullest extent to make the meeting, decision, etc a success.


Ah yes, that pesky risk taking!  I have always said that taking risk is inevitable.  If you wake up each morning and get out of bed, you are taking risk.  The point is that to be involved (to be "all in" -, you have to take risk. 


Investment is a key part.  If you are floating, then you are not investing.  In this case investment is an active participation, not passive investment.  The other key part is "good of the whole".  The whole; that is the whole project and the whole team.

Important questions to ask of our professional and personal lives.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Where did it all go wrong?

How often have we sat after a bad project/decision and say "where did it all go wrong"?  This analysis usually is full of hand wringing, blaming of some outside source, or even the famous 'beats me'.

This form of post-mortem is not effective, because it isn't focused.  Here is a quick tip:

The most critical of decisions happen in the first five minutes of the action.

We often don't stop at the beginning of a project, or even of a decision, to evaluate the following:
  1. Is the project/action worth doing?
  2. Do we have a chance for success?  What will make it a success?
  3. What assumptions are we making that should be tested?
  4. Who are the people involved (internal/external) that must be successful for the project/decision to be successful?

  MOST IMPORTANT:  Should I go left or right?  

I recently was in city on a business trip, and was trying to get back to the hotel.  I was so confident that I had it down.  If I only had paused to make sure that first turn was a good one - but instead I turned left instead of right.  I got lost, and the rest you probably have experienced yourself.  Wasted time, anxiety, and more wrong turns.

This may sound silly, but the point is that the first step is the most crucial. To head in the right direction.  Before making that next big decision, starting that next crucial project ….Take a second, pause, evaluate where you need to end up and simply say "is this the right direction?"

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are you ALL IN or just surviving

In poker, there is a term called 'all in' where the poker player puts all their remaining chips on the table in order to win the pot.  In business 'all in' means commitment to making a business decision, or business situation better/faster/stronger. 

My question is, as a member of a team (whether you are the top or the bottom of the team, whether you are an internal member or an external consultant)…

Are you 'all in' or are you 'just surviving'?

More and more I see both internal and external team members taking the passive 'just surviving' approach to their work lives.

How do you know which side you are on?

All in
Just Surviving
I will be committed to success
I am working for a paycheck
I will  communicate my concerns, issues, and comments to make the company stronger
I don't want to make waves.  My boss doesn't listen anyway
I will make the company better
I just work here
I will search to do more, ask how I can help, look to improve my company 'coinage'
I will wait for someone to hand me responsibility and shy away from a challenge
I am fearless
I am fearful/timid/reluctant
I am here for the long haul
I am hanging around here waiting for my next job
I will stretch and grow and learn from my mistakes.
I want things to be safe, and I expect someone to tell me what to do

If some of this makes you feel uneasy, that is a sure sign of just surviving, just floating; hoping that someone else will take charge and make things better.

The interesting part about 'just surviving' is that we won't need to take ownership of what happens at the company.  We get to say we feel unfulfilled and we are still 'deciding what you want to be when you grow up'.  If only someone would show us the path to our 'career'.

The path to job security, and a rewarding career is to be 'all in' - is there a chance we will lose the poker hand by putting all your chips on the table - yes - but we learn from those events and become better and stronger.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Intuition - The Inner Voice

That inner voice is intuition. 

I am not a superstitious person, and intuition is not voodoo magic or other mystical notions.

Intuition is the accumulation of past decisions and past learning, that is integrated into our 'brain' experience.  So the question is how to harness/access that experience?

  1. Start doing good post-mortem on your past decisions (good and bad decisions).   See my blog -
  2. Listen to your inner voice.  What is it trying to say that is not emotionally based?
  3. If all you are hearing is emotion - give it some time.
  4. Focus on long-term answers, not short term "I will show them" vengeance.
  5. As with all good decision making, understand what the next step should be, as well as where you want the conclusion to end up.

All this may seem like common sense, then why do we struggle with execution of the best practices above?  Because we get caught up in the moment.  We forget the key statement…..

What do we do after we make that emotional decision. 

In a previous job, I was asked to dismiss, without notice, a General Contractor working on a project.  My question was "okay, what do we do with the project after I fire this guy?"  The VP of Real Estate didn't have an answer, just felt that "something has to be done".

The lack of critical thinking, and understanding the long-term consequences of the 'emotional' decision, is a cancer upon leadership ability. 

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making New Mistakes + Grow

Many people believe the word "mistake" is a taboo.  The perception is that if you make mistakes, then you are not "perfect" and therefore incompetent. 

When I first started in the construction industry, my business partner, Ron Warrington, made a great statement "Let's make new mistakes".  Of course, I argued.  His point, and it was/is a brilliant one, is that we learn from our mistakes. 

There have been many studies that say we learn far more from our failures than from our successes.  
“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” -Dale Carnegie.   

The general notion is that we are too busy patting ourselves on the back when we win than when we lose.  How true!  Ego is the biggest roadblock to getting better. 

What are the best practices?: 
  • Post-mortems are really a requirement - post-mortem is defined as an analysis (not blaming) on "what we wish we would have known" before we made the decision/proposal/presentation/decision.  
    • Critical Analysis is needed - this is different than self-criticism.  You must look at the situation with as much dispassion as possible.  Remove the emotion. 
    • Brainstorm this analysis - you are looking to uncover the rock, and discover the nugget of where you went wrong. 
  • Get other stakeholder's input.  You might be too close to the trees to see the forest.  Sometimes it is the simple themes we forget - such as "you never ask for the business". 
  • Put what you learn/discover into practice as soon as possible.  If your issue is 'getting mad' and making a poor decision, maybe delaying the decision for 1 hour might give you a new perspective. 

My experience is that we are never too old or experienced to learn from what went wrong.  

Making mistakes is human nature - learning from the past and reaching past existing boundaries is where leaders are made. 
David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.