It's All About the Data

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thinking - Critical or Creative

Critical thinking has many definitions, mostly applied to the field of education.  Critical thinking, as defined to the business world is best defined as:

"the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion" - Wikipedia

Key words in the definition would be:
• Actively
• Synthesizing
• Evaluating
• Information
• Conclusion

Team members need to actively evaluate and synthesize information to form a conclusion.


Often, creative types, like design or marketing people say they are 'creative'; therefore, can not be critical thinkers.  Creative people generate ideas or products, and critical thinkers are analytical in nature.  Can they live in the same organization?

I think creative and critical thinking can co-exist  - - they are two halves of the whole.  A business organization needs both.


I believe yes.  It just takes using different parts of the brain.  If you create things, you need to be able to synthesize inputs to create.  If you come to a conclusion, you have created something (a conclusion).

Embrace both sides of yourself - your creative side and your critical thinking side.  Exercise both parts equally and each part (creative and critical) will become 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, March 17, 2014

Goals: Then - Now - If

Every so often, I read and hear something that gives me a moment of pause, a chance to take stock of me.  I was looking at LinkedIn and ran across this discussion…

Please review the YouTube video of Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech.  I want to talk about McConaughey's three points and how they relate to our business lives.

Whether you are as religious as McConaughey is, or not - we still need something to look up to.  Someone or something that we aspire to be.  Some traits that you believe are essential.  The traits that I look up to are honesty, mentorship, and leadership.  The question is  - WHAT DO YOU LOOK UP TO?

Every business trip I go on , I look forward to getting home, to seeing my wife's smile, and giving our dog Toby a big tummy scratch. 

Our business life should revolve around what  gives us passion, what we look forward to doing.  If you are not looking forward, then I believe you are stuck.  WHAT IS YOUR PASSION?

I loved McConaughey's answer here.  He said he was chasing himself ten years down the line.  I chase getting better at what I do as a man, a husband, and in my job.  Chasing something requires improvements (continuous improvement), which is what lean thinking and processes are about.  Again if you are not improving, than you are degrading…..WHAT ARE YOU IMPROVING ON?

Saturday Night Live did a spoof on McConaughey's speech (and it was funny); however the essence of the speech (Look up to, Looking forward to, and something to chase) is a strong and powerful message worth our attention and thought.

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, March 10, 2014

The 3 F's of Customer Connection

Making connections with your customer is key to having a successful relationship with the customer, increase customer retention, and create customer referral.  Usually there is some connection in the beginning with the customer, such as; shared schooling, past experience, even lowest price.  But even lowest price will not keep the customer connected to you - believe it or not.

So how do you keep connected with customers? 

Customers can be strange and wonderful things - always in a hurry, always in crisis mode, and always looking for the right answer - right now. 

Steve Butler taught me about the three F's of customer connection.  I must admit it has served me well, and usually achieves the goal of increased customer connection.

You must elicit from the customer that you understand how the customer feels.  They must have validation to move towards a successful outcome.

I want the price to be lower.
Yes, all pricing is going up.
I am upset about the training.
It is always difficult to train and not see benefit.
The weather has been too cold.
Yes, I agree it has been cold this winter.

See, how we have not committed to anything yet, it is just validating the emotional 'thrust' the customer is demonstrating.  The usual problem is we search to defend too quickly, not allowing the customer their time to vent.

This is part 2 of the validation process.  I can say that I 'feel' for you, but that will not be enough.  Customers want to be validated that others have felt the same way too.

I want the price to be lower.
Other customers have said this.
I am upset about the training.
Customers have found post-training to be overwhelming.
The weather has been too cold
I heard on the radio that most people think this has been the coldest winter in a decade.

Now your customer understands they are not alone.  Other people may have felt the same way.  This usually starts the calming down part of the conversation.  The customer by the end of this phase has lost some steam, some angst, and is now ready to get to a solution.

This is where your efforts in Part 1 and Part 2 pays off.  You have some input you want to provide the customer, and have heard what they have to say and validated those emotions.  Found is simply how you phrase your input.

I want the price to be lower.
Customers have found that the following added benefits are worth the increase in price.
I am upset about the training.
Our past students found that after they started on a new project within 30 days of training, they quickly became productive.
The weather has been too cold
I found that if I go on a short vacation to a sunny climate, the cold weather isn't so bad.

If I had tried these statements earlier, I would have met with resistance from the customer.  Because I have feel, felt, found - the customer is now more willing to listen and understands that I have heard them; therefore deepening the connection between us.

Utilize this technique and see  how customers are more willing to talk with you, engage with you, and continue the business relationship.

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, March 3, 2014

Finishing the Deal

I was watching hockey recently;  my team was leading going into the last half of the last period, and ended up losing in overtime.  It started me thinking.

Why do we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

How does this relate to your business life.  We are so close to closing the deal, getting that raise, getting the recognition you deserve.  Why does it all slip away from us?


The strategies to 'finishing the deal' are straightforward. 


Seems simple, but what it requires is keeping focus on the completion, that last 20% as I talked about in this blog .

If we start coasting at the end of the race, we can get beaten - see this video.

Some other strategies:
  • All goals need to be analyzed, verified, and re-verified.  Is that my real goal?  If you have a new goal, you will never finish the last goal.  Sometimes it is best to admit the goal has changed, and stop working on the old goal.
  • Prior planning prevents piss poor performance - see blog. - have a game plan.
  • Set a realistic timeline.  Most of the lack of finishing is because we wait too late to get started, not giving ourselves enough time to finish strong.
  • Avoid those stupid mistakes (this is part of the focus described above). One of the definitions of focus is "directed attention" (Merriam-Webster).

Finishing is harder than starting, but the rewards go to people who finish strong, not those who start off quick.

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