Browsing the archives for the quote tag.



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Personal strategic planning… What plan?


UntitledI have this book from HBR including their “must read” articles on strategy.  It’s got Porter and all kinds of good stuff…  But, this book is something my husband, a successful technical engineer and manager in his own right, finds humorous. Strategy, to him, is something more intuitive and a logical thought process that needs no defined approach.  While I disagree, it does work for him.

So, it’s serendipitous that Bill Troy discusses his approach to strategic planning in the latest View from the Q post. Yeah, I’ve been involved in the process many times over the years with both Pro QC and other consulting projects I’ve taken on. I’ve also been involved in the strategic planning process as Education Chair for our local ASQ Section, although that process could use some refinement. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say we’re missing the “bigger picture” and spend too much time on the tactical side of things.  We have good intentions, but I would not consider our strategic planning to be as productive as it could be.  But, that’s not what I want to discuss here… And, we are improving in this regard.

What I find interesting about all of this talk about strategy is that I’ve only recently been called out for lack of personal strategic planning.

Troy talks about the purpose:

“The purpose of strategy, after all, is to answer this question: How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?  What is your path?  How are you going to get there, what steps do you need to take, and in what order?”

And, this is exactly what I was recently asked when my mentor reached out over concerns that I wasn’t planning my career with a long-term vision in mind. In the face of a new opportunity, he asked me an interesting question.  On my 60th birthday, will I look back and be happy with the direction of my career based on the decisions I made? Did I follow my plan?

What plan?

The questions Troy incorporates into the post are relevant as I go through this process:

  1. What are your key facts and assumptions?
  2. What is your theory of victory?
  3. Can you actually accomplish each aspect of your strategy?
  4. Have you left enough planning time to test your strategy?

I’ll admit.  I like this approach.

My mentor expanded on personal strategy with a little more detail.  He gave me some homework last week as I consider this new opportunity and whether or not it’s in line with what my personal goals are.  He asked me to really go through the strategic planning process and apply it to myself. He urged me to spend some time asking the important questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What should I be doing?
  • How do I make that happen?

I’ll admit I’ve sat down with pen in hand a few times and tried to answer these questions. I’ve answered them as a marketer though and am not sure I’ve really honestly given it the thought it deserves. Asking yourself what your strategic mission and values are has proven to be much more challenging than any similar exercise I’ve been through with an organization. Organizations are logical, and I can reflect on case studies and other resources/insight to guide me.  I’m good at that.  Thank you trusty HBR “On Strategy.”

But, I still don’t have the answers about the direction of my own life.  Is my mentor right to say that fear and complacency guides us in a more powerful way than I had previously admitted.? How many organizations have we seen fail because of this very real threat to the planning process? At 60, how will I define success?

My favorite Strategic Planning Cycle… I continue to work on this process.



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Fun with quotes…


I must say this quote generator is fun.


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“Long on quantity, but short on quality…”



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Operations Management – What is it all about?


At the recent ASQ conference, I met a pretty remarkable lady that, aside from having degrees in physics and business operations management and Six Sigma Green Belt certification and more, turns out to also be a poet.  In fact, I was so impressed by a poem that she had written and memorized that I asked her if it was OK to share.  As someone as outwardly passionate about what she does as I am, she was excited to pass it along to others.  Here it is…

Operations Management – What is it all about? 

Operations Management… What is it about? I used to ask this question in the past. 
I used to hesitate and doubt
 about spending two more years in class.

Operations Management seemed confusing. But, the first thing I learned about it
 was that simple productivity formula used to assess how well the company did.

Operations Management performs transformation by adding value and reducing waste.
 It is about replacing inventory with information and reducing delivery time from weeks to days.

It is also about constraints exploitation, continuous improvement and being lean. 
It is about reduction in process variation 
and competitive advantage that helps to win!

Operations Management is about people – How to motivate them and see their progress, No one’s job can be seen as little;
 Everyone contributes to the overall success.

So now I am standing here genuinely fascinated… The tools I’ve learnt have opened my eyes.
 This skill will help me solve business problems later and improve company’s and people’s lives!

These two years have been greater than all the rest. And, all my former doubts have fallen apart. Operations Management makes me do my best because Operations Management is in my heart.

You can find Elena Kuznetsova on LinkedIn. I really love her summary there:

“Enthusiastic, energetic and result-oriented professional, passionate about people, innovation, operations, processes and quality improvement. I apply continuous improvement to my profesional development and I have a “can do” attitude.”

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