July, 2009

The CXO Forum is designed for owners and senior executives with P/L responsibility that are looking for effective methods to address today's business challenges.

Learn the four-step methodology that I have found to turn around high-risk business conditions. Return to your company with an executable plan to make a difference.

Take advantage of early registration and register at a location near you today!

The next CXO Forum is July 21st.

Click here for more information.

The CXO Forum is Endorsed by the following industry leaders:

Brice Consulting is committed to the development of business practices in small to medium sized businesses that help stabilize and set the stage for growth and prosperity. The core focus is on the adoption and successful implementation of the 4-step methodology of Leadership, Process, Metrics and Organizing Financials to manage the business. The iLetter is designed to emphasize these 4 steps and connect you with useful resources to expand your knowledge base to be more effective as an owner or senior executive.

CXO Forum: The recent CXO Forum held in Bothell, WA was successfully completed. Comments from attendees at this session included the following:
  • "The Leadership discussion clearly proved to me that I need to delegate more."
  • "The forum helps you focus on the important aspects of the business."
  • "The discussion helped me formalize definition and action that I needed on Financial issues."
  • "The Executable Plan was great idea.  I never had a seminar prepare me to take action on what I learned today. "

I was discussing the CXO Forum with my CPA and believed he had a number of his clients would benefit from attending the CXO Forum. His comment,” They would be the last ones to think they need the CXO Forum but the ones who would get the most out of it.” Is this you? Be honest with yourself and trade one day working in your company to make an investment in your company. Register for the CXO Forum now!


Mike Brice
Phone: (206)226-1617

Feature Article

Are you Roadkill? A recent article by Joseph White, Senior Editor , The Wall Street Journal, titled “How Detroit’s Automakers Went from Kings of the Road to Roadkill” caught my eye. In his article Mr. White points out a number of issues that led GM into the “bankruptcy” condition it now finds itself and compounded further by government ownership. What amazed me is that over the last 30 years GM had two early warning events that illustrated their “distance” from the needs of the market and unwillingness to change caused their fall from auto leadership.

The first example was ignoring presentations from one of its own executives, Alex Mair, that detailed methods that their off-shore competitors were using to produce lighter, more fuel efficient and less costly cars. He compared a GM connecting rod with one from Japan. The GM connecting rod needed costly post forging operations to make it fit into the GM product resulting in inconsistent balancing of the weight of the piston and rod assembly. By contrast the Japanese rod came out of the forge properly balanced and ready to install without further labor operations resulting in a consistently balanced assembly. His point was that if you design in the installation and performance objectives into the process a lighter, consistently built, fuel efficient and lower cost product could be produced.


The other example is even more illustrative of the executive mind set at GM. Jim Harbour warned GM executive management early of the Japanese challenge to their domination. He showed them how the Japanese were able to use fewer hours (not just cheaper labor) to build and assemble their cars. In addition to using fewer labor hours they were able to produce a comparable volume of cars on a factory footprint half the size (labor force and physical plant) of a GM plant. GM’s President at the time responded by barring Jim Harbour from company property.


The remarkable lesson from this example, besides the NIH (Not Invented Here) mind set of GM executive management, is that the GM process was out of line with the needs of the customer. Japanese cars at the time were not just cheaper because the workers were paid less but due to a more effective process were able to ultimately move their production to the US, use American workers to produce a more cost effective and competitive car.


Is your process cost effective? Have you designed in inefficiencies and living with unnecessary non-value add operations that extend the time to produce, deliver and ultimately produces a product that has more cost (and lower profit margin) than it should?


Know your process – is it a strategic and competitive asset contributing to your bottom line!


Management Resources


It s easy to forget, but many products that we now remember as stunning successes were actually launched during economic downturns.
Four Successful Products Launched During Downturns

Robert Kaplan and David Norton started with the premise that what you measure is what you get. Measure financial results and you get financial results. Measure things like innovation and customer satisfaction and you will get those too.
Origin of the Management Dashboard (Balanced Scorecard)

CEO Douglas Conant is well on his way to fulfilling the mission he set for himself, taking what he called a "bad" company and lifting its performance to "extraordinary." He has done it with cost-cutting, smart innovations, increased marketing and, especially, a concerted effort to reinvigorate the workforce.
How Employee Engagement Turned Around Campbell's

In turbulent times, leaders need to be more human than ever.
Nowadays, Leadership Means Being More Human


If you are frustrated by an employee who just won't open up, you may need to stop talking and listen more. Find out how.
Communicating with Non-Communicators (3:14 min)


This is a good resource to evaluate current or anticipated accounting practices for not just "small businesses" but for larger ones as well. I found a good discussion on Profit Center Accounting and Analysis that every business having more than one Line of Business should consider.
"Accounting and finance for your small business"



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