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November, 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 Nov 11th.

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Are you Managing or Leading?

I am passionate about the four key elements that I feel are critical to running a successful company. These elements are Leadership, Process, Metrics and Organized Financials. The cornerstone of this four-step methodology is Leadership. Do not use confuse this with the term "management" or "managing". Leadership involves inspiring others with a clear vision of how things can be done better. Those who manage tend to implement someone else's vision or what they believe is the "corporate" vision and normally slow things down by limiting what their part of the organization can do to just what has been asked or expected - to play it safe and no more.

Leaders work between the lines and interact with their organization to test their vision and assumptions by getting feedback from those who actually work in the operations they are responsible for. Taking the time to understand what is holding people back from higher levels of job satisfaction and job performance. Leaders try to find out how the employee can be unleashed to higher levels of performance than they thought possible and then get out of the way. This is true for individual contributors and those in intermediate supervision positions as well.

Too often artificial ceilings trap employee performance because of misunderstandings, poor vision implementation and access to the facts that drive the business. The Leader looks for this condition and gets to the bottom of the problem. Few people intentionally perform poorly when provided with reasonable training, equipment, work environment and motivation. The leader is conscious of the whole picture and looks beyond the traditional boundaries to see that his business (or department) is successful and that their employees are excited about what they are doing and are onboard with the direction of the business.

Have you trapped yourself into a "manager" mindset? Are you excited about your business? Are you transferring that excitement to others in your business? Can you recognize that excitement in those who produce your products or deliver your services. Take a fresh look at your business, take a new look at your business plan (even better - develop one), identify what is necessary to energize not just your key people but all employees. Become a facilitator and less a controller. Celebrate the independent accomplishments of employees and supervision when they do well and lift the performance of the team(s).

Be a leader!


Mike Brice
Phone: (206)226-1617

Feature Article

The Puget Sound Business Journal recently published an article on Korry (Esterline Control Systems - Korry), a subsidiary of Esterline Technologies, covering their recent move from a downtown Seattle location to a new plant in Everett, WA.

The old location was a cluster of buildings in which design and manufacturing of aerospace parts was accomplished "efficiently" despite the inherent complexities that the physical plant presented. As a lean manufacturing organization Korry expects to gain significant efficiencies from the move that the "flexible" work space will provide.

Korry's President, Dan McFeeley, said that the new facility should allow Korry over the next 10 years to see a threefold improvement in revenue with the same head count. While some of that improvement will occur through the new facility allowing operations that were disjointed before to be co-located in a logical and efficient manner, the real benefit lies in the "lean" philosophy that Esterline companies practice of focusing on removing obstacles so that employees can work more effectively - not just faster.

Dan walks the talk by having his office on wheels in the factory where he is close to the action. The cart allows him to move to various areas of the building with a mobile working desk (working surface at standing height) with his laptop. The traditional President's office does not exist. Engineers are near the products that they support in the open manufacturing/assembly areas.

The significance of this move is what it tells the management community. Korry has been recognized for many years for successfully implementing lean manufacturing practices within the constraints of their previous facilities but they were not satisfied with nominal improvements of making a traditional move that that often reinvent legacy practices. Korry has made a major leap that we should take note of including not only the open environment of the manufacturing space, co-location of engineering with manufacturing but also the open leadership practices of senior management.

It is obvious that Korry has taken an aggressive attitude to adopting practices that will allow it to be a globally competitive Northwest manufacturing company for some time!

Note: To view the full article may require you to register with the Puget Sound Business Journal site. It is free and painless.

Management Resources


Can apologizing to your customers work for you? Read this and see how others are benefitting.
How to Apologize

"When leaders think they're trying improve the quality of other people's good ideas, they're often just trying to prove how smart they are." Does this register with you? Can you use this ion help the person in the office next to you?
When Is It Time to Keep Your Mouth Shut?

Is cloud computing for you? Do you know the SWAT list for cloud computing? What is your cloud strategy? This article is a good summary on this issue that is here for many businesses and on the horizon for others. Where do you stand?
Eight ways that cloud computing will change business

A manager's genuine interest in employees' lives pays off at every level, in every job. One important way to motivate and engage your team is just as available and cost-effective as it has always been. Take an active, genuine interest in the lives of your employees.
The No-Cost Way to Motivate

How are you managing virtual teams either here in the US or globally? This article provides insight to dealing with the chronic problem of managing a virtual team in a productive manner.
When You Absolutely Can't Meet Face To Face

How are projects run in your company? Here is a good survey of the practices that are part of managing successful projects. Good information on how to mentor your project managers toward practices that will improve their effectiveness.
The Quick-and-Dirty Guide to Getting Things Done


Quick tips on how to triage the chronic complainer. Is it something rises to requiring HR or is it something that can be dealt with one-on-one.
How to Handle Chronic Complainers? (2:30 min)


"There are hundreds of books and articles about performance measurement, but few that really explain how to design robust measurement systems. This is one of the few that does and it does so in a way that is both engaging and actionable" - Andy Neely, Chairman, Centre for Business Performance, Cranfield School of Management
Smart Business Metrics Measure What Really Counts & Manage What Makes the Difference
by Bob Phelps

Click here to submit your comments and questions to Mike at Brice Consulting.