087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

When was the last time someone told you something and you honestly paused and said “hmmm… I didn’t know that.”?

Today’s topic should be a no-brainer, but one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your organization is to be a lifetime learner.

This means that you’ve never arrived at that magical place where you know everything, no matter your experience, knowledge, schooling, or anything else.

There is always something for us to learn.

And as soon as we start to think differently, that’s when trouble comes. Trouble could come in the form of wasted time and energy problem solving an issue because we didn’t want to ask someone else’s opinion.

Or trouble could come from people leaving your organization because they had something to offer but never felt heard by you or others.

Trouble could come from a bad decision or plan or investment that could have been avoided if we had taken the time to open our mind and consider some new information from another source.

And learning can also happen anywhere.

We can learn from things we consume, such as podcasts or blogs or videos.

We can learn from conversations with others at work or home or with friends.

We can learn from those older than us and those younger.

We can learn from the past.

One of the places we often fail to learn is from our mistakes or the mistakes of others. Unfortunately, we’re often too busy beating ourselves up or someone else over a mistake to have time to circle back and learn what could have been done to have possibly avoided it.

In fact, mistakes and failures are one of the best sources for lessons.

Why did it fail this time even though it worked five years ago? Well, the software is different or the personnel changed or there was a new regulation that shifted a key part of the process.

Our brains need that stretching that learning provides. Having that mind that is always willing to learn opens us up to ultimately know so much more than we previously thought we knew.

I mean, look at technology and the way the world is changing all the time. If you aren’t willing to learn, it will begin to pass you by. Or, maybe you’ll find yourself getting frustrated or spending too much time trying to do something an outdated way when there is a new tool or app or service that can do it quicker.

So obviously as a leader you need to start by being a learner yourself and not letting pride stand in the way.

But then you can also help create a culture of learning in your organization as well.

Think about ways that you can help foster a better learning culture.

Sometimes it’s a two way street and you’ll find people who are willing to learn but those they could learn from are either condescending or just not wanting to teach. So that is another area that can be addressed.

Bottom line is that if your whole organization was able to continually be looking to learn and grow, just imagine what you could do with a group like that.

But it starts with you.

So what are you learning today?

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast and haven’t left an Apple Podcasts or iTunes review, I’d love it you’d take a minute to do that. You can head to shawnwashburn.com/apple to take you right there. Thanks for spending some time today to help you and your business thrive.

087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

086: K is for Kanban [ABC’s of EYB]

Today, as we continue our ABC’s of Engineering Your Business with the letter K we’re going to focus on the concept of Kanban.

You may never have heard the term before and up until the last ten years or so it only really existed within Lean Manufacturing circles.

It is a Japanese term that actually means signboard or billboard.

The overview of it is that it is a visual system that is in place to try to make sure that you don’t run short of necessary components. But the idea can actually be used anywhere.

How it works in manufacturing is that a kanban system uses cards or triggers when a bin of components is used up or emptied and those cards or triggers alert another part of the system to order more.

If you’ve got screws that you’re using, in a kanban system, you might always have two bins of screws. And when the front bin is used up, before it gets placed back that empty bin is put somewhere that will set off a signal to order more screws.

This can be used anywhere in your organization or business as well.

Maybe for you it’s leveraging the automation in place in a lot of project management tools that will kick off certain steps or events when a task’s status or a condition is changed.

We’ve mentioned waiting before and how it can often be a hidden cause of a lot of waste in companies.

What kanban systems can do is cut down on a lot of that by proactively getting out in front of running out of parts or a bottleneck or stoppage coming on a project and being able to take steps ahead of time to avoid issues.

I’d love to talk more about your specific business and situations and how kanban could be put in place to help you was well. Just shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com and let’s start a conversation on this.

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, consider telling a fellow entrepreneur or business leader about it. I appreciate you and would love to know any future topics you’d like me to cover or how I can help you and your business. Email me at shawn@shawnwashburn.com

087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

085: Odes to the Office Volume 1

I’ve heard from several friends and listeners since I started who’ve told me that the Odes to the Office are some of their favorite episodes. These are fun poems that I write making light of various aspects of business or office life.

I usually like to put one out every other Friday.

But today, I decided to go ahead and compile all the odes so far into Volume 1 of Odes to the Office.

So, no need to go back and find all of them. You’re about to hear each of the ones so far back to back in this episode.

Enjoy…

Ode to the Sticky Note

Ode to the Coffee Brewer

Ode to the Zoom Meeting

Ode to White Out

Ode to Undo

Ode to Change

Ode to Automation

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast and haven’t left an Apple Podcasts or iTunes review, I’d love it you’d take a minute to do that. You can head to shawnwashburn.com/apple to take you right there. Thanks for spending some time today to help you and your business thrive.

087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

084: J is for Just [ABC’s of EYB]

Not all words are the same.

I’m sure that’s the most obvious sentence you’ve heard all day unless someone already told you android phones are better than apple. OK, please don’t hate me, though you can choose to disagree from your apple device if you’d like.

But today, we’re going to talk about a word that is often used without thinking about it and yet can have big consequences.

That word is JUST.

Let me explain.

The nature of the word just is that it is kind of limiting word.

If you want to make the price of a wildly overpriced item sound not so wildly overpriced… add just before it. That donut isn’t $100… it’s JUST $100.

Just has a way of naturally toning down what you’re about to say after it.

If your child got into an accident driving your car, they will likely use this word multiple times when attempting to explain the minimal damage done to your automotive baby.

Just is like our secret weapon. Our modifier that can change someone’s perception with just four little letters.

So what’s wrong with JUST?

Well, the problem comes when just is used in the workplace, either with people or processes.

With processes, it’s often used when there is a lack of real data to take a swipe out how long something will take. That could be a meeting, a project, a response, a step in a work flow. Just often gets used the bridge the gap where there is just enough information to be believable but not enough to be definitive.

This usage is bad enough because it leads to broken promises, missed deadlines, broken budgets and more.

But what is even worse is when it’s used to describe people. “Joe’s just a maintenance guy.” “Sarah just does accounting stuff.” “Pete just cleans the lunch room.”

When applied to people, just has a way of limiting them in our minds, limiting what they’re capable of or even what they already know how to do. Truth is, we know so little about what many of our people are good at or skills that they use outside of work that we’ve never tapped into at work… all because of just.

They were hired in to do a specific job and they are supposed to just do that job and then go home.

Just shuts the door to exploring new possibilities, to finding out that Corey from second shift who fixes machines actually builds and programs computers in his spare time at home. Just doesn’t want to hear about those other things. Just says “just do your job”.

So, I’m not saying to eliminate JUST from your vocabulary. It still has its uses. But be careful and try to make note of times when you use JUST, especially in relation to people or processes in your business.

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, consider telling a fellow entrepreneur or business leader about it. I appreciate you and would love to know any future topics you’d like me to cover or how I can help you and your business. Email me at shawn@shawnwashburn.com

087: L is for Learn [ABC’s of EYB]

083: I is for Innovation [ABC’s of EYB]

There are a lot of keys to helping your company thrive, grow, become more efficient and a better place to work.. We’ve discussed several of them already.

But today we’re going to talk about a different aspect to the whole thing. A concept that can apply to both the people and the process side of things.

And that is innovation.

I believe that every one loves the idea of innovation on the surface. But what they really love is when someone comes up with a new idea or way of doing things and it actually works.

The problem is that many times innovation seedlings get killed before they ever get a chance to grow into full grown trees that can transform a business.

But without innovation, you’re stuck trying to do the best you can with technology or systems or processes or a culture that is only going to get you so far.

You could have the fastest 3.5″ floppy drive in the world (and if you don’t know what that is, it inspired the Save icon on most apps and software), but it couldn’t stand a chance against a writeable CD, which couldn’t stand a chance against a 64GB flash drive.

At some point you have to take risks, try something that might fail. Or, really, try a LOT of things that might fail in order to find that next big thing for your organization.

Sometimes this comes from new people who enter your sphere. Other times it could come from team members you already have who you have empowered to brainstorm on new ideas.

Either way, as a leader you have to set the course on this. From a message standpoint to actually putting resources into innovating or getting outside help.

Unfortunately, the world is littered with plenty of examples of companies that at one point were killing it, but refused to innovate and pivot when the world changed around them. And then they ultimately closed up or quietly shrunk away.

If you believe in your vision for your business and the value of your team members and the product or service they are providing, you owe it to your customers or clients to pursue innovation with everything possible.

Those same customers or clients who have a great working relationship with you are also counting on you to take THEM to the next level as well. They already trust you. Show them that you are still learning and growing as you continue to exceed their expectations.

What does innovation look like in your world? Where have you seen innovation done well or not so well? Let me know by shooting me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com

If you’ve been enjoying the podcast, consider telling a fellow entrepreneur or business leader about it. I appreciate you and would love to know any future topics you’d like me to cover or how I can help you and your business. Email me at shawn@shawnwashburn.com