Kanban Visual Task Boards

Just wanted to share this best practice for Kanban or Visual Task Boards


This is a way to layout work/workflow and track and communicate progress. 


Previously, many professionals use colored sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard.


Today, tools like ServiceNow have the capability built right in. 


This was an example that I created in just a few minutes. 


Visualize your team’s work and focus on what needs to get done, who the tasks are assigned to, the status, and keep driving continuous improvement in the workflow and project. 


Color coding can be used for different tasks and you can see the legend at the top.  

Tasks can be easily dragged and dropped from one column (status) to another. 


Create transparency and collaboration on your projects–try Kanban Visual Task Boards. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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Technology and Human Capital–They Go Hand-In-Hand

So there are some mighty impressive places to work that really shine in terms of the technology they use and the constant desire to upgrade and improve their capabilities. 


Usually, these are also the places that value and respect their human capital because they view them as not just human pawns, but rather as strategic drivers of change. 


Then there are the places that are “so operationally focused” or just plain poorly run that they can’t be bothered to think about technology much at all or the people that make up the organization and its fiber. 


In many cases, the wheel may be turning, but the hamster is dead: 


There is no real enterprise architecture to speak of. 


There are no IT strategic or operational plans. 


There are no enterprise or common solutions or platforms. 


There is no IT governance or project/portfolio management. 


Even where there are some IT projects, they go nowhere–they are notions or discussion pieces, but nothing ever rolls off the IT “assembly line.”


How about buying an $800 software package to improve specific operations–that gets the thumbs down too. 


Many of these executives can’t even spell t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y!


It’s scary when technology is such an incredible enabler that some can’t see it for what it is. 


Rather to them, technology is a distraction, a threat, a burdensome cost, or something we don’t have time for.


Are they scared of technology?


Do they just not understand its criticality or capability?


Are they just plain stupid? 


Anyway, organizations need to look at their leadership and ask what are they doing not only operationally, but also in terms of technology improvement to advance the organization and its mission. 


Look to the organizations that lead technologically, as well as that treat their people well, and those are ones to ogle at and model after.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.


Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.


And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.


So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 


After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 


And so I went back and did just that. 


I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.


They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 


I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 


In this case, listening better and empathizing more–it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it’s right! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Left-Handed Screwdriver

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So I’m not so sure what is so funny about a left-handed screwdriver…


Except of course that there is no such thing!


The same screwdrivers work in both the left and rights hands. 


Duh!


But that’s what it is with some people that like to call what they are doing innovation or out-of-the-box thinking.


When really, what’s new to them is just regurgitation of “what’s old is what’s new!”


We can’t just work harder, rather we need breakthrough thinking to work smarter. 


But how many times do you really see smarter happening versus just a different flavor of the month introduced to score points or mark some victory laps. 


Real innovation or transformation means making a new way to screw things together and not just screwing it with a different hand.


Yes, most innovation is really individual small steps that end up in aggregate, making a great leap for mankind. 


Occasionally, someone really does invent the smartphone–now that was smart!


Be careful buying that left-handed screwdriver or into that new methodology for accomplishing great things until you know that it really isn’t more snake oil sold from someone’s bullsh*t soapbox–and that it is from someone with a very big mouth and a very little brain. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Inspector Inspects Starbucks

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This was the first time that I have ever seen an inspector in Starbucks…


See the lady in the white lab coat with hair cap and gloves…


Ah, she stands out like a saw thumb in contrast to the other staff person in the traditional green Starbucks apron. 


So I would imagine that she’s not a doctor moonlighting as a barista!


She was checking here, there, and everywhere. 


At this point, she was taking out the milk and looked like she had some thermometer like device to make sure it was cold enough and not spoiled. 


Honestly, I was impressed that they have this level of quality control in the stores. 


We need more of this to ensure quality standards as wPhotoell as customer service — here and everywhere in industry and government. 


There is way too much dysfunction, inefficiencies, politics, power plays, turf battles, backstabbing, bullying, lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, fraud, waste, and abuse, and mucho organizational culture issues that need to be–must be–addressed and fast!


Can the inspector that inspects do it?


Of course, that’s probably not enough–it just uncovers the defects–we still have the hard work of leadership to make things right–and not just to checklist them and say we did it.


I wonder if the Starbucks inspector will also address the annoying long lines on the other side of the counter as well? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Born Or Forged To Lead

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So are we born to lead or are we forged to greatness through adversity and lots of hard work?


Some people definitely seem to have innate leadership characteristics:


– Charisma


– Integrity


– Decisiveness


– Passion


– Determination


– Agility


– Intelligence


– Inspirational


– Confident


– Articulate


Other people maybe weren’t born with it, but they learn to become great leaders through:


– Hard Work


– Willingness to learn


– Continuous improvement 


– Motivation to advance


– Finding a meaningful mission 


– Belief that they can make a difference


– Faith that G-d is guiding them


Like with most things in our life, it’s a combination of nature and nurture. 


Good raw material starts us off on the right track and then forging it with fire and a hammer and polishing it off into a great sword with hardness, strength, flexibility, and balance. 


As Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazine says:

“I’m an overnight sensation 30 years in the making.”


Birth is just the beginning… 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Getting Valuable Performance Feedback

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So here are three simple questions to ask your boss that can help you get valuable performance feedback and advance yourself and your career:


1) What am I doing that you want me to keep doing?


2) What am I doing that you want to me quit doing?


3) What am I not doing that you’d like me to start doing? 


There you have it in a nutshell–you can partner with your boss to improve yourself and get ahead. 


Just three easy questions gets you a lot of good information. 

 

The hardest part is getting up the nerve to ask and then being willing to really listen to what’s said.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)