Collaborate to be Great, Work With Me Here! PART I

26 06 2013

Collaboration concept in word tag cloud

Take a look in any business plan.  Dust off every strategic initiative and flip though the pages.  Ask any retired business owner of a successful organization about the secret of his/her success.  You will probably not see the word or hear it spoken.  However, without it, every plan will fail, every strategy will come up short and every business will stumble to succeed.


For the past several months, I have been wrestling with the concepts surrounding collaboration and how it fits into Eye-Cubed U.  While it has been the mantra of 2013 among the leaders I work with, it has not come without some frustration.  I have been struggling with the practical application of “collaboration” and how it balances with strong leadership and innovative influence.  And now, after an interview with one of our strategic partners (NWN Corp) about the very sopic of collaboration, I am prepared to write the Eye-Cubed philosophy surrounding this key concept.

Complete this six week  Eye-Cubed U course (one post each of the next 6 weeks) on Collaboration 2013 as we explore how it impacts itself within our companies.  Gain insight in:

Collaboration with Inspirations

  • How do you work with others to ignite the inspirational spark inside the Eye-Cubed U leader?

Collaboration with Innovations

  • How can the innovator bring key leaders into the process of innovation to facilitate corporate evolution?

Collaboration with Implementations

  • Find ways to experience the joint effort of leaders crossing department lines as initiatives and strategies are executed brilliantly.

Collaboration within Operations

  • How do we work together to bring efficiencies and improvements to our existing processes?

Collaboration with IT

  • As the common denominator of all innovations, initiatives, strategies and projects, develop and maintain a strategy that connects the IT language and thought process to the entire organization’s directions and goals.

Collaboration within your Family Business

  • Learn how business ownership requires collaboration to evolve, grow and more importantly (to me as a second-generation owner) to insure continuity and succession.

With each area of interest, we will uncover the key requirements that must be in place to have effective collaboration.  Along with the roadmap towards achieving our collaborative goals, we will identify the greatest obstacles we face along the way.

We will find that collaboration is not a light switch that can be turned on and off.  It is a mindset that takes practice to develop and discipline to maintain.  The concept has been presented, stated and overstated to the point where our leaders have become immune to its complexity and need for urgency of execution.



Teens Show Us How To Implement

20 06 2013

Today is the last day of the school year.  My sophomore daughter was up last night until 3:30 am completing an iMovie-project on the current state of racism in America.   The topic was challenging, the process so very 2013 and her commitment to the project was in true Eye-Cubed fashion.  She is an Eye-Cubed student with a vision for her assignment (Inspiration), intertwined production concepts with current technology (Innovation) and completed the project on time (Implementation).  By noon today her summer will begin.

Sydney faced this entire school year with the same Eye-Cubed technique.  She is one who super-challenges herself with high expectations.  Now, shouldn’t we all have high expectations for our goals?  Without an ounce of overconfidence, she believed in herself and her mantra of consistent effort.  She was able to see the finish line ten months ahead of her, and take the many steps towards it, one at a time, day after day.  Her vision, her mantra, is inspirational.

I watched her along the way.  And while she willingly (yet sometimes hesitantly) placed herself squarely outside of her comfort zone, she found humor and enjoyment along the way as she made a plan and followed it.  Although extremely difficult, especially for a teenager, Sydney rarely veered from her course and kept her commitment to hard work with consistent effort.  In spite of a challenging journey, she enjoyed the process.

Well before she receives her “grades”, she should know that she has achieved her goal.  The analysis is not in the letter, but rather in the story behind the effort.


It is a story of:

  • Planning
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Advocacy
  • New Experiences
  • Self- Confidence
  • Managing Frustration
  • Celebrating Personal Victories

This story has meaning for the Eye-Cubed leader of today.  Our careers and organizations present us with many of the same challenges facing our children as they navigate through the educational system.  We have choices to make, paths to follow, challenges to face and skills to learn.  We have disappointments to deal with and victories to celebrate.

What is the Eye-Cubed measurement of success?  Much like the educational system, the focus can be misplaced.  It is not in a title or a superficial “end game”.  Success is measured in effort along the way.  It comes from the ability to work the process to its fullest, and to follow the path consistently through inspiration, innovation and implementation.   It is by no means a destination but rather a journey.

Thank you for the lesson Sydney!  Enjoy the summer.

Graduate as an Eye-Cubed U Leader with a minor in Microeconomics

12 06 2013

Brian Beaulieu, Chief Economist for Vistage International spoke about the economy at the Vistage All City Event in New York.  His track record is stellar as he accurately predicted growth and contraction within our nation’s economy over the past decade and beyond.  He ended his presentation with a worthy pitch to the business owners in attendance.  He offered the service of analyzing any business from a microeconomic standpoint and providing insight into the current trends of an organization as well as his predictions for the future.

I thought about how Brian drew his conclusions, looked around the room and said to myself……. “I wonder if I can do that?”  It is critical to think about our businesses and determine the outlook.  We must know where we are going if nothing changes.  We need to ask ourselves if we have adequate plans in place to maximize our future results.

I have been working with metrics for most of my career and set out to change the culture of my company in 2010.   Having slugged through the major culture change (which is a post for another day), PFP emerged with a unique tool unmatched in our industry.  We have a tremendous amount of data and use it constantly to analyze our past performance and to understand our present performance… we need to do something new with it.


Time for the economic analysis to predict our future performance…….

On the back of the door in my office is a chart.  It tracks monthly “twelve trailing month” data.  I now have 30 months of such data to scan and view.   By taking a page out of the Beaulieu economics 101 playbook, I have developed a rudimentary economic analysis of PFP’s sales performance resulting in a sales prediction into the future using nothing more than our current measurements. 

As of the writing of this post, I have shared my results with no one!  There are believers and detractors of any economic analysis.  And as far as taking the word of someone who has no track record, I offer this advice:

“You would be crazy to totally buy-into what I predict and stupid to completely reject it.”

I am going to write down my predictions, put them away and compare them to the actual sales results in the future.  However, just to provide a “hedge” with regard to my predictions,

Here are the factors that could render my prediction inaccurate:

  • If the variables become more volatile than the past 30 months would indicate.
  • If current management actions and initiatives designed to move specific variables have a rapid and profound impact on those variables.

Eye-Cubed leaders take the time to think, plan and predict.  They inspire, innovate and implement.  Regardless of the weather outside your window (today it is cloudy, rainy and foggy), if you analyze the data you already have in your possession, it is possible to see clearly into the future.