Start-up Founders: Get Networked. Please. That’s an Order.

As a founder of a boutique-size business improvement consultancy, I live the start-up life, albeit not as intensely as many.

I was forwarded this sad post from Business Insider, regarding a founder who apparently jumped to her death.  As the article points out, there is a pattern of depression and mental health challenges for startup founders and entrepreneurs.

If that’s you — may I recommend you network with some mentors.

I also recommend two blogs, Brad Feld’s (here) and Jerry Carmona’s (here).   They are self-explanatory.

I’ve posted about this as well, here — about The Happiness of Pursuit.

Don’t ‘Ready – Fire – Aim’ your Six Sigma Black Belts!

I have an abiding respect and admiration for 6-Sigma Black Belts. They are the perfect weapon for bagging process improvements, not unlike one of my favorite rifles, the Accuracy International AX series.


6-Sigma Black Belts, like the rifle pictured above, can be a no-substitute need in one situation and over-kill (no pun intended) in another.  They’re not cheap to acquire, use or maintain, so you want to aim them at what merits their capabilities.

That’s where Process Triaging comes in. Process Triaging generates high value targets for Black Belts, be it a 6-Sigma focus (to reduce process variation) or LEAN focus (for removing waste and speeding things up without sacrificing quality).   The typical triage session generates 20 process improvements, flushed out and prioritized by your own process experts.  Of those 20 or so, there will be some fat, Black Belt-worthy opportunities, now mostly business cased because that’s what triaging provides.

If you have Black Belts working for you, triage the processes in the landscape you want them improving.

If you’re thinking about hiring Black Belts, Process Triage first, to focus your job interviews and resume fit checks.

If you have a Black Belt that’s not getting support from the front line experts, for whatever reason — Process Triage to get everyone on the same page.

Bottom line — Aim your Black Belts through Process Triaging (on a napkin here) and a 2-pager on  Triaging First (here).



Forests and Trees: The Secret Sauce of Process Triaging






Scalability describes how much effort is required to grow or shrink an enterprise, noting we usually think about how to grow it.  It’s about how we grow from a few trees into a forest.

We get from low volume, tree-level thinking performed by individuals and heroes to high volume, forest-level thinking focused on processes that deliver the customer experience we desire when we hire team members who thrive doing processes we need to scale.

To be scaleable, we must build a team that is efficient in how it improves processes, and effective in how it finds the best improvement to make next — picking the best trees out of a forest of possibilities.

It requires finding and growing team members that can handle such empowerment.

That’s what process triaging does.

It builds the teams that make processes scalable.






When ‘No’ is ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ is ‘No’

Borders create spaces, where something begins and what’s next to it ends.  Like our skin; me is on one side and not me is on the other.

When we make a choice to say “No”, we create a border. What we chose ‘No’ to is now on the outside. What is on our side, the inside is reserved.  We’ve actually created some time and space to put something within.WineGlass

The next choice is to fill this time and space with something we should say “Yes” to.  Something we can create.  So, “No” creates a ‘Yes’ opportunity.

Saying ‘No’ creates a container to fill with “Yes” things, like a crystal wine glass. The ‘No’s” create the glass.  We fill the glass with our “Yes’s!”

And as we fill our space up with ‘Yes” things, there is less and less room for other things, most wonderfully, the things we should say ‘No’ to.  So ‘Yes” eliminates ‘No’s”.

When we’re triaging business processes, the first step for the triage team is to collaboratively identify the series of containers they must fill in the right order. The work they should say “No” and “Yes” to in the right sequence is the process map and is essential  to creating teams that deliver scalable, high quality workflows.  Deciding what goes into each container — the “Yes’s” and what does not go — the “No’s” creates the most time and space for the most valuable work.

This is what brand positioning is ultimately all about.  What we are not — our “No’s” should be so clear – crystal clear, that all anyone sees is what we really are — our ‘Yes’s.”  Our business model should sustain our ‘No’s” and create more and more space for our ‘Yes’s.”

Here are some examples of such clear thinking — where the borders are clearly marked and the containers are well defined (download here)

So “No” is “Yes” and “Yes” is “No.”