Newsletter – December, 2020

On My Mind
December is the month each year when I reflect back on the year and finalize my strategic plan for the next year. I’ll know doubt years from now remember 2020 for three major phenomena: COVID-19, widespread social unrest, and a contentious election season. It has been a challenging year for so many people—both personally and professionally. My heart goes out to all of those business owners who were required to close their business or cut back on their services through no fault of their own. There are several promising vaccines and so we should be optimistic about 2021. Many organizations—even historically established ones—are now in a growth mode which is exciting. Best wishes as you conclude 2020 and begin 2021 with a clean slate.

Interesting Stories
Another life that ended too soon . . . Tony Hsieh—the former CEO of—passed away recently from complications from injuries sustained during a house fire. Hsieh was ultra-passionate about focusing on customers and he became well-known for many things including creating a strong company culture. A March 24, 2015 Inc. article by Ananya Bhattacharya listed “The 5 Best Tony Hsieh Quotes on Company Culture”: (1) Surround yourself with the right people, (2) Leadership is not dictatorship, (3) Your job should make you want to get out of bed, (4) Weed out the bad fits right away, and (5) Practice what you preach. I’ve no doubt there will be a renewed interest in his business philosophy and ideas.

Company News
I presented on Advances in Strategic Planning at the Minnesota Quality Conference sponsored by the Minnesota Section of the American Society for Quality on November 4, 2020 – it was a virtual event this year. There are several upcoming public SIS events: Shaping Organizational Culture webinar on December 17, 2020; Strategic Improvement Green Belt course starts December 21, 2020; Value Stream Leadership webinar on January 7, 2021; Network Analysis webinar on January 15, 2021; Strategic Improvement Black Belt course starts January 20, 2021; and the Exploratory Data Analysis webinar on January 29, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Roberta Carkeek Cheney stated in the book Sioux Winter Count: A 131-Year Calendar of Events: “Winter counts were the historical calendars of the Sioux.” I re-read this book every year because of its simple and profound message. The “calendar” was maintained by the tribe historian according to Cheney: “This chosen historian had learned the story of each event from his father and his grandfather, who in most cases had been the historians before him. Now it became his responsibility to help choose an important event each year and to represent it with a drawing on the [buffalo] hide. It was also the historian’s duty to interpret the drawings for anyone who had need of the record, and to teach the people in his tribe their history by means of the winter count. The original [buffalo] skin remained in the possession of the historian, but it could be copied if another member of the group wanted one for more ready reference.” What will be the drawing on your personal “hide” and your organization’s “hide” for 2020?