Coach Jimbo Fisher – Free Advice

You are doing a great job.
The last three games Auburn played all contained at least one trick play.
A Kipling poem you have heard but bears repeating.

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle—
As old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
But the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk,
The Law runneth forward and back—
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
And the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

Wishing you every success.


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Branson or Bust!

Two days after Christmas we are off to Branson, MO for our third visit there.  We have tickets for Saturday night to see The Miracle of Christmas at Sight and Sound.  Last year we were blown away with the production of Joseph. We are planning to ask a great many questions of the locals, furthering our desire to move to Branson.
Carolyn and I were both born in Florida and have lived there almost all of our lives.  Once the sale of our business, house and cabin materialize, we both would like to spend our last 20-30 years living outside Florida.

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Eye for an Eye

My wife has just had eye surgery to repair a macular hole.  To speed the repair the surgeon placed a gas bubble in her eye.  This to me is astounding!  Could they have done this even 10 years ago?  The advances in medicine are amazing.  Doctors during the Civil War knew nothing of antibiotics and their sincere care for the wounded aside, spread germs from patient to patient. How could they know.
What if you had been a young doctor just following the Civil War.  You may have been
aware of advances in medicine that your older colleagues knew nothing of.  How would you
have explained it to them.  Could you have explained it to them?

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The Leadership of Moses

I came across this great piece comparing Deming’s
teaching to Moses leadership

The Moses Story by Sheila Sheinberg

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Ship2Shore is more

Getting away for Memorial Day was difficult. Finally we decided on a re-do of a trip made last year to Fernandina Beach, FL. Our one night stay was in Kingsland across the river in Georgia. We landed for dinner at a place called Ship 2 Shore.
What a treat. On the menu was baked stuffed flounder.Carolyn had made up her mind. They offered medium fantail shrimp in lots of 15, 20 and 30.  I went for 15 with a salad and baked potato.  I will gripe about the time for delivery, which came in around 20 minutes.  I would have to guess it was getting the flounder to hold still while stuffing.  In any case the food was fabulous!  I would not hesitate to recommend Ship 2 Shore to anyone traveling
in or around Kingsland or St. Mary’s Georgia.

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Second Worst Movie Experience

Off to see the new Bond movie with the wife on Saturday.
Skyfall had finished it’s run at AMC and was playing for $3
at our local Movies 8.  We arrived 10 minutes early but
were soon enough treated to the first of the previews.
A lot of previews.  Eight in all, plus they ran the preview
for JANGO TWICE!  Then the screen went black, and
stayed black.  Music started playing, the screen is black.
Finally a manager pokes his head in and just says, “It
will just be a couple of minutes, folks.”  Okay, five
minutes and Skyfall starts.  But wait, it is already into
the movie.  So a patron goes to the manager and asks
that we be shown the movie from the beginning.  The
movie stops.  The screen is blank.  Music is playing and
the pre-show slides start to run again.  More than 20
minutes have passed since the start time.  Finally the
room goes dark, the music stops, and the previews
start again!!!  We are all holding our breath but at the
end of Previews II Skyfall starts.  That is when everyone
realizes we were only 1 minute into the movie the first
time through.  It took the first 30 minutes of the film to get over the
experience.  And that is not all.  When we finally exited the
theatre, standing in the lobby were 40 people expecting the
film to be starting again. WOW!  The lesson here is that when
something like this happens you can expect a ripple effect.
Could they have foreseen that?  Planned for it?

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Fine Food in Branson

This is our second trip to Branson, MO for vacation.
Because we can only close the sign business for this
week of the year, many of the restaurants in Branson
are closed for the rest of the year.  Thankfully not
T-Bones Steak House.  We just stumbled upon this
place last year looking for a meal on a Saturday night.
You hear me talking about Dr. Deming’s “Joy in Work”.
Here you can see, and taste it in action.  From the moment
you cross the threshold you are cared for in a most
uncommon way.  We told the lady that seated us we were
returning from last year.  She became almost teary eyed
as she told us she had worked there for 5 years and that
she “loved it” and that everything they did was done with
an attitude of caring and passion for excellence.
When traveling Carolyn and I usually split meals so it was
on Wednesday. Here, like in many restaurants, there is a split
charge, $3.25. this includes an additional side item.  Our wait
told us this was optional and we could fore go the split charge
and stay with the 2 side items included with the meal.
This is what we did. We settled on a Kansas City Strip 12 oz.
with baked potato and steamed veggies.  Three rolls added
starch and still there was room for Bailey’s infused cheesecake.
Total cost of this belt loosening meal, $28.49.
Processes are good, systems are needed, but remember, they
both should serve to deliver, not hinder, the kind of customer
service that has people bragging about your product or service.

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Mr. Romney’s – No Apology

Having bought myself a Lenovo tablet I had all the capability to download Mitt Romney’s ebook, No Apology – the Case for American Greatness.  Now more than half through with the book, (my hope is to finish before the election) I thought to give you a review of what I have read.  I now know that Mitt Romney wrote this book.  It is clear that many celebrities have books written for them, and to be honest I expected the same here.  During the first 2 debates Romney used quote after quote from the pages of this book.  He is so comfortable with the details that I am convinced they are his ideas.  So much of what Romney writes here is spot on.  His views of America’s place in the world, including our responsibility to “keep the peace” I believe, and have believed it for a long time.  There are, however, two areas in which the governor needs instruction.  The first is in his understanding of what it takes for the U.S. to compete globally.  The other is in his understanding of what is wrong with education in the U.S.  In No Apology Mr. Romney espouses the cost cutting philosophy of Michael Porter.  Mr. Porter, a business management guru to some, suggests
you cut costs by making your suppliers compete against one another.  Further that you
buy based on lowest purchase price.  Phoooey!  Please notice I did not say Mr. Porter
wants you to buy based on lowest “cost”.  There is a big difference.  Read some of the
work of W. Edwards Deming and it will be clear to you that only by purchasing on lowest
“total” cost can you maximize the system.
On education Mr. Romney lands on the “right” side of the argument.  Over 3 decades
we have been saying “more funding” or “more accountability” depending on your
political leaning.  Both of these positions are wrong.  If you really want to fix
education in the states, start with the work of David P. Langford.  He has been using
Dr. Deming’s Philosophy to transform school systems for 20 years.

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Still Kicking

Headed into June with still no end in sight for this horrible economy.  Hard to believe sales at the sign company are 50% of what they were in 2007.  What can you do?  Well there are some things you can do.  First we looked at ways to cut expenses.  It is important that the quality of the final product not suffer as a result of cost cutting.  If that happens you are harming the company, no savings is happening.  When quality suffers, costs actually go up.  So we look for ways to slim down.  We redouble our efforts to understand and improve our processes.  One example.  I have a nice young man as an employee.  He’ll do anything you ask…. with gusto!  Last week we made a sign for a church that was being sent several states away.  The sign had to be packaged.  Wrapped and placed between 2 pieces of  cardboard, staples had to be placed around the perimeter.  Easy enough, you say.
Today we are redoing the sign as the customer found 5 staples completely through his sign.
As far as processes go we can go back over this one.  The key is not finding fault with the employee, but with the process.  It does little good to simply say, “You must try harder.”  Instead look at the packaging process and redefine it so this cannot be repeated.

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Dummy and Yummy

At the 2012 ISA (International Sign Association) show so in Orlando for just 2 days.  Left Tallahassee 6 pm on Thursday and stopped over in Gainesville.  Bargain on the room thanks to online purchase but there was still an opportunity to learn.  I have a couple of things that I believe all hotels could do to improve the experience.  One is to send the maintenance man/woman to check all the toilet seats to make sure they are not loose.  Silly, you say?  Back injury will be swift and sure if you twist to reach your backside and the seat shifts suddenly.  Second, please start this simple plan.  Ask an employee to stay a single night in one of your rooms, no charge of course.  In the course of this excercise have them note any difficulty they have in the normal course of showering, adjusting the TV, anything at all.  I noted  a couple at the Paramount Plaza in Gainesville.  First, the water pressure was high enough to knock over a small child or adult.  Usually this is the opposite of the problem, but in this case, restrictors would save hundreds.  My other problem here is related to something that is really quite common.  That is that the hotels are replacing nomal toilet seat lids with the new, new 1/16″ thick plastic ones.  When I, or anyone puts their foot on the lid to dry it, you foot pushes deeply into the lid, causing quite a fright.

Think, people.  Either spend nights in the rooms yourself or ask employees to do it, but very important data is out there to be discovered, and the result of this discovery will be much more satisfied customers.

Our Friday night stay was at the WestGate Lake Resort, a timeshare that happened to place some studios online for $70, plus $11.30 tax I might add.  Check-in and getting to our room was a 50 minute affair, about 45 minutes too long.  Since this was a timeshare resort everything these people did was aimed that way.  We waited in a line for 30 minutes to see  someone at registration.  The desk clerk took about 15 minutes to read our online receipt and inform us of a $50 refundable fee “in case we damaged their room”.  Trust me, Jonathon, your system of check-in is doing incalculable damage to your reputation, and is doing it all day long.  Every day.  Think, people.

the Yummy part of the title is there to remind us of the meal experience we shared at the Market Street Cafe in Celebration.  The cafe overlooks a man-made lake.  We sat outside as close to the view as we could get.  We should have split.  Both are meals were delicious and the wait guy was superb, but that was just too much food.  Market Street Cafe has a great system, and it works.

Think, people

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