Ellevate Network San Diego organized a session on navigating your career and personal goals with Certified Business Improvement Strategist Marliese Bartz at FemX Quarters in Mission Hills.
The workshop covered how to:
- Identify your personal and professional goals
- Determine how to prioritize your goals
- Uncover the meaning behind the goals you have set
- Learn the process of navigating and completing your goals
Marliese explained this talk was not going to be “death by Powerpoint,” and we were actually going to be getting up and walking around and writing on giant pieces of paper on the wall, using markers and sticky notes. “That’s all you need to truly apply these concepts. And that’s kind of the beauty, it is in this simplicity. That’s what I like to teach people,” she said.
Marliese had a corporate job in the past, then she and her husband were laid off on the same day from their corporate jobs in 2011. At that time, her daughter was a toddler. They had offered both partners either new roles or packages. What they decided to do as a family was he would take the role and stay, she would take the package and reinvent herself.
“So I stayed home with my daughter for a while. I had been wanting to do something different. I decided that I was going to just try to go be a consultant. If it didn’t work, okay, I’ll go back and get a job. My story started with one client. I worked for her one day a week. My daughter had a playdate one day a week with my best friend’s little daughter who was running a daycare in her house. I worked one day a week for a year and a half until my daughter went to kindergarten. And then I had a mentor who challenged me and said, you really need to start your business. I was gonna go to school, but they said I need to launch my business. So I did. That was nine years ago now. Since then, I’ve evolved a lot as a consultant. But what I love to do is this more tactile mode, it is what I call sticky note strategy. I’m gonna teach you a little bit of it today. And it’s really the genesis of the Lean and Six Sigma concepts and I bring them down into a method that people can use and really feel like they’re accomplishing something in a more tactile, real way. And of course, I use the same concepts for really big projects, too. Trying to help people kind of problem solve in their own way,” Marliese said.
Lean and Six Sigma
“So you understand where my thought process comes from, Lean and Six Sigma are actually two separate toolsets. Some practitioners are lean practitioners, and some are six sigma, and then some like me that use both together. I also use agile. I bring in a lot of different modalities. That’s the cool thing about being a consultant is you can do whatever you need to to make the client happy. But the core really is Lean and Six Sigma.
The premise behind Lean is that you’re trying to make it simple or take out waste things that don’t add value to the client, or to you or to your employees, or to you as a human being. You’re trying to change anything else that doesn’t have value. And that makes it more simple and reduces waste.
The core concept of Six Sigma is you want something to be perfect every time or you want someone to have the same experience every single time. So if you think about walking into a Starbucks anywhere, the experience is fairly similar, everywhere you go. So that’s really a Six Sigma concept, it is meeting that customer experience and reducing what we call variation. It’s the same every time whether it’s a service that you’re providing, whether it’s a product, it could be just about anything,” Marliese said.
Three things we started and talked about, with the caveat that we weren’t going to finish all three. Marliese had the goal to explain all three, get us started, come around and help anyone stuck, then we could finish the rest at home. With a client, this would be a 3-hour consult so it had to be condensed into this one-hour event.
Account Balanced Scorecard
A balanced scorecard is a business school concept that corporate uses, the idea is that we want you to be thinking about the different aspects of whatever you’re considering. “So this could be a business, this could be your career, this could be something going on in your personal life, it could be a career change, there’s a lot of different things that you can apply this to. But the concept of the balanced scorecard is that you’re looking at different modalities or different aspects, so that you’re not just focused on ‘I have to make this much money, or it has to be in this industry.’ You’re trying to open your horizons and look at it in a balanced way. For corporate they say, how’s our revenue, how their customer service, whatever those modalities are for them. Depending on what your problem is that you want to try and work on today, we’ll talk about what these quadrants would mean. They might change for you depending on what you’re trying to solve. But these are some common ones that I usually recommend,” she said.
Customer service: “To me, customer service is how are we meeting the demands or the desires of our customers? If you’re developing a product, we could talk about the product development in that quadrant. If you think you want to release a course, in your business, we could talk about that. Or if there’s some other demand happening in your industry or in your life even right, if you want to make a move somewhere else, right? So there’s all kinds of ways that we can kind of look at these quadrants,” she said.
Internal process: “That’s where I live, process improvement. But internal process could be how you’re doing your job, how your business is running. It could also be, what is it that I need to work on internally myself in order to achieve whatever that is,” she said.
Skills development: A lot of times skills development will go hand in hand with internal processes. What is it that I need to develop in order to achieve these things?
The idea is that these are all supposed to support one another.
“Let’s say we have a customer service goal, you might have a customer service goal, we might translate that to, I want to be the thought leader in my field. So what are the internal processes and skills that you would need to develop in order to be the thought leader in your field? The idea is that these are also supposed to support one another. So whichever one of those quadrants is your most heavy, the one that you’re saying, that’s my main goal, it could be financial. I want to make X amount this year, or to have 500 people in her course by the end of the year. If I want to be a thought leader, to me, that’s customer service quadrant, and then all the other goals that you’re looking at are subservient to that one,” she said.
Start with SMART goals. What’s a SMART goal? Something that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound.
Once we would have this scorecard teased out, and we would have smart goals for at least three of the four quadrants, ask how are we going to achieve these goals?
In her corporate job, a company would hire consultants like Deloitte ”and they would pay them literally half of my year salary for six weeks of work. And they would leave us with this beautiful PowerPoint, and then they would give it to me to implement. And I would be like, I’ve been telling you guys the same stuff for six months. And I’m already under payroll. So when I became a consultant, my core value is that I implement. So no one’s hiring me to give them a PowerPoint. My whole premise was if you don’t implement, it was just a nice brainstorming exercise,” she said.
“So this is why I’m super passionate about figuring out how are we actually going to go do these things and get them over the finish line. And part of that is, what I see a lot is people will have like 10 things that they’re working on. And they’re moving each one 10% and then they feel like they’re just like spinning their wheels constantly and not getting anywhere. And they’re only making small progress on a bunch of things.
So I came up with this template that I’m calling goal gaming, basically a work breakdown structure. What’s my year? Add sticky notes at the top, saying what is it that I need to do in your year. Let’s say I want to increase my revenue by $2 million. I may not do that in one year, I might be saying I’m going to do that over three. You’re trying to break that down into something that’s more manageable if you’re looking at it over multiple years. Within that first year, we need to take that down into what a month was, I mean, I’m hat you’re gonna do monthly. Setting an appointment monthly with yourself to look at this. Asking is this the right thing that I should be focusing on? I recommend one project because one project usually has a bunch of tasks. For example, I want to do my web page. That’s a project that probably has 20 tasks underneath it. I recommend doing one project per month and trying to get that over the finish line.
If we do one per month, and we know we’ve got it on the plan, I got to get this one done. Especially if you got other stuff going on. Right, if you already have a job you’re trying to sell on the side. And now you’re not going to be able to do five projects per month and do your full-time job and family and all this stuff. So try to do one per month, by appointment with yourself to readjust. And then we’re going to try and bring this down to weekly. What are all those tasks that I’m going to have to get done in that month? Breaking it down into like an actual what we call an kanban board,” she said.
Our audience continued the exercise until our time ran out, and we packed them up to finish at home.