Change is worth the effort of change, it is why I love LEAN. Change defines life, work, and all people. Ironically, we all want tomorrow to be predictable. The rate of change in business is advancing quickly. It means disruption in that daily predictable life. What is disruption you ask? Check out Industry 4.0 for that well-detailed answer. The article quoted here is a good one, the point is preparation will require Small Business Owners to see the change coming. And, if they do see it, the Small Business Owner should embrace LEAN. The author proposes the retraining of employees as the answer and should have been more clear with LEAN as the answer.
Small Business Owners should embrace LEAN
Have you heard the phrase, “boil the ocean?” While this is true, it’s hardly the end game. How do you pick what’s next, or where to focus? I like the metaphor to describe both the size of the problem and also the number of problems Small Business Owners face. Often owners feel overwhelmed because it seems like they must “boil the ocean” to achieve the future.
Fred was a fish in the big ocean. Real big ocean. Fred lived with other fish in his school (fish term for family of like fish). Life was OK, but you had to swim around and find food while you avoided the bigger fish who ate the smaller fish like Fred. Sometimes you were not smart enough to get away in time and became fish food for another fish.
One day, a strange thing dropped into the ocean. The fish all asked what this new thing was. Then some started to shout (in bubbles, of course, fish can’t shout), “There’s food over here!”. OK, free food was a very odd thing in the ocean. Some fish began to question why was there this new free food in the center of this new thing that just dropped into the ocean. Some of the fish were not so enlightened and raced towards the free food. Yum, it was good, so it had to be OK, right?
Some fish wandered in, took a nibble, and raced back out of the thing where the free food was. If it is that good, it must be bad.
Some fish shouted that the free food was a trap, and to be strong, stay away for the new thing that dropped into their ocean. Fish like Fred listened and followed the fish that said to avoid the new thing and the free food. Many however were weak in character and followed the others into the center of this new thing to get the free food that tasted so good.
Then the new thing began to close up, trapping the fish who were just looking for the free food. As it closed, it began to raise up out of the ocean. By now, the fish who had thought the free food was a good thing we’re afraid of what was happening. Up out of the ocean the net went, and the fish disappeared. They were emptied into a pot of boiling water where they were cooked and canned.
Rules Aren’t So Bad
Fred saw that the free food was not a good thing. Life was supposed to be a balance of difficult and rewarding. Sometimes things were easy, but most of the time, life was about following rules and working to be a better fish.
Work makes us work together. It’s in this that we can show our humanity to each other, or not. Have you been at work and seen behavior that steals another person’s dignity? Think of it this way, have you seen a coworker bullied, put-upon, made to work to excess? Or, is your workplace a place where humanity thrives and the business does as well?
What makes one place of business one way, or another?
Economics of people working together, HR, employee benefits, and faith are what I write about, someone passed along this informal classroom pole. 40% of Students admitted they have witnessed broken workplaces.
Workplaces are human places first. People do stuff, solve problems and make things together. It’s all done to promote family and community, that’s what work does.
For 98% of us our work is not intrinsically meaningful. Like the work of a Cancer doctor whose work is by its nature intrinsically meaningful, most of us must bring meaning to our work.
How do you bring meaning in every moment of your workday?
Katherine Drexel, A Saints’ Work
Giving up the worlds hold on us makes it possible to see a reality seldom recognized in the daily grind. Trading the world’s promise of fame, fortune, power, honor, privilege for God’s promises means recognizing the workplace as a human place.
It means, doing things like Katherine Drexel did, it is to move your heart from doing for yourself, do doing for others. Katherine Drexel gave up Millions and look what her choice created, a link to her story of starting Xavier University and so many other good works.
What is your place of work like? What do you bring to your workplace? Comment or share your own view.
Take a look at the video the complexity of our healthcare system, and this is just the relationship between the owners and the insurance company! It is no wonder that it is hard to identify what the main problems are in our system or make the improvements we all want.
Allow us to help you navigate the jungle of healthcare.
We don’t get input from other countries or methods. We don’t allow “new” to permeate the way we do things. As proof, consider the venture capital “Blue Print Health” spent $2.3mm and only 17% was spent on anything “new” to help health.
It’s all new ways of financing medicine, the $2.3mm is not introducing innovative solutions to improve the health of individuals. We look to hospitals and pharma to solve the problem and they provide only solutions they can sell.
Get an up-close look at the chart by watching the video as it explains our current system, lack of a system. Read other posts on Healthcare White Paper Series.
A Real Life Story of Accepting ACA Changes for a Small Business
The ACA landscape is “shifting sands,” a phrase we coined a couple years ago as we started designing the “BenStaff ACA Decoder“. I’d expect by now everyone understands ACA like we do. Sadly, this is a long way from true. We’re troubled that so few owners are taking advantage of options but then, there is so much “shifting sands” no one who does this part time should be expected to “get it” fast. There is a thread of continuous change, consider this example; the government just announced that open enrollment that ended 2/15 is open still through 4/15. You can still enroll so don’t miss out. See my post, or talk to one of the agents we like to make sure you don’t miss this NEW open enrollment.
Today begins a Story
Today, I wanted to begin telling a real life story about a family and small business. Of course, names have been changed to protect the innocent (a bit of a Dragnet reference). The reason for it to be a multi-part story, is to allow me to keep tackling the days work. If you follow the story you will learn what’s really happening in the employee benefit world and how it affects you, or could affect you.
It would take too long to write the entire story in one sitting and likely, you wouldn’t have time to read it. If I understand my audience, your interests are different than your neighbor (in viewing anyway). My interest in telling this story is the circumstances cover most every variation for you. Undoubtedly, in this story, there’s something in it for everyone. Owners will appreciate it and also will their HR and Finance staff plus any employee of any employer plus individuals looking for coverage. This story is about any typical business trying under the new law to provide coverage. It should help us collectively understand what ACA means in many different ways.
Part I – a Small Business Looking to Do Better
The story starts with a business who engaged us for our Decoder because they asked the simple question, “we know it’s different than it use to be, and we perceive we could do better but we don’t know how to make the right decision.” This is the question that we answer most of the time. So, here’s a brief background for the story. This is an employer with 18 employees many of whom are part time. We agreed to complete an ACA Decoder for them. We delivered the Decoder to the owners (2 of them) and started the conversation about which of the 3 options was best for them to pursue.
No two employers are the same and no two employers can solve the problems the same. No matter the employer size there are issues employers are facing. There are more than 20 options available to employers. And most employers are facing today’s rate increases with the same tools and intellect as they did last year, or the year before that and this is not serving them well. It’s why no matter your best efforts, you will find employers who use the Decoder do so with added confidence. As you will see with the story as it unfolds over the next few days.
This employer had an agent who was capable by any measure but not attentive to the employers needs. Of course, we established a connection with the current agent by encouraging them to participate with the completion of the Decoder. They objected to the idea and explained they would not be participating. This is so unfortunate, why would an agent not want to work with BenStaff or me to help a customer make a better decision and implement change? This kind of reception by the agent community really doesn’t make sense but we offered introductions to local agents who we knew who would work with us to develop the Decoder. The new agent worked with us to develop options, added a new customer and delivered the services I told the customer they should expect.
Too bad for the old agent but as you will see, the story ends happily every after in the end, you will see how we helped the employer navigate the ACA shifting sands by digging in and getting it done.
I’ll post Part II in the next day or so. Stay tuned.