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Appendix: Profit Building Process Forms

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6 Generating Creative Solutions by Asking All the Questions

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Generating Creative

Solutions by Asking the Questions

When we arrived at the question, the answer is already near.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON

In 1983 I became a vice president at Pizza Hut, Inc., a division of PepsiCo, Inc. This was an exciting and eventful achievement for me that included company stock, financial rewards, and recognition. One of the perks I received was an opportunity to go to the corporate office for a three-day management program the vice presidents referred to as “finishing school.” Although I did not know it at the time, this experience was to make an impression on me that would help shape both my career and the thinking that came to underlie the Profit Building Process (PBP).

The highlight of this program was a high-powered meeting with the CEO and a few top members of his staff. In this meeting, vice presidents from various divisions across the country jockeyed for position, each hoping to make a positive impression on the CEO and his team. The format was a sort of oral exam; the CEO would ask a vice president a variety of questions, and one’s answers could result in either personal glory or public humiliation. The atmosphere was tense, the competition so thick you could cut it with a jackhammer.

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11 How and Where to Get Started

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How and Where to Get Started

What we call the beginning is often the end.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

—T. S. ELIOT

Congratulations! You now have a new perspective on what I believe will be the next wave to sweep over the business world. But unlike the many passing management fads we have seen come and go in the last decade, Profit Building is here to stay. It is the vital piece that has been missing from organizational design—a continuous process for profit improvement and cost reduction that should be a part of every business.

Now that you have finished reading the chapters on Profit

Building, you are ready to begin. You are about to find out just how quickly one person can start to make a difference in an organization. The beauty of the PBP is that it can be applied to any organization, large or small. International organizations, large corporations, small businesses, individual departments, and franchises are all awaiting its arrival. Getting the process started will be an easy sell. The most difficult part will be overcoming the organization’s resistance to this new approach.

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10 Sixty Further Steps to Cut Costs in All Areas of Your Business

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Sixty Further Steps to Cut Costs in All Areas of Your Business

This chapter will address cost-cutting approaches to this remaining 60%—those areas that are waiting to be discovered but are often ignored.

The need for uncovering these hidden profits became apparent to me during an extended business trip in 1997. I was fortunate to be one of three executives who helped to sell our corporation via a strategic initiative in the capital market. The process was the most challenging that I have been a part of to-date in my career. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt New York for about three months until the transaction was complete.

It was during this time that I first began to consider writing this book. We presented for numerous hours to arguably some of the best deal-makers on Wall Street. Yet they continued to probe deeper, searching for some silver bullet to account for our dramatic cash-flow improvement that occurred in just over a twoyear period. It was then that I realized that Profit Building is a unique process. There was no silver bullet, only the process that

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4 Choosing and Managing the Profit Building Team

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Choosing and Managing the Profit Building Team

What prodigious power a body of people can put forth when they all work at the same process, but the process differentiates and improves in their hands. Each gains skill and dexterity. They learn from each other, and the product is multiplied.

—WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER

Presently, the use of teams specifically to improve profit and loss is uncommon, despite management’s widespread acquaintance with teams and what they can accomplish. The Profit Building approach shows managers how to select the right team members, organize meetings, and set concrete goals for optimal results in profit and loss management.

When applied in proper sequence with the other steps to be discussed later in this book, the Profit Building Team (PBT) becomes the engine that drives profit building forward and perpetuates it.

When the right team is put into place, its creativity will impress you. The following is a small sample of some of the many creative questions generated by a team I worked with in 1994. A more inclusive list appears in Chapter 6.

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