Keep Learning (Feb 2024)

One of the best features of my role is that I get introduced to new businesses on a regular basis. This gives me the opportunity to continue to see new things and meet new people.  And with that, I have the opportunity to keep learning and stay fresh.  Nothing becomes routine.

Too often I see people who have gotten stale in their roles. They perform the same tasks day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and yes, sometimes decade after decade. They do this despite the fact that technology has changed and other people might have a better idea. Even when someone comes along and challenges the status quo their ideas are quickly dismissed.

The other day, I had the opportunity to spend the morning with a relatively new manufacturing client to observe production. For me, this is like a field trip back in grade school. Sure, it counts as work but it’s a refreshing change from meetings, spreadsheets, reviewing financials and talking numbers.

What impressed me the most was the constant drive to improve. At one point, we went to the workshop to see a new machine that was being manufactured in-house to increase the production rate. The person building it is mid-career (the HR police would pounce if you ever asked someone their age) and first started working at the company at a summer job when he was 16 years old.  He became a full time employee a few years later. It would be easy for someone who has been around as long as this to be set in his ways. Instead, he is still trying to find a new way and excited by the prospect of improving production. So are his colleagues who are working with him and enthusiastically encouraging the effort.

A few days later, I was on a call with an expert from the company who provides accounting software for another client. We had some recent turnover and I knew there was room for improvement in our processes. Frankly, even I was surprised by how much room we had to improve. The expert broke down three individual pieces of the workflow and taught us a better way. At my insistence, he was doing this in our system with our data. That’s important because too often sample data isn’t as relatable as it should be and it often comes with no flaws; real data is messy. Further, when using your own data you eliminate the need to think through how sample data relates to your own and can instead focus only on the relationship between how the information you have can flow into a new process. It was clear after barely more than an hour that we had a huge opportunity in front of us. We just need to get the right players assigned to the task.

Here are a handful of ideas to get you started on your learning journey. Visit another company and see how they operate. Join a peer group. Take advantage of the online videos and tutorials that software vendors often provide (usually for free). Go to trade shows. Bring in an outsider with a different perspective. Cross train your team so others can ask “why” as they learn a new role. Join the user group of your software provider to learn and adopt best practices. Attend the annual conference (learning one new thing is worth the price of admission).

What are you doing to keep learning?

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected]

The archive of these monthly newsletters is posted at the Resources section of

your cash is flowing.  know where.®
Ken Homza
Copyright @ 2024 Homza Consulting, Inc.


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