Why Lean Manufacturing Doesn’t Work Today

Why “Lean Manufacturing Doesn’t Work Today”

Guest writer Bruce Baker shares with us the reasons why lean manufacturing doesn’t work today: the reasons are not exactly what you might think…

Whether you own a bookkeeping business, cabinet-making business or legal practice, all businesses are made up of routines, which rely on consistent, one-at-a-time processes. Everything we do that keeps society “together” relies on repeatable activities. Whether it’s brushing our teeth, getting dressed or eating breakfast, all rely on repeatable processes.

For those who are not aware of the practice of Lean, allow me to provide you with a brief history and definition. Lean is the concept of efficient manufacturing/operations that grew out of the Toyota Production System in the middle of the 20th century. It is based on the philosophy of defining value from the customer’s viewpoint and continually improving how value is delivered by eliminating every use of wasteful resources, or that does not contribute to the value goal. In short, taking things one step at a time is the make or break of business and general success in life.

Many have heard before… “take it down a notch…one thing at a time”. Several months ago, I wrote a short article called “Your Interpretation of Time,” where I stressed the importance of how reactive we have become as a society, including business. Our interpretation of time today is drastically shorter, and the general consequences of failure, impressively higher and more extreme than before. This inevitably leads to reactive, narrow, and short-term decision-making. Albert Einstein once said, “When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

My bold statement of “…Lean doesn’t work today” is not that the practice and methodology are ineffective; on the contrary. Lean is applicable in every industry and every business and mentioned in the beginning of this article, in your personal life. The practice and adoption of Lean are fantastic when a business and its people adopt this “way of business life.”

A challenge we are all presented with is that if we adopt Lean as a practice, we need to accept that our reactional, short-term, and high-crisis manner of thinking will always stop us from adopting practices like Lean.

Building and growing a business is never easy emotionally, but requires a strict set of routines and processes, and each process must be executed effectively. This can only happen if each process performs effectively in an individual manner parallel to its fellow processes. This requirement is not limited to the business world but the very nature of our world, yet we insist on a short-term, high-crisis manner of thinking.

As I write this article, I sit in a Lean manufacturing training session with Quantum Lean. Lynn (the Lean instructor) mentioned that adopting Lean “takes time” and that “people do not like to change”. Although I completely agree with Lynn, people resist change primarily because they fear the unknown. Statements like “I don’t see the reason to change,” “I don’t have time to wait for them”, “I have so many problems to deal with, I don’t know where to start” or finally, “Oh, I’ll add this to my list of problems I have to solve…I don’t have time to deal with little issues like this now!”

In conclusion, if you have or are anticipating implementing Lean in your business, remember this. It all starts with the leader of the business. If the leader does not make this mind shift, the rest of the team will not make the shift either. Lean is not another tool or method. It is a change in the state of mind and subsequently changing the business’s culture from fighting fires to experiencing the inherent joy of work and life in general.

As a wise mentor of mine once said, “one step at a time, grasshopper….”

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The 6 Behaviours of Successful Business Owners

The 6-Behaviours of Successful Business Owners

In tonight’s blog post, guest writer Bruce Baker shares the 6 Behaviours of Successful Business Owners. These key behaviours can make the difference in keeping your business thriving.

You have undoubtedly heard the depressing statistics of how many businesses fail within their first few years. I am one of the many who talk about the causes of failure and what to do about it and have the privilege of looking from the outside-in and the inside-out. I to have and continue to have my own experiences and understand why some business owners succeed and others fail repeatedly. Business owners only succeed because once they know what they want, they:

  • First, accept the challenge and work that builds their success and the failure that naturally forms as part of these efforts.
  • Choose to partner with those that have been successful not because of their “success” but because of what they learned from their “failures.”
  • Relentlessly execute to achieve what they’ve set out to do but not at their demise!

Human beings only make progress because of adversity and their insistence and commitment to execution – nothing more, nothing less. I wrote an article several years ago trying to explain (and justify, I suppose) how business owners fall in love with their goals but out of love with the actions that make these goals a reality.

The notion that business owners/CEOs would not grab what was staring them in the face to ensure success was mind-boggling.  I asked myself, “are people lazy?”; “are people this complacent?”.  Many are guilty of laziness and complacency when they don’t execute and fail as a result. Still, many also act out like a “wounded animal,” blaming everything they can other than themselves. Why? Because they become driven by their goals first instead of being aware and committing to the concessions they will have to make as part of achieving success.

Business owners I work with achieve their success because they choose to think and behave differently in the following six ways:

  1. They decide what they want but become excited by what they must do to become successful, regardless of whether it’s gaining or sacrificing.
  2. They expect and plan for failure.
  3. They seek out those that are successful as a result of their failures.
  4. They map out their plan and system(s) they will use to respond to inevitable failure that they will use to achieve success.
  5. They will succeed and be motivated to succeed again.
  6. They will fail and be motivated to fail again in the name of increasing their strength and resilience.
  7. They will not point fingers to justify their failures but identify the reason for failure and use it as a reason to continue to succeed.

I would love to take credit for their success, but realistically, I can’t. I provide business owners guidance and best-in-class business practices, but only they can decide if they want to succeed. I experience their successes and failures with them, but the successful ones see their failures as building blocks, not obstacles to their achievements.

You don’t need to be an expert Accountant or have a post-graduate degree in business to be successful. What you need is resilience, drive and a sense of humour!

Do you truly understand yourself?

  • Do you know exactly what your natural behaviours are that are either driving your success or holding you back?
  • Can you identify and take advantage of what drives you and what demotivates you in building your business and know what to do about it?
  • Do you know what the core competencies you need to develop to enhance your chances of business success?

If any of these questions resonate for you, send me an email at bbaker@4workplaces.com letting me know why they resonate with you. I’ll send you a complimentary assessment to complete so you can start discovering what you are not aware of about “you”! Once you become aware, your world opens and your mind is officially blown!

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It’s Lonely, and I’m My Worst Enemy!

It’s Lonely, and I’m My Worst Enemy!

In tonight’s blog, guest writer Bruce Baker shares with us about the destructive mindsets that can lead many small businesses to fail. We hope you find a valuable resource in “It’s Lonely, and I’m My Worst Enemy.”

We only start living when we stop defending ourselves.

There is never a day I don’t hear someone expressing the dire consequences they face if or when they fail.  In a previous article, I explored the unhealthy mode many of us business owners and leaders are in – the mode that almost anything these days is a catastrophe if it is not solved within a few minutes or, G-d forbid by the end of the day!

This destructive mindset is why most small businesses fail, not because of the lack of tools and resources but due to being trapped by their self-destructive thoughts. Never has there been a time I have either helped a business owner scale up, start up or fix up their business because of the tools and solutions I worked with them on. It was first because of a reshaping of their mindset that brought them sustainable success.

Although the above is just one of many destructive behaviours, what amplifies them is attempting to resolve their challenges in isolation. If an individual has a challenge to solve, the intellectual part of the solution is simple for the most part. Still, the emotional component is where complexity rears its ugly head.  We all can identify where we were trying to solve a problem, only to be paralyzed by decision fatigue or simply indecision. Some of the regular comments I hear from business owners are:

  • I know what needs to be done but have to think about it a bit more.
  • I know it’s the right thing to do, but I am worried about….
  • I need to look at a few more options before I make my decision.
  • Oh well, another day, just a different pile….

The last statement is of particular importance because this is the one, I hear when business owners have finally shut themselves down to those around them.  The challenges are not isolated to business concerns but a mix of business and personal/family-related issues. We are taught not to mix business with personal life or to ensure a “work-life balance.” Let’s not fool ourselves. As business owners, these two entities, for many if not most, are interlinked and to try and fully separate these two emotionally is almost impossible. The consequences are catastrophic, not only in terms of business failure but losing what is most dear to us personally. The challenge now becomes insurmountable, and everything seems to be crumbling around us until we change one thing.

Being open to identifying and engaging with a like-minded individual or group to rely upon is by far one of the most powerful solutions any business owner has in their arsenal. The need to be in control is a critical foundation of our success and to be in control means we need to be connected and being connected makes us comfortable. Being comfortable allows us to share the strong emotions and stories we must tell. The power is not just in what we tell but the realization that we are not alone and many if not all have experienced the same emotions and the challenges they bring to their businesses.  The big difference is that many have resolved these challenges and have become successful in all spectrums of their lives, including building outstanding companies!

Most challenged business owner I engage with initially resists this notion when I first suggest it. Some say it sounds like a therapy session, others say it sounds like they are attending an “Alcohol Anonymous’ group session.  “How on earth are you going to help me grow my business by fixing my emotions?” said one business owner to me.   His reaction was simply self-preservation, the need for self-reliance and ensuring others to know “we have it under control”. Plainly put, the resistance for many comes from the downright feeling of embarrassment. The embarrassment comes from thinking others may consider you incapable or questioning your ability to build and run a business or telling others that you are not someone to do business with.

All this false talk prevents us from taking advantage of this powerful opportunity that we all have available to us! The more we remain in this state the more we isolate and rely on the “emotional mess” that’s we’ve created for ourselves.

I have and continue to have the privilege of working with business owners individually and in groups where we work through their challenges, both professionally and personally.  This hybrid solution consistently creates business success because challenges are solved and built upon successfully, not just because of introducing new systems and solutions in their businesses but also overall life solutions that are the primary driver of success in building a business.

Consider how much hardship you cause yourself and the great need you may have in defending your actions and decisions. The amount of unnecessary energy you spend is exhausting, and you deserve better!

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A Watchkeeper or a Beekeeper?

A Watchkeeper or a Beekeeper?

In “A Watchmaker or a Beekeeper,” guest blogger Bruce Baker walks you through the main personality types in leadership roles, and how they can impact your business.

Low morale, low profits, lack of employee engagement, high turnover and rampant gossip can be attributed to a company being led by either a Watchmaker or a Beekeeper – care to guess which one is the culprit?

If you guessed Watchmaker, you’re right!

In James Fischer’s book, Navigating the Growth Curve, a Watchkeeper is a person who needs most business components to be predictable – something they can control at all times. They believe that to be effective, the “business machine” must be controlled by its operators. This is their overarching purpose of management – to control the business. They further believe that the machine exists for its builders’ primary purpose: to generate as much money as possible for its owners/stakeholders.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making as much money as possible. Still, it is essential that building an intentional business must be done sustainably over the long term. This includes not profiting at the expense of the company’s employees and stakeholders. The better approach is as you might have guessed by this stage, is being a Beekeeper.

Beekeepers are always mindful and have hindsight and foresight when managing and growing their business. Instead of rejecting or resisting the complexity and chaos that certainty comes with business growth, Beekeepers embrace complexity and, at times, chaos by allowing their teams’ or hive’s intelligence to be the operator instead of themselves exclusively. They appreciate and understand that their business is a living and intelligent organism, and if allowed, will generate far more innovative ideas and sustainable solutions. As a result, the Beekeeper’s business will continually self-organize around its problems and challenges.

When reading the fable in Navigating the Growth Curve, Horace’s recommendation is for Peter to become more like a Beekeeper to capitalize upon his team’s collective intelligence. Peter initially tried very much to control every aspect of his team, causing anger, hostility, and disengagement, leading to a downward spiral that could have been prevented by merely asking for their input.

This is a hard lesson that business owners/leaders can’t seem to learn often enough. Unfortunately, we regularly find far more Watchmakers than Beekeepers primarily due to individuals insisting that they should have all the answers and asking for their employees’ input may put them in a negative light. This is far from the truth! The opposite is true.

There is a Beekeeper in all of us. Still, during our day-to-day challenges as business leaders intending to do the right thing, our Watchmaker tendencies take over more than often without us even realizing it.

The 7-Stages of Growth concepts and programs offered by Workplaces are designed to help leaders predict how complexity will affect them, focus their efforts and resources on the right things at the right time and adapt to their company’s needs as their business grows.

I want to share the first steps in the journey of becoming a Beekeeper referencing the 7 Stages of Growth Model and the Business X-Ray we take our clients through. We emphasize that the only complexity in any business is its people, starting with the business owner during this exercise. The business owner and the leadership team’s ability to embrace this complexity and leverage its power will take the company and team to the next level.

Let me share the initial 4-steps we start within the Business X-ray session that will set you on the course of business growth success.

  1. Recognize the intelligence of the team by asking its opinion.

As scary as this can be, once you have it behind you, you will be amazed at the results and the amount of ‘anxiety’ it can take off your plate. Most leaders we work with hesitate to ask for their team’s input/feedback. Many reasons come to mind, but the following are the regular reasons we come across:

  • How can they possibly know enough about the company to give me advice?
  • They’ll use it as a ‘bitch’ session, and I’ve heard enough of that.
  • I don’t have time to take their suggestions – I have my issues to deal with.
  • If I ask them for their opinion, they’ll expect me to do something with it, and I have enough to do right now.

Leading is all about learning how your company and the team think and feel can only be brought about by asking and engaging.

  1. Filter out the noise

Noise is only too common in the business world today. Too many things are important, leaving nothing that is truly “important.”  There are too many agendas that are not leveraged into concise plans of action, leading to low levels of focus and execution.  Once the team’s power is recognized and leveraged (i.e., all voices and their opinions are encouraged), critical issues are brought to the surface and problems are solved.  During the Business X-Ray session, key initiatives are identified with detailed action plans ensuring results are achieved.

  1. Unify the team around the plan

Once the key initiatives from the X-Ray are identified, the work begins. Communicate this information to the rest of the company either through group and individual meetings or the entire company at one time.  Ensure that each initiative has a ‘champion’ – someone willing to be the ‘team lead’ on getting to the end goal. A lot of work? You bet, but the rewards are well worth it!

  1. Implement organic and self-organizing systems reinforcing change

Organic and self-organizing systems include people engaging and achieving results together. This essentially allows the team to put their handprint on solutions and subsequent systems and processes that produce results. Leaders are working less hard and far smarter with less direct supervision, control, and micro-management.  Allowing this to happen brings about a path of least resistance which anyone in chaotic environments would strive for.

Practice being a Beekeeper and minimize the amount of time you spend as a Watchmaker. The results will be empowering for not just your team but for you as well.

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Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness

In tonight’s post, guest blogger Bruce Baker walks you through a struggle we are seeing all around us: learned helplessness.

Many business owners and CEOs we partner with suffer tremendously due to being in a state of learned helplessness.

It is astonishing to see people that reach out to us at Workplaces simply because they are in a state of pain and the challenges they have or perceive they have don’t have a resolution.  After lengthy discussions, the challenges they have “tried everything” to solve become less daunting and transition into something inspiring. At least four out of five times, we have the privilege of partnering with these individuals to better their business situation and ultimately achieve the goals that they work so hard to achieve. Unfortunately, once they experience solving these challenges (something they never thought possible) and, of course, do their “celebratory dance,” they fall right back into their learned helpless state due to a new challenge they face yet again.  This constant state repeating itself seems to be a drug that people seek to justify the pain of their challenge and their perceived inability to solve it.

As time goes on, the more resilient the Business owner/CEO inevitably becomes, the more they transition their business and themselves to an ongoing and sustainable state of success. This is not because they now have “better business tools” necessarily, but because they reduce falling back into a state of learned helplessness.  Those who persevere and learn this new conditioned response to challenge and, at times, failure becomes more successful consistently.

To conclude, I wanted to share a powerful story (author unknown) that I have always turned to when I feel this way and need a path back to a positive state. The story goes like this:

As my friend passed the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused because these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from the ropes they were tied to, but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to escape.

“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller, we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. Then, as they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds, but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something simply because we failed at it once before?

How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

You do not deserve to feel this way!  Your business should be a source of pride and achievement for you, whether you are significantly challenged today or are feeling helpless because you can’t find a solution.  Don’t let your ego and your feeling of learned helplessness be your guide in building your business; you will fail and not return. Instead, reach out to someone you trust, someone that will hold you accountable and show you that the solutions you seek are not far away.

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Your Interpretation of Time

Your Interpretation of Time

In tonight’s post, guest blogger Bruce Baker walks you through your own interpretation of time, and what that interpretation can do to you.

Your Interpretation of Your Reality Is Taking You Down!

Human behaviour has always been based on our primary instinct of avoiding loss at any expense.  If we can acquire equal gain, we tend to be satisfied and move on with our merry lives.  When people feel that they are about to lose something or have lost something, our primary drive kicks in, and we try to compensate for this loss.

There is, however, a difference between loss aversion and risk aversion. As a business owner, this is where I encourage you to pay very close attention. Risk aversion is your perception of the utility value of a monetary payoff that depends on what you have previously experienced or what you expected to happen. For example, the last time you decided to pay for Bookkeeping services (your previous experience), you paid a lot of money, but the Bookkeeper made a bigger mess. (Your perception of the utility value of this service and the level of monetary payoff). Moving forward, you would rather do it yourself.

As our instant gratification mindset gains more traction, so does our interpretation of time change – suddenly, time is interpreted as being a lot shorter!   With shorter perceived periods to prevent loss and reduce risk, our reaction to fear also increases not only in the sheer number of times we react to fear but the intensity of how we react. This intensity destroys what comes naturally to us and our ability to be creative and build tremendous value for ourselves and the others we serve.

This has profound implications for a business owner scaling up, starting up or fixing up a business.  I continuously find myself working with CEOs that are constantly on edge, struggling to grow their business or, in many cases today, trying to prevent their companies from going down the proverbial tubes. What is even more profound is what got them to this state: short-term and reactive thinking based on their interpretation of risk and potential failure.  Being in this perpetual state of loss or risk is not something new but being in this state continuously and over short bursts is what we need to be concerned with.  Business leaders are always convincing themselves that “if I get this fixed now, all will be good” or “I’ll get back to the customer before the end of the day” or “I’ll pay some of this now and hopefully pay the rest at the end of the month.” The list goes on and on.

One of the primary reasons we end up “multi-tasking” or “switch-tasking” is the need for an instant fix based on an inaccurate interpretation of time.  All this has achieved are businesses that are built with short-term solutions or quick fixes.

To take this a step further, business owners are not just confronted with one or two competing priorities but many at the same time.  Franklin Covey’s Important vs. Urgent model is outstanding and always a tool I reference with my clients. Although a great tool, I continuously find that it is only useful if we understand our interpretation of time and how we behave as a result, as described above.

If we live in a world requiring instant gratification and quick fixes and respond to this as a business by operating this way, we are only preparing for one thing, failure.  We run our businesses based on this behaviour based on our interpretation of time and the risk of loss as a result. If our expectations are short-term and superficial based on who we serve, then the nature of our decisions and our state of mind will respond accordingly.

Returning to Franklin Covey’s Important vs. Urgent model, trying to distinguish the importance and the urgency of the task just doesn’t cut it. When we are in the classroom or with our business coach or consultant, it seems logical and rational to think this way (i.e., tasks classified into their level of importance and urgency). As soon as we return to “the field,” we return to solving problems and making decisions based on instant gratification and quick fixes. Our natural need to want to be accepted and not rejected forces us into the same old vicious routine – reacting to every single demand that needs to be resolved.  The business owner, in turn, responds to this as a risk that needs to be managed and if not “now” or “very soon,” the overwhelming reaction of loss aversion kicks in again.

Society has only been successful in times when we have been able to cooperate and align our expectations.  We are a society today and subsequently a business community that has evolved into the “me” culture that works on their individual needs and expectations, which are now governed by the need for instant gratification and instant resolution. As such, we respond to each other this way which requires any small business that either wants to scale, start-up or fix-up to respond the same way, failing, not only the business failing but the business owner failing, which in most cases causes a breakdown in their lives in general.

It’s time that business owners realize that this elusion of time and their response to their interpretation of risk and fear of loss is not a sustainable reality. If we think that this short-term reactive and superficial culture is the “modern way,” I hate to see the state of business and the value of service to each other over the next decade or so.

I can tell you without a doubt that business owners that I have and continue to work with that have finally realized the extent of this problem for themselves and are now thriving. You may ask what I define thriving as? Their levels of stress have drastically decreased, their creativity has drastically increased, and the value they deliver to their market has improved significantly.

Take a leap of faith, and I can guarantee you that you and your business will thrive as well!

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3 Reasons Your Business is Not Profitable Part 2

3 Reasons Your Business is Not Profitable – Part 2

In Part 2 of his blog series, guest writer Bruce Baker continues to break down the 3 reasons your business is not profitable, and what to do about it.

REASON #2: Not Understanding the Flow of Money

It’s reportedly unhealthy for people not to breathe in and out regularly, so why expect this from your business?

 As was mentioned in Reason #1 of the 3 Reasons Your Business is Not Profitable, understanding how your behaviour impacts the outcome (money) is an important place to start. Not understanding how to control the flow of money in and out of the business will remove all the value you gained by working through Reason #1.

Just like the human body breaths oxygen in and carbon dioxide out, so does a business system breath cash in and cash out. The only difference is that humans do this automatically without thinking…most of the time!

On the other hand, a business only has the owner to regulate the amount of cash-in and cash-out of the company. The business owner’s problem is not understanding this rhythm and making decisions that do not lead to profitability.


Imagine taking a deep breath and enjoying the feeling as you feed your body its much-needed oxygen. Breathing out as much as you can and stopping there…without breathing in for 30-seconds. Not the best feeling in the world! The discomfort we feel is our central nervous system ringing the alarm, forcing us to breathe in again.

If this makes an individual uncomfortable, why would this be expected from a business effectively maintaining the same balance? Sounds logical, but why not simple?

Work through the following exercise to start eliminating Reason #2

#1: On the first day of the week, determine approximately how much money needs to leave the business (i.e., expenses).

#2: In response to money leaving the business, determine your “battle plan” on how you will meet his obligation (i.e., at least break-even). If you cannot, do not sweat it…you have more weeks to work with until the end of the month.

#3: On the last day of the same week, review your accuracy of what money you anticipated leaving the business and evaluate whether your “battle plan” in at least breaking even was effective. Remember, make notes, so each week becomes a more effective week than before.

*RememberIf you do not at least break even for the specific week, no worries! You have more than one week in a month! Leverage this to plan for the week after. For example, if $1,000 more left the business than anticipated, ask yourself how you plan to make up for this the week after.

The more you practice this, the more golden nuggets you will discover about this process and your decisions’ effectiveness.

The purpose of this exercise is to provide you with an intimate understanding of how the money system in your business flows. The fact that the business owner regulates the flow of money in and out of the industry means that a company by default is not a cold non-living entity.

This means that the profitability of the business is directly associated with the owner’s natural behaviours. Attempting to go against your natural way of behaving, ignoring why you behave the way you do, leads to a path of misery and an unprofitable business.

Embrace and leverage your natural human behaviours and do not allow Reason #3 to hold you back from building your profitable business –

REASON #3: Changing Versus Leveraging Natural Habits

To ensure business profitability is to abandon the traditional axiom of  Sales – Expenses = Profit and adopt Sales – Profit = Expenses

 The GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) formula for determining a business’s Profit is Sales – Expenses = Profit. It is simple, logical, and straightforward but not effective in building a profitable business because it does not account for human behaviour.

In the GAAP formula, Profit is a “leftover,” a “final consideration,” or something that is hopefully a pleasant surprise at the end of the year. Alas, the profit is rarely there, and the business continues its cheque-to-cheque survival.

Why is this the case? As noted above, natural human behaviour is not considered. One kind of human bias that most are not aware of is the Primacy Effect (i.e., people’s tendency to place more importance on what they see or encounter first as opposed to last).

It does no good to expect to build profitability and reduce debt if “expenses” are positioned first in the formula as opposed to “Profit” being “second best.” A human being does not work this way, and ignoring this, ends with the business not being profitable.

Placing profit first and flipping the formula to Sales – Profit = Expenses allows the business owner to leverage their natural behaviour and habits. Leveraging our everyday habits instead of changing what we do naturally opens a brand-new world to business profitability.

Another human bias that impacts our ability to be profitable is Parkinson’s Law. Author and historian C. Northcote Parkinson theorized that our demand for a resource increases to meet its supply.

For example, when we are given 2-weeks to do a project, it takes 2-weeks, and when we are given 8-weeks to do the same project, it takes 8-weeks. That is why when given

$1,000 to complete our work, we get it done with $1,000, and when given $10,000 to achieve the same outcome.

Making Parkinson’s Law an asset vs. a liability is immensely powerful in building profitability. By taking profit first, the money available for expenses lessens, and we are forced to find ways to get the same things done for less money.

Work through the following exercise to start eliminating Reason #3

Make a great leap forward by reading a few chapters from my friend and mentor, Mike Michalowicz’s book – Profit First.

 I share the TFR system with business owners in my FREE group –  Profitable Business Owners

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3 Reasons Your Business is Not Profitable Part 1

3 Reasons Your Business is Not Profitable – Part 1

In this first of a two-part series of guest blogs, Bruce Baker shares with us 3 reasons your business is not profitable. 

The real truth is that there is NO REASON why you should be working so hard and seeing little return from all your efforts!

I always see business owners trying to convince themselves that this is “just the way owning and running a business is.” Let’s be honest, why the heck would you put so much blood, sweat and tears into something that does not even reward or engage you?

You may have already spent money on expensive consultants, business books and online courses to figure out how to build a profitable business and still pay yourself consistently and eliminate debt. Well, if you, like many other business owners, have done this already, you’re most likely know by now that it hasn’t produced much of a result for you and your business.

What if there was a way to ensure your business is profitable and remains possible. What if this was a reality and you were still able to pay yourself and wish your debt a final farewell?

Years ago, when I started my first business, I initially fell in love with the hopes of building a company that provides immense value to the market with excellent prospects of profitability. I did indeed add tremendous value but worked 12–15-hour days, 6-7 days a week! I became unhealthy, struggled to pay the bills, and dealt with uncontrollable debt.

All this with ZERO quality of life, GUILT from not spending time with my family…the list goes on! This made me realize that it had nothing to do with how much or how little money my business produced but how I was thinking about money and the time I was using to manage it. This led me to the system I called Time and Financial Repurposing (TFR), a complete game-changer for my business, clients, and hopefully for you!

*Repurpose: “to use something for a different purpose to the one for which it was originally intended.”

Stop wasting your time on traditional, outdated methods that get you little if any results! It’s time for you to take advantage of a system that is not new but is uniquely you and is as natural as breathing. TFR will transform how you use your time and money, ensuring your business is profitable!

I share the TFR system with business owners in my FREE group – Profitable Business Owners


1. Controlling money (the outcome) and not actions (the reason money exists).

2. Not being clear how money moves in and out of the business.

3. Trying to change who we are vs. leveraging what comes naturally to us.

Controlling Money – Not Actions

Human beings are focused on the end result versus what and how their actions impact the outcome.

The pattern is ALWAYS the same. Business owners gauge their success with what ends up in the “bank.” How many times have you thought to yourself how hard you work, only to have to deal with this…look familiar?

Bruce Baker

So, where does this leave you? Disengaged and deflated!

Remember, the only reason your business produces “money” is through the decisions you make and the actions you take…that is it! We spend a ton of energy (in many cases negative energy) stressing about the money (the outcome) versus the actions and decisions (the driver) that produce money (the outcome) in the first place!

Bruce Baker

As one CEO and client of mine once commented, “I avoided looking at my bank account for a month and mysteriously ended up with a positive bank balance for the first time in over 3-years”.
Magic, alchemy? Not at all! Simply put, she moved herself to flip her focus from money to action. It was a challenge for her, but the success blew your mind!

Work through the following exercise to start eliminating Reason #1
#1: List all the actions and decisions you have taken in the last 4-weeks and identify which decisions were directly related to generating revenue.
#2: Identify which decision led to successful results (no matter how small) and which decisions did not lead to any results.
#3: List the reasons you defined the outcome as either successful or unsuccessful and what you will do the next time differently.

The purpose of this exercise is not to analyze your financials, but your behaviour(s) based on how you interpret a situation. Doing this, highlights how your emotional response(s) to a particular situation leads you to the decisions and actions you take and the outcome (money).
If you are noticing connections between your behaviours and the money outcome, move to the second reason which we will post next week.

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Learning from Old Lessons

Learning from Old Lessons

In today’s guest blog post, we introduce Bruce Baker on the topic of learning from old lessons.

Bruce holds a Masters in Industrial Psychology and is a behavioural business strategist, coach, and change agent. He brings you a wide-ranging skillset in business operational design, planning, and execution, with significant success in leveraging the only growing capital asset a business has– its people.

With over 23 years of experience working with Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 companies in a wide variety of industries, Bruce focuses on working closely with anyone from new entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and their leadership teams.

Your time with Bruce will give you new and fresh insights as he rejects traditional methods of business coaching and consulting while providing you with a very unique and enlightening perspective on how to view and build your business. Bruce will work with you to see what your business is made of and then recognize and address its strengths and vulnerabilities, allowing it to grow with minimal or no risk at all.

Learning from Old Lessons

I would like to welcome those of you following the Learning Without Scars blogs. Welcome to my musings on what is called the Chronicles of Business Leader. My name is Bruce, and I work with Business Leaders and their leadership teams to help them scale-up, start-up, or fix-up their respective companies.

In my blogs, I will focus on discussions I’ve had with business leaders about their challenges and how they have and are becoming successful.

Previously I discussed the reason for ongoing business failure. This is due to a single focus on the non-human aspects of a business (systems, tools, programs etc.). The focus must start with the human element first (i.e., Business leader/C.E.O.) and then the non-human factors. When the business leader understands and identifies with a solution, success is inevitable!

The experience I had this week highlights the usefulness of a powerful tool and technique. Using this tool positions a business leader for massive success.

Many call it “being discipline,” “maintaining focus,” or “not being distracted.” These terms apply to business success but have not aided the business leader.

This week, I want to share an experience I had with a business leader named Robert. Rob owns and operates a mid-sized heavy equipment dealership business he started up almost 10-year ago. I’ve been working with Rob to help him scale his company for over four months now.

When Rob and I started talking, he struck me as an intelligent and well-read man. He could rattle off all the latest and greatest business and leadership books and related tools and systems. Business leaders I had and continue to work with referred Rob to me as I was “the guy who helped business leaders achieve instrumental success.” I asked Rob why he had not used any of these great ideas and best practices he learned about in the books. His response to me was simple but not surprising. He said, and I quote, “I can’t seem to find the time, and when I have some time, I get distracted by other things. I may have a challenge with Attention Deficit Disorder…not sure.”

Regardless, Rob’s business was about to tank if he could not take what he knew and make it a reality in his company. I gave Rob a concept and tool a few weeks ago that made all the difference in him gaining traction.

The concept and tool are not new but initially came from a person named Dwight D. Eisenhower. As many of you know, Dwight was the 34th President of the United States. Before becoming President, he served as a general in the US Army and Supreme Commander during World War II. He had to make tough decisions about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This led him to the Eisenhower principle, which prioritizes urgency and importance. Go to www.Eisenhower.me/Eisenhower-matrix for further information.

So, how did Rob benefit and continue to benefit? Simply put, most of us are told to work on our time management skills. Frankly, the term “time management” is not aligned with how our human brains work. I said this to Rob, and he was taken back by my comments asking what the solution was if not for managing one’s time. I asked Rob how many people he knew that attended a time management course and were great “time managers”? Rob smiled and said, “true enough, but what then is the solution?” I responded and said, “task/action management.”

Actions and the commitment we make to take these actions are tangibles that our minds are designed to handle well. The brain can take hold of and then work through what and why something needs to be executed.

Asking “why” a task/action needs to be executed uses the powerhouse combination of the logic and emotion that makes action happen. Without the rational and emotional elements working together, failure to execute continues.

So how did Rob make this successful? Well, like most humans, once suggesting this to Rob, it was the last time we spoke about it after a few weeks. Yes, this was by design, but for a good reason. I followed up with Rob in one of our sessions a few weeks later and asked how his “Action Management” was coming along. He responded by saying, “it’s not.” I told him that this was normal and not to give himself a hard time about it. I then worked with him to show how he could make execution happen. This is how I explained it to him:

  1. Actions in any business are almost all important/relevant in some or another way. Trying to make a specific task less or more important is challenging for Spending time figuring out the amount of “importance” takes up a lot of energy. This makes people abandon their commitment to making something happen. Why? Because all these “important” tasks accumulate in our heads and stay there. This creates an emotional lens when making decisions increasing stress and feeling overwhelmed. The next thing we know is that we have done nothing to achieve traction in the business. So how do we distinguish all these important actions and avoid inaction?


  1. This is where the level of “urgency” falls into the The word “urgency” doesn’t always engender a feeling of “calm” for many. The term “urgency” means the time to execute an action/task(s). Start by asking yourself if the task/action is important/relevant. Then, ask how “urgent” the task is (i.e., when the task must be completed). Splitting this in your mind separates the emotional from the logical. This is where the “magic” starts to happen!

The sheer number of items Rob had on his to-do list was staggering! No wonder the poor guy was paralyzed! Rob’s list (and I kid you not) had over 130 items, and to no surprise, each item was “important.” So, I commented, “If everything is important, nothing is…”

We worked through the to-do list for about two hours. In a matter of days, Rob managed to achieve traction on what needed to get done. He has started to make profound impacts in the business and has begun to see significant results. Rob’s interpretation of himself shifted from being disorganized and distracted to someone entirely different. He now has his weekends to himself and finally started to increase his business volume in a matter of two weeks! This success is and continues to be due to Rob connecting the positive impacts a tool and system have on himself and his business. This impact has also created a snowball effect that has enhanced his team’s performance and other areas of his business.

Last week, Rob mentioned that the number of sales leads that week increased by almost 45%. He said this was due to him “finding time” to work on a lead magnet that finally produced results.

For more information on the tool and process, please email info@4workplaces.com

I hope you found this information helpful and look forward to seeing you again soon.

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