Friday, October 30, 2020

Never neglect details. Walk the process. Do it yourself to learn how to do it.


Never neglect details. Walk the process. Do it yourself to learn how to do it.

I had just reported into a new organization and was given a huge orientation packet with a three-page checklist. When I asked individuals how long it would take to complete the check-in process the answers varied from 4 hours to two weeks. There were four different types of employee groups but just one check-in process and a single type check list. Each new person had a sponsor. I asked my sponsor if I had to complete all of the checklist items and he replied yes I did. There happened to be another new employee reporting on the same day as I did, so we decided to partner up and do the check-in together. Both of us inquired about certain aspects of the check-in and orientation process and soon discovered that we got different and wildly different answers on the check-in process. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt I decided to document the check-in process along with my partner and record data on the actual process. We started off both with clipboards and I actually used my smartphone’s pedometer to record our steps and the time spent at each check-in station. We soon discovered that often the person who was supposed to check us in was not present to perform the check-in. We had to then come back when they were present. There was no coordination between check-in spots and much of the check-in requirements were rather unnecessary. Often a department head would just initial our check-in sheet. Some would just hand us documents to read later and sign the sheet. Some would update their databases so we asked to watch them do this process and we observed. Bottom line by walking the process we found out how inefficient it was and soon determined what stops were actually value adding or useful. Much of the check-in process was only relevant to a particular employee group (the organization had four of them).  We both completed the check-in process in seven business days and presented our check-in sheets to our boss.

            We had at least an hour discussion with him about the process and recommended forming a kaizen team, which would have members from all four employee groups, to try and improve the process. He agreed to our suggestion and both me and my partner were appointed Kaizen co-leaders. We had instant credibility with the team because we had just actually walked and completed the check-in process recently. After two weeks of work with the team and other team members walking the check-in process again, we reduced the check-in time to two business days or less for each employee group. In a year after putting much of the check-in process online we reduced it to one business day. More importantly from a morale and first impression aspect to a new employee the organization appeared well organized and competent.  Never neglect details. Walk the process. Do it yourself to learn how to do it.



Contact Dr. Tom = for newsletter sign up My Books link:

Listen to Your Followers’ Problems and Help Them.


Add caption

Listen to Your Followers’ Problems and Help Them.

I once had an employee who was initially very upset that I took over as leader of the department. She thought that she deserved to be promoted and become the leader. She had more experience than me. She was very cold to me and resisted any initiatives that I proposed. Shortly thereafter, her mother became very sick and it got to the point that she needed caregivers. I gave her as much time of as I could and was very flexible with her work duties and responsibilities. She finally requested family leave for eight weeks and it was granted. While she was gone, I attempted to do as much of her work as possible and got a very good understanding of her duties, systems and techniques. I stayed late many nights and weekends working at both my job and hers.

When she came back from family leave she expected piles of work awaiting her and very hectic weeks. She was surprised that I had kept up and completed almost all of the work. She came into my office and started to cry and I thought that something had happened to her mother. Instead she was grateful for what I had done and thanked me informing me that no boss had ever done anything so kind. I then suggested that we make a request to our information technology department to upgrade some for the systems that she used, and I was now familiar with by doing her job. We jointly filled out the request that day and it was installed in three weeks.

Her attitude towards me completely turned around. Whenever there was a tough project she volunteered for it. She became the most loyal employee to me in the department and a friend. As a leader, if someone has a problem and needs help, especially when it is personal or family related, go out of your way to help them. Listen to your followers’ problems and help them.


Contact Dr. Tom = for newsletter sign up My Books link:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Business Consulting Wows!


Get your own personal business consultant! Dr. Tom DePaoli’s new book

Business Consulting Wows! Desktop Guide to Help Run Your Business reveals all the Wow! discoveries of his career. The book serves as an outstanding business desktop guide for growing the respect and trust of your colleagues. Benefit from his compelling and entertaining business advice! He organizes the ideas by his eight successful business books topics. They include blogs, articles, reviews and real-life experiences. He calls these extra cuts. He uses techniques like story-telling, imaginative training exercises, check lists, methodologies, humor, and ready to use outlines.  Areas covered are purchasing, procurement, the supply chain, work process-design improvement, human resources, lean, emotional intelligence, lean six sigma, kaizens, organizational transformation, business fables, and most importantly leadership. The reader can gain much from these lessons.  An index is provided to guide the reader to the articles that interest them.  He recommends not to read the book from front to back. First check out the index, and read what interests you. Dr. DePaoli’s lessons are practical, to the point and enjoyable.  Like many good business leaders, the author places getting the trust of employees first and foremost in his book. The book provides solid elements of a desktop guide for success in business. Dr. DePaoli asserts, “You can learn from my experiences and achieve even greater success.”


Contact Dr. Tom = for newsletter sign up My Books link:

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Negotiations by Tom DePaoli



The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Negotiations by Tom DePaoli

Procurement and supply chain professionals must be aware of and strive to improve their emotional intelligence. It has a key impact in negotiations. Soft skills are becoming more important - even in the digital age. A definition of emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Some would say that emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

My Story on One Method of Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

I improved my emotional intelligence by interviewing thousands of people over my career. As a former human resource professional, talent management is the key success factor. I strived to put people at ease and understand their motivations, fears, and emotions during the interview process. I tried to find some common interest or experience to alleviate the tension. More often than not, this happened.  Reading people is a great skill to help improve collaboration and mutual goal setting. I strongly recommend procurement and supply chain professionals increase their socializations and direct face to face contact with colleagues, suppliers, and customers. It gives you the advantage of observing body language and facial expressions. In our profession, it is about relationship building. Unfortunately, the digital age limits this type of contact, but I urge professionals to try to overcome this current state.

Emotional intelligence is especially critical in negotiations. I classify three main types of negotiations and I will try to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence skills in each type.

The three types of negotiations strategies that are generally recognized are:

1.     Adversarial (or the win-lose approach)

2.     Win-Win, where both parties win on certain issues or concerns

3.     Information-based negotiations, where a deep understanding is obtained by both parties and often a strategic partnership can evolve


The adversarial approach requires some emotional intelligence but often degenerates into a shouting contest with great histrionics, intimidation, and a brutal battle of wills. Since both parties are often acting, exaggerating, and pushing their own agenda, relationship building or empathy takes a back seat to just one party getting its way or out-bullying the other. The emotional intelligence skills required are very low or non-existent.


The Win-Win approach starts with a discussion of the respective parties wants and needs. The goal is a mutually satisfying agreement. People are separated from the problems; a variety of possibilities are created, and the results are based on some objective standard. There is a fairly strong commitment to empathy and no blaming is allowed. Both parties are involved in problem solving and there is a focus on each party’s interests. The focus is then redirected to mutual interests or common ground. The objective is to be trustworthy but not totally trusting. This approach requires a moderate level of emotional intelligence skills from the procurement professional or negotiator.

An information-based negotiation is a radically different approach. It emphasizes deep knowledge of the second party, usually the supplier and their industry. It transgresses from some traditional approaches to negotiations but in information-based negotiations the procurement professional gains a deep understanding of the supplier’s industry, their margins, and their culture. In essence, this is an immersion or empathy with the supplier and their competitive landscape. The best way to describe it is that the procurement professional knows as much or more about the supplier and their industry as they do!

Some would argue that this approach is highly analytical. Information drives decisions rather than emotions or one-upmanship.  However, the procurement professional becomes highly tuned emotionally with the supplier.  A deep and mutual understanding of their competition, margins, challenges, and constraints is mastered. Trust issues are quickly overcome and resolved. Trust becomes nearly total. It requires the procurement professional to become the resident expert on a market and an industry (just like the supplier). It tends to yield much more significant long-term gains than adversarial or even win-win approaches. Using this approach is one of the best methodologies for transforming the supply chain and developing true mutual breakthroughs with your supplier. Below is a summary table:


Negotiation Tactic or Strategy

Degree of Emotional Intelligence Required


Little or none






My conclusion is that procurement and supply chain professionals must not only work to develop their emotional intelligence skills, but also realize its degree of usefulness and appropriateness for each different type of negotiations tactic or strategy.

Dr. Tom DePaoli, (Dr. Tom or Captain Tom), is currently an independent management consultant, the CEO of Apollo Solutions, which does general business consulting in the human resources, supply chain and lean six sigma areas. His organization was self-founded in 1995. He retired as a Captain from the Navy Reserve. In other civilian careers, he was a supply chain and human resources executive with corporate purchasing turnaround experience and lean six sigma deployments. He has worked for over ten major companies and consulted for over fifty organizations throughout his career. Some of his consulting projects include: information systems projects, re-engineering organizations, organizational transformation, e-procurement, e-commerce, change management, leadership training, creativity improvement, global sourcing and negotiating, especially information-based negotiations. His industry experience is in the chemical, paper, DOD, pharmaceutical, IT, startup, automotive, government, consumer, equipment, business services and consulting industries. He has been published extensively in journals, magazines and books. He is the author of eleven books all available on Amazon.  He has instructed at six education facilities in numerous roles. He is active in supporting the YMCA, Wounded Warrior, and the prevention of the bullying of children.    = Dr. Tom’s Amazon author’s page  = Website of Apollo Solutions his business  = More information on Dr. Tom’s books and writings  = LinkedIn home page   = Dr. Tom’s blog

@DrTomDePaoli = Twitter = Facebook of Apollo Solutions


Improve your emotional intelligence. #negotiations


Contact Dr. Tom = for newsletter sign up My Books link: