In an effort to expand our thought leadership, highlight Experts, and engage our Expert Community, we collaborated with YourEncore Expert, Mike Wiseman, to participate in our Q&A series as a part of our broader initiative to serve the Expert community. In this series, we will seek to find out what motivates our Experts and how their relationship with YourEncore has been beneficial to them and their career as they navigate the gig economy.Mike Wiseman has been pursuing what it means to be a leader for over 40 years, and has gained invaluable experience during a combined 23 years of military duty – to include leading soldiers into combat. Consequently, Mike has seen firsthand the powerful impact of good leaders, both in the military and corporate world, and is convinced that the “14 principles of leadership” are always in need, regardless of the organization. Mike has also pursued ‘best practices’ for more than 35 years and has seen, time and again, the positive impact made through standard work, visual management, and leader standard work. It was while working with Honda Tier I suppliers that Mike decided to obtain his Masters of Business in Operational Excellence (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, and this was key to seeing the impact of Lean principles in any endeavor where people and process meet to provide a product or service. As a YourEncore expert since May 2016, Mike’s passion is promoting both teamwork and process so as to not only exceed customer expectations but to maximize employee engagement. We kick off our Q&A with Mike by asking him how his past experiences have brought him to where he is now.
You have a unique career path that started in the U.S. Army – and you now focus on process improvement. Tell us about how your experiences with the military uniquely position you for success in this field.
Actually, my focus is on more than process, though process is important; for building a good process in the absence of a strong team (or engaged individuals) will never yield the desired (and potential) ROI. So, having seen the impact of sound leadership found in the military (and no, it’s not perfect), I have come to learn what ‘right’ looks like and therefore know that teams and processes naturally go hand-in-hand so that, in a healthy organization, they complement and build upon one another.
OK – so how do you help organizations develop strong teams and leadership as an integral part of process improvement? And what core values do you bring from your experience with the U.S. Army as you help organizations implement these changes?
First, you make clear the difference between management and leadership, so as not to confuse the two terms. In doing so, you also make clear that every organization needs good managers and good leaders, but that the principles that produce great outcomes are not similar. Then, you help the organization identify their own leadership principles and begin an assessment of those in leadership roles to confirm strengths and, maybe more importantly, help shore up any weaknesses. This I learned as a young 2LT on Active Duty in the 82D Airborne Division, and I was helped by not only great examples but by the Army’s principles of leadership found in Field Manual (FM) 22-100, dated 01 October 1983 (which, by the way, is on my bookshelf behind my desk).
If you had could only give one piece of advice for clients – what would it be?
Don’t settle for the status quo; for I’ve had people tell me that Lean principles only apply in a manufacturing environment and that real leaders are born, not made. Both these perspectives are incorrect, and when you’ve seen the opposite (Lean in back office applications, subordinates transforming into leaders), it’s impossible to settle for anything less.
How have you found the work through YourEncore to be meaningful or impactful to both your life, and to the clients you’ve serviced?
YourEncore has provided a platform to practice what I most enjoy, as well as the context to allow for honest feedback to the customer; which means that though the task at hand may be difficult, it’s not in vain because everyone wants the same thing: an improved situation.
What advice would you give to experienced professionals like yourself looking to transition into a flexible consulting career?
Make the most of the vision upon which YourEncore was founded, for the need is real, the staff support is exceptional (to assist in any way possible), and the rewards will come.
Lastly, how do you think working with YourEncore has helped to add ease to the process of looking for consulting gigs?
YourEncore assumes all the ‘risk’ of matching the right consultant with the right client, and gives you access to a client base that few new companies (80% of those in the consulting field work solo) could have until after years of exposure.
Want to connect with Mike Wiseman? Contact ExpertExperience@YourEncore.com.