Industrial Automation Companies

The Sound of Automation: Data Driven Decision Making

Posted on April 15, 2022 by

Clayton & Mckervey

Clayton & McKervey

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In this episode we talk about data driven decision making with Don Roberts from Exotek who also sits on the CSIA benchmarking committee with host Bryan Powrozek.

Don and Bryan discuss ways business owners can use data to measure success.  They look at areas business owners tend to need help with (people, process and planning) and how to use data to help move your company forward.

 

Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

Welcome to the Sound of Automation brought to you by Clayton & McKervey, CPAs for growth driven businesses. 

Denise Asker, Director of Marketing & Growth: 

Hey Bryan, it’s good to be back. 

Bryan Powrozek, Sr. Manager Industrial Automation: 

Denise, good to see you as well. 

Denise Asker: 

Yeah, I’m excited about today’s conversation. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

I am too. It should be another good one. 

Denise Asker: 

Yeah, I feel like it’s – 

Bryan Powrozek: 

I think they’re all good ones though, so I’m kind of biased, its my show. 

Denise Asker: 

They are all good ones. I feel like as long as we’ve been involved with the association, CSIA, I heard of your speaker today, Mr. Don Roberts. So you’re going to be talking to him about planning, it sounds like? 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Yeah. Really when I reached out to Don to come on the show, we really wanted to focus on the data driven decision making, how business owners can make smarter decisions by using data. Don, comes with a lot of credibility in this area, he used to own his own system integration business, so he’s been through the wars, he knows what integrators are going through, but then he has also spent a lot of time developing his skills outside of that, that will help in certain areas like planning and developing processes and developing your people, that is really valuable to members. And we work together on CSIA’s benchmarking committee, so I know he’s very well respected within the organization and he’s helped a lot of companies there. So, I figured he’d be a good guest on today’s episode. 

Denise Asker: 

Absolutely, he sounds like the wise mentor that we’re going to learn from today. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Exactly. 

Denise Asker: 

Good. All right, I’ll look forward to hearing from him. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

All right, thanks Denise. Hello and welcome to the sound of automation podcast. I’m Bryan Powrozek, with Clayton & McKervey. And joining me today is Don Roberts from Exotek. Don, how are you doing today? 

Don Roberts, Principal: 

I’m doing great. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Well, yeah, so the focus of today’s episode, we’re really going to be talking about data-driven decision making. I think that that’s something that I know we encourage our clients to focus on and, Don, you guys do as well. But before we really jump into that, I guess, you want to give us a little of your background, a little bit about Exotek? 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah, I’m not the kind of guy that likes to talk about myself, but I’ll try and see if I could stitch this introduction a little bit into the topic as well. So quickly, I did an undergraduate in mechanical engineering, and then I stayed on and did a master’s in computer applications in the industry. It was kind of just when automation was starting to become a buzzword. I joined a partner after finishing up my masters and we started up a system integration company. We called it systems integration because back in those days, if you said you were doing automation, that meant you were putting somebody’s husband out of work, so you probably didn’t want to say that too loud, right? 

Don Roberts: 

After a few years of doing more on the business type or in the business type work, then it kind of shifted a little bit more to being more on the business. And we did a lot of collaboration with major companies like IBM and Digital and Allen-Bradley and Accenture. So we were collaborating with them on industrial projects, and it was great because it gave me an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the processes that they were using for big projects, right? So my focus shifted from being a traditional engineer, to being more, what are the processes that are important for our business, and how do we measure them? I also sat on the board for a local college, to make sure that they were putting in place the programs to teach people how to do automation. And then I was on an advisory council for a university for the same sort of purposes, so probably one of the leading engineering schools in Canada. 

Don Roberts: 

After about a dozen years of being in the business, working on the business, I realized that, “Okay, I’ve got the people, I’ve got the process side of it,” but I really didn’t know much about the longer term, the business planning side of it. So I went back and did what was called an executive MBA. It was a crash course where you got a three inch, three-ring binder every week of case studies, a new textbook every other day or every day, and you just crammed through this stuff. And it was great, because it gave me the opportunity to start thinking about microeconomics, macroeconomics, long-term strategic planning, all of that sort of stuff. And it was tough, but it was well worth. It kind of rounded out my engineering training. 

Don Roberts: 

And so that kind of gave me my planning, my processes, my people, we were able to grow the company to be one of the larger industrial system integration companies in Canada. And in that role, I sat then on advisory council’s floor, IBMs, the Digitals, the Allen-Bradley’s kind of companies, about how did they interface with industrial systems integrators? 

Don Roberts: 

And then my partner and I sold the company. I went along with the deal for a few years and then said, “Okay, time to retire and go up to the lake here and just chill out a bit.” But a lot of my clients, and a lot of my friends in the industry said, “Why don’t you set up a consulting company? You’ve tried everything. You made all the mistakes that we shouldn’t probably have to make, so why don’t you tell us what we should be doing?” So we set up Exotek, and Exotek’s primary focus is just that, we work strictly with management consulting and systems integrators around the world, and we focus on the planning side of it, the process aside and the people side of it. And a quick snapshot gives you a sense of who I am. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Yeah, no, that’s excellent. And I think that that is kind of in both of our roles as business advisors. I mean, I think one of the real values that we bring to the table is, we’ve seen… I mean, you’ve seen firsthand what works, what doesn’t work, I’ve seen it working with my clients, the things that worked and didn’t work. And so being able to bring that to somebody else so they don’t have to learn that same hard lesson, they can reap the benefits of what others have seen. So I think that’s, to me, kind of the exciting part about what we do is being able to help people get down the road faster and not have to go through those same trials and tribulations. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

And when we were getting ready for the podcast, I think that was one of the biggest things that kind of jumped out to me about Exotek’s focus. And I think it’s really interesting, especially when we look at it in terms of data-driven decision making, is your focus on planning processes and people, three of probably the biggest areas that I think most business owners, most small to midsize integrators can use help in. So maybe let’s break those down in a little more detail and of go through… When you’re talking about a planning opportunity with a client, how do you bring data into that conversation when you’re sitting down with someone who’s trying to work on maybe their three to five year strategic plan? 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah. And let me just go back to one other thing of what you were saying, and that is the, just been there, done that, right? So I mentioned at the very get go, I’m an engineer, I graduated a professional engineer. And one thing about our industry is that if you’re not an engineer, it’s hard to get the creds, right? You know, engineers will talk freely with other engineers, but if… And so a lot of our clients were saying, “Well, we’ve got these management consultants coming in, but they are not engineers. So we have to teach them about engineering first, and then they can really help us out.” So that instant credibility you get by having that degree was an important part of it. And particularly, when you start getting into the planning, because a lot of times when you get into planning, you’re talking about things that are somewhat counterintuitive. Things like if you want to grow, focus down into a narrower area, which doesn’t make sense and stuff like that, right? So that was a big part of it. 

Don Roberts: 

Also, the fact that I’d had the opportunity to do all of this on the business type of research as I was building my business working close, hand in glove with other companies and how they were going about doing planning. I really did a lot of research around the planning tools, so things like traction, which came out much later, but is a very good one. The ES system where… Even in that, and almost all of the planning tools, what became very clear was there is a data component to that, right? So if you look at the wheel of the six different areas that traction focuses on, one of them ism certainly, there’s the people side and the planning side of it, but there’s also a very strong data component to it. And when you look at things like strategy maps or balance scorecards or like strategy maps, or balance scorecards, or any of the other tools. There is always this data component to the planning, and I think we tend to skip over that a little bit. People get hung up on the visioning and all of that, and don’t really tie to that, some of the important key performance indicators that they’re going to use to manage that. 

Don Roberts: 

One of the things I really like about something like the balance scorecard, where you’re looking at things from four different perspectives in the strategy now, but you’re also saying, “Here’s what my objective is. Here’s how I’m going to measure. Here’s the target I’m shooting for. And here’s all of the action items that we’re going to take that are going to ultimately drive us to meet that objective.” 

Don Roberts: 

So when we’re working with integrators and we’re trying to get them to think about their planning process, we’re really trying to push hard to say, “Okay, well, how are you going to make measure success? How are you going to know that you’re actually moving forward?” And so, that concept of having these objectives, the measures, the targets, and the actions that are going to get you there, I think is a critical component to that. 

Don Roberts: 

There’s one other thing that we like to put in place, and it does a bit better job of tying the strategy back to the actions or the processes that you use in your business, and that is the concept of using triggers. So we’ll encourage people that if you’ve got a measure that you’re using that you’re measuring towards your objective, why don’t you put in place a couple of different triggers? 

Don Roberts: 

So think of it from the perspective of green, yellow, red. So if it’s in the green, we’re moving in the right direction towards meeting our plan and our objectives. If it’s yellow, when we’re doing our planning process, why not also talk about what will we do when it hits a yellow stage, our utilization drops below a certain value, or our funnel gets too small or too big. Or what are we going to do when it hits a red stage? And it may be things like, if it’s a sales thing, it may be, we’re going to retool a little bit and have some of our project managers focusing more on selling versus managing projects. So, that sort of stuff. 

Don Roberts: 

But you do all that decision up ahead of time. You’re doing that during the planning process. Right. And that way, when it happens, I’d like to think of it kind of like a prenuptial agreement. It’s a lot easier to have those conversations early on than it is when you’re in the heat of the moment. So, it’s just a way of really letting data help you move your company forward. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Well, and I think it’s a very good point that you bring up, is in having worked with a large number of entrepreneurs, they’re typically, those engineers, and being an engineer myself, too, I feel comfortable I can say this, they’re so focused on the widget, or whatever the next system is that they’re trying to design and build. And so, even though it’s very common sense, like you said, to, “Hey, well, how are you going to measure that you were successful? How do you know that this new product you developed, this new process you implemented, how do you know that was successful?” 

Bryan Powrozek: 

And then having these triggers there to help you keep pace, which is where the data side of it comes in, the, “Hey, things are going in the direction we want to go.” Because I think that the interesting part of that, and I know this is a big component of the EOS system, is that accountability piece, is that it’s easy for someone to go out and say, “Oh, we’re going to design this new product.” And then, when the new product doesn’t work out the way they plan, they can look back and say, “Oh, it was because of this, this, and this, all these reasons why it failed.” 

Bryan Powrozek: 

But building that accountability in up front to know, where do we need to be hitting, what do we need to be doing, is oftentimes hard. And you’ll probably touch on this a little bit when you get into the people part of this, but there’s that big people component that you’re trying to deal with when you’re trying to put some of those systems in place, especially if they weren’t in place before, and now people are being held accountable to delivering on whatever was committed to. 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. There’s a good book I just recently read, and that’s The Great Game of Business, and it helps. It does a really good job of talking about your strategy, and how you end up tying people back to your strategy and accountability. And I think the one thing that can characterize the system integration industry, it’s ripe full of really smart people. We have really highly educated people out there. There’s no shortage of great ideas. Where we really lack is, how do I turn that great idea into business success. So, oh, here’s another great idea, and another great idea, and another great idea, and just staying on track, to make sure that actually accomplish what we want to. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Yeah. And I think that’s a great lead in to the second P that you guys have there, of the processes. And having come through an engineering… I worked for an auto supplier, but we were rife with processes. There was a process for everything. And a lot of times, what you found is the processes were developed around the exception. One time, something happened, so the automatic solution is, “We’ll put a process in place to prevent that from ever happening again.” 

Bryan Powrozek: 

And when I was going through and got my Six Sigma Green Belt, it was one of those aha moments of, is this process really doing something to make you more efficient, improve your quality, whatever your goal might be? And so, that’s another area that I think you guys focus on when working with clients, is using that data to say, “Okay, if we’ve implemented this process, here’s what we looked like before, here’s what it looked like after. Did we hit the mark?” And some of that might be those triggers you were talking about. But how are you implementing data into the systems when your clients are developing new processes? 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah. So, that’s a good question. And it ties back to, you mentioned the concept that this industry’s got a lot of entrepreneurs, so small businesses that just start out. And their success model is superhero. We’re just superhero. It doesn’t matter, whatever comes, we’re going to solve that problem. And that gets you to a certain size, but beyond that size, it’s not scalable, so you have to start to define what the processes are, the fundamental processes that are embedded into your business. 

Don Roberts: 

That’s why I like the strategy maps, because they have a whole perspective and it’s just about the processes that are necessary for success. And so, starting to define what those processes are, and it doesn’t have to take rocket science, you can write it down on a piece of paper or whatever, but getting those processes in place, so that then you can start to say, “Okay, what defined success in this process? What should I actually measure in this process?” And so, you can start to build some of the KPIs up around that. 

Don Roberts: 

And there’s a lot of pretty standard, off the shelf, like utilization may be one. It may be win rates on your sales cycle, or things of that nature. There are things that apply to just about any industry. We’ve got a peer group that we run right now, it’s our operational excellence peer group, and they focus in a lot on this process side of things. Because one of the things that we’ve identified is that it’s great to go from that superhero to process centric, but we’re kind of stalled right now, where people are not really looking at those processes and saying, “Just how efficient are those processes?” 

Don Roberts: 

For instance, we were doing some analysis across a number of different companies on order entry to project kickoff. And it was kind of interesting to look at the process flow charts for each of the different companies and how much time and effort went into one company versus another company, or what skillset. So, one company was using a project manager to process it all the way through. Another company was using just a project admin, a third of the price to process a large percentage of it. 

Don Roberts: 

That has a huge impact on your efficiency of your company, when you can start to look at that sort of stuff. And it’s all just data driven. You can just take a look at the numbers and say, “Wow. Yeah. That makes a whole lot of sense.” I think the other thing that we’re seeing on the process side of it, though, Brian, is that the process itself is critical in making sure that that’s as efficient as possible. But as the companies grow and you start to get technical leaders, project managers, and client managers, and stuff like that, there’s a lot of stuff and client managers and stuff like that. There’s a lot of stuff that gets handed off. If you look at a flowchart with swim lanes through the different people that are involved, you can see all of these transition points. Some of our clients are starting to look at, well, let’s take a look at what’s between the processes. 

Don Roberts: 

Almost every process has an upstream and a downstream process to it. What is that transition looking like? That’s becoming more and more critical, because sometimes it’s the effort in that transition from one to other, but a lot of times it’s duration and the durations are pretty long. The piece of paper gets transferred from one to another, but it sits on a desk for a couple of days, type thing. 

Don Roberts: 

Taking a look at the data that talks about effort and duration between processes is turning out to be pretty critical. One of the consequences of that is that when you take a look at that, you might find why am I pushing a piece of paper back and forth when what I can actually do is build that into, say, a SharePoint or a Power Automate, a workflow process that just makes it happen automatically? 

Don Roberts: 

Now we ran across that. Exotek does a lot of the CSIA certification audits, and we see a lot of that there, where there’s companies that are way out front in using automated workflows to process stuff. It’s pretty dramatic the difference. Unfortunately that’s a very small percentage of systems integrators. Focus on the process. Define what the process is. Start to put some KPIs place, but then also looking at process to process interaction. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

That’s another, I think, often undervalued thing there is you brought up Control System Integrators Association, and they do a lot of great work for integrators focused primarily on the control side there. The value of those associations, for business owners to be able to get together and share that information with peers. It’s almost like we talked about at the outset of you and I have seen a lot of things that work and don’t work in different situations, and getting those peers together. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

That’s one thing that’s impressed me about our involvement within CSIA is how open the business owners are to talking to one another and helping each other out and trying to share. I’ve got two clients I’m working with right now who are both looking at new ERP systems. They’re both on the same one right now, and they’re considering alternatives. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Connected the two of them together and now they’re sharing what they liked about the one, what they didn’t like about the other. This is a sidebar from the conversation, but it speaks to the value of those types of relationships and finding an association that represents … You might be a robotic integrator. You could be more of a vision system integrator, but, still, find a group that you can connect with. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

I’ve obviously never owned my own integration business like you have, but that’s got to be one of the more isolating aspects of that is you’re on this island by yourself. Unless you find those peers that you can interact with and, this is kind of a shameless plug for the CSIA peer groups. If you’re involved in CSIA and you’re not involved in a peer group, check them out, because it gives you that opportunity to bounce ideas off somebody that’s probably going through the same challenge as you are. Some of these ideas can then filter in through that manner. 

Don Roberts: 

Absolutely. It’s lonely at the top. I mentioned my background. What I did was I didn’t try and spend too much time internally. I went out and I started to look at other companies and build those relationships so that I can say, “Well, how do you do this? How do you solve that problem? What’s your process for doing this?” 

Don Roberts: 

Fortunately because we were in a collaborative environment, we were able to share them. I’d say able to share them. Quite often we were dictated to share them. That’s where it works good. With the CSIA, it is impressive how that association has gone from a fairly small association, fairly large one and it’s still got that same fundamental “give one idea, you get 10 good ideas back.” 

Don Roberts: 

I’ve been involved with CSIA for a very long time, and I remember rolling CSIA out into LATAM and they’re sitting there saying, “You mean people will actually tell their competitors something. That doesn’t make sense.” Taking a couple of years for them to get comfortable doing it, or going over to Europe and doing the same thing there. That’s kind of unheard of. 

Don Roberts: 

There’s two aspects to data. One of them is how do I use data to compare myself against myself. I want to take a look at trends, so I’m looking at, heck, any one of my KPIs. It might be cash flow. It might be day sales outstanding, so I’m looking at how much cash I actually have in the business, and how much cash do my customers owe me. 

Don Roberts: 

It’s good to be able to look at that and say, “Is it going up? Is it going down? What do I want there?” Then there’s the other side of that, and that is benchmarking it against others. I might be sitting at 85 days outstanding, DSO, and say, “Wow. I’m pretty good.” 

Don Roberts: 

Then I look at the industry and it’s at 65. I’m sitting there saying, “I was feeling good about myself until I saw that I could do a whole lot better. The industry could do a whole lot better.” That’s one of the things that CSIA certainly helps with as well. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

I’ve had this conversation, I’m sure you’ve had a similar conversation with business owners is that they see that. They see that 85 and 65, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. I’m so far off.” It’s like, “Well, hold on. Let’s ask those next couple whys and let’s understand.” Because maybe 85 is good for you and there’s other businesses in there that just are structured differently, they’re servicing different industries, whatever it might be, that 65 might not be achievable for you. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

It’s still good to look at that and ask those tough questions of, “Is there a way to get down there, or are we, just based on the nature of our operations, that’s a good benchmark for us?” That’s a lot of tough soul searching and question asking to finally get to that answer. It’s a good starting point, I think, for any business owner. 

Don Roberts: 

In one of our peer groups we were looking at more balance sheet numbers. There was one integrator, fairly good size integrator, good performing system integrator and stuff like that. They start looking at it and they realized, “Holy crap, I’ve got $5 million more in my work in process than anybody else. Why is that?” You get the conversation going and find out, “Oh, well, we actually invoice that at this point. We invoice a little bit earlier.” 

Don Roberts: 

Within two or three months the guy had taken that $5 million and shifted it into cash. It’s stuff like that. He thought he was doing good, and he was doing good. The business was doing really well, but could he fine-tune it? Yeah. As soon as he started benchmarking, he realized that, “I can do better.” 

Bryan Powrozek: 

That’s great. Let’s move onto the last P now. This one, I think, is probably the most counterintuitive when people think data and people. I think we both have some experience, you guys from the implementation side, us from using the tools. How can a business owner apply data to managing their people? I think you guys use a really interesting system that helps out in this area? 

Don Roberts: 

I think there’s two sides to this. One is the more fundamental side. We talk about KPIs in the planning process. Again, The Great Game of Business does a pretty good job of talking about it. Engaging the people in what should we be measuring? 

Don Roberts: 

From way up high I can sit down and say, “I can see that utilization is going to impact my bottom line.” The people that are actually doing the work might say, “But utilization is impacted by a bunch of other things. It’s more important that we look at what our backlog is, our backlog based on skill set, so that we know where we’ve got things.” 

Don Roberts: 

Really that aspect of it, engaging the people in the KPIs that you should be using, and then helping them hold themselves accountable to hit those targets. I think that I don’t want to lose focus on that. The other side of it is really around them as individuals and their ability to grow, and their ability to develop. 

Don Roberts: 

There’s a statistic out there that 95% of people think that they’re self-aware, but only 10% to 15% actually are. We think we know ourselves really, really well. 

Don Roberts: 

We are. We think we know ourselves really, really well, but until you start to get into some very nice tools that are out there, whether that’s DISC or MBTI, we tend to use MBTI a lot and Myers-Briggs, then you don’t really have a good sense of who you really are. Right. And so give you a bit of an example around that. We were working with one customer and they had a project manager. This guy was really good. He was one of their superstar project managers and his performance was always well above everybody else’s, and then all of a sudden we noticed that his performance was dropping down. We had conversations with him, nothing seemed out of line or anything like that, but the performance was dropping down quite a bit. 

Don Roberts: 

So I went back and I looked at the assessment that we had done and tried to see if I could say, well, what is it about his behavior that would flag the situation here? And it turned out that sure enough, when I went and looked at, well, how would this guy normally behave if he was under stress? And it was just like, bam, it was right in my face, like, oh yeah, this is yep, yep, yep, yep. That sort of thing. And so being able to then compare his profile against his behaviors and say, okay, well you’re stressed. And had the conversation with the guy and says, I think you’re under stress. No, not really under stress. 

Don Roberts: 

And so then just pull it up and say, okay, well, here’s how we measure stress. And the guys like, yes, yes. I guess maybe I am stressed. Right? Focus in on the things that are causing them stress, turn the guy around, performance back up to where it should have been. That’s a good side of the story. I have some bad sides of that same story where a few years prior to that where I didn’t have those tools for measuring that sort of stuff and burned the engineer out. And I can tell you, when you burn them up, they don’t come back. Doesn’t matter how fantastic of a superstar they are. 

Don Roberts: 

They might come back to 80%, but they’re not going to come back to a hundred percent. And so just having some of those tools in place that allow us to, and that’s kind of drastic mode, but being able to enhance their performance or looking at some of those tools and saying, how does somebody who lets not change it, how are they going to possibly work, be successful on a project that needs some creativity, some innovation? Right? It’s just not going to work. Or somebody that this is the third time we’ve done this project. We just need to make our profit here on this third time. 

Don Roberts: 

Let’s not get somebody who’s a, let’s change it on a project. Right. So just being able to look at those sorts of things at an individual level is important. But then when you take that and you roll that back to the next level up and say, okay, well, how well is that person going to perform in a team. Right? How well is that team going to perform? And maybe the team is all structured around one specific kind of a profile, but you actually need a little bit of a mix in that profile. So those kind of metrics, when I’ve seen them in use, the results are amazing. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Yep. No. And having myself personally, I mean, worked in an environment where we didn’t have that tool and now working in an environment where we have a similar tool, it gives you a common language for people, whether you’re talking about hiring decisions, when you’re talking about people’s performance plans. Even just like you said, hey, we’re putting together a team to focus on this initiative. What are the right people that we need on there to represent those things. And it really, it put some thought into things and I’ve heard the stat you mentioned, but I think it’s very impactful that the 90% or whatever, that people that feel they’re self aware, whereas 10% really are, it’s that gap between our perception and our reality. And so to have that, to step back and say, okay, I need to have a conversation with this person. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Let me go check their profile really quick and see, okay, how might they interpret this? How should I present it to them in a way that makes sense to them? I mean, it might not be the way that I would take it in, but it’s now you’re putting things in ways that they’re willing to, or are able to better understand. And you’re just moving those changes forward at a faster rate. So that’s, no, I think if a business owner isn’t using some sort of tool like that in their organization, it’s one of the top tools I would recommend them starting to look at, especially given all the challenges that they’re going to have on the retain, engage, hire new employees going forward. You really have to put every effort into keeping those people happy, make sure you’re getting the best out of them during the time that they are working in your office. So that’s a great tool. 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah. And we’re finding that probably a couple tools make sense. Okay. So for instance, you talk about hiring and hiring people, maybe predictive index is a pretty good tool to use for some of those aspects of it. Right. Whereas Myers-Briggs is a much better tool for things like, how do you function within a team? Or how do you self-awareness and things like that, how do you build a development plan for yourself? That sort of thing. We use the MBTI, for instance, in our mentoring, when we’re mentoring someone. First step is okay, let’s get an MBTI done. And then I’ve got tools I need to mentor that individual, because I have a much better understanding of how I’m going to communicate with them. 

Don Roberts: 

I was working with one of our clients at one point and my style is I have an idea. I go from A to Z like, okay, that’s it. Right. And come along, you better hurry up and keep up with me type of thing. Well, that doesn’t work with a lot of people. So in one situation I had an individual that could work really well with me because he could go from A to Z, but he could also put all the steps in between. And another individual that just couldn’t really jump from A to Z as quickly. Right. And so I found that we naturally made a real good team. I’d tell person A okay, A to Z, he would then translate it to person B and it might sound inefficient, but it wasn’t inefficient at all. It was very effective though. I always used my tools to continue to move at the pace that I wanted to move at. And this guy was making sure that the whole team was moving along as well. Right. 

Don Roberts: 

So it worked out really, really well. Right. Within Exotek, Jack Barber who works with me, he and I have completely different profiles, but we understand those profiles. And if he wants a concept, he just comes, okay, Don, let’s brainstorm about this, and we’ll brainstorm. And he’s got some idea and he can build an entire framework around that. Right. And he does a great job then of holding me accountable. Okay, Don, this is the steps that we need to take and okay, you’re going off on too many of these wild ideas. Get back in line. Right. And so that works out really well. And again, going back to the planning, the process and the people. So in planning and you look at, we talked about and traction where you’ve got the visionary and the integrator. Right. Being able to understand those different people, characteristics, and behaviors, and work them into your system. Super powerful. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

No, that’s fantastic, Don. Hey, I really appreciate your time today and sharing your insights. If anyone listening to the podcast wants to get in touch with you to learn a bit more about the services you guys offer, what’s the best way for them to get in touch? 

Don Roberts: 

Yeah. You can go to our website. There’s a ton of stuff on there. If you want to pick that up and there’s, there’s always usually weekly we’re putting stuff out on that. Or you can just contact me direct. It’s Don Roberts at Exotek. That’s E-X-O-T-E-K.com. 

Bryan Powrozek: 

Excellent. Well, Don, thanks again. And I’ll speak to you again soon. 

Announcer: 

Thank you for tuning in. Don’t forget to like us, subscribe and share on social. Learn more about Clayton & McKervey, visit us@claytonmckervey.com. That’s C-L-A-Y-T-O-N-M-C-K-E-R-V-E-Y.com. We thrive on finding the solutions for you. 

Clayton & McKervey

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The Sound of Automation Podcast

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Industrial automation businesses are the driving force behind Industry 4.0, and Clayton & McKervey is here to help.

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The Sound of Automation: Looking ahead to CSIA 2022

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