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August 6, 2008 

Hi MBBP Subscribers, 

Imagine yourself in these two situations. 

Number 1: It's the middle of the month; the end of the financial quarter and you should be 85% shipped to plan. You're only 50% shipped to plan and the factory is in total chaos trying to ship everything that's not nailed down. You're the manufacturing manager. The question is: "Can you handle the stress?" 

Number 2: Your company is outsourcing and downsizing. Your job classification is going to be impacted. The question is: "Can you handle the stress?" 

At one time or another, we are all subjected to a situation that generates stress. If you want some tips on how to reduce workplace stress, be sure to read this week’s article, "Workplace Stress"... it appears below.

Have a nice day, and stay connected.


Bill Gaw

Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way
Oceanside, CA 92056

Workplace Stress 
The leading source of stress for adults is their jobs. 

The workplace holds an excess of anxiety-producers. Many are from unpredictable sources such as unrealisticgoals, sudden job losses, relocations, losing co-workers to downsizing or having bad and/or multiple bosses in quick succession. 

To reduce stress brought by such changes, employees need to assess their skills periodically, learn new ones, participate in professional or trade associations and stay current on industry trends. "By maintaining employability and support systems, you can be better prepared the next time your company downsizes, merges or changes focus," says Sue Aiken, chair of the graduate program in career development in the School of Management of John F. Kennedy University in Walnut Creek, Calif. 

10 Tips to Help You Reduce Your Overall Stress

We can't eliminate stress, but there are ways to manage it. The following 10 tips can help you reduce your overall stress and ease specific sources of anxiety.

  1. Maintain a sense of personal power. A study of high-pressure work environments by ESSI, a San Fran research firm, shows one factor that predicts which employees would become ill and which stayed healthy: people's perception of their personal power or lack of it. Personal power is defined as how much control you feel you have over your life, your ability to function and express yourself. 

    Ideally, your work environment will be an organization where colleagues and superiors listen to your problems and solutions and you're consulted when your role is redesigned, given the resources and information needed to perform the job and can contribute your ideas.

  2. Practice effective communication. Communication is essential for preventing and easing tensions. Whether you head a team or are a team of one, how effective you are at communication depends on how well you understand others' verbal and nonverbal messages. Pay attention to co-workers' gestures, tone of voice and posture.

  3. Develop good working relationships. Trust, respect, understanding and compassion are necessary in any relationship. Co-workers have to function as a team and reach a common goal. But they often focus all their attention on their tasks and very little on how they treat each other. 

    Good work relationships will relieve stress and can buffer you from other stresses. Spend five minutes of each hour considering how to get along with your co-workers.

  4. Choose the right job. During interviews, ask the questions that help you make sure the job's right for you. Get a realistic picture of the company or department's culture, working relationships, problems and hidden agendas.

  5. Be flexible. Recognize and accept that things change. If you need to hold on tightly to the status quo, you need to loosen up. Think of your organization as a space ship. It's constantly correcting its course "to go where no man has gone before" in the marketplace. You have to change with it. Be proactive. You're in a better position to maneuver if you are primed and ready.

  6. Manage your anger. When you feel a surge of anger rising, back off and leave the scene as soon as you can. Repeat in your mind: "let go" or "relax." Breathe deeply until you feel your tension leave. 

    Ask what's the real reason for my anger? Gain perspective and plan your next step. Practice what you'll say and how you'll say it. Make sure you're calm and in control of your emotions. Approach the person with a win-win attitude and desire to resolve the problem and have a good working relationship.

  7. Have realistic expectations. Don't set yourself up for disappointment or put yourself on an emotional roller coaster. Try to be optimistic and realistic at the same time. This outlook doesn't mean you shouldn't have desires or expectations. Just make sure you're not always longing for the impossible.

  8. Adjust your attitude. Your attitude--how you make others feel about you and how you make them feel about themselves--can make or break your future. 

    How's your attitude? Do you complain the moment something doesn't suit you, or do you take things in stride? Try to see yourself through the eyes of others. Do you make others happy or miserable? If you need to, make an attitude adjustment.

  9. Tie up loose ends. Not being able to finish a task can be unsettling to those who like to shut doors and end sentences with a period. Most people need some kind of closure on projects, even the little ones. 

    If you're on a treadmill where you're always beginning new tasks before finishing old ones, make a list of what's left hanging. This exercise can make projects seem more manageable. How can you structure your time to tie up those loose ends?

  10. Take time to revive. People aren't built like machines. They can't run with their engines revved up continuously. Eventually they wear out. That's why there are coffee and lunch breaks. It's long been recognized that people need to take a little time off every few hours to revive. They return to their tasks with renewed enthusiasm. 

    If you can, try not to take work home. Every now and then a project may take some extra time, but work shouldn't be devouring your life.

A Special MBBP Subscriber's Offer

The Lean Six Sigma Training Package

Have your business teams launched a Lean Six Sigma initiative? Is your company currently debating the benefits of pursuing a Six Sigma Program? Is anyone interested in knowing the most important requisite to achieving Lean Six Sigma success? If you answered YES to any of these questions you will want to read and then pass along this bulletin.  

Question: What is the most important requisite to be accomplished in order to optimize your Lean Six Sigma success? 

Answer: Companies must identify and master the 8-Basics of Lean Six Sigma and thereby establish a foundation for success. Without this foundation there can be only limited success of any Lean Six Sigma initiative. 

Lean Six Sigma is our most advanced continuous improvement methodology. Properly implemented, the benefits to you and your company can be enormous. For example, a Lean Six Sigma Program will help you and your company: 

  • Create and implement a winning strategy

  • Speed improvements in quality and speed

  • Eliminate non-value-added costs

  • Improve customer satisfaction

  • Develop motivational performance measurements

  • Convert work into fun again

  • Eliminate "firefighting" and "finger pointing"

  • Reach your full growth and earning potentials.

If you and your company are interested in implementing a Lean Six Sigma Initiative; or if you're seeking ways to optimize your Six Sigma results be sure to check out our Lean Six Sigma Training Package. It’s currently being offered at a special MBBP Subscriber’s 56% discount at: 


"ShowTime!" The Manufacturing Simulation Game
MRP vs. Lean Simulation Exercises

ShowTime, the manufacturing simulation game, demonstrates the benefits of pull manufacturing and manufacturing cells (lean Manufacturing) versus push/batch manufacturing. The game compares batch or push manufacturing techniques (traditional manufacturing) to one piece pull manufacturing using sequential production. It shows how quality and productivity improve while reducing WIP inventory, scrap, rework, and floor space required. The game has been designed for 6-8 participants with unlimited observers. It is based upon each participant taking an active role in running a mini-production line where ‘real’ products are manufactured.

Manufacturing Simulation Game

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