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Blog, Book & Podcast
by Van Fleisher & Todd Ritchey


Welcome to CSM, a book designed to help every open-minded business leader – from day-one start-ups to multi-billion-dollar global giants. Each week on LinkedIn, we’ll be sharing, chapter by chapter, why CSM is the critical tool to help you help your business move ahead. 

So how can one book help the entire range of industries, geographies, and business sizes?

Having spent over 50 years in management consulting, and working with companies in over 30 countries around the world, we have concluded that there are many more similarities than differences between companies, regardless of geographical location or industry.

Don’t agree?

Take an airline, for example.  They fly the same planes in the same airspace to many of the same places. Their marketplaces are pretty much global, and their fares are public and competitive. A key economic driver is sweating their costly assets, as economically, efficiently, and safely as possible. They have expensive and critical supply chains and high energy costs to fly their planes and run their facilities. And then there’s the high cost of labor or talent, which is often the difference that makes many of us prefer one airline over another, and helps one airline to be more profitable than another.  

Okay, that’s an airline, but surely hospitals are different… or are they?

Consider that hospitals all over the world treat and care for the same species, using globally recognized techniques, globally available and expensive tools, supplies, and equipment, and for the most part, clinicians that have been trained, more or less the same, and often at the same places. 

As we have painfully witnessed, diseases don’t recognize borders, the treatments are the same, and hospitals follow the same protocols to sweat their physical assets and talent, efficiently and effectively. Having worked with both airlines and hospitals, we have seen that the processes used to turn a plane around efficiently and turn an operating room around efficiently, are remarkably similar. And once again, it is the talent that creates better outcomes – healthier satisfied patients, and profitable operations.

We’ll expand on the sameness issue in a later chapter but let’s consider one more example… manufacturing.

Manufacturing is a global enterprise. The same or similar products are made and sold worldwide, in and to virtually every country in the world. The raw materials and components are the same, the machines being used are often made by the same manufacturer and the techniques to manage a business are similar or the same. Line changeovers bear a striking resemblance to an airplane turn or operating room changeover, and it’s the people who consistently make their companies profitable or not.

If you still don’t buy the “one book fits all” claim, explain the universal adoption of a long list of what management consultants call, “Silver Bullets” – those three letter acronyms that are touted as the cure to fix businesses’ ills. Those three letter acronyms have spawned a $250 billion dollar industry and armies of management consulting companies around the world. 

We’re not disparaging ABC, BPR, CIP, JIT, TPM, and TQM, or even Lean, 6 Sigma Kaizen, although we question the necessity of spending huge sums of money to implement what our new silver bullet can do for free. All of them can add value, however all are components of CSM, and it’s free.

Welcome to the management consultants’ unpublished, go-to tool: CSM (short for Common Sense Management).

This book will help you understand the power of CSM, how to harness it, and how to make it the single-most-important concept, that you, as business leaders, managers and supervisors need to understand, whether you’re a CEO at the top of an empire, a new start-up, or a new supervisor wanting to make a difference.

If you think, “This is BS. I obviously have common sense. I’m a business leader.” you’ll be partly right in that you probably do have common sense. What you may not have mastered, however, is common sense within the details of your business operation, management control systems, processes, and talent optimization. This is a very common condition because you’ve been “protected” from the facts by well-meaning supervisors, managers, directors, VPs, and C-level colleagues. They see problems as work in progress that they will handle as soon as they put out today’s fire – just as they’ve done for days, weeks, months, and years before – without troubling you. Those very same fires, over and over and over again.

In this sense, the book will serve as a mirror for some, as they will see their own organizations through some of the descriptions and stories that follow. Hopefully, not many of you will recognize planning for industrial deaths in business plans, lost time due to injuries such as severe burns from welding while wearing flip flops, self-imposed sales caps based on estimated ability to manufacture, or product costing by methods that value products at less than the cost of manufacture, to name just a few. It may even introduce you to the forest.

We believe that anyone in business will be able to take away much of the material in this book and put it to good use to make significant and sustainable improvements to their business’ health – a goal shared by RSS Consulting, and its principals, Todd Ritchey and Van Fleisher. We hope you agree. 

One more aspect of the book before we sign off. We’ll be unveiling some irreverent consulting industry “war stories.” Some are funny. Some are tragic, and all are true! We call them “Laugh or Cry.” Here’s the first:

One staffing method used by many consultants is hiring contractors, often without any experience. They arrive at the client site in time for the opening project assessment meeting, led by the CEO and the consulting company’s leader. Following one of these opening meetings, attended by both key client staff and the consulting team, the consulting leader asked the CEO, “Who was that guy at the far end of the table asking all the awkward questions?”

The CEO frowned and said, “I think he was one of yours.”

There will be many more of these “Laugh or Cry” vignettes in the chapters and book, and yes, CSM could have helped with all of them. Send us a note to receive the chapters as they’re distributed, get a free copy when we publish, and enjoy the ride! Feel free to ask about particular issues and situations to see if CSM would help. We’ll reply truthfully.

In Chapter One we’ll discuss the power of CSM as it relates to some general business issues and also help you answer the question, “Do we really need management consultants?” You might be surprised.

Watch for the post or enter your details in the sign-up window to request a copy of each weekly edition be delivered to you via email.  You can also find back issues on our website

And for those of you who decide to receive new chapters via e-mail, we’ll also send you a FREE advanced copy of the book when it’s published.

About the Author

Van has worked in over 30 countries helping large companies and small. Author, mentor, board member, CEO, and team leader have been some of his job titles, but his passion is helping businesses succeed through their own employees' efforts.

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