To SCORE Big, Start with a Clean SLATE!!!
When I first became involved with the SCORE organization to help mentor small businesses, my training included learning their mentoring methodology captured on a small, hard plastic business card that I keep nearby. The methodology has broad application to many situations in business, from a personnel complaint to a warranty issue. The acronym is SLATE:
S Stop and Suspend Judgement
L Listen and Learn
A Assess and Analyze
T Test Ideas and Teach with Tools [and Tales]
E Expectation Setting and Encouraging the Dream
The image this brings in my mind is a small slate chalk board. Start with a clean slate. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t rush out and act without gathering data, analyzing and testing the solution. (JC Penney had trouble with this one recently when they changed store formats without testing customer response before going full bore into the change). It seems, in many ways to be another good way of talking about the principles of lean management with Plan-Do-Check-Act or the six-sigma approach of DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control). But, I feel SLATE can be applied in many more situations than either of those principles.
So, to SCORE big, start with a clean SLATE. Begin with Just ASK — Always Seek Knowledge™