Who am I and why did I start the company?
It was the loneliest I had ever felt. I was standing on a lonely sidewalk outside of a house in Golden, CO. The family inside was enjoying a Christmas party and I was alone. They were beautiful. They were happy. I was alone.
I couldn't have been any more different than the family that was inside. I was a divorcee, single, broke, alone, couldn't afford to pay both my rent and my child support. I didn't even own a car. I'd been doing what I needed to do to survive with the help of many great friends. I'd worked as a mortgage broker, a day laborer, developed some web sites, and any other work I could find. I was miserable. Looking back on it now, though, I realize that was the moment I started embracing transformation.
It wasn't long after that I came across a quote by Seneca. My interpretation of it now is "Luck, good or bad, exists at the intersection of preparation and opportunity."
I started looking at the preparation that I'd had up to that point in my life. I had served in the United States Marine Corps for 8-years. I had joined straight out of high-school. I knew I needed guidance and the Marines seemed like the best place to get it.
It was truly a blessing. I'd gone into the Marines intent on being a Russian Linguist. I won't bore you with the details, but that didn't work out. I ended up becoming a meteorologist.
I went through boot-camp, weather observer's school, and spent four years in Camp Pendleton, CA. I learned a lot about a strong culture, centralized command and decentralized control, standard operating procedures, and about relationships. These were lessons that would serve me well after starting my transformation journey.
I was then selected for weather forecaster's school. This is considered one of the most difficult schools in the US Military. The course work was grueling, my personal life was a mess, but still I graduated with honors and was selected to serve in Quantico, VA as a staff meteorologist supporting HMX-1. You may have seen that helicopter land on the White House lawn or in many many movies.
The Marines had taught me enough leadership and technical skills at just 22-years old to trust me with the President's life. While I didn't appreciate it at the time, I do now. I understand how the US Military can instill that in someone so young. I remain in awe of it to this day.
After completing my contract I moved to Golden, CO where I found myself on that cold December night outside that beautiful family's home. I never met them, but if I could I'd love to let them know that they changed my life. That was the moment I embraced transformation.
In looking at the preparation that I had I knew I had some valuable skills like leadership and analytic skills. Now I just had to seek opportunities to utilize those skills. It wasn't easy to convince a company that the analytic skills that I learned as a meteorologist were applicable to business.
Finally I found a company that was willing to take a chance on me. Budget Truck Rental hired me as a data-entry clerk. I was making peanuts, but I knew that if I just had a chance then I'd be able to prove what I could do.
I started noticing patterns in the phone bills I was paying. I dug into it to find that we were paying for phone bills that were no longer connected. I dug further and discovered $60,000 per month in bills that we could stop paying. I saved the company more than double my annual salary...EVERY MONTH. I was then promoted to an analyst position.
I excelled in analytics. I didn't care what department I was analyzing data for. I loved the work. I worked for fleet, operations, maintenance, and marketing. In marketing analytics is where I really made ground. I had a knack for it. I remain friends with my boss from then. Thanks Tom W for starting me on that journey. Also thanks to Bob K for embracing my crazy marketing analytics ideas!!
I went on to have more and more impact in the company. Ultimately I was selected to try a crazy new idea in our business. I joined the Performance Excellence team with our parent company, Avis Budget Group. We were going to try to use Lean and Six Sigma to transform our business.
I quickly rose through the ranks of LEAN practitioner, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and LEAN Six Sigma Black Belt. I left performance excellence to take over a department. I was tasked with using the LEAN and Six Sigma tools to reduce our maintenance costs by 40% while managing a large group. I was successful.
I went back to Performance Excellence and became a LEAN Six Sigma Master Black Belt. That is where I hit a wall. I no longer recognized the culture of the department. We were different and executives in the company didn't seem to want to work with us. I regret not having the time to transform that group.
In short order we went though a force reduction. 50% of our team was let go. I landed safely as the Head of Strategy and Innovation for Budget Truck Rental, but I lost many great coworkers. Many of them were and still are amazing, hard working, and brilliant people.
Maybe you are finding yourself in a similar position. You are working hard and using the tools, but the results aren't there. You might be a LEAN and/or Six Sigma practitioner that feels like the methods aren't being embraced in your company. Or, perhaps you are an executive that doesn't feel like you're getting the full value you were promised.
I'm going to share a secret with you. You aren't crazy. After investigating what brought us to the force reduction and what had made me successful I realized a couple of key points. These tools and methods were made to be used in a manufacturing environment. They are great at it, but they were never designed to be used in a transactional or service business like yours. Furthermore, they were made to impact quality through efficiency or effectiveness. They are not intended to guide transformation. My success had come from not applying them as I was taught.
You probably already feel that in your core if you look deep enough. The great news is that there is a better way. I spent two years understanding what went wrong for us and developed a new way to approach the problem. I brought in the lessons I'd learned from my time in the military, studied transformations of all kinds, and developed a method that is designed to transform businesses like ours.
I am now on a mission to share what I have learned with the world. I want to save as many as I can from the fate we faced. I want to help as many transactional or service business, big or small, as I can to grow and prosper. My why is to rethink transformation so that, together we will all prosper.
I formed Dobai, LLC as a conduit to support that why. However, I am but one person. I need your help to truly deliver my why and my mission.
Will you join me in this relentless pursuit of perfection? Will you help us all prosper? Together we can build a better and more prosperous world using Continuous Business Transformation and the DOITS method. We can be better every day.
A personal life update for those interested:
I am now living happily with my wife in Palmer Lake, CO. I have enjoyed watching our children grow and prosper in life. I love having our grand kids over and helping develop them into strong and independent people. I am surrounded by supportive friends and family. I am forever grateful to now be the patron of the family in the window. I dedicate my personal life to helping the guy on that cold sidewalk who is looking in my window.