Archive for March, 2021

Deliverables: “What are you good at?”

Posted March 28, 2021 By Fletcher Groves

(initially published on Escape from Averageness® in October 2014 as the first in a six-part series;  republished here as part of our latest retrospective, “Still Average: The Best of Escape from Averageness®, 2009-2021”)

“What do you consult on?”

A natural, if somewhat ungrammatical question, which we frequently hear.  Consultants have lists and descriptions of their areas of expertise, what are termed deliverables;  from the standpoint of informing clients about what their consulting work involves and how that work unfolds, those descriptions can be useful.

But, those descriptions shouldn’t be why consultants are engaged.

As consultants, we would better serve our clients if we defined our services by the results we deliver, not define our results by the services we deliver;  what we ought to be delivering are targeted, measurable, meaningful results defined by the improvements in operating performance and business outcomes a client realizes as a result of having engaged us.

Under our preferred approach to delivering consulting services – under what we call Results-Based Consulting® – our short answer is, “We do what it takes to get results.”

And, not just any results.

We resolve to do whatever is required to gain the insight and understanding into operating and business performance required to create a sustainable, focused capability and capacity for implementing the things that improve that performance;  there is a search for a starting point to continuous improvement formed from current reality – formed from a cause-and-effect understanding of our clients’ core problems and constraints, as well as their opportunities.

We are determined to improve our clients’ means for understanding and managing workflow and production, so that our clients deliver more value – deliver more benefit, more consistently, with less waste, less cost.

We are committed to building urgency towards results, and to instilling business logic in a savvy, accountable, and motivated homebuilding team that has a financial stake in the outcome;  we foster a willingness and capacity for change, for innovation and learning, and a determination to make our clients less dependent on us for all of it.

Still, the question persists, regardless of the approach;  there is still that interest in “what kind of consulting” we do.

In other words, “What are you good at?”

Next:  Deliverables:  Competitive Assessment®


Pipeline Workshop™ No. 16: Save the Date

Posted March 21, 2021 By Fletcher Groves

Pipeline Workshop™ No. 16 will be held October 14-15, 2021, at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Welcome to the most intense, demanding, interactive, and challenging homebuilding production management learning experience on the planet.

“This is my second attendance to the Pipeline Workshops™.  All I can simply say is WOW!  Fletcher and his team strive to improve the workshops and make [them] even more relevant.  I especially enjoyed playing the Pipeline Game™ again and learning about [the] Velocity Accelerators®.  I look forward to attending in the future!”  (Carlos Alvarez, President, Alvarez Homes, Baton Rouge, LA)

“The Pipeline workshop™ was really effective in showing how operational decisions affect business outcomes and how risky a ‘more for more’ approach to growing a home building company really is.  The Pipeline games™ were not only fun, but they were super-effective in showing how unbalancing the production system, managing the constraint resource, and managing the right amount of WIP, creates predictable operational results and maximizes financial outcomes.

“At the end of the day, running a successful business is about how much money you make on the amount of money you invest.  The Pipeline workshop™ helped me understand this better than any workshop or seminar I’ve ever attended.

“I highly recommend it.”  (Charles Roberts, VP – Operations, Providence Homes, Jacksonville, Florida)

“The Pipeline Workshop™ completely changed my approach to meeting my company’s productivity and profitability goals.  I came away with several actionable items that I was able to implement right away.  Any homebuilder with an open mind, who is willing to challenge the traditional ways of thinking that our industry has grown comfortable with, will benefit greatly by attending.”   (Ryan Band, Unbridled Homes, Louisville, KY)

Pipeline workshops™ are now concluding their eighth consecutive year, and we have worked constantly to enhance and improve it.  Over the years, we have:

(1) improved the best production simulator and business game in the industry (the Pipeline Game™), made it faster to play, easier to understand;

(2) introduced an operating statement format to the game that mirrors the particular characteristics of homebuilding operations;

(3) found ways to transfer the learning faster, to make the connection between operating decisions and business outcomes clearer, quicker, more direct;

(4) started to examine areas of disruptive innovation (for example, outsourced building models that become integrated building models);

(5) introduced an MBA-level business case (RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline©);

(6) emphasized important and emerging areas we call Velocity Accelerators®.

Pipeline workshops™ are unique, completely unlike any other homebuilding conference (and, under current COVID-19 restrictions, they are the industry’s only significant event that is conducted live, not virtually).

The learning split is 70% simulation/business case, only 30% lecture;  the format is intense, interactive, and competitive;  the Pipeline game™ production simulations and the RB Builders: Lessons from the Pipeline© business case rigorously test attendees’ correct understanding of production management principles and disciplines, and challenge their ability to solve production problems.

Pipeline workshops™ build an intuitive, instinctive understanding of production principles and disciplines, and they draw the subtle-yet-crucial distinction between being in the homebuilding business, and simply being in the business of building homes.

Our venue, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, is a terrific AAA Five Diamond oceanfront golf and tennis resort dating back to 1928;  we provide a relaxing and enjoyable reception on the Historic Inn’s putting green at the end of the first day;  we offer recommendations on outstanding local dining;  there are abundant opportunities for networking.

Creating a visual image of homebuilding production;  establishing the connection between operating decisions and business outcomes;  building a new way of thinking – systemically – towards solving core problems and managing constraints;  managing limited capacity and resources, doing more without more, hopefully doing more with less;  dealing with variation;  managing homebuilding production as the type of workflow that it really is – multi-project management with surrounding, supporting, and embedded-processes;  placing the emphasis on actions that accelerate production velocity.

The fundamental proposition of a Pipeline workshop™ is this:  thriving on the velocity side of economic return – thriving on the velocity side of Return on Assets – is the best way to create sustainable competitive separation.

Registration for Pipeline Workshop™ No. 16 opens June 14, 2021.  The regular attendance fee is $895.00

Come.  Participate.  Learn.


Here is the permanent link to the website:

The link provides information about the workshop, reviews from builders who have attended previous workshops, and a downloadable Adobe PDF file with detailed information about the venue, agenda, and schedule.  All of this information, as well as the event registration and hotel reservations link will be updated before registration opens.


In the spring of 2020, at the outbreak of this global pandemic, we made the rational, reasonable decision to cancel Pipeline Workshop™ No. 13;  at the time, no one knew what to expect or how to deal with the disease;  more importantly, our long-standing venue, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, was being forced to temporarily shut down anyway.

In the fall of 2020, when Pipeline Workshop™ No. 14 turned out to be a resounding, resurgent success, we presumed that it marked a return to business-as-usual for arranging and facilitating what is, by its nature and design, the most intense, demanding, interactive, and challenging homebuilding production management learning experience on the planet.

Apparently not.

We have cancelled Pipeline Workshop™ No. 15, scheduled for March 17-18, 2021, because under COVID rules and behaviors, we have not been able to form enough teams to produce the type and level of learning Pipeline workshops™ are known for delivering.  This, despite adjusting the event pricing to reflect the circumstances, and making it possible for almost everyone to attend without charge.

In the end, what we can offer in incentives and safety is not enough to offset the caution and concern this disease has created, and continues to maintain, about travel and public gatherings.

We will move registered attendees to Pipeline Workshop™ No. 16, which is already scheduled for October 14-15, 2021, at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and we will provide the same pricing they had for Pipeline Workshop™ No. 15.

Despite the circumstances, Pipeline workshops™ have been one of the homebuilding industry’s few public events conducted live;  Hanley Wood-BUILDER finally conducted its 2020 BUILDER 100 Summit virtually, and NAHB conducted the International Builders Show virtually.  Yes, during this pandemic, we have conducted live private Pipeline workshops™ for builders large enough to have the event in-house, but those are not public events.

A virtual approach is not feasible for an interactive, team-based event like a Pipeline workshop™, which stands in sharp contrast to almost any other conference.  With the benefit of the technology available today, conventional conferences can be conducted virtually as a series of presentations or lectures, even involving a virtual panel, even involving limited Q&A.

Pipeline workshops™ are more like the situation facing a consultant that has to help a client extract and process information and thought, especially when it involves a cross-functional team dealing with complex, cause-and-effect issues.

It can’t be done.

We want to thank the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club for understanding the situation and continuing their support of this series of workshops.  We want to thank our registered attendees that will now need to adjust their schedules to attend the next workshop.

The Pipeline Experience® moves forward.

See you in October.