Keeping Brain Cells Active!

Over the past year (during my sabbatical), one of the activities that has proven invaluable as it relates to continuous improvement – continuous education is speaking & presenting at events (conferences, meetings, etc.). This is funny really since I didn’t consciously pursue speaking engagements. These came about simply by responding to “call to action” requests from organization i.e. call for proposal submissions to fit event themes and focal areas. Rising up to these requests, I have relied  greatly on digging deep into Lessons Learned, reflecting on past experiences (professional & personal), etc – this is not regurgitating books, articles, abstract unproven methods! One of the most over riding considerations, is the need to provide valuable, interactive, engaging content to attendees/audience i.e. would content be relevant, how can lessons be succinctly conveyed…

Here is a proposal I was working on for the 2018 ASQ Lean & Six Sigma Conference (missed the deadline):

– DRAFT – This is an overarching best practices approach

Topic: “Change Happens: Ways to Sustain Results (Best Practices)”

Introduction: Picture this just spent months on a Quality initiative – experienced all the joys, pains, lows and highs such an endeavor would entail such as: team conflict, lackluster team/leadership engagement, resource allocation issues, etc. Despite challenges efforts are triumphant as project goals are successfully achieved. One of the most crucial aspects of initiative management is ensuring that reverting to the old ways/methods doesn’t happen. How to ensure sustainability of results is achieved?

Definition of Changes: “To make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history, to transform or convert (usually followed by into)” – http://www.dictionary.com

Body:

Ways (mechanics, methods I’ve used in my practitioner – flesh these out 30+ slides) :

  1. Traditional LSS Tools & Change Enhancing Methods (Change Management):
    1. Control Plans, Communication Plans, Future State Implementation, Process Health Monitors (relevant KPIs, SPCs, Dashboards)
    2. ADKAR Method (Change Management), SOFAIR Method (Sustainability), AGILE (venture out of the boundaries of LSS tools and techniques. As Quality Practitioners, our Toolkits need to be robust holistic all encompassing – staying in one lane will hinder improvement and sustainability.
  2. People, People, People: People revert if there is no system in place to support change (buy-in, champion, resources, engagement, etc.).
    1. Involve all relevant stakeholders.
    2. Leadership Engagement.
    3. Leverage spirit of partnerships.
    4. Practice Self-Care,
  3. Culture Shift: tackle initiative from a culture shift approach versus piece meal isolated project to project “checking the box”.
    1. Holistic tied to Strategic Direction (mission, vision, purpose, goals, objectives).
    2. Embrace the use of technology, “disruptors”, innovation-mindset (examine for what they are, develop strategies for engagement then incorporate into “how we do, what we do!”.

Conclusion/Close: Change happens, change will happen, change is inevitable, change is natural & unnatural. Embracing this realities will set the foundation for achieving success, developing, implementing and maintaining results.

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Note: planning to develop the above into a presentation or article!

 

 

 

 

Presentation-Speaking Butterflies!

“Call for Proposals” received. Call answered, proposal developed (per conference theme & focus areas) and submitted for consideration. Wait to receive submission status…

Fast-forward to day of presentation. Counting down the hours till time-slot. Stomach tied up in knots. These thoughts racing and jumbling through my mind – Why did I sign up for this? What was I thinking? Why do you do this to yourself? I am not going to do this again!!! Yikes! Sigh!

These thoughts are blessedly FLEETING though! 🙂 The driver/motivation behind sending in a proposal has to do with:

  • Sharing experiences which would in turn, provide content that can provide Lessons Learned that attendees/audience can incorporate into their own Tool-kits.
  • Providing affirmation or validation (via content of presentation) of attendees/audience’s own techniques and practices.

Content for my presentations are derived from professional and  personal experiences (work, home, life, education) of the past 16 years. I am apprehensive about the reception of my presentations because:

  • Fear/Worry that content might not resonate/be relate-able with audience.
  • Presenting especially to other Quality Practitioners is daunting!!! This audience knows/lives the content – if it isn’t spot on not acceptable, every effort must be made by me to make my contributions meaningful, of value and on the day deliver an interactive, fun and engaging presentation!

So on to the next “Call to Action” – invaluable opportunities to challenge complacency & Tool-kit, continuous improvement, continuous education, self reflections and all things that “stretch & contract” for the better 🙂

 

SpeakingIcon

Yikes!!! No pressure, eh 😉

Notification: Speaker @ 2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference!

I received an email today, notifying me that my proposal was accepted to present at the 2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference in Phoenix, AZ on Feb 27-28, 2016!!!!!!!! Wow!

The title of my presentation is: Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In). I will start fine tuning my PowerPoint slides in September and aim to submit final version in October. Looking forward to having an interactive lessons learned session with attendees!

I am still on sabbatical (i.e. not working) but my Quality Practitioner activities are very much alive and kicking. My interests are leading to uncharted professional areas. I am getting some invaluable opportunities to stretch my knowledge, skill-sets and tool-kits. So empowering and rewarding to put my brain to use 🙂

Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In) — title of proposal submission

2017 Call for Proposals: Leading the Culture of Excellence Through Lean and Six Sigma

2017 Lean and Six Sigma Conference | Feb 27-28, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ

So I crafted the response below for the Lessons Learned session. Content is based on my experiences over the years as it relates to achieving organizational excellence. it was like a purge LOL (Quality Practitioners can understand what that is like). An opportunity to reflect, relate, ponder, evaluate, grow, laugh, cry, rejoice!

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” Quality Practitioners spend a lot of time within their organizations, seeking BUY-IN for the adoption, implementation and utilization of Lean & Six Sigma methodology. Despite well publicized, validated and proven benefits from Lean and Six Sigma methods, BUY-IN for adoption-utilization of Lean and Six Sigma is still elusive! Organizations of all types are still struggling to achieve missions, visions, goals, and objectives. Achieving organizational and operational excellence is dependent on taking a thoughtful, mindful approach to how organizations operate. Lean and Six Sigma methods provide this approach. As such, it is CRUCIAL for BUY-IN to exist as it forms the foundation for the use of Lean and Six Sigma.
Session will provide valuable insights, lessons learned, cautions and examples on how to secure and maintain BUY-IN within organizations. Takeaways will include:
– How to build/establish organizational relationships.
– How to demystify Lean and Six Sigma!
– How to get on the “invited” list
– Crucial component: Leadership and BUY-IN.
– How to sustain BUY-IN.
Audience participation is encouraged (share your experiences).”

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Here goes – push send and see if my proposal is accepted…

Working Our Way Out of a Job…!

During a team meeting some years ago, a teammate made this statement “We are working our way out of a job!”. I was at the beginning of my Quality journey so this statement was especially jarring! The teammate had 30 years of Six Sigma experience to back up this claim. My reaction of course was horror – how can this be, Quality is inherent in everything, how can the Quality professional be disposable (LOL – I can now laugh at my reaction).

Fast forward to now… Reflecting on that jarringly significant moment this is how the statement has evolved for me:

  • In my freshman Quality frame of mind, this statement meant making myself indispensable to my clients – showing how valuable I can be to their organizations.
  • In my junior-senior Quality phase, statement meant that it is okay to move on to other opportunities to collaborate.

Hopefully I have:

  • Been successful in sharing, learning, collaborating, participating with my clients in the various initiatives geared towards excellence and achieving organization goals & objectives.
  • Brought value by relieving pain-points, resolving conflicts, streamlining processes, improving the bottom line, embedded the practice of using data-based decision making, improved the customer experience.

Overall, my contributions might evolve to a more strategic advisory resource not so much in the thick of it because like raising nurturing caring of a wee-one, our teams have become self-facilitating. Brings to mind a line from the Nanny McPhee movie, “When you don’t want me you need me, when you want me you don’t need me!”. Project leading & ownership has been transferred back to the organization. Evolution could even involve relocating elsewhere so that the journey of ‘Teach a man to fish’ vs. ‘Give a man a Fish’ can begin anew :).

 

A Lesson for Trainers…!

I was attending a jewelry making class today and the instructor made an interesting comment in response to an anxious question from one of the students. The scenario:

Student: sheepishly asked a clarifying question and apologized for making the instructor repeat a section of instruction.

Instructor: responded reassuringly that people take-in information differently. There are people who are ready for instructions when they are about to perform the instruction. There are people who are able to absorb instruction when given and apply it to what is being learned when they need to perform the instruction.’

3 things came to mind:

  1. I have a fantastic instructor!!! 🙂
  2. Trainees absorb information differently. It is up to me as the trainer to:
  • provide information,
  • clarify and answer any questions,
  • pay attention to ensure that all trainees are brought along during training,
  • provide training content in multiple modes that suits the various learning styles of trainees (Visual, Tactile, Verbal).
  1. Ah-Ha moment for me with regards to Quality conducting training. Trainees may ask questions about content covered during training – my response should not be that the information was already covered. It is to realize that the knowledge is now beginning to resonate and trainees will reach out for assistance or seek clarity about information they should already know and/or using. The above scenario is a great reminder to bear in mind when trainees do not seem to be using the training they have undertaken. It might be that the new knowledge is not needed yet.

Effects of Life Events…!

Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015
Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

Been a chore maintaining the electronic version of this journal!

It has been a lot easier and handier to marshal & journal my thoughts the old fashioned way – via pen and paper :). In my angst of realizing that the past 2 years haven’t been involved with aforementioned pursuits, I forgot that a contributing factor to the disruption of my routine, is that I have been in the midst of 2 simultaneous life events.

  1. Moving across the country with 2 cats to a new unknown environment. To,
  2. Start a new job in a new arena/sector.

It is no wonder that the same cadence utilized for my professional and creative pursuits was disrupted/interrupted.

Easy to get lost in trying to re-establish a new cadence to my various activities, as a result,  lose sight of accomplishments that have occurred. Achieved ASQ Six Sigma Black belt level certification in October 2013. The activities and preparations that preceded this major professional accomplishment are all a blur now looking back :). It is a wonder I kept my wits about me to get this done!!!

The effects of these life events on the rest of everything else were underestimated and unexpected :). Good grounding and learning experiences however. Personal exposure to change enables me to have a more sensitive approach during change management initiatives. Realization that contributing factors to change can sometimes be not as apparent, visible (in fact be underlying and not as easily accessible to help switch the change dial). Time and due diligence, using emotional intelligence especially where people are involved would help to uncover and resolve any inhibiting factors to change!