Another opportunity to stretch Toolkit!

picToday I received notification that workshop abstract submitted for the MUSC  (Medical University of South Carolina) 2017 Lean Six Sigma Healthcare Symposium was accepted by the Symposium Abstract Review Committee!

Abstract“Interactive Spaghetti Diagram (QI Starts with Awareness)” – an educational workshop (interactive audience participation).

To think that a few weeks ago I almost deleted the call-to-action email as spam!!!

For the past year, my responses to the “calls to action” seeking proposals for conferences and events, have provided invaluable opportunities for me to learn, share, contribute and be challenged.

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Brief: Spaghetti Diagram is a Lean tool that showcases the flow of materials, information and people through a process. It helps to identify waste in movement, transportation, motion and waiting. Tool is typically used in the Define, Measure, Analyze phase of the DMAIC process.

This Workshop is an engaging, innovative, interactive way of using a visual management tool to demonstrate the NEED for AWARENESS when it comes to Quality-Process Improvement.

Awareness sets the stage for Mindfulness which leads to better team dynamics (reduced conflicts = faster more effective & sustained solutions).

15 minutes: A generic floor map is provided | Volunteers from the audience (5x) |Assigned numbers, colored markers & instructions | Flow is generated on the floor map.

15 minutes: Discussion based on the activities from above (audience participation).

15 minutes: Q&A

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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!

 

 

 

 

Notification: Speaker 1st ASQ European Conference

Received notification today. Proposal submission to the 1st ASQ European Conference was accepted.

Topic: “Achieving Effective Communication in the Age of Social Media!”

SM-Icons

Focus Area: Leadership & Management

What Level of Expertise Does your Session Target? : Basic

Who is your Target Audience? :  Managers of Quality Systems

Learning Objectives:
– List the 4 segments targeted for effective communication.
– Describe the various types of communication channels.
– Describe and use Quality Tools that aide in achieving effective communication.

Description:
Communication is a means of connecting people or places. It is an imperative, crucial, critical (important does not quite cover it) component to any endeavor, interaction, relationship, undertaking, initiative. Communication MUST be agile in nature, even if organizational improvement activities are sluggish. All channels within & outside of an organization must be “catered to” (traditional / electronic).
Gone are the days when control over information was the domain of the communications departments! Social Media is King whether we like it or not. Information real or otherwise can circumnavigate the world in a few clicks resulting in loss of reputation, impact to bottom-line, loss of customers, incredible promotion of goods & services or condemnation of same. Agility is key i.e. responsive, in front of issues (not “head in sand”), proactive. Therefore, Communicating Effectively to Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership (segments) is crucial.
Session will define these segments, how they relate & impact Quality Management and the Quality Tools that aide in achieving, providing (catering to) effective Communication!

– PURPOSE OF SESSION –
– Session will define crucial segments, how they relate & impact Quality Management;
– The various channels for effective communication;
– The appropriate Quality Tools that aide in achieving, providing (catering to) effective Communication.

– SUMMARY OF SESSION –
– INTRODUCTION –
Definition of Communication: “Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning. In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places. In business, it is a key function of management–an organization cannot operate without communication between levels, departments and employees.” (www.businessdictionary.com)

(1)
Communicating Effectively to these segments: Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership

1. Customers
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

2. Stakeholders
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

3. Management
– Who?
– Relation to QM?
– Impact on QM

4. Executive Leadership (the buck stops here (allocate/approve budgets, resources, set Culture, etc.)
– Who?
– Relation to QM
– Impact on QM

(2)
– Channels of Effective Communication – * Define the channels (what, examples, how used)
All channels within and outside of the organization must be “catered to”. Channels (traditional / electronic):
Traditional:
a. In-person
b. Telephone
c. Mail (letters)

Electronic:
a. Email
b. Web (Chat/IM)
c. Social Media/Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Discussion Boards

(3)
With the above in mind, how can one get a grip on communicating effectively? Quality Practitioners have several tools at their disposal that can be used to address communication needs/requirements. Every initiative would benefit from their use:

a. Communication Plan= matrix of Target Audience, Message, Delivery Type, Frequency (Cadence), Owner (Responsible), Objectives, Notes

b. Stakeholder Analysis= identification of individuals/groups to affect or be affected by an action – sorting according to impact on and of the action.

c. Voice of Customer via Quality Function Deployment= defining customer needs or requirements and translating them into specific plans to produce products to meet those needs.

d. Project Management Dashboards= central, real time, display of organization/operations/projects performance.

* Elaborate on the above with: what the tool is, purpose, benefits/why, how it aides in Communication, sample (image)

– CONCLUSION –
Agility is key i.e. stay in front of issues (not “head in sand”), being proactive and acknowledge outreach. The proper use of the appropriate Quality Tools will go a long way to ensure that effective communication is given to all the relevant segments!

– AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION / INTERACTIVE –
Invite attendees to share how they are addressing the Communication component with: Customers, Stakeholders, Management, Executive Leadership

– Q & A –

 

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 :).

 

Time to Let Go!

The Quality Practitioner spends a lot of time chasing, advocating, championing, guiding, shepherding, seeking buy-in for Quality methods, support, resolution of conflicts, justifiable use of limited & dwindling resources, building a Quality-Team, et al..

The above takes place over a period of time (often times years) and naturally this becomes the norm. The Quality Practitioner out of necessity becomes the sole custodial of the Quality space within the organization.

Then something fantastic happens and if one is not aware can be a devastating set back to the whole endeavor.

The team start to take ownership. This starts manifesting as queries about “why we are doing it this way”, “we should find another way”, et al. Team members begin to make connections (daily work, organization strategy, improvement), take initiative, engage stakeholders, prep & execute deliverables, present status updates, etc.

Care should be taken not to categorize these fledgling steps to process ownership as resistance (which would lead to the Quality Practitioner reacting by using resistance-overcoming facilitation methods which would kill fledgling ownerships dead! This would be disastrous to establishing meaningful organizational relationships.

Note to self: Be on the lookout for the above moments – shifts from resistance to ownership! They can be so subtle that it can be easily overlooked, missed or worse dismissed! Sit back and luxuriate in the moment – rewarding moment that makes up for the long periods of resistance :).

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.