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.

Lessons Learned Abound…

Been on a year long hiatus from journaling. I’ve missed making my thoughts visible – so much in the mind one can’t easily convey thoughts, revelations, aspirations, lessons, etc. Thoughts and words juggling for release from a mind cluttered with thoughts and words. This blog will be the continuation of my Project Management Journal. The focus here would be on Quality Management moments. Precious “lessons learneds” realized through the consulting, facilitation, project leading, team mentoring, team coaching moments. It feels great to be back in the “flow” again – pray it isn’t lost again 🙂

Quality Management word associations.

Quality Management word associations.