cxl | Customer eXperience Leadership

Driving transformational change through Process Excellence and Lean Six Sigma.

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Our deployment makes iSixSigma’s Best Places to Work Top 10 List!

I was excited to receive the news yesterday that the deployment that I am supporting successfully made its way into the 2010 iSixSigma’s Best Places to Work Top 10 List!  This is a very exciting recognition considering that we are a fairly recent adopters of Lean Six Sigma and are joined by many long-time adopters of process improvement capabilities.  Definitely a recognition of being part of the most talented team of process excellence professionals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

The selection is based on the following criteria and the winner will be announced in February:

  • Foster a supportive culture for Six Sigma
  • Develop their Six Sigma talent through leadership and other training
  • Offer career advancement opportunities for Six Sigma alumni
  • Provide competitive pay, and excellent rewards and recognition

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    Process Improvement – Is it about the tools?

    I had a few interesting debates last week over whether the focus of a deployment should be on tools as opposed to desired outcomes.  While I am a huge believer in both Lean and Six Sigma (or Lean Six Sigma), I struggle with the concept that the focus of an organization should be to secure adoption to a toolkit and not a goal of driving continuous process improvement leveraging the Lean Six Sigma toolkit and approach. 

    While the subtlety may seem trivial, it is central to a communication and implementation strategy and has translated itself into challenges for some organizations:

    1. A focus on finding the “right” problem to fix through a designated methodology as opposed to a business process challenge that needs to be addressed
    2. In a few organizations, it has manifested itself into two or more competing deployments focused on different approaches such as Lean or Six Sigma or successive programs due to prior inabilities to deliver meaningful value – contributing to a sense of “flavour of the month”
    3. A  narrow focus on a toolkit distracting from the most appropriate path to the desired outcome

    I’m certainly not advocating that any of these tools shouldn’t be shared or communicated but rather would suggest that the primary focus of a deployment should be on outcomes and on driving a culture of continuous process improvement through a holistic process improvement toolkit.  One could argue that the integration of Lean Six Sigma might accomplish the same effect but, in several cases, I’d propose that many deployments haven’t yet leveraged the true opportunity and intended flexibility.

    Thoughts, insights and perspectives?

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    Building a case for change – The early days of a deployment

    So far, the Chicago Process Excellence Leaders’ Meeting has proven to be a great forum for exchanging ideas between deployments whether new in their journey or established.  The themes that were covered will no doubt become topics of future blogs.

    One of the first themes that we tackled was around building a case for change in the early stages of a deployment.  With more and more process improvement deployments being developed without the traditional top-down push that was used by GE, this overall theme becomes even more important.

    While there are many ways to accomplish this, one approach that was advocated was to facilitate this exercise with each business partner to better articulate the dissatisfaction with the status quo while understanding the linkage between our process improvement approach and the challenge being faced.  While the above seems pretty straight forward, it can be a very important step to ensure proper alignment of the deployment. 

    In one case, a colleague highlighted that it took their organizations over 10 iterations to develop as different leaders had very distinct reasons for embracing process improvement ranging from revenue growth, competitive differentiation, quality improvement and cost reduction.  Alignment on the reason for existence will be critical to the approach being pursued, the project selection approach and in securing sustainable buy-in for process improvement. 

    In a separate discussion, it became apparent that this validation of the case for change needs to become an internalized process to be reviewed every few years.  In fact, a colleague in the insurance business shared how their deployment had stalled and nearly became obsolete after 6 years as there hadn’t been regular validations of the Voice of the Customer, causing a disconnect between the Leadership and the overall program. 

    However we articulate the message, it appears to me that the underlying theme is that deployments need to periodically conduct a Voice of the Customer with their primary internal business customers.

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    Process Excellence Leaders Meeting LIVE!

    Coming up in just a few days, key Process Excellence Leaders in North America will be connecting in Chicago in a forum that promises to go past the tools and techniques to discuss how to enable and embed Process Excellence within an organization during times of change.  This four-day meeting will bring process excellence leaders from across all sectors in very focused workshops and benchmarking discussions to discuss themes such as building commitment for continuous improvement, championing organizational change, building grass-roots engagement, balancing innovation and process excellence, translating organizational strategy into program execution, shifting to enabling growth strategies, linking process excellence with Customer Experience management, best KM & HR practices and trends, sustaining deployments, LSS training 2.0 and accelerating lean. 

    As a Deployment Leader myself, I am excited to be taking part in this event and will be capturing some of the key insights live throughout the day using my Twitter feed and at the end of each day on this blog.  Follow the discussion on the Process Excellence Leaders Meeting LIVE tab!

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    Welcome to my new blog…

    The often-used six sigma symbol.

    Image via Wikipedia


    After years of sharing my passion for Process Improvement through training programs, Executive offsite sessions and conferences that have connected me with over 1,500 passionate leaders and team members all with a strong desire to improve their business, the time has come to create a forum to discuss and share some of the thoughts  and concepts that are essential to the success of an organizational transformation.   

    This blog will be dedicated to leading organizational transformations leveraging Lean Six Sigma, Process Excellence, Process Design/Re-engineering, Organizational Development and Change Management.  As there are many great sources of information on individual approaches, my goal is to create a dialogue for those that are interested in leading broader transformations or Lean Six Sigma / Process Improvement deployments.    

    While my background is primarily in Lean Six Sigma, I am a big believer of a broad-based, holistic approach to process improvement.  I intend to provide regular updates, thought leadership and dialogue on topics that regularly come up among those leading new deployments or change initiatives in addition to providing live blogging from key events in the field and examples of successes.   

    As I am not a consultant nor have anything to sell or promote, posts will remain unbiased and free from pitches or commercial content.  The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.  

    I welcome your thoughts and insights to make this blog as interactive and useful as possible.   




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