Ten years ago, my company was a vendor to a Fortune 100 company devoted to SixSigma. So devoted, in fact, that they required all of their vendors to take a two-day day Six Sigma training. While I never liked thinking of myself as a "vendor", I took the course. My experience of it? Like taking a geometry test while doing my taxes in a DMV office.
Yes, during those two days, I realized there were lots of useful tools to learn to make my business more effective. But I didn't learn them. Nor did I ever apply a single one of those tools on the job. The lunch buffet was memorable, but that was about it.
Fast forward to a few months ago. That's when I discovered a company who changed the way I thought about all this stuff. With a light touch, a deep understanding of how people learn, and a large dose of humanity, they have found a way to make the essence of SixSigma accessible, relatable, and enjoyable to learn. While they totally get that process is king, they also get that it is people who use processes and unless those people are actually learning process improvement methods in a memorable way, nothing much will change.
GoLeanSixSigma's online trainings draw on 25 years of success helping the world's leading organizations create happier customers and save millions of dollars. Click here if you are curious and want to kick their proverbial tires. For free. As in nada, zero, zippo, zilch.
Just for fun, here's the lyrics to a funny blues song I wrote about Six Sigma in an attempt to gain back my humanity after my first exposure to the SixSigma world.
The difference between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma
Great article in Fast Company on how to manage distractions. Not that YOU ever get distracted, of course. Wait... I just got a text from my cousin... I'll..um...er... finish this blog post later...
I regularly engage in hansei (reflection) after each of my facilitation engagements. It’s a simple learning mechanism, essentially an after-action process of asking: what I expected to happen (my hypothesis if you will), what actually happened, and what explains the gap, if there is one. And there invariably is. The gap is where learning and insight live. ...
Since 1987, I have been facilitating a wide variety of high octave business meetings for just about every industry on planet earth. These meetings have been variably referred to as leadership development programs, creative thinking trainings, innovation workshops, team building off sites, brainstorming sessions, strategic planning pow wows, senior team retreats, annual conferences, and business simulations.
Along the way, as you might imagine, I've developed quite a repertoire of approaches, methods, processes, tools, techniques, and skills to help me get the job done. All of them have worked if delivered in the right way at the right time.
But when push comes to shove (as it often does), the single most effective meeting facilitation ability I've discovered is the most mysterious one of all: presence. Yes, presence, -- the ability to be totally in the moment, no matter what the collective mood, mindset, or drama is of the people in the room.
To borrow a phrase from the radically changing world of healthcare -- the essence of organizational culture change can be boiled down to three words: "Physician heal thyself"-- as in companies restoring optimum health to their enterprise from the inside out.
While many patients, anxious about their well-being, simply want the doctor to tell them what to do, that is, ultimately, a prescription for failure. Sustainable change only happens when people take full responsibility for their own condition.
Being told to "take two aspirins and see me in the morning" by someone with a framed medical school degree above their desk may be comforting in the short-term, but it completely misses the point. It's a paradigm whose time has come and gone.
The long and disappointing history of "change initiatives" bears this out. The data is there. 70% of them fail. And the main reason why 70% of them fail is because most organizations who enter into the culture change process rely too much on outside "experts" who, invariably treat their "patients" as someone incapable or unwilling to heal themselves.
What is it that allows some people to get creative breakthroughs while others get only creative breakdowns -- alternately blaming themselves, society, their company, and their increasingly suspect astrological configurations?
Is it true that people who experience breakthroughs are "gifted"? Or are there other factors at work -- factors that we (the people) have more control over than we might think?
While nobody can deny that some people seem to be blessed with "creative leanings" (i.e. Mozart at 4), research has shown that anyone can have the much sought after AHA! experience -- that is, IF they immerse themselves in the little understood process of creation.
Time and again, the literature bears this out: great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of intention, immersion, struggle -- even madness.
If you are working with a team of any kind and are hoping for more innovation, know this: it's a function of "intrinsic motivation", not pep talks, carrots, sticks, or "new initiatives." Find out what people REALLY want to do and, assuming it is aligned with your organization's vision, give your blessings and get out the way. Will every bottom-up effort work? Of course not. But some will. Go ahead. Roll the dice. Empower people to make some magic!
And that would be... drum roll please... Mike Kennedy -- the NBA's Associate Vice President of Talent and Learning.
Read more about Mike's leading edge work here, as well as the NBA's renewed commitment, under Commissioner, Adam Silver, to be a robust, learning organization that is as much "on their game" off the court, as they are on.
And just in case you're assuming the article in Chief Learning Officer is some kind of puff piece, it's not. As one of the 40 vendors Mike has brought in to deliver workshops to the NBA's rising leaders, I know, from first-hand experience that Mike is the real deal: super-smart, creative, committed, authentic, funny, and a true team player. I'm not sure if Mike can dunk, but he's definitely got game.
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