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Are You Qualified to Drive the Boat?

Randy Nelson, author of The Second Decision, is a speaker, a coach, a Qualified Entrepreneur, and a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He co-founded and later sold two market-leading, Randy Nelsonmultimillion dollar companies–Orion International and NSTAR Global Services. Randy now runs Gold Dolphins LLC, a coaching and mentoring firm to help entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs become Qualified Entrepreneurs and achieve their maximum potential.

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Creating Process Excellence in Government

 When we talk about Lean and Six Sigma, it takes a certain amount of expertise to implement it. How do you visualize taking Lean and/or Six Sigma through the government? I mean, it’s in pockets right now, but do you just grow from them pockets? Or how do you visualize that getting expanded in government? – jd

Excerpt from a past podcast:

Hundley M. Elliotte :  I think it depends on the government organization and where they are, what they have going on, what’s the leadership bias, what’s on their plate right now, what kind of challenges and issues are they facing, because it’s not a cookie?cutter approach. It doesn’t work well if it’s a cookie-cutter approach.

If it’s really critical to transform processes and really improve on speed and accuracy from an organization standpoint, and you have a very, very strong leader that wants to use that as a transformation catalyst, then I think that’s great. You start with a top?down approach.

But in a lot of other situations, it’s better just to start in different areas of the business, attacking specific issues. So, for instance, “Hey, let’s just go focus on claims processing or issuing passports,” or those kind of things, specific issues where we want to improve speed, and then demonstrate and then show other folks in the organization and get them interested and kind of grow organically from the bottom.

The important thing out of all of that is, no matter where you start, whether you start small?scale or big, top-down, is to really focus on specific issues from day one.

Again, pick something very tangible, like, “We’re processing these claims, and if we do them 30 percent faster, that’s going to create X value and X more satisfaction from our clients. Let’s go do that.”

To be very specific like that is very powerful because, number one, it gets you focused, gets you the results; number two, people in the organization see it and they can actually relate to it; and number three, it just kind of generates that enthusiasm and momentum to try it elsewhere in the business.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Process Excellence in Government

Hundley M. Elliotte is the global lead for the Process Performance group within the Accenture Process & Innovation Performance service line. He has more than 15 years of consulting experience, focusing on managing business value, setting strategy, identifying customer needs, and identifying and implementing improvement opportunities in diverse business sectors.

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Should You be Upgrading Your Training Skills to Games?

Joe:  Now, many of my listeners and myself have been running simulations and board games as trainers for a long time. Do we need to be upgrading our skills? I mean, have you converted any of these old simulations, let’s say, to present-day gamification methods?

Karl:  Yeah, two things about that. One, gamification doesn’t always necessarily have to mean technology. Technology certainly enables it to happen, so creating it like a just?in?time board game, for example, is a great example of gamification. Creating a simulation to teach a buyer how to buy a product or how to place a product, I think that’s an element of gamification. Gamification

What is really happening now is that a lot of times we felt those were good ways to go, and we thought they worked well, but now we have some empirical evidence that shows that gamification actually does drive engagement. To be on the front end of what’s happening and understanding how that works, we really need to upgrade our skills. We also need to understand there are a lot of people out there that do not like gamification. In fact, there’s visceral response is negative to the term gamification.

I think one game designer famously wrote a blog post, Gamification is BS. Nobody should do gamification; I can’t believe anybody’s doing that. I think what he missed was the fact that it really translates into engagement. A lot of training and development folks have been creating engagement, but now the engagement is going to a different level. For example, we’re completing a workflow on order entry or on the shop floor, or you’re trying to get people to enter their hours.

Are there engagement techniques that you can use to help these people focus on what they already should be doing? Are there ways to help them see the value of what they’re doing in a different perspective, framing it differently? I think there is a need to upgrade the skills and think about how gamification is. Some of the things we’ve done before, some of the new things that we’re doing, and also new combinations of what we’re doing, which really makes this a very powerful tool for encouraging learners to be involved, engaged and activated.

What I like most about it, is the thought process. Game developers go through such a different thought process than people designing instruction. If we get instructional designers to go through that thought process, I think they can make some really powerful instructional elements and interactions. That’s the concept behind the book.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Learning with Games

Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., CFPIM, CIRM, is a consultant, scholar, and expert on the convergence of learning, technology and business operations.

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Have you played Mouse Trap?

You talk about the different numbers of simulations you have, and one of them is the Mouse Trap game, which is probably one of your more popular ones I would think. Can you briefly describe it? I know it’s on your website, and someone can read about it, but just tell me what it is and what’s the benefit from an instructional standpoint to go through it? -jd

Jamie:  Sure. Well, the Mouse Trap experience, it is one of our more popular simulations. It’s based on the long-standing board game Mouse Trap. So we leverage this three-dimensional contraption that makes Mouse Trap what it is as a platform for experimentation, and the way we run it, it’s nice and short. It’s about 90 minutes, and it’s not a manufacturing process. It’s not a business process. It’s a board game. So the folks that sit in manufacturing simulation and say, well I am in the business process, and so that doesn’t apply to me and vice versa. Well, this is Mouse Trap. So it doesn’t apply to anybody so get over it and just focus on the learning.

It’s pretty easy to immerse yourself in, but the idea is we run people through a process where we get to some…without getting into any tools, some basic fundamentals of improvement: the idea, like understanding current state first, the idea of small step experimentation, changing one thing at a time, standardization, and the ability to structure the work.

These are some basic fundamentals that regardless of what tools you have, apply for continuous improvement, and so we basically try to weave some of those fundamentals into a short, high energy, fun learning process that applies…we’ve had it with doctors and brain surgeons and engineers and high school students.

So, all sorts of different folks because again, it’s based on the board game Mouse Trap, so the learning can apply to anybody.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Lean Training Tips

Jamie Flinchbaugh is a co-founder and partner of the Lean Learning Center in Novi, Mich., and brings successful and varied experiences of lean transformation as a leader, practitioner and facilitator. Under Jamie’s leadership, the Lean Learning Center has become one of the most recognized and premiere lean providers in the world.

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Starting a Collaborative In Any Field

  If someone was looking at starting a collaborative in any field, Healthcare, Manufacturing, could  you give them a little of advice on where they might go or how they would start. -jd

Dean Bliss:      I wasn’t part of the beginning of the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, so I can talk about the Lean Consortium a little that we did start several years ago, and one of the things that we got together and kind of had a “what should this be” session where we rounded up a bunch of the people we knew and had a consultant come in and help us conduct a session. So really, it’s kind of a 3P in a way because we were looking at “Well, what should we do and how should we structure it, and what kind of things should we offer?” and all those kind of things and we wanted to do that in advance and not just say “Let’s have a consortium. Let’s all get together and do some stuff.” collaboration

Well, let’s figure out what that stuff is. Let’s figure out what the value is. Let’s figure out what it would mean to be a member, what are the things if I was a member I would expect, what are the things that we can provide that are going to give value to those members? How are we going to deliver it? You know, what are the delivery methods? Is it live? Is it online? Is it podcast? Is it webcast? All those kind of things we wanted to work out in advance before we started taking people’s money essentially because we wanted to make sure that we were going to give something with value.

Again, back to our Lean thinking days; it all starts from value. From there, we said, “All right, should we be a single industry thing? Should we be a multi-industry thing? Is this something that beginners can be part of as well as experienced people can be part of?” We were really kind of setting the framework for what we wanted to be.

Around the country I know, there’re manufacturing-only ones, and there’re multi-industry ones and it really kind of depends on what their area is and what is available in their area. Make sure people don’t have to travel too far to get there, those kinds of things. So all those things were factors as we put the Lean Consortium together, really trying to understand how it’s going to be used, how it’s going to be deployed and what are the things that people are going to get out of it?

Related Podcast and Transcription: A Blissful Conversation

Dean Bliss is a Lean Healthcare Coach for the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). He assists Healthcare organizations in learning and applying continuous improvement activities and philosophy.

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What is Peter Drucker’s Legacy?

The Business Development Director of the Drucker Institute, Peter Gondolfo, joins me next week on the podcast to discuss Peter Drucker and the future of the institute. I think you will be quite surprised at how Peter Drucker’s Legacy is evolving.

An excerpt from the podcast:

To give you a little bit of background about the Drucker Institute, in 2006, following the 2005 passing of Peter Drucker, more than a hundred Drucker-like thinkers gathered in Claremont and they wanted to answer the question, ‘What is Peter Drucker’s legacy?’ In the end, they decided that it is a collection of ideas and ideals that should be acted upon for future generations of leaders responsible for companies and communities in which we work and live. And as a result of that, the Drucker family and the board of the Drucker archives decided that the best way to keep his legacy alive was not simply to look backward, referring to his writing and books, but to look forward by building on his wisdom and applying it to important contemporary issues.

Joe: Did Peter Drucker have a vision on how his legacy was going to play out or anything? Did he ever lay any groundwork for that?

Peter:    He helped create the archives, and he was intentional in that creating them, he did not set aside any financial resources for us. He believed strongly that if this was going to survive, it wasn’t going to be just be based on him setting up some legacy project that would pay homage to him. He gave them access to the intellectual property let’s say for using consulting services and working with different organizations. As he would like to say, he wanted the organization to fight for its like, just like any business or idea that his clients were working on.

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How to Think Simple

Is there a way that I can get started and gear myself towards thinking that way and trying to simplify things? – jd

Don Sull: Absolutely, I mean my advice would be to try it. I’ll just give you a concrete example. I’ve used simple rules many times in my life but I’ll give you a concrete example. About a year and a half ago I ordered a bunch of shirts and they were the same size as the shirts I had always worn and I get them and I’m a cheapskate so I ordered a lot of them because they were cheaper if you ordered a lot. And, I get them and they’re all too tight. I’m like “Oh, this is terrible.” I tried to send it back, they wouldn’t accept them back. I had a very concrete problem which is I wanted to fit inside these shirts. To do so, I need to lose about 15 pounds. The first step is to have clarity on the objectives. On that case, it’s pretty straight forward. I wanted to lose about 15 pounds.

The second step is identify a bottleneck, a critical activity or decision that keeps you from hitting that objective. So, in this case, the way I did it was for about a week I got an app on my iPhone. I got an app and I tracked how much I exercised and how much I ate and when I ate it. You know, it’s trivial now. Ten years ago it might have been a pain in the neck to do that. Today it’s trivial. There’re probably a dozen apps to help you do that. What I found was interesting because what I wanted to find was, should I focus on exercise, should I focus on how often I walk, should I focus on eating, what should I do? Complicated Problems

What I found was the following, exercise was okay. I was exercising, reasonably enough, probably didn’t have time to do much more. Eating during the day was okay. The real problem was after dinner, snacking after dinner and that’s when all hell broke loose. Basically discovered once I collected data for a week that I was eating the equivalent of a lunch or two every day after dinner in snacks. I said “Okay, great. My bottleneck wasn’t all these activities, it wasn’t exercise, it wasn’t even eating, it was after dinner snacking.” That’s a nice specific bottleneck and that allows you to develop concrete rules. Then, you go to the third step. You’ve clarified the objective, lose 15 pounds. You’ve identified the bottleneck, specific bottleneck, after dinner snacking. You develop the rules. And, here again, we come to this point, there’s not, you don’t take the rules off the shelf, you don’t read, you know, some book that says ‘this is the right diet’, instead you follow a process of, you know, talk to some people, look on the internet a little bit, play around with it and the rules are your rules. You develop them and they’re appropriate to your situation.

In my case, my rules were, well, initially I said, “I’m never going to eat dessert again.” Well, that’s not going to work. I came and said, “I’ll only eat desserts on the weekend.” Another one was I read some research done by a guy named Brian Wansink who has done a lot of work on portion control and what he finds is that if you eat snacks out of a bowl rather than out of a bag, you can cut your calorie consumption by half or more. So, I said, “Okay, I’ll eat snack, I’ll eat the chips out of a bag, sorry, out of a bowl rather than the bag.” Another rule is not to stockpile snacks. If you buy a case of Snicker bars, you’ll eat all the Snicker bars. If you buy one Snicker bar, you can only eat one unless you got out to the store again. Very simple rules from multiple sources but they were right for me and, you know, in that case it worked. I lost 15 pounds, so. It took me a couple of months but I did it.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Creating Simple Rules to Handle Complexity

Dr. Donald Sull  is a Senior Lecturer in the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he teaches courses on Competitive Strategy and Strategy Execution in Volatile Markets. His recent book, Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World offers some great thoughts on reducing complexity.

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