Operational Excellence Summit Info and an excerpt on Developing Community

Few people will discuss their failures and I compliment David Adams (@commanderadams) for being so open during his upcoming podcast when I ask him about his failures and successes on developing a community. The podcast will not post next week but the following week of October 15th. However, I want to share the information about their summit before the podcast. This year’s theme is A Blueprint for Kaizen Culture and intends to draw connections between current continuous improvement efforts and the need for a human and operational balance. I asked David about the summit:


David: On October 16th this year, here in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, we have what we affectionately call our North American Operational Excellence Summit. It’s a one?day conference here at the college. It’s a really, really good event where we bring out a thought leader that is coming on strong in the literature that we’re reading. This year, we’re having Mr. John Nance as our keynote speaker.

John most recently wrote a book called,Why Hospitals Should Fly: The Ultimate Flight Plan to Patient Safety and Quality Care , John is a commercial airline pilot. He’s a former Air Force officer. He’s got his J.D., so he’s a lawyer, and he has been doing health care consulting for about 20 years as well. His basic premise is, “Why is it safer to fly on a commercial airline than it is for you to spend three days in a hospital?”

With that as a background, as the call to action, our audiences are always mixed, manufacturing and health care, service; it really doesn’t matter, because the call to action is safety first. How does safety first result in a better bottom line? With that as a background, we’ll be talking about things like the balance scorecard, daily and monthly meetings, problem solving, the establishment of some sort of a steering committee for implementation.

This is a gathering, essentially, of folks that are in our learning community already, so we don’t do any of the talking. They do all the talking. We’re just there to facilitate the discussions and it’s a one?day conference, and if you need more information, again, check out our website at www.operationalexcellence.com.

This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with David after the podcast was completed that I wanted to share.

Joe:  Everyone wants to develop that community where we share ideas, improve that think tank or incubator-type thinking. Have you tried that and can you discuss your failures and successes?

David:  In the early years at the center here, we created a networking group. And I think one of the biggest failures was calling it a networking group because, essentially, what we would have is people who honestly wanted to learn from one another about Lean implementation, and about operational excellence, and about the things that we were doing in culture framework and things like that.

But then, we also had about half the group that were, again, not to be pejorative, but were consultants who were trying to sell to the other half of the group. So that was one of the biggest failures that we had, was just calling it a networking group. Over the years, what that has morphed into is our Institute for Operational Excellence. Again, if you want to learn more about it, you can take a look at www.OperationalExcellence.com.

But what we were trying to do in the Institute’s case is to occasionally convene face?to?face meetings or video meetings. Like?minded people who were trying to learn, who were kind of positionally connected with each other, so directors of continuous improvement, director of Lean, we’ve had a CEO executive leadership colloquium for health care leaders.

What we’re trying to do is better understand our role as we connect to the external community of learners in Lean and operational excellence, and try to understand what they need and try to meet their needs. We do that in different ways, but generally it’s those two ways of convening meetings, and then an online facet to our Institute where we have tried, through social media, to connect people to each other.

And I’ve got to tell you that, in my mind is another failure mode for us. It’s difficult when we’re conditioned to use things like Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter to introduce yet another social network that connects people.

We’re actually falling back, I think, over the next year or two, where we’re going to take the online effort from our institute, and we’re going to fall back from the social media front, and fall back into traditional social media methods. And then where we’re going to advance, we’re going to advance on the front of trying to improve the resource material that’s connected with our standard topics.

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