Leadership Essentials For Process Professionals


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Leadership Essentials For Process Professionals

  1. 1. Leadership Essentialsfor ProcessProfessionalsPEX Network Article Compilation
  2. 2. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 1|PageINTRODUCTION“One does not manage people – the task is to lead people. And the goal is to makeproductive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual.”Peter F. DruckerWhether you’re trying to make adjustments within a small business unit that onlyinvolves a handful of people or whether you’re trying to roll out processstandardization across several global offices in a change that affects the working livesof thousands, a very small part of your success is contingent on successfully mapping,modelling, and optimizing processes.Any initiative or project you undertake involves leading and facilitating groups ofpeople. As PEX Network contributor Dennis Narlock says in the first article in thiscompilation “continuous improvement is something that you do WITH people, notsomething that you do TO people.”So just what combination of skills and approaches do you need to lead processexcellence successfully?This compilation of articles – a selection of some of the top rated articles onleadership published on PEXNetwork.com over the last few years – looks at effectiveleadership attributes and skills for leading process excellence.What are the top personal qualities you need to be effective in your job? What arethe strategies and questions you should employ in the pursuit of processimprovement and operational excellence? Experienced practitioners share theirthoughts on what it really takes.All of the articles have been authored by experienced process practitioners to helpbridge that gap between what the business books on leadership say and what youreally need to do to lead successful process improvement. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  3. 3. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 2|PageTABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... 0SUPERHERO PROCESS IMPROVEMENT? THE FIVE ESSENTIALS QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP....... 4SEVEN QUESTIONS LEADERS SHOULD ASK BEFORE STARTING PROCESS IMPROVEMENT ....... 11EQUIPPING PROCESS PROFESSIONALS WITH LEADERSHIP SKILLS: INTERVIEW WITH HAZELCANNON, LEADER OF UK’S DEMING FORUM ........................................................................... 16THE EIGHT HABITS OF EFFECTIVE PROCESS EXCELLENCE LEADERS .......................................... 24 www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  4. 4. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 3|PageIf your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  5. 5. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 4|PageSUPERHERO PROCESS IMPROVEMENT? THEFIVE ESSENTIALS QUALITIES OFLEADERSHIPBY DENNIS NARLOCK, FIRST PUBLISHED 21 NOVEMBER 2011Process improvement has beenaround for a long time; thename and methodologies havechanged either throughassimilation or reinvention.However, whatever banneryour process improvementprogram flies under, you canexpect one constant: thechallenge of delivering yourresults.There are many different reasons why an improvement team might fail to deliverexpected results, but the determining factor, in my opinion, is the approach used bythe person leading the team. The leader of an improvement team has manyresponsibilities including keeping the team motivated, on task and ultimatelydelivering positive results. What the leader is not responsible for is accomplishing allthat they have been charged with by themselves.Think that your role as leader of process improvement involves being a super hero?Think again!Whether newly trained in a continuous improvement methodology or a seasonedprofessional the success of your team depends on how you approach your leadershiprole. While there have been countless books, seminars, webinars etc. on teamleadership, success depends on the leader’s ability to create an environment wheretheir team can flourish and achieve success. From my personal experience there arefive things to remember when leading teams focused on delivering operationalexcellence. They are: Perspective, Respect, Humility, Active Listening, and avoidingthe “Last Place” syndrome. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  6. 6. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 5|PageQuality #1: PerspectiveAs an improvement team leader it is imperative to identify the ideas and facts behindyour perspective at the onset of an event or project – these are the ideas and factsknown to you regarding a specific location, situation, process, person or team. Whencoalesced these ideas and facts will form the viewpoint that you adopt prior to,during and following the completion of an improvement event or project. It ispossible for your perspective to change based on new facts or ideas which wereunavailable or unrecognized when the earlier perspective was formed.Then take it a step further and ask yourself “Does my team have the sameperspective?” If you cannot honestly answer that question with a resounding “Yes”;then you are missing some key facts and ideas around the task that has beenassigned your team. Here are a few tips to ensure that you maintain the properperspective as a Green, Black or Master Black belt leading an improvement team.Remember that it is a team effort and requires collaboration. Continuousimprovement is something that you do WITH people, not something that you do TOpeople.Maintain an open mind about the process being evaluated, the people operating inthe process and your team members.Ask questions, more specifically ask open ended questions that lead to a sharing ofknowledge. This will sow the seeds for successful brainstorming sessions down theroad. A second goal of asking questions is to gather additional facts and ideas whichyou will use to validate and/or adjust your perspective.Facilitate and guide your team towards achieving the objective. Leadership is notabout doing the tasks for them; it is about developing their process knowledge andleadership skills.Quality #2: RespectAs an outsider to the process you will see opportunity for improvement that hasbeen missed by those working within the current process. What will not be as readilyapparent to you will be all of the improvements that have already been made to anexisting process. Those people that have been with the organization have a vestedinterest in that organization and its continued success. In some cases they were partof the group who initially founded the organization and have helped it grow into its www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  7. 7. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 6|Pagecurrent structure and market position. While the processes they created may not bethe most efficient in your eyes, remember all of the blood, sweat and tears that hasgone into creating them. They will be understandably proud of theiraccomplishments and appearing on scene as a superhero to save them from theirwasteful process will establish a barrier between yourself and those who live andoperate in the process everyday. When you look in the mirror you will see yourselfas a hero, they will see you as the villain. This reputation will become more and moreengrained in your colleagues eyes the longer you operate in this manner, ensuringthat you will be fighting and uphill battle with each subsequent process that you tryto improve.Some of the negative consequences of this approach to continuous improvementare:  Information Quality  Information Quantity  Data Integrity  Improvement Implementation  Improvement Sustainment  Continuous Improvement Program Viability  Personal Growth and AdvancementQuality #3: HumilityWhile many would prefer a leader who is humble enough to recognize the potentialin their colleagues, peers and subordinates; there is also as desire to have a leaderwho is confident and strong and conveys an ability to truly ‘lead’ an organization tosuccess. In the case of a person who is leading an improvement team, the humilitythat is important is in reference to terminology, tools and skills.As an improvement team leader your approach should be such that when youcommunicate with your team you are utilizing terminology, tools, and explanations insuch a manner that they can clearly understand what is being stated.Terminology – Every profession has its own unique language that sets it apart fromother professions. Continuous improvement is no different. The words and phrases www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  8. 8. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 7|Pageused in Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, TRIZ, etc. have means that are uniqueto the process improvement environment. Every Green and Black belt knows this tobe true based on the number of times that they have been required to explain thattheir ‘belt’ referred to a level of process improvement training and not to a newmartial arts program that was being started by the organization.An example from my personal experiences occurred while I was learning to useMinitab for statistical analysis. I was having some difficulty in transferring the datafrom Microsoft Excel into Minitab when my Master Black belt showed me how toconcatenate the data so that it would be easier and much faster to load the data intoMinitab. I was very excited by what I had learned and was quick to begin using“Concatenate” while talking with my team regarding the project that we wereworking on. I was also a little dumbfounded the next day when only half my teammembers showed up again for our meeting. I learned a lesson that day not just incommunication, but in humility as I worked to recruit additional team members forthe vacancies that I had created. Be confident and knowledgeable enough to leadyour team without alienating them by acting like you are above them based on yourpersonal knowledge, terminology and skills.Quality #4: Active ListeningLearning to interpret and understand non-verbal communications, seeking andachieving clarification of what you heard and engaging in an exchange of informationare the foundation of active listening. It means you hear more than what anotherperson or group of people is saying verbally.While you may feel that your training and/or experience with process improvementestablishes you as the expert, it does not mean that you are a subject matter expertin the process that is being evaluated and improved. Those people who live andoperate within that process on a daily basis, along with the managers who havesupervised the process are the SME’s. If you do not hear what is beingcommunicated and seek to ensure that you understand the implications of what isbeing said and not said you are likely to make a mistake in evaluating the process.This means that any improvement which is made will not have been built on a solidfoundation and could ultimately lead to an improved process that is worse than theone you started with on day one of your event/project.When your situation is such that you are a new hire or an external consultantworking with an organization for the first time it is imperative that you engage in www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  9. 9. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 8|Pageactive listening. The people that you will be working with not only have more in-depth knowledge regarding the process or processes being evaluated, they alsopossess a lot of valuable information regarding the organization. Their experienceand longevity will be extremely valuable and in most cases they are willing to shareall that they know with you, provided that you take the time to listen to what theyhave to say.The following is a partial list of some methods that you can use to engage in activelistening with your team members.Repeat back what you hear in a conversation. It is important to remember that youdo not need to repeat what was said to you word for word. Instead look tosummarize it in terms that you are comfortable with in conversation.Pay attention to the non-verbal as well as the verbal communication. Studies haveshown that the greatest percentage of information is communicated using non-verbal means.Start each meeting with a short review of the team charter and goals, what has beenaccomplished to date and what the objectives are for the meeting. This getseveryone on the same page with a solid baseline moving forward.Understand cultural differences. Whether the differences derive from a specificindustry or they are based on geographic location, it is essential to understand thenuances of communicating in different cultural environments. Do the research usingany number of websites available.In addition I would encourage you to evaluate your listening style; one methodavailable for this is “Learning to Listen” from the HRDQ Research & DevelopmentTeam. (www.hrdq.com). Take the time to evaluate your listening skills, develop aplan to improve on them, as needed, to ensure that you are maximizing yourcommunications as a process improvement team leader.Quality #5: “Last Place”Each of us has been somewhere else before starting our current role. It may havebeen another position within the same organization; or it could be the same positionwith additional responsibilities that are a result of recent training (i.e. Lean Six SigmaGreen Belt). We may be changing from one region of the world to another, changingorganizations, career paths or simply starting our careers following school. As youbegin to lead your process improvement team it is imperative that your references to www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  10. 10. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 9|Pageyour “Last Place” are limited to those instances when they will truly add value to thesubject matter being discussed/applied.Continual references to how your last place operated will have a negative effect onyour relationship with your colleagues and with your team members. No one that Ihave ever meet enjoys continually hearing about how your last organizationaccomplished value stream mapping, 5S, barrier removal, presentations, training, etc.They want to have the discussion focused on the organization of which they are allmembers. The focus needs to be on the here and now with a smattering of historicalexperiences used for emphasis, benchmarking, case studies, etc. Again, the key is asmattering such that when you refer to a previous experience, everyone you’re acommunicating with continues to listen vice tuning you out.Working in an office of professionals it was interesting to watch as a new mid-levelmanager began work with the organization. In less than a week, this person’scontinual reference to their last organization had resulted in significant change withinthe office.Subordinates began to complete this person’s sentence when they would start outwith “When I was at__________ we would do…..”Some members of the office would keep tic marks on a white board tracking howoften their new manager made a “Last Place” reference.Members of the office would get up to leave for a meeting or appointment that mayor may not exist.Information flow upstream to the manager decreased on a daily basis as more oftenthan not a subordinate would avoid speaking with them simply to avoid anotherstory about the managers “last place.”For many of us we have had great experiences in other positions and organizations;hold on to them for what they are and what they represent. However, remember asyou move forward that you are in your current position and/or current organizationfor a reason, use references to your “last place” sparingly as a means of emphasis orto covey clarity on a difficult subject. Always conclude the reference by bringing itback to the current situation and as time moves on develop new experiences fromyour current position/organization to replace those from the “last place.”Process Improvement is an exciting time for many people within an organization; wehave new knowledge and are energized to tackle the challenges facing our www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  11. 11. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 10 | P a g eorganization. We want to demonstrate our abilities and reward the leadershipdecision that resulted in our training. However, for others within the organizationthe process of changing will be difficult, their workplace will be going throughupheaval and they may experience frustration in their day-to-day efforts. The processimprovement experts are an easy target for these frustrations and need to bemindful of how their approach to their supervisors, peers and colleagues will affectthe organizations overall goals. Remembering to maintain perspective, respect thosewhom you are interacting with, demonstrating humility, engaging in active listeningand limiting “Last Place” references will go along way to a successful outcome fromleading your first improvement team as a newly trained Green or Black Belt. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  12. 12. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 11 | P a g eSEVEN QUESTIONS LEADERS SHOULD ASKBEFORE STARTING PROCESSIMPROVEMENTBY PHIL BROWN, FIRST PUBLISHED 16 MAY 2011, PEX NETWORKOver the years I have led,reviewed, analyzed or taken partin many improvement programs,both in my roles for companiesand as an EFQM (EuropeanFoundation for QualityManagement) Assessor. Lookingback on my time I have tried tothink of the crucial questionsthat I would suggest leaders askthemselves before starting ontheir journey (first hint!)I am not offering this as apanacea for preventing allproblems but I do believe in thecarpenters idiom ‘measuretwice, cut once’ and therefore propose these as some ‘measuring time’ before youstart cutting!Question 1: Do I really think that I can change the world in 3months?‘Of course I do, how do you think I came to be in charge of this facility, business etc? Imake things happen and this initiative will be no different!’History tells us that whilst short term actions can lead to some gains, in the world ofsustained continuous improvement then it is the long term strategies that keepdelivering. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  13. 13. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 12 | P a g eReviewing failed change initiatives (and there are thousands to choose from!) will allshow that unrealistic expectations of what can be delivered in a short time leads tolack of continued focus and active participation. It seems more to be ‘well that didn’twork – what quick fix can we try next?Reviewing successful change programs (and they are out there if you look!), showsthat If you truly want to develop and embed continuous sustainable improvementthen stop thinking of weeks or months and start thinking about how you will supportand sustain it over the coming years.Question 2: Do I really have the time/interest/determination tosee this through in the long term?‘What do you mean do I have the time interest and determination to see thisthrough? I will tell my team what is expected, delegate to them and sit back and waitfor the improvements or benefits to flow’.Any serious review of failed change initiatives shows that the number 1 cause offailure is a lack of focused and active support from senior management. With all ofthe other pressures on leaders/managers from day to day pressures there is aconstant threat of putting improvement on the back burner.Using the quadrants of time from Stephen Covey’s excellent book, the 7 Habits ofHighly Effective People, it is clear that continuous sustainable improvement is firmlyin quadrant 2 – important but not urgent. Therefore, unless it is constantly reviewed,nurtured and proactively supported then your improvement initiative will quicklyfade into the background as you continue to focus on quadrant 1 – urgent andimportant (fire fighting)Question 3: Have I got the right people with the right skills,tenacity and time to lead this activity across the business?‘Of course I have, they have all been hand picked to ensure that they can deliver totight deadlines and do as they have been told’Another one of the crucial elements of effective implementation of change isensuring that you have the right blend of skills and abilities in your team to meet allof the required needs. Thinking about the skills set out by Belbin, it is clear thathaving only one set of characteristics in your team is a recipe for real problems. Assomeone who has had the experience of working with a senior management team (in www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  14. 14. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 13 | P a g ea previous company) where 6 out of the 7 team members were Shapers (highlymotivated – and opinionated – task leaders) then I can tell you that is a real eyeopener in how not to get things followed through!In your team you will need a senior champion who has the vision, character andabilities to support the initiative through all stages/phases of the program. It is highlylikely that they will need to be full time on this program if you really mean tosucceed. They will not be someone who it will be comfortable to spare but is likely tobe one of your key players.Many organizations delegate this key role to someone who is ‘spare’ at the momentor just add this role to their already full work life. Either way, don’t expect muchsuccess – again, history tells us that this is a clear path to failure.Underneath this champion will be several other roles, experts, trainers, facilitatorsetc – all of whom will need to be identified, trained, released from other tasks andsupported. However, without the Champion they will be rudderless and likely toexpend lots of energy, enthusiasm and resources in delivering little.Question 4: How will I ‘sell’ this to both the leadership team andthe troops?‘All the leadership team wants to hear is how fast we can deliver benefits so that iswhat I will tell them. If I start trying to explain how long this is going to take and howmuch investment we will need to make then they will just switch off’‘All the ‘troops’ want to hear is what they will get out of it so I will exaggerate thebenefits and play down the hard work that will be needed – they will be happy then’Hopefully from the previous questions it is really sinking in just how hard it is to makesustained continuous improvement work. There is little point in setting out with falseexpectations – both for the leadership team and the troops. The initiative needs tobe openly and honestly discussed:  What will the journey will look like?  What sorts of time scales are involved?  What issues can be expected along the way?  What is the level of commitment from the organization? www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  15. 15. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 14 | P a g e  What is expected from everyone?  What benefits can be expected – and when in the program?  Does the organisation really mean business or is this just another ‘quick fix’?  What will the organisation and its people look like at the end of each phase (remembering that there is no end to this journey)?Question 5: What happens when the going gets tough and I haveother priorities to deliver on?‘It must be understood that our first priority is to get our deliveries out of the door –if we have to cancel or postpone some meetings or activities then that is just whathappens’ or ‘Yes this initiative is important but it cannot be allowed to interfere withour ‘normal’ business. Our people will need to understand that theleadership/management team have other priorities and will therefore not always beable to make these meetings/sessions’.There is a reason that the EFQM Excellence Model has Leadership as its first criteria.Again, countless improvement initiatives have failed because the organization setsout to do them ‘when we have time’, or are just bolt them onto the back ofeveryone’s other day to day duties.Back to point 4 – realistic and sustainable expectations supported by real plans,programs and active involvement from the management/leadershipQuestion 6: Have I properly researched why 98% of improvementinitiatives fail (lack of focused and consistent leadership)?‘I’m a busy person; I don’t have time to read/review this type of material – that’swhat I employ a Quality Manager to do and then just tell me the important bits’Hopefully we have covered this in the above questions – if it isn’t clear then I haven’tdone my job very well!Question 7: Have I thought through the daily behavioursnecessary from myself and the leadership team to make sure thatthe initiative succeeds? www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  16. 16. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 15 | P a g e‘We really mean business this time. We will have kick off sessions, presentations. Ihave ordered lots of banners, posters and mugs so that nobody is in any doubt thatwe mean business.People believe what they see on an on-going basis. People will only be convincedwhen they see sustained good behaviours and active involvement from themanagement/leadership team.Many organizations have visions, values and stated positive behaviors to follow. Asan EFQM Award Assessor for many years I always run focus groups in theorganizations that I am assessing. I have yet to meet with any groups that areimpressed by banners, mugs or banners – positive feedback is always about whatthey have seen or heard from their managers/leaders to actively support theinitiative/programs.I have a little phrase that sums up what I have seen in many organizations over theyears with regards to the role out of improvement initiatives:“Here comes another one. Keep your head down for the next few months and it willall go away just like all the previous initiatives as the leaders lose interest.”So the message here is make sure you are prepared to walk the walk and not just talkthe talk.As I said at the beginning of this article, I offer no panacea for successfulimprovement initiatives but hopefully what I have shared is some of my experiencesof the questions you should ask before starting (and believe it or not many of thestatements I have included I have heard along the way!).I wish you good luck with your improvement journey. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  17. 17. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 16 | P a g eEQUIPPING PROCESS PROFESSIONALSWITH LEADERSHIP SKILLS: INTERVIEWWITH HAZEL CANNON, LEADER OF UK’SDEMING FORUMPUBLISHED, 23 APRIL 2012“The principle aim [ofleadership] is to help peopledo a better job, improvingquality in everything,” saysHazel Cannon of the UK-based Deming Forum. In thisinterview, Hazel Cannondiscusses the importance oftreating leadership as a skillor capability to be developedand recommends steps that process professionals can take do right now in their jobsto be more effective leaders.DO YOU THINK THAT SOMETIMES THOSE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BELEADING BUSINESS CHANGE REALLY ARENT EQUIPPED WITH THELEADERSHIP SKILLS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO LEAD IT?Hazel Cannon: Yes, I think thats true in some cases. People will have been trained inprocess skills or be experts in a particular discipline like Six Sigma, but not necessarilyin the leadership and management skills or attributes. Its an interestingphenomenon to me that many people are promoted because of their abilities in aprevious job or project that they worked on. Somehow between the promotionletter on the Friday and sitting at the leaders desk on the Monday, we expect themto understand the key issues and have developed the appropriate management skillsto deal with their new position. Thats one of the first things that I think that weneed to consider. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  18. 18. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 17 | P a g eI also believe theres a myth around the definition of true leaders and the belief thattheyre born rather than made. That may be accurate when you think of some greathistorical characters, but while I believe the leaders of changing organisations doneed some innate characteristics, I also believe that they need training anddevelopment in management skills and given guidance and mentoring in thenecessary leadership attributes. I see that skills and attributes are slightly differentthings. The issue for me is that some organisations dont even see leadership as aspecific discipline or attribute that needs to be taught, developed and honed.WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? PICKING UP ON YOUR LAST POINT, WHY DOSOME ORGANISATIONS NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND LEADERSHIP AS A SPECIFICDISCIPLINE?Hazel Cannon: Firstly, we need to recognise the difference between being involved inchange and leading change. I think that many organisations involved in change ortransformation provide process skills and models training, but they dont see theneed for leadership development in that particular skill set. In fact, in someorganisations leadership selection and development is often handled in a differentstream. Leadership is a skill that needs to be learned.Secondly, many business skills are not teaching the leadership skills that arenecessary for an organisation. Rather, they teach how to manage by the visiblenumbers. Its interesting to stop for a moment and look at how the business schoolmodel developed.In the brilliant book THE PURITAN GIFT, Will and Kenneth Hopper tell the history ofhow the chairman of General Electric in the late 50s, Ralph Cordiner, scoured thebusiness schools looking for those that would provide him with so-calledmanagement experts. These were flexible managers who could present and arguethe right numbers. Cordiner published a book called The New Frontiers inProfessional Management, which, in fact, was an early manifesto for the businessschool counter-culture. This was the concept that wonderfully mobile “professionalmanagers” trained in the classroom could manage any kind of business without reallyknowing very much about it.Later, Dr Deming, the management guru who helped transform Japan, he describedthose business degrees as a cruel hoax. He said, quite curtly, that an MBA teachesmanagers how to take over companies and NOT how to run them. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  19. 19. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 18 | P a g eIn their book, the Hopper brothers stress the importance of domain knowledge – i.e.understanding the industry that youre in. And they also talk about the essentialcomponents of effective leadership. They describe managers and leaders using threeheadings. The first one is a generalist, the person who genuinely possesses skills ofgeneral management. They are skilled in handling people – they’re the so-called“people persons” - who are required in any organisation. The second is a wellrounded person who has a profound understanding of the sector they work in, andthat gives them a sound foundation on which to develop and build their leadershipskills. And the third is the “professional” whos neither generalist nor rounded andlacks the domain knowledge and who principally sees the world of business instatistical and financial terms.The fallacy thats taught by many business schools is that management can still belearned in theory or abstract in almost an academic setting and then practised in anyorganisation. So, in fact, process professionals who understand the industry theyrein are really well placed to become effective leaders of organisations in the future.WHATS LACKING NOW? WHAT ARE THE SKILLS THAT PROCESSPROFESSIONALS NEED TO BETTER LEAD CHANGE WITHIN THEIRORGANISATIONS?Hazel Cannon: Well, theres a wonderful educator and author, Peter Scholtes, and heuses a great example in his book, THE LEADERS HANDBOOK. He talks about themagic eye art, I dont know if you remember it. Initially, you see an array of coloursand patterns. However, you can learn to focus your eyes in a special way that allowsa three dimensional image to emerge from the array of colours. And suddenly, youllhear some people saying "look, its a car or its a giraffe" or whatever the photographhas hidden. And it depends on how you focus, but you need to learn to focusdifferently. So two people can look at the same picture and only one will see thecolours on the surface, but the other will see something entirely different; the 3-Dimage thats hidden deeper underneath the surface. And I think the same is true ofleadership; you need to see different things, depending on which lens you focusthrough.The ability to look at things differently is essential for leadership. Another way todescribe how leaders can view an organisation is the way Dr Deming describes it. Hesays that when you work in a department, you need to be able to see yourcustomers and suppliers perspective. But if youre the manager, you maybe need tohave the perspective that you see from a helicopter. And if youre a chief executive www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  20. 20. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 19 | P a g ein an international corporation, you may need the perspective that you might seefrom, say, a spacecraft.So the skills and attributes for leading change in an organisation includes thosedeveloped and researched by Scholtes, whom I mentioned, Dr Deming, definitely theToyota Corporation and those outlined by Ken and Will Hopper. Those methods havestood the test of time and they give you a sense of constancy of purpose. And thatsthe one leadership commodity that I think is fairly scarce at the moment.The need to search for the latest fad or quick fix is a huge industry and its highlydistracting. But real process professionals recognise that its only through discipline,involvement, development and rigorous process that youre going to achievesustainable achievement. So constancy of purpose is essential to provide your long-range needs rather than short-term profitability, because thats going to allow you tobecome competitive and to stay in business and provide jobs.COULD YOU ELABORATE ON EXACTLY WHAT THOSE SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTESWOULD BE?Hazel Cannon: I think there are probably six principle areas of competency thatleaders can develop. Ill outline them and then give you some more detail. The firstis the ability to think in terms of systems. Then the second is you need to understandthe variability of work and planning and problem solving. The third is to understandhow people learn and develop and improve, so that leaders can ensure theres truelearning and sustainable improvement. Then we need to understand the psychologyof change; why people behave the way they do. The fifth is to understandinteractions and interdependencies. And then, finally, I think leaders need to givevision, meaning, direction and some kind of overall focus to the organisation.So the principle aim is to help people do a better job, improving quality in everything:your product, your services, your employees, stakeholders, customers, suppliers. Infact, quality in all parts of your system. Leaders need to have the ability to think interms of the big system and view the organisation as a flow diagram, flowing towardsthe customer rather than what you normally see, which is a hierarchical diagram. Itsimportant that they not only improve the system, but they learn to innovate. Youneed to be able to break down barriers between the departments and functions andmaybe create opportunities where different areas work together to design andimprove, not just to tackle problems. And one of the things thats not reallydiscussed very much, but which I think is very important, is that leaders need to beable to drive out the fear and anxiety that is rife in many organisations, especially www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  21. 21. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 20 | P a g etoday. They need to encourage effective multi-level communication, so everyone isinformed and they can work cooperatively and optimise their efforts in theorganisation. So helping people do a better job means that leaders need tounderstand the business that theyre in and what goes on in their organisations.Good leaders need to use their power or authority and their knowledge and theirpersuasive power to streamline flows and remove the things that genuinely frustratepeople and take the pride and the joy out of their jobs. I said they need to have theknowledge to help understand variability. Its not just in things like parts andprocesses, its understanding that people learn in different ways and that people aredifferent, so you have that profound understanding, then you can stop ranking andrating individuals in departments. You can ditch arbitrary targets and, quite frankly,meaningless statements like zero defect.Process professionals who are leaders can then have that freedom to use theirknowledge to ensure the systems and processes are in control - your objective thenbecomes to continuously reduce variation.Thats what the Japanese car and electronic firms did. Once you understand that,you can move away from things like annual performance appraisal and have regularconversations with people, not to judge them, but to listen. And that gives you theagenda for the barriers that you need to remove. One of the big mistakes thatGeneral Electric made was to start ranking their people and then get rid of thebottom 10%. The trouble is that nobody knew if the bottom 10% were better orworse than people in other organisations. They lost all those employees. Cooperationmust have gone right out of the window. So process professionals are well skilled inleading and teaching skills and methods for improvement and if we add some deeperknowledge of the psychology of people and the psychology of change, then weve gotflexible learning organisations that are able to continually adapt and improve.Its not easy to create the levels of trust in an environment that will encouragefreedom and innovation. Youve got to allow for the possibility of failure. You have tounderstand the need for small-scale trials. And thats another benefit that processprofessionals bring to the party - they understand some of the pointlessness ofexhortations and poster campaigns and demanding zero defects or increasedproductivity without providing processes and methods to achieve what you want.I also think the sign of a good leader is someone who can provide a compelling visionfor the organisation that gives meaning and direction, so that people know where to www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  22. 22. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 21 | P a g efocus. That way, they can enable the levels of cooperation and value added activitythat I think is going to ensure success for the long-term, not just the short-term.DO YOU THINK THAT THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO LEAD CHANGE INORGANISATIONS ARE THE SAME AS THEY WERE, SAY, TEN OR 20 YEARSAGO?Hazel Cannon: I think if youre talking about the skills are necessary, then probablymany of them are still the same. However, the skills that are practised today havelost a lot of the tried and tested management skills that were around in the middle ofthe last century where leaders then rose through the ranks of organisations. Theywere developing their craft and they were being mentored by leaders.If you read THE PURITAN GIFT by the Hoppers, many examples of this style can befound. For example, in the late 40s and early 50s, Procter & Gamble, introduced apreferred supplier policy, and that helped them reduce the variation in incomingproducts and ensured that the quality level of components delivered to themanufacturing department was good. They had an extensive training on the jobprogramme, and encouraged people from research, design, sales, production to worktogether, as had many other companies during that era.Counter that with the mid 80s when the American phone giant, AT&T totally failed toappreciate the potential of wireless technology. Theyd hired a major consultancy toreport on wireless communication prospects and the firm famously estimated thatthey reckoned that there would be fewer than a million cellular phones by the year2000. I understand that by the time 2000 rolled around there 741 million cellularphones!Of course, its really difficult for anyone to predict what will happen in the future, butin a company like AT&T, their employees would know more about the technology ofcommunication than anyone else in the world. Why did the companys new mastersseek the advice of a firm of consultants? I think apart from indulging in what was,then, the latest managerial fad of outsourcing strategic decision making, the basicthing was that the companys new masters were ignorant of the technology becausethey didnt have the domain knowledge or a history in telecommunications.Another thing thats holding companies back is I think that people are often keen tointroduce new systems but forget to cancel the old ones. The brilliant thinker,Russell Ackoff in his book ACKOFFS FABLES, talks about how your people, youremployees and your customers, actually, use their creativity to beat a system thats www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  23. 23. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 22 | P a g eno longer appropriate. And he cites Robert Townsend author of UP THEORGANISATION, which recounts the story of how the British created a civil servicejob in 1803 that called for some poor soul to stand on the cliffs of Dover. He wassupposed to ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming. And you know when the job wasabolished? In 1945!So to be nimble and ready for the future, I think we need to identify three areas ofactivity. First, I think we need to identify the things that we do that were appropriateonce but arent necessarily appropriate now, a bit like the example Ive just given.And the second is the things that we do now that we need to continue. And the thirdis the things that we need to develop and do in the future. So discontinue the first,build on the second and introduce the third.WHAT COULD SOMEONE OUT THERE READING THIS INTERVIEW DODIFFERENTLY RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO INCORPORATE SOME OF THESEPRINCIPLES INTO THEIR WORK?Hazel Cannon: Well, the first thing Id suggest is the example of the magic eyepictures. Focus on the situation, not just looking at the surface, but using yourknowledge as a lens to see past the surface in order to understand the potentialpatterns underneath. When youre looking at improvements in specific areas, youllstop and consider the wider system. Understand that the changes youre going tomake will cause issues elsewhere. As every process professional knows, a system ismade up of inter-related components and parts and you cant change something inone place without understanding the potential implications.A good example for me in the news right now is the proposal to increase, once again,the tax on fuel. Now, I know of several local small businesses whose employees areon basic wages and they have to travel maybe 40 or 50 miles a day to their place ofwork here. Even at the current price of fuel, several of them cant afford to workhere any more and have, in agreement with their employers, had to give up theirjobs. And the reason they were travelling long distances is because there wasntsuitable employment near where they lived. Now several of them are claimingunemployment benefit. So while the fuel tax is going to bring in additional revenue,significantly more revenue is possibly being paid out in unemployment benefit. Sowhilst one part of the system may take a win, another is taking a loss.Regardless of the politics, I’m trying to demonstrate the system perspective. Thefundamental question is; has the bigger system been optimised or not? Just think ofthe potential in your organisational systems; are the changes that youre about to www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  24. 24. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 23 | P a g eadopt optimising the whole system or are they creating a win in your area but anoverall loss to the organisation?Another great thing you could do is to generate some simple run-charts of your dailyor weekly or monthly results and when you go to the next management meeting,dont get involved in excuses and justifications as to why this month is 2% better orworse than last month or the same month last year. Why not produce your run-chartand show whether or not the results was reasonably predictable. You could alsolearn a lesson from AT&Ts mistake and listen to the people immersed in your workfor ideas and opportunities rather than employing outsiders. And by listening andinvolving more people in the processes, youre likely to delve deeper, understandmore and have the added benefit of their involvement and support for the change. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  25. 25. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 24 | P a g eTHE EIGHT HABITS OF EFFECTIVE PROCESSEXCELLENCE LEADERSBY DEBASHIS SARKAR, FIRST PUBISHED 10 MAY 2012For many of us being a processexcellence leader is aboutmastering the tools and attainingcertifications in the domain of sixsigma (belts), lean (master), TOC(Jonah) etc. While these skills arerequired, what makes a successfulprocess excellence leader isdemonstrating skills andbehaviours beyond the methods. It’s not the technical skills but the adaptive skillsthat makes a PEX Leader successful.Here are what I consider to be the eight habits of effective Process Excellenceleadership:Habit #1: Ability to Zoom-in and Zoom-OutLeaders need the ability to zoom-in and zoom-out: zoom-in to get into the core of anissue and zoom-out to see the larger picture. It’s essential to have this focus so thatwhen looking at a problem (or an opportunity, as I like to call them), to understandthe strategic imperatives of business and which processes need to change to make animprovement. You need to be able to quickly see how the details of individualprocesses connect up with the big-picture of the business. In everything that they do,PEX Leaders need to be system thinkers who see problem solving in the context ofthe larger business system and how this affects other parts of the business. This notonly helps ensure that improvements in one area aren’t negatively affecting another,but also ensures that all process improvement work is supporting the strategicobjectives of the business.Ultimately, as I wrote in an earlier column - How to tell if youre a process centricorganization - leaders of process excellence should be able ascertain how thestrategic and tactical efforts in process improvement will impact the overall www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  26. 26. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 25 | P a g eperformance of the company. A key deliverable of a PEX Leader is to script a holisticimprovement roadmap for the next couple of years that enables a company toachieve its strategic vision.Habit #2: Ability to engageProcess improvement is as much about convincing people to change as it is goingaround and changing processes. The ability to engage other people, therefore, isessential. Process Excellence Leaders must be able to persuade the CEO and othersenior leaders to adopt process excellence practices for business improvement. Thisis about being able to sell performance-enhancement ideas to leaders based on theexplicit & implicit needs of the business, and then being able to support them start-to-finish to catalyze the changes necessary.The key word here is “catalyze” which is about the business leader owning thedeployment while the PEX Leader acts as a coach. Leaders of process improvementneed to be comfortable both with C-level executives as well as teams at middle &junior management. Senior leaders look at him as a trusted partner while people atjunior and middle management look at him as an inspirational leader who is able tomotivate them to adopt process-practices for eliminating some of the deep chronicissues that they could be facing. The PEX Leader should be able to provide visibility toteams on how their efforts impact the strategic objectives of the company.Habit #3: Ability to manage changeThis is about treating a process excellence rollout as a change program and doingeverything to make sure it sticks in the firm. It includes getting the organizations’attention to the process excellence agenda, catalyzing the required sense of urgencyand gaining true buy-in by winning over the hearts and minds of people.The Process Excellence Leader does not keep the people who oppose the processagenda out of his way but proactively gets them to the table to understand theirconcern and even allows them to find holes in the way he is proposing thedeployment. PEX Leaders need to treat those who attack us with respect and engagewith them to allay their concerns. We are able to successfully manage a wide-rangeof behaviours that oppose / raise doubts about the process agenda. One ofendeavours of the PEX Leader should be to work with the CEO to build a change-ready company that is able to wade through the changes in the environment. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  27. 27. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 26 | P a g eHabit #4: Ability to understand financialsProcess Excellence leaders need to demonstrate to the business the financial value ofthe work the team is undertaking but also understand how process improvementwork affects the financial of the company.PEX Leaders need to understand not just basic financial statements but also therelationship between them and the derived ratios. For example, if a cost-incomeratio is a key metric tracked by top management in a bank, the PEX Leader workstowards finding which processes can improve this ratio.Conversely, if there are financial measures that top management should be tracking,but aren’t, the PEX Leader should be able to highlight this and argue why a particularmeasure is important and what impact process improvement will have on themeasure.Habit #5: Ability to CoachThe ability to help others become better is a key skill which PEX Leaders shouldmaster. We are in the business of not only improving processes but also helping toimprove businesses. A key part of that is ensuring that we are building up capabilitiesand skills in others in the business. PEX Leaders should be able to coach those in theprocess improvement team but also those who are not direct reports as well as peersand top management of the firm.Habit #6:Ability to understand customers and spot trendsUltimately, we’re in business because we have customers. When customers becomethe centre-stage of a process excellence endeavour the undertaking gains a greatermagnitude of importance – everyone in the business can and should have a sense ofhow their role serves the end customer. A process excellence initiative can die whenprimarily targeted towards internally focused objectives such as cost cutting,efficiency gains, etc. while a process excellence journey is long lasting when it isdesigned around customers.PEX Leaders work towards improving the value delivered to the customer. We mustwork with other leaders in the company to design a suitable value proposition for thecustomer and make sure that each part of the business works in tandem to deliverthe customer promise. We need to keep an eye on the emerging trends that impact www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  28. 28. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 27 | P a g ecustomers and help the CEO to design a business-strategy with the customer at thecentre.Habit #7: Ability to embed capabilityThe real power of process improvement starts when business units have the skillsnecessary to make improvements and changes to their role.Part of our role is to put ourselves out of a job by building capability and embeddingrequired skills within business units so that they can pursue the processimprovement efforts for enhancing the performance of the business. This includesmaking sure that best and brightest employees are involved in process improvement,teams get time to carry out improvement work and they get recognized foraccomplishing business outcomes by using the power of process. Excellence inprocess excellence work needs to be made a criteria for career growth. Each of thebusiness units and functions should have adequate number of change agents inimprovement approaches such as Lean, Six Sigma, BPM, Triz, Small Group Activities,JIT etc.Habit #8: Ability to guide teams on tools and techniquesA PEX Leader should be adept in the key improvement approaches and should be in aposition to guide teams when required. While it helps to have deep knowledge inprocess improvement practices, you shouldn’t worry if you’re not a master of any ofthem. What is really required of PEX Leaders is the ability to ask the right questionsand understand the technical output of teams. Remember, when the job of a PEXLeader is to engage and provide strategic inputs, it’s fine if the PEX Leader is a bit“tool deficient”. You need deep experience in change management. www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  29. 29. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 28 | P a g eLEARN MORE ABOUT LEADERSHIP STRATEGIESIf you’d like to continue your learning, this year’s PEX Masters online event has atrack dedicated to effective leadership strategies.The series runs between 6-15 November and features over 12 hours of insight andpractical case studies delivered by some of the top-rated presenters from our eventsand online community.Delivered online the event blends personal, organizational and process tools to giveyou inspiration and hands-on takeaways to reinvigorate your process excellenceprogram for 2013. For more information, please visit www.pexmasters.com www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com
  30. 30. Leadership Essentials for Process Professionals - A PEX Network Article Compilation 29 | P a g eABOUT USWhat is the Process Excellence Network?PEX Network is an online, free to join, membership portal providing processprofessionals with exclusive access to a library of multimedia resources from topexecutives on Lean Six Sigma, BPM, Operational Excellence, ContinuousImprovement and other process excellence related topics.The Process Excellence Network has a subscribed membership of 80,000+ with anadditional 20,000 connected to us via our social networks and a global contactdatabase of over 450,000.In addition to online resources, PEX Network organizes 30+ targeted face-to-faceevents globally per year with industry specific focuses on Financial Services, Telecoms& Utilities, and Energy. We also hold major cross industry summits on processexcellence in Orlando, FL (PEX Week) and in London, England (PEX Week Europe)every January and April.Contact UsWebsite: www.pexnetwork.comGeneral Inquiries: enquire@pexnetwork.comTelephone: +44 (0)20 7368 9300About the EditorDiana Davis is editor of PEXNetwork.com and follows trends in process excellenceincluding Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM. She worked previously as a producer withAssociated Press Television News and she has also worked in marketing and businessdevelopment in the software industry. Davis holds a Masters in InternationalJournalism from City University, London and a BA in English from the University ofBritish Columbia, Vancouver. She can be reached on diana.davis@pexnetwork.com www.pexnetwork.com / www.pexmasters.com