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Operational Excellence in Government

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This is a transcription of a Business901 Podcast with Hundley Elliotte. He is the global lead for the Process Performance Group within the Accenture Process and Innovation Performance Service Line.

This is a transcription of a Business901 Podcast with Hundley Elliotte. He is the global lead for the Process Performance Group within the Accenture Process and Innovation Performance Service Line.

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  • 1. Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing SystemsOperational Excellence in Government Guest was Hundley M. Elliotte Related Podcast: Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 2. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsHundley M. Elliotte is the global lead for the Process Performancegroup within the Accenture Process & Innovation Performanceservice line. He has more than 15 years of consulting experience,focusing on managing business value, setting strategy, identifyingcustomer needs, and identifying and implementing improvementopportunities in diverse business sectors. Previously, Mr. Elliotteworked for more than a decade in the corporate sector, holdingsales, marketing and general management positions with a leading pulp and paper manufacturer and with a plastics company. He is based in Atlanta. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions,and extensive research on the world’s most successfulcompanies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help thembecome high-performance businesses and governments.Hundley is one of the authors of Building High PerformanceGovernment Through Lean Six Sigma: A Leader’s Guide toCreating Speed, Agility, and Efficiency. It feature case studiesfrom the public sector, including federal, state, local, agencies,bureaus, and departments. This unique guide takes you insidegovernment organizations, where high performance “anatomy” isalready making a difference. High Performance Governmentprovides a proven method for adapting to the “New Normal” oflower budgets by showing you how to do even more with evenless—creating a learning, working environment that reacts tochange. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 3. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsJoe Dager: Welcome, everyone. This is Joe Dager, the host ofthe Business901 Podcast. With me today is Hundley Elliotte. He isthe global lead for the Process Performance Group within theAccenture Process and Innovation Performance Service Line.He has more than 15 years of consulting experience, focused onmanaging business values, setting strategy, identifying customerneeds, and improvement opportunities in diverse businesssections.Hundley is the co-author of a new book, "BuildingHigh-Performance Government through Lean Six Sigma." I wouldlike to welcome you. Why did you label it for government? Its apretty good book for anyone.Hundley Elliotte: Well, good morning, Joe, and thanks forhaving me. I think the concepts in the book are for anyone. ButIve been working with various government agencies as well asprivate-sector companies over the past 10 years or so, and Iveseen some really enormous results in applying these concepts ingovernment and helping them understand how to better achievetheir mission, with the same or less budget, become moreefficient, and thats why I think they apply broadly in governmentand can have an enormous impact.Joe: Its a pretty pragmatic book. I thought it had some verygreat examples in it, and it broke it down into three differentsegments...and its an easy read. I have to compliment you on it.Hundley: Thank you, Joe.Joe: When we talk about high performance in government, onthe surface it sounds great, but is it really practical? Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 4. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsHundley: Well, I think its very practical, because governmentsoperate in a world of complexity. So they have lots of oversight.The size and scale of them is enormous.Its even more important for them to be focused on productivityand efficiency and whos the end customer and whats importantto them, some of these basic concepts that weve applied in theprivate sector for many, many years.So yes, I think its very practical, and it can have a very profoundimpact, both in the short term and the long term. If you think inthe short term, just think about something like claims processingor issuing drivers licenses.The consumers of those services want to come into a governmentoffice, apply for a drivers license, get it done very quickly, nothave to wait in line a long time, be able to understand upfrontwhat theyre supposed to bring in order to achieve what theyretrying to achieve.Thats all about speed and eliminating waste and beingproductive. I think government agencies can apply theseconcepts and delight their customers in being able to provide alot more services for the same cost.Joe: Listening to you talk, you bring a lot of the private-sectorwords into it. Are you really trying to get the government to thinklike the private sector? Is that a fair analogy?Hundley: What were trying to do is to really adapt someprivate-sector concepts, like Lean Six Sigma and like operationalexcellence and execution, into the government sector.Its important to adapt because governments are organized andincented very differently than private-sector companies. But atthe end of the day, they are a collection of people who are Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 5. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsexecuting a whole bunch of processes to provide their mission orthe outcome for their client, right?So the basic concept is the same. The environments different.We have to be able to adapt those tools to work in theenvironment and the culture of government.Joe: What is one of the biggest differences in working with thegovernment versus the private sector?Hundley: One is the structure. The government tends to bestructured in a way thats kind of vertical and siloed, and becauseof the scale, its hard to see all the way to the end when weproduce a product. So thats a bit of a challenge.I think, because of that structure, also, aligning leadership tomaking big change is something you have to spend a lot of timeand a lot of focus on, because lets say, for instance, in the USArmy, take a category of goods like food.That cuts across many, many organizations in terms of settingthe requirements, procuring it, storing it, shipping it, and youreally need to have that end-to-end view to be truly effective.Thats probably one of the bigger changes is orienting thatend-to-end view that cuts across organizations and functions andunderstands how things kind of fit together rather than justthrowing it over the wall.Joe: You hit a key point there that Im thinking about.Governments struggle to really know who their customer issometimes, dont they?Hundley: I think thats a great first question. If youre thinkingabout applying Lean Six Sigma, to whether just a governmentoffice thats providing drivers licenses or a whole governmentagency, its just to start with, "Whos our customer? Whats Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 6. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsimportant to them? How can we start to deliver thatimmediately?"A lot of times what customers want is just speed and accuracy,and those are things you can start to build into your processesimmediately, by reducing waste, rework, reducing the complexityof how we operate and how we make decisions. You can startthat stuff from day one.Joe: One of the things I think about also is that hierarchy, thatstructure in government thats there. If we instill Lean Six Sigmainto the process, are we instilling a whole nother hierarchy? Arewe sitting there creating a whole other quality apparatus, kind ofa big brother to look over this one?Hundley: No, not at all. We dont want to change the structureof government. Governments are typically structured for goodreasons, the checks and balances and the oversight and all ofthat.What were trying to do is help governments understand howprocesses cut across and, ultimately, who is the customer, whatare we delivering to them, and how do each of the organizationsthat stack up there provide that.That its really about transparency and awareness of whereprocesses fit in the scheme and how we can make them operatemore efficiently. So its just a bit of a different view. Certainly,theres no need to change any structure. Its just to be aware ofhow processes actually deliver the output that were on the hookto do.Joe: In the book, you pointed out certain places in governmentthat this is already being applied and already working. Could youname a couple of the cases that are highlighted in the book? Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 7. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsHundley: Well, I think one of the great ones is, because itended up saving so many lives...in fact, I saw an article just lastweek where Secretary Gates, the outgoing DOD secretary,commented on MRAPS, the mine-resistant vehicles, and howthats saved so many lives.When the MRAPS were ordered to be fielded in 2007, Lean SixSigma was applied. They actually applied a Lean productionsystem in the main plant that was processing the mine-resistantvehicles. They had a target of 50 a day. They started at one aweek and they applied a Lean production system to ramp thatproduction up to 50 units a day and achieved their productiontargets, get the vehicles to the field faster and save lives faster.Its a great example of applying, really, a private-sector concept,adapting it to that government environment, and having reallyastonishing results. I believe that was actually the fastestweapons-system ramp-up since World War II. So it was quite anachievement in todays environment.Joe: When people think about quality, I think aboutimprovement, improvement of quality systems, efficiencies indifferent things. Its not necessarily just a cost-cutting-type thing,is it?Hundley: No, actually, weve seen the best results actuallyfocused on mission outcomes. So, whether thats streamlining thetime to repair equipment, or whether its improving the uptime ofan airplane, or whether its speeding the processing of mail, Ithink the best focus is on achieving the mission faster, morereliably, more accurately.Then cost tends to be a byproduct of that, and you can makeresources more efficient and apply them in different parts of thebusiness. But I think that I would actually focus, at first, on yourcustomers and on the outcome and on the mission, versus taking Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 8. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsa cost focus. I think it has better impact. I think you get buy-in atthe organization.Joe: Lean always got connoted with waste and reducing wasteand taking the low-hanging fruit. But I always looked at Lean asmore of the continuous-improvement-type, cultural-type aspectof it. Waste was a byproduct of it because it was about creatingthat speed and really giving you time to be able to do otherthings, to improve what youre doing, because you have excesstime then. And I always thought that was probably the bestbenefit of applying Lean, and I think you kind of agree with that,from what you just said.Hundley: I totally do. I think just focusing on speed of processcan have an amazing impact and is something that you can startto do right away.Speed of process has so many secondary benefits that, typically,the faster you do something, the less non-value-added steps, theless waste that are involved, less time for errors to happen, lesstime for misalignment with requirements. So, focusing on speedis a great outcome to start with.Joe: Dont think theres anything that adds to speed better thanclarity, and I think thats what putting a process in does for you.And I think the tools of Lean Six Sigma are probably, maybe, thebest ones to do that, is it?Hundley: I think so. I mean, if you take just basic rules likevalue-stream mapping, and when you do that in a teamenvironment... so what I mean, get all of the process participantsand stakeholders to contribute to that mapping exercise andlooking for areas to reduce waste... its a real simple concept, butit can really help with that understanding of the process andbuy-in that, "Hey, if I make a mistake here, it hurts Joedownstream, and he cant do his job as well." Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 9. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsI think that stuff is pretty powerful to apply. And again, you canapply it in almost any environment.Joe: When we talk about Lean Six Sigma, it takes a certainamount of expertise to implement it. How do you visualize takingLean Six Sigma through the government? I mean, its in pocketsright now, but do you just grow from them pockets? Or how doyou visualize that getting expanded in government?Hundley: I think it depends on the government organization andwhere they are, what they have going on, whats the leadershipbias, whats on their plate right now, what kind of challenges andissues are they facing, because its not a cookie-cutter approach.It doesnt work well if its a cookie-cutter approach.If its really critical to transform processes and really improve onspeed and accuracy from an organization standpoint, and youhave a very, very strong leader that wants to use that as atransformation catalyst, then I think thats great. You start with atop-down approach.But in a lot of other situations, its better just to start in differentareas of the business, attacking specific issues. So, for instance,"Hey, lets just go focus on claims processing or issuingpassports," or those kind of things, specific issues where we wantto improve speed, and then demonstrate and then show otherfolks in the organization and get them interested and kind ofgrow organically from the bottom.The important thing out of all of that is, no matter where youstart, whether you start small-scale or big, top-down, is to reallyfocus on specific issues from day one.Again, pick something very tangible, like, "Were processing theseclaims, and if we do them 30 percent faster, thats going to Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 10. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscreate X value and X more satisfaction from our clients. Lets godo that."To be very specific like that is very powerful because, numberone, 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 andmomentum to try it elsewhere in the business.Joe: When we look at Michael George and Newt Gingrich outthere making headlines with Lean Six Sigma, are they serving aneed? Are they really providing a vision for something that isworkable in government?Hundley: Actually, Im not caught up or up to speed on whatthose guys are talking about now. But I certainly think that LeanSix Sigma is very appropriate for government today and thechallenges we face and the need to provide more mission for lesscost.I think other challenges we face are that government agencieshave more pressure to be more accountable for results. Theyoperate in a much more complex environment. And then youhave the challenges that we need to operate the same or lessbudget.Let me go back to that complexity issue. If you take a group, itdoesnt matter which country it is, but if you take airport securityscreeners, they have a really tough job now because therespretty much zero tolerance on them making a security mistake,right?But you also have to balance that with citizens privacy concerns.It makes it a very, very complex job for them to operate. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 11. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsYou see this really across the board that complexity of themission, having to balance different things, but also being verymuch in the public spotlight, and everyone expecting excellenceout of those folks that are doing that job.I think thats where things like Lean Six Sigma OperationalExcellence can help and bring the clarity, help them balancethose complexity trade-offs and key their mission moreefficiently.Joe: I always picture the government of people who are outthere changing jobs. Theres two-year, three-year, four-yearterms.On the other side of the coin, when you talk about Lean SixSigma, its one thing to do it, but its another thing to sustain thegains. Here you are with these terms and different things, andthen here you are talking about sustainability with Lean SixSigma. They dont really seem to match. Is there more to it thanthat?Hundley: No, I think youve hit on a really good point. It isimportant to sustain the gains that you make by improvingprocesses.There are a couple of things that factor into that. I think numberone, the most important thing is to capture the attention anddedication of leadership. Get them bought in on... They can applyOperational Excellence Lean Six Sigma in their business area andthey can have an impact, even if youre only going to be there fortwo years and move on to something else.I think another thing is that you can apply great best practices,like business process management, that really, really helpssustainability by offering things like process governance, it helps Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 12. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemswith repeatability and standardization of processes, thevisualization of processes.I think theres a lot of great stuff out there now that you canapply to help the sustainability of improvements that you make inbusiness. There are a lot of tools that actually help with that interms of process repositories and the like.I think of it as basically a four piece equation. You need to havethe strategy and a focus. You need to have some kind of processgovernance. You need to improve processes and you need tosustain the gains. If you focus on those four things then youregoing to be OK tomorrow.Joe: Are you talking about really training people in the hierarchyof say, Lean Six Sigma? Like green-belts and black-belts, shouldthat become a part of government, or should it always besomething that is looked at as an outsourced type thing?Hundley: I think of it, there should be a balance betweenhaving an impact, so actually improving the efficiency andeffectiveness of big processes, and building the capability of theorganization through things like training. Thats where you get toyour question around how do you visualize Lean Six Sigma? Wetalked about there. Its not a cookie-cutter approach.I think getting that balance right between going out and justattacking processes and improving them and building internalcapability within the government agency is a very important one.Again, its not cookie-cutter. You can see some situations wherestarting with a lot of training first and getting people trained andskilled up and then attacking issues may make sense. In othersituations, you just need to go and deliver the mission. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 13. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsThe MRAP example, I think, is an example of that, where therewas a critical need to get those vehicles to the war fighters asquickly as possible. They werent really focused on training andbuilding capability there. They were focused on every singleminute of the day how can we increase the ramp up, the capacityof the plant producing the vehicles.Joe: Now you are involved in the global aspect of the Accenture.How does that apply to the public?Hundley: Well I think across the globe, governmentorganizations are looking at Operational Excellence as a way toimprove their processes.Ive worked with both in North America and Europe extensivelyand theyre applying it.I just was with a team that worked with immigration in France.They really streamlined the application processes and passportprocesses, reducing the cycle time of 30 to 50 percent. Thereslots of examples even outside of the United States of effectivelyapplying this in the process environments of agencies.Joe: This book wasnt just written for the U.S. public sector. Itswritten for a worldwide public.Hundley: Yes, it absolutely is. I think the concepts apply toreally any government organization.Joe: What did you find the difficulty in writing the book? Wasthere something in the government that just didnt click withLean Six Sigma? Was there something that you maybe even leftout that youre not telling us about that doesn’t work?Hundley: No, I think it all works. I think governmentorganizations, especially in the United States because of the sizeand scale, are definitely different. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 14. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsI think the key differences are the size and the scale, thecomplexity of the mission, the fact that you have to deal withregulations and oversights and the way theyre structured. You dohave to think a little differently and you have to orient whatyoure doing to the way governments are structured, the waythey were incented. The way they culturally operate.But once you figure that out, I think its very applicable and canhave tremendous results.Joe: The other thing I found that the book segmented very well,that I could sit there and read one segment and then go back toit and read another. Is there a particular segment that you wouldreally recommend for someone to take short read to get a feel forLean Six Sigma?Hundley: Well, if I had to start in one area, I would probablysay, how to focus on the right outcomes. How to think aboutwhom your customer is and whats important to them. How do Ialign my organization to achieve those outcomes?I think thats a great starting point because its an easy questionto ask, whether were at a drivers license office or were at thetop of the government organization is, "Who are our customers?Whats important to them? How do we deliver against theirrequirements, and how do we align our business?" What I meanby that is on a daily basis, what are we doing to provide what thecustomer thinks is important? I think thats a great place to start.Joe: Is there maybe something that you would like to add to theconversation that we really didnt talk about or something thatyou feel is important that needs to come out of your messagehere?Hundley: My message would be that if youre a governmentorganization and youre just starting to think about "Hey, should I Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 15. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsapply Operational Excellence and Lean Six Sigma?" or maybeyouve been doing it for four or five years and you think you havea long way to go, I would think of it is as a long journey.Because in my view, the private sector has been working on thisstuff and applying these concepts for many, many decades. Thereare still enormous productivity gains that happen every year, alot of that attributable to things like Operational Excellence andLean Six Sigma.I think the government, at least in my view; its really juststarted the journey. Its going to happen over probably many,many decades. If I was sitting there thinking about, "How do Iapply this stuff?" I would start with basic questions and I wouldthink about short-term and long-term.Short term, "What are some processes that are very important toour customers? We interact with our customers on a daily basis.Whats important? How can I improve those?"Long term I would think about, "What are some of the really bigissues in our agency or business that we need to attack? How dowe build long-term capability and get everyone in our agencythinking about process and thinking about customers on a dailybasis?" That would be the advice I would give.Its a big problem when you step back and look at it, but I thinkyou just have to break it down and, "Hey, this is a long-hauljourney. I want to make an impact, tactically and strategically,right away. Lets think about how to do that."Joe: In summary of that, what youre saying is start thinking ofthings like a process and go fix something. Take something smalland just start on it, but have that big picture idea out there, thatyoure thinking of where youre going to go, but really, just getstarted. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 16. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing SystemsHundley: Yeah, I think get started, but make sure you pick aprocess that has a clear customer outcome. Thats important.If youre just going to go focus on reducing the use of copiers orsomething like that, thats not really going to have a customeroutcome. Focus on something that delivers a customer outputand a process. There are plenty of those out there.Joe: I think thats great advice because I think people have atendency, this is one of the reasons that you dont getsustainability, is because they dont see the outcomes of thatprocess driven by the marketplace.In the private sector you might put in a bunch of qualityinitiatives and improve the process, but if it doesnt bump theneedle in the marketplace, its like, why?Hundley: Exactly. Exactly. Theres a lot of processes that youcan focus on that will reduce the cost for instance. But its just aseasy to find one that will delight customers and help you achieveyour mission and reduce costs. Thats where I would go.Joe: Im a tool guy and a gadget guy all the time. I have a pileof software behind me that I dont use. But your PVC schematic, Idont know if Ive ever seen that before. I thought that was laidout a little bit differently. Is that something that is particular togovernment that you put into the book?Hundley: The PVC, or prime value chain, we actually createdthat tool to help organizations get that end-to-end view. If youtake the example in the book, thats the munitions prime valuechain, and it actually cuts across an enormous amount offunctions and agencies.Theres a whole set of agencies in the Pentagon that dorequirements. Then there are the acquisition and procurement Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 17. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemsorganizations that procure all the stuff. Then theres the logisticsorganizations that store it and maintain it. Then theres thetransportation.The way theyre structured is, theyre all different organizationsand commands, with different issues, different objectives.We created the prime value chain to show that munitions fromend to end, is really a business that you ought to look at, and allof those organizations ought to get together and have that sameview and understand how you sync up requirements toprocurement, to logistics to shipping. Its a very effective tool toshow leaders really that, again, that end-to-end view of thebusiness.Joe: I was intrigued by it. I hadnt seen it before in otherpublications and it caught my eye right away.Hundley: Its been very effective. The prime value chain hasbeen very good targeting tool for government leaders to lookacross and say "Hey, we really need to focus on our requirementsaccuracy and what that drives, and getting alignments acrossdifferent organizations on focusing on issues like that." Wevefound a lot of use for it.Joe: Really its like a big-picture snapshot or maybe someonelooking at, in financial terms, a balance sheet.Hundley: I call it business on the page, end-to-end business onthe page. Then from there you can certainly drill right down intothe big core processes that are underneath.But sometimes it helps just to start with that big picture of thebusiness and align folks on "Hey, this is the definition here," eventhough we may be structured in ten different organizations.End-to-end, were all one business flipping one outcome; in that Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 18. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systemscase which is the right munitions to the right war fighter at theright time.Joe: If someone would like to learn more about Lean Six Sigmain government, where would you direct them to?Hundley: I think the book itself is a great start. Its a fast readand it doesnt go into great depth, but it gives you a lot of greatconcepts, a lot of questions to ask in your business today.Joe: Its a good airplane book, Its a read that you dont have tosit there and thumb through and go back to. You can read it anddigest a lot of information in your first sitting with it.Hundley: Right, right. We try to leave the formulas out.Joe: I think you did a great job with that. Id like to thank youvery much Hundley. I appreciate the time that you gave me here.This podcast will be available on the Business901 Blog site andalso the Business901 iTunes Store. So, thanks again.Hundley: Thank you Joe. Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901
  • 19. Business901 Podcast TranscriptionImplementing Lean Marketing Systems Joseph T. Dager Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Ph: 260-438-0411 Fax: 260-818-2022 Email: jtdager@business901.com Web/Blog: http://www.business901.com Twitter: @business901 What others say: In the past 20 years, Joe and I have collaborated on many difficult issues. Joesability to combine his expertise with "out of the box" thinking isunsurpassed. He has always delivered quickly, cost effectively and withingenuity. A brilliant mind that is always a pleasure to work with." James R.Joe Dager is President of Business901, a progressive company providingdirection in areas such as Lean Marketing, Product Marketing, ProductLaunches and Re-Launches. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt,Business901 provides and implements marketing, project and performanceplanning methodologies in small businesses. The simplicity of a singleflexible model will create clarity for your staff and as a result betterexecution. My goal is to allow you spend your time on the need versus theplan.An example of how we may work: Business901 could start with aconsulting style utilizing an individual from your organization or a virtualassistance that is well versed in our principles. We have capabilities toplug virtually any marketing function into your process immediately. Asproficiencies develop, Business901 moves into a coach’s role supporting theprocess as needed. The goal of implementing a system is that the processeswill become a habit and not an event. Business901 Podcast Opportunity Expert Status Operational Excellence in Government, is it Possible? Copyright Business901

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