Great Systems Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence Coaching

Hi! – My name is Kevin McManus. As the Chief Excellence Officer of Great Systems, my goal is simple and twofold. First, I want to help you achieve better performance results, from both your work processes and work teams. Second, I want to help you eliminate the frustration that comes with fad pursuit and wheel re-invention efforts. Great Systems provides continuous improvement and operational excellence best practice coaching to help leaders build better organizations.

Work systems design determines how people spend time at work. If you want to sustain high levels of ‘best in class’ performance, work systems redesign is mandatory in most cases. For example, most job roles do not include meaningful time for project work. Few leadership development processes teach leaders how to practice empathy and encourage diverse thinking.

Common work systems we can improve via virtual coaching include those you use for leadership development, strategic planning, customer satisfaction, performance measurement, process improvement, and work team engagement. I can show you how to put in place many best practices I have used and observed to improve in these areas, and others. Work systems give you the results that their designs guide them to produce.

DISCOVER MORE: How Great are Your Work Systems?

The Challenges of Work System Design Improvement

A person can easily learn more than they will ever need to know on the Internet when it comes to operational excellence and process improvement strategies. However, three implementation challenges exist. First, you have to systematically help people find time to use the tools that exist for use. Second, you have select and install work systems that best meet your performance goals. Last, both actions must be done in a manner that achieves high levels of meaningful workforce engagement. Over my 40-plus year career, both personal experimentation and ‘best in class’ benchmarking of high performance organizations has given me a vast collection of effective work system designs. I want to share my learnings with you.

It is my goal to provide each of my customers with the utmost value, and I am not just saying that. If you are interested in working with me further in one or more of the following ways, please send me an e-mail at or give me a call, and we can set up an initial “How can I help you?” visit.

By the way, my definition of value is “what one gets for what it costs them”, both in terms of time and money. I am 100% confident that if you give me the chance to work with you and your team, I can show you how to get great results in a short amount of time, without investing minimal extra time. In fact, I am also confident that you will save money. I hope that I can have the chance to talk with you about how to make your work systems redesign efforts more effective.

What is Work Systems Redesign?

My operational definition of a system is based on the use of the term “systematic” in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria. That definition refers to “approaches that are well ordered, repeatable, and use data and information so that improvement and learning are possible.” I would say that in most organizations, their work systems are repeatable, even though the results they provide or the waste they contain are not actually measured. Unfortunately, the processes that are being repeated each day as a part of a given work system are (1) not producing the types of results that are truly desired and (2) not being executed in a similar manner across all people and work groups.

I can help you improve the work systems that you already have in place or help you install new ones. Systems redesign efforts I have helped install to-date include leadership, measurement, customer and associate satisfaction improvement, process improvement, communication, job design, and training. I will work with your leadership team and other key personnel to evaluate the effectiveness of your current work systems. More importantly, I will recommend possible options to make your work systems more effective. I can also focus specifically on improving a given process or job, using my industrial engineering and process improvement skills.

Workforce Engagement, Continuous Improvement, and Operational Excellence

Most organizational continuous improvement and operational excellence efforts are significantly constrained. It is common to see such approaches (typically a few six sigma, lean, or kaizen teams) only engage 10-15% of the organization’s workforce. However, in high performance organizations, it is common to involve 65% or more of the people on some form of project team. Additionally, leaders engage 100% of their people at least monthly in formal process and performance review, and idea sharing, sessions. The best organizations engage 100% of their people on a daily basis in continuous improvement. They practice “operational excellence from the inside out.”

I have spent years working in, and with, these types of high performing organizations. I can help you install systems that will engage every employee in the daily pursuit of process excellence. My learnings can help you improve the effectiveness and level of involvement in formal problem solving efforts. Also, I can help you manage the evaluation and implementation of the great ideas that your people have, but you may not be aware of. Most importantly, I want to help you put systems in place that drive improvement and high levels of employee engagement. Why merely hold training sessions or make lists of ideas people will never work on or put in place?

EXPLORE MORE: How to Increase Work Team Engagement

Workshop Design and Facilitation

If you invest eight hours of your time in a training session, then you should get eight hours of value. I try to design my virtual workshops to allow time for a lot of skill practice and interaction. This is how adults learn best. Plus, I can help you redesign your existing learning events to make them more powerful. Finally, I can work with you to create a learning event from scratch. Skill understanding, retention, and application are the goals. Lecture-based training will not help you achieve these goals, but my interactive workshops will!

We can customize the workshop descriptions to focus on those skill areas you feel need the most attention. For example, let’s say that you want to focus more on measurement systems and less on safety in the “Supervising for High Performance” workshop. This is not a problem. The modular design of my workshops provides this flexibility. I can also customize workshop exercises to help link the concepts we share and practice to your daily workplace.

If you would like more information about the improvement tools and systems I have to offer, please send me an e-mail at

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training

I have taught over 430 courses and helped more than 500 organizations as a certified international trainer for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process. I believe that this root cause analysis approach far exceeds the ‘opinion-based’ approaches that others use, such as fishbone diagrams, 5 Whys, and fault tree analysis. Additionally, the TapRooT® root cause tree represents a collection of 103 best practices to reduce human performance difficulty. In turn, you can use it to error proof your work systems. Do you want to reduce significant amounts of waste, improve customer satisfaction levels, and grow your business? If so, you need work systems that promote effective, daily human performance and minimize the potential for equipment breakdowns.

To learn more about this service that I provide, here are two options to consider. First, I would be happy to facilitate a virtual 3-day TapRooT® root cause analysis workshop for your team. To learn more, follow this link to request a quote via e-mail from System Improvements.

Also, please check out my page entitled “How Do You Find Root Causes?, which can be found on this website or visit the official TapRooT® website.

Incident Investigation Facilitation and Safety Work System Redesign

Some of my TapRooT® customers enlist my services to help them analyze persistent problems. My use of onsite investigation interviews and facilitation, plus systems analysis and online consultation, helps you find the systemic causes of these problems. More importantly, I can help you identify high-impact corrective actions, (systems changes) you can put in place. This will help minimize the likelihood that these problems will return in the future. Also, I can help you improve your investigation process so that it routinely produces better results in less time.

Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence Keynote Speaking

I regularly speak on high performance workplace and motivation topics at local, regional, and national events. I also make organization-specific speeches. Currently, my most popular speeches are “Pursuing Operational Excellence – How to Sustain Your Improvement Efforts”, “The Ten Cultural Challenges to High Performance”, and “Are You Ready for 21st Century Leadership?”

Virtual Work System Assessment and Redesign Coaching

My virtual coaching service offers you a low cost way to improve your key work systems. For example, I regularly work with customers in this manner to help them improve their employee survey process, scorecard metrics, and safety work systems. For a low monthly fee, you can benefit from this improvement approach as well. Give it a try!

Planning Event Facilitation

I have been facilitating and leading annual planning efforts for over thirty years. I really enjoy doing it. Services of this type range from a one day annual planning meeting to coordinating a two to three day offsite planning retreat. In most cases, I work via e-mail or virtually with your leadership or planning team prior to the actual planning event. The goal is to collect information on key needs, challenges, and metrics. We then use a summary of this information to develop an annual operating plan for your site. The level of plan detail and the number of stakeholders you involve in the process help determine the number of actual meetings and events we need to complete your plan.

I can help you develop a more focused improvement plan as part of your improved planning process. This planning approach helps you involve more people in the plan development effort. Also, I can help you review your progress to plan on at least a quarterly basis. Quarterly performance updates can also be prepared. These updates help you document the progress you make from quarter to quarter. As your systems performance coach, I can help you better adjust to changes as they arise. I can help you ensure that your key objectives are met as your leadership team executes their operating plan.

If you would like more information about the improvement tools and systems I have to offer, please send me an e-mail at

Baldrige Quality Award Based Services

I am proud of my twenty years of service as a National Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. My participation in the Baldrige process as an Examiner enhanced my work career than any of my other personal development efforts. This includes my MBA degree work. I have had the chance to create over 40 scorebooks and go on fourteen national site visits. I have been able to serve as both a Team Leader and a back-up team leader on consensus teams and site visit teams.

Most importantly, my service as an Examiner helps me see what true, sustained operational excellence looks like in a variety of work settings. This includes small business and health care. Plus, I continue to explore how Baldrige recipients use systems redesign to build better organizations and communities. As your virtual work systems redesign coach, I want to show you how to use ‘best practice’ work system designs to help attain similar results in a value added, cost effective manner.

Here are some VIRTUAL services that I offer to help you and your organization specific to a Baldrige-based pursuit of process excellence:

  • One and Two-Day Self Assessment Workshops
  • Application Writing and Assembly
  • Half Day Systems Redesign Workshops
  • Site Visit Simulations

Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence Coaching for Healthcare

The four approaches I list above can also help improve health care systems from a Baldrige perspective. Also, my Industrial Engineering background allows me to help you make health care process-specific improvements. For example, I have helped an intensive care pharmacy improve its work flow. Key results included a reduction in the average cost to fill an order AND a reduction in the potential for prescription errors.

Keep improving!

Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer, Great Systems

Please email me your questions at

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