Recent Performance Improvement Talks by Kevin McManus

Would You Like Me To Speak to Your Organization or Group?

I regularly facilitate virtual 3-day TapRooT® root cause analysis workshops, along with my own virtual performance improvement workshops, to work teams in both the United States and around the world. Also, I seek out opportunities to make virtual keynote presentations at conferences, improvement events, and for local improvement groups. Here is a list of some recent performance improvement talks by Kevin McManus.

If you would like to have me be a part of one of your future events like this, please send me an e-mail at Please keep in mind that my schedule tends to fill up around 4-6 weeks in advance.

2020-2021 Performance Improvement Talks by Kevin McManus

Stop Meeting Madness

Do you spend too much time in unproductive meetings? Did you know that the TapRooT® root cause analysis process is a great tool to help you minimize meeting waste? This presentation examines some of the more common systemic meeting waste causal factors and root causes. More importantly, its content provides best practices to help you minimize meeting time waste. Plus, you learn how to get more out of the team time you do spend to solve problems and make decisions. Would you would like to receive a link to the presentation in PDF form? If so, please send me an e-mail at

Eliminate Failing Fixes

Many TapRooT® root cause analysis process customers think their corrective actions work if the incident does not happen again. This perspective unfortunately creates an illusion of corrective action effectiveness. Also, it allows a lot of daily waste and errors to continue their performance impact. The presentation’s content examines key techniques to measure corrective action effectiveness. Plus, it provides best practices to improve corrective action effectiveness. Would you would like to receive a link to the presentation in PDF form? If so, please send me an e-mail at

How Healthy are Your Work Systems?

This Great Systems presentation by Kevin McManus provides both best practices, and tested examples, that can be used to significantly improve the approaches you use to improve work system and work process performance. Measurement selection practices, scorecard setup and goal setting approaches, and analysis and recognition options and methodologies are illustrated through the use of these examples and practices.  The presentation’s content help you create an action plan to improve your process measurement and analysis processes and a preliminary set of vital signs for those key processes you are responsible for improving. Would you would like to receive a link to the presentation in PDF form? If so, please send me an e-mail at

2018-2019 Recent Performance Improvement Talks by Kevin McManus:

Exploring Possible Industrial and Systems Engineering Futures

Evolving technologies give industrial and systems engineers a more dynamic, and much far reaching, voice. These same technologies enhance our abilities to show, instead of struggle to tell, people how systems can grow, shrink, and interface with each other. We can find, and share, best practices from around the world and help each other improve.

Our circle of influence as industrial and systems engineers will continue to expand in the years to come. As it does, we should continue to look for innovative solutions to persistent work and social process challenges. Also, if we can make it a habit to use technology to regularly share our successes, the exponential power of our efforts may someday get us noticed. Better yet, we might actually end up helping to make work and life a better place at a much more accelerated pace.

Pursuing Process Excellence – How to Sustain Your Improvement Efforts

In the majority of implementation efforts, project team use drives a given performance improvement initiative.  Most commonly, kaizen team use helps put lean methodologies in place. Six sigma team use helps take advantage of those quality focused tools, just as quality circles once served as the drivers of a company’s total quality management effort. A project team approach, where a select percentage of employees get to participate in improvement efforts, can deliver significant short term gains. However, it is not enough to build the use of these techniques into an organization’s work culture. In turn, it fails to create an effective approach to daily work that is sustainable over the long term.

To achieve operational excellence, all work must be seen as a process with a customer focus.  In order to integrate this theory into each employee’s job, we must measure our leaders differently. Also, we must balance and align our process measurement efforts. Learning must be seen as something that people should do in order to advance. Finally, the use of an effective root cause analysis approach helps find the systemic causes of human performance and equipment problems for all key processes.  In this workshop, I share a variety of proven approaches to achieve these, and other systemic changes, in your organization.  You leave the workshop with a tangible road map to take your performance improvement efforts to the next level. Plus, you gain additional insight into why most performance improvement initiatives fail to live up to their long term operational excellence and culture change expectations.

How to Setup a High Impact Continuous Improvement System

Many leaders are disappointed with the results their continuous improvement approaches return. Projects take too long, only a small percentage of people get involved, and approach interest fades over time.  At the same time, there are a small percentage of organizations that both sustain their improvement systems over time and improved the volume and impact of their system changes.

Why do some organizations succeed while most hop from one approach to another in pursuit of one that really works?  What design features do these organizations build into their continuous improvement approaches to help sustain high levels of engagement and significant results?  How can one determine which approach to continuous improvement aligns the best with the goals and strategies of the organization?

Workshop participation provides you with the tools and processes necessary to design, build, use, and improve a continuous improvement system.  Also, it helps you identify which approaches to CI best fit with the process improvement goals, strategies, and culture that you desire within your organization.  Most importantly, this workshop helps you install a value added, cost effective continuous improvement system.

Pre-2018 Performance Improvement Talks by Kevin McManus

Best Practices in Mistake Proofing and Corrective Action Writing

What percent of the organizations who invest time and money to pursue six sigma levels of quality actually achieve those levels?  Of that percentage, how many sustain these levels of performance over time?  The resultant rate is low. Sadly, few organizations attain, let alone sustain, six sigma levels of performance across a variety of their work processes. However, the upside is that these organizations are probably not using very effective error proofing approaches.  They may think that the systems they use work well, but they really can’t validate this belief. Besides, a lot of mistakes happen daily in most organizations. It’s just part of the job, right?

Significant examples of success – where error and incident rates are very low – exist.  The Blue Angels excel at process planning and review.  A quick serve restaurant chain has a superior training and certification system.  Oil field workers consistently achieve miniscule safety incident levels that many organizations would often consider as being unobtainable.  How do these groups of people find ways to standardize their work practices and also improve their work systems? This presentation gives you the system details these organizations and others use.

No Fuel, No Progress – How to Create Time for Improvement

Process improvement takes time, no matter which tools or approaches you use.  While most of us conceptually recognize this, we also fail to ensure that we invest enough time to improve at the rate we desire. Also, we don’t always use our limited time investments wisely.  We mandate that people support our process improvement efforts. Then, we wonder why they don’t provide the level of support we request.

Others say that they would like to spend more time working on process analysis and improvement, but they are too busy to do so.  At the same time, they continually invest their limited work time in processes with designs that are largely non-value added, such as meetings, e-mail, and training.  Do you want to improve at a faster rate? If so, you have to invest more time collectively as an organization. Plus, you must use that time wisely.

In this presentation, we explore the types of time investments that high performance organizations make to support their process improvement efforts.  Also, we share effective approaches you can use to reduce your non-value added meeting, e-mail, and training time. In turn, you find more fuel for your performance improvement efforts.

40 Years of Quality – Have We Really Improved That Much?

If you simply look at the raw productivity trends, you would easily say organizations in this country, and in others, have significantly improved in the forty years since “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?” initiated the Total Quality Management craze.  If you look beyond these broad indicators however, and are really honest with yourself, you might arrive at a much different answer.  In the past forty years, have we really improved that much?  Are our workplaces better places to work at, and are our people more effective, or does technology deserve much more of the credit than we as human beings do?

In this presentation, I share my personal quality journey over the last forty years with you.  As I do, we explore the different trends and fads that have been part of the shift towards continuous process improvement in this country.  Also, I make a case to support my belief that we really have not changed that much. Absent of technology, our workplaces are not much better places to work at now than they were in 1980.  Finally, I offer best practices and a course of action that we can follow.

What would Deming, Juran, Scholtes, and Imaii say about the degree of change that has, and has not, occurred in the workplace?  Would they feel good about the way their philosophies and ideals have been embraced by today’s organizations, or would they shake their heads in disgust? Spend this time with me, and form your own opinion.  Have we really improved, or do we still have a lot of work to do?

Does Your Organization’s Culture Support High Performance?

Have you experienced the downside of a failed effort to install high performance work practices such as six sigma, lean manufacturing, or total quality management? Would you like to prevent time and money waste as you try to put similar improvement efforts in place? If so, you would benefit from this presentation. Most improvement efforts fail because the work culture does not support a high performance way of thinking.

Many organizations like to think that they are high performers. However, many struggle to actually achieve and sustain the results that justify such a title. This presentation uses examples of high performance work systems and cultures to help illustrate what a high performance company looks, sounds, and feels like. The use of multiple high performance workplace assessments helps participants gauge their progress towards performance excellence.

If you want to shift a work culture, you have to change the work systems that drive, support, and encourage high performance work behaviors and beliefs. This presentation helps you learn more about these simple, but effective, work systems. Plus, it gives you the chance to assess the degree that your current work systems support high performance work practices.

Are You an Effective 21st Century Leader?

By the end of the 20th century, a lot of books had been published and read on the topic of leadership. Many people had invested considerable money attending training workshops in an attempt to learn how to become a better leader. Now, over twenty years into this new century, many of us still wonder what it takes to really be an effective leader. This is especially true in a workplace that is often quite different than those that the books were written about and the training sessions were built around only 25 years ago.

The intent of this presentation is to help make its participants better leaders. To be successful in today’s workplace however, supervisors and managers must be able to proactively lead what seems to be an ever changing workforce. Also, they need to be able to quickly respond to rapidly shifting customer demands. In short, effective 21st century leaders learn to utilize change. This workshop provides key tools leaders need to become more effective in today’s global business climate.

Any Interest in These Recent Performance Improvement Talks by Kevin McManus?

Do one or more of these recent performance improvement talks by Kevin McManus interest you? If so, please send me an e-mail at Please keep in mind that my schedule tends to fill up around 4-6 weeks in advance.

Session Presenter Biography – Kevin McManus

As Chief Excellence Officer of Great Systems, Kevin McManus provides virtual coaching and content to help leaders at all levels use proven best practices to enhance and optimize their work systems. Over forty years of experience in roles such as Industrial Engineer, Training Manager, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality give Kevin a ‘real life work’ perspective relative to process optimization, engagement and empowerment, and operational excellence. Teaching 430 courses (and counting) as an international contract trainer for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process further enhance Kevin’s assets to help leaders proactively minimize risk, reduce errors, and improve reliability.

Kevin holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. His more than 20 years of service as a national Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Award Examiner includes his recent three-year term on the national Judge’s Panel. Kevin has authored the monthly performance improvement column for Industrial and Systems Engineer magazine for over 20 years, is an Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering Fellow and has been a member of IISE for over forty years. His newest book, “The Ultimate Org Ergo Book – How to Build a Better Organization”, will be published in late 2022.

Keep improving!

Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer, Great Systems

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