Recent Talks by Kevin McManus

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

In addition to facilitating TapRooT® root cause analysis workshops and my own performance improvement workshops to groups both in the United States and around the world, I also seek out opportunities to make keynote presentations at conferences, organizational improvement events, and local chapter meetings. If you would like to have me be a part of one of your upcoming events like this, please send me an e-mail. Please keep in mind that my schedule tends to fill up around 4-6 weeks in advance.

Here is a list of some of the recent talks I have been making recently:

Pursuing Process Excellence – How to Sustain Your Improvement Efforts

In the majority of implementation efforts, project teams are used to drive a given performance improvement initiative.  Most commonly, kaizen teams are used to put lean methodologies in place and six sigma teams are employed to take advantage of those quality focused tools, just as quality circles were once relied on as the drivers of a company’s total quality management effort.  While a project team approach, where a select percentage of employees get to participate in improvement efforts, can deliver significant short term gains, it is not enough to either build the use of these techniques into an organization’s work culture or create a way of doing work that is sustainable over the long term.

The small percentage of truly high performance organizations that exists has figured this out.  They realize that sustained success over time cannot be realized by relying on project teams alone – high levels of both employee engagement and consistent process improvement are needed.  They make it mandatory that each employee, and in particular, each process owner, both learn process improvement skills and use them on a daily basis.  Team meetings become more than something one attends for an hour or two a week.  Projects become more than something a select group of supervisors work on a time permits.  Performance measurement is not seen as optional or as something that project teams do, but most process leaders don’t. Most importantly, they find time for their improvement efforts by working to minimize the high levels of management system waste that often exist in most organizations.

To achieve process excellence, all work must be seen as a process that is customer-focused.  In order to integrate this theory into each employee’s job, leaders must be measured differently, process measurement efforts must be balanced and aligned, learning must be seen as something that people must do in order to advance, and an effective root cause analysis approach must be used to find the systemic causes of human performance and equipment problems for all key processes.  In this workshop, a variety of proven approaches for achieving these, and other systemic changes, in your organization will be shared.  You will leave this workshop with a tangible road map for taking your performance improvement efforts to the next level, and you will hopefully gain additional insight into why most performance improvement initiative fail to live up to their long term process 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 which have both sustained their improvement systems over time and improved the volume and impact of their system changes.

Why have some organizations been successful while most have hopped from one approach to another in pursuit of one that really works?  What design features have these organizations built into their continuous improvement approaches to allow for sustained 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?

Participating in this workshop will provide you with the tools and processes necessary to design, build, use, and improve a continuous improvement system.  It is also designed to help 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 will help you put a continuous improvement system that best meets your needs in a value added, cost effective manner.

Best Practices in Mistake Proofing – Systems for Process Excellence

What percent of the organizations who have invested time and money to pursue six sigma levels of quality have actually achieved those levels?  Of that percentage, how many have sustained these levels of performance over time?  The resultant rate is low – few organizations attain, let alone sustain, six sigma levels of performance across a variety of their work processes.  The positive side of this however is that these organizations are probably not using very effective error proofing approaches.  They may think that the systems they are using 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 – can be found.  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 while also improving their work systems? This presentation will give you the system details used by these organizations and others.

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

Improving processes takes time, no matter which tools or approaches you use.  While most of us conceptually recognize this, we also fail to ensure that we are investing enough time to improve as fast as we want to and that we are using our limited time investments wisely.  We mandate that people support our process improvement efforts, and then wonder why they don’t provide the level of support we requested.

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 that are designed to be largely non-value added, such as meetings, e-mail, and training.  If you want to improve at a faster rate, you have to invest more time collectively as an organization and use that time wisely.

In this presentation, we will explore the types of time investments that high performance organizations make to support their process improvement efforts.  We will also share effective approaches that can be used to reduce your non-value added meeting, e-mail, and training time, in turn helping 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 twenty-five 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 twenty five 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, Kevin McManus will share his personal quality journey over the last twenty-five years with you.  As he does so, he will explore the different trends and fads that have been part of the shift towards continuous process improvement in this country.  He will also make a case however to support his beliefs that we really have not changed that much – that absent of technology, our workplaces are not much better places to work at now than they were in 1980.  Finally, he will offer best practices and a course of action that we can follow if we choose to really make our workplaces more effective and capable of sustaining significant improvements over time.

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? Take the time to spend this hour with Kevin, and form your own opinion.  Have we really improved, or do we have a lot of work to do?

Stop Meeting Madness – Using LSS (Lean Six Sigma) to Improve Meeting Effectiveness

Meetings are a necessary process in any high performance workplace.  Unfortunately, meetings can also result in a lot of organizational waste.  This presentation will explore meeting waste and defect types, along with examples of process improvement tools which can be used to reduce your own organizational meeting waste.

Many organizations are attempting to use lean and six sigma approaches to improve their front line processes, but they appear to be reluctant to apply these approaches to certain key management processes.  From a high performance workplace perspective, meetings represent a key management process that we invest a lot of time and money in daily. While this may make sense, many organizations don’t use their lean, six sigma, or process excellence techniques to improve the effectiveness of their meetings.  How much money does your plant, job site, or company spend on meetings in a typical week?  Which meeting defects are affecting your team the most?  How much of your meeting time is wasted? How could this time be better invested to help the organization improve?

In this presentation, you will learn techniques for measuring meeting effectiveness and cost in the same manner that we analyze the performance of front line work processes.  You will also learn how to define typical meeting defects and rework, and how to make process improvements that will reduce that waste.  Examples of systems that can be used to increase meeting process owner accountability, meeting alignment, and skills for leading effective meetings will be also be shared.

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 wasting time and money 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 would like to think that they are high performers, but many also struggle to actually achieve and sustain the results that justify such a title. Examples of high performance work systems and cultures are used in the presentation to help illustrate what a high performance company looks, sounds, and feels like. Multiple high performance workplace assessments are also used to help participants gauge their progress towards becoming a high performance organization.

If you want to shift a work culture, you have to start by changing the work systems that drive, support, and encourage high performance work behaviors and beliefs. This presentation will help you learn more about these simple, but effective, work systems. It will also give you the chance to assess the degree to which your existing 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, almost twenty years into this new century, many of us are still left wondering what it takes to really be an effective leader, especially 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.

This presentation is intended 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, quickly respond to rapidly shifting customer demands, and effectively learn to utilize change. This workshop will provide key tools that are needed to become a better leader in today’s global business climate.

Session Presenter Biography – Kevin McManus

Kevin McManus is Chief Excellence Officer for Great Systems and an international trainer for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process. During his thirty-eight plus years in the business world, he has served as an Industrial Engineer, Training Manager, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director of Quality.   He holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and a MBA. Kevin has been a member of IIE for more than thirty-seven years, and has served as Senior VP of Continuing Education on the IIE Board of Trustees.  He has served as an Examiner and Senior Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for eighteen years.  Kevin also writes the monthly performance improvement column for Industrial and Systems Engineer magazine, and he has published a book entitled “You Can’t Win Indy in an Edsel – How to Develop a High Performance Work Culture.