2021 Operational Excellence Summit: State of Nebraska

2021 Operational Excellence Summit: State of Nebraska

by Patrick Adams | Nov 16, 2021

 

This week I’m sharing some of the interviews and chats I got to have during my time at the 2021 Operational Excellence Summit in the State of Nebraska.  I got the opportunity to speak with multiple leaders in the Lean and Operational Excellence community and I’m excited to share my interviews with you today. 

 

The state of Nebraska launched the Center of Operational Excellence in 2016 to change the culture in state government and train state teammates in Process Improvement. Since May 2016, the COE has facilitated 575 process improvement projects, saving over 630,000 of work that has led to being able to put more of a focus on customer service. 

 

What You’ll Learn This Episode:

 

  • Working in Nebraska State Government and how Lean as been implemented
  • How Lean saves for taxpayers
  • Some of the upcoming projects in the state of Nebraska
  • Success stories from the state of Nebraska 

 

About the 2021 Operational Excellence Summit: 

The 2021 Operational Excellence Summit convenes leaders and change agents from the State of Nebraska to discuss the opportunities to build upon the success the Center of Operational Excellence has had. The Summit is a unique chance for leaders who share a passion for continuous improvement to get together and exchange ideas. 

 

Important Links: 

https://das.nebraska.gov/coe/

 

Patrick Adams  

Welcome to the Lean solutions podcast where we discuss business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for true Lean process improvement. I am your host, Patrick Adams. Hello, everybody. I’m with Mark Bogan. And Mark is a recent graduate of green belt in Lean Six Sigma. Here at the state of Nebraska. We are currently at the 2021 operational excellence summit for the state of Nebraska. amazing to see everybody here and just the excitement and engagement that’s happening within the state government. But you’re actually fairly new to the government and to the Lean Six Sigma program, the operational excellence program here at the State of Nebraska, can you just tell me a little bit about your, maybe your initial experience or your journey that’s been progressing through since you started with the state?

Mark Bogan  

Yeah, there’s a lot of energy here today, thanks for having me on. This is very exciting to be in a conference that’s focused on process improvement and has so much support from the top down in our governor coming in from private enterprise and instituting the center of operational excellence. So it’s a great honor to be part of that. And I feel very, you know, welcome and very included, and just a lot of opportunity for growth, and to make an impact, as the governor said, to, you know, make a difference in the lives of our citizens. I feel like we’re really, you know, doing something that matters, yes. And makes an impact on real life.

Patrick Adams  

Yeah, it was amazing to hear about some of the projects this morning. And just the savings, that that really ends up being savings for the taxpayers, right. So the projects that you guys are working on are, you know, not just improving the work environment and the processes within the state government, but it’s also impacting the citizens of the state of Nebraska. So what an amazing legacy that the governor is, you know, is creating for, you know, for the state. Exactly. So, let’s talk about your Lean Six Sigma certification. So when you started, how long ago here,

Mark Bogan  

I started in June. Okay, so very new, yeah, very new, had just very basic, sort of a long time ago, sort of a lean introduction in a business class and familiar with six sigma, a little bit academically, but to really get into the tools and methodology and, and to start to incorporate those into my thinking, you know, we had some trainings and very in depth, you know, kind of one on one classroom type training, you know, there was a written test, and then they assigned me to projects to work on to, to make projects that we did in Kaizen events. Very nice.

Patrick Adams  

And you work for the coach, too.

Mark Bogan  

Yep. So I have a mentor, that actually with a different agency, within our states, wow, adds a lot of dimension and extra, you know, input. And then I think my biggest takeaway is to trust the process of process improvement, you know, there’s, we have our checklist and the tools. But once you sort of internalize those, then really, it’s about team building, it’s about helping facilitate the team, it’s their project, it’s not my project. That’s right, facilitating them, and bringing them along through the process. So that was really my kind of aha moment was, you know, this works. This is working, I was a little, you know, apprehensive that a three day, you know, kaizen event was actually going to make any change. And so that’s amazing.

Patrick Adams  

Can you fill in the listeners, maybe, on some details of your project, what it is that you’re working on?

Mark Bogan  

So I was assigned to projects to begin with? One was very administrative, managing fixed assets. Okay. So, you know, when purchases are made in our, in our agency, there’s a coordinator that, that records all those assets, and then was able to track those the life of those and it was very ill defined or, or not defined at all, like how they were supposed to submit those and, and what they needed to make those entries. So, you know, not really exciting in the sense of, you know, very just standard day to day work, but by defining a standard operating procedure, creating a checklist, having some, you know, built in error checks, yeah, make sure that, you know, we take care of those before the error occurs. Sure, really, I think it’ll just really make a big difference long term for all the agencies that everyone is submitting to us. Yeah, the other project was grass seeding. So after the guys building a road project, you know, they have to get the contractors out there to install grass seed. So the citizens want it to look good and they don’t have governmental concerns. So the way that they select those and the way they get the contractors out into the field, we reviewed that process and hadn’t been looked at, like 20 years. So there was a lot of private changes that were made to that. But I think we’ll get it done quickly, more efficiently, with serious money.

Patrick Adams  

Oh, that’s amazing. I love hearing that. And I loved what you talked about with the aha moments, you know, within the team, when you started to see that kind of those light bulbs going off with your team. And just the excitement that happened, you know, as they were part of the process of improving, you know, for each of those projects. And speaking of your team, you tell me a little bit more about your team here, because you guys have a name right that you call yourselves.

Mark Bogan  

Yeah, we’re not really supposed to tell the other agencies, but our process improvement team, we call ourselves the Dream Team. Nice. And it’s a really supportive and close knit group. You know, I think the personalities and sort of the mixture of different giftedness is very unique and sure and complementary. So we really enjoy one another but so we’re doing a lot of our projects independently, but then we come together every day and encourage each other and, and help sort of overcome any roadblocks or, or issues that we are facing. So I’ve just felt the love there.

Patrick Adams  

Yeah, that’s great. And you. So as far as your team goes, you’re not in the same building, you’re all in different parts of the state. Is that correct?

Mark Bogan  

So the Department of Transportation, we’re all in the same office space. Okay, so the team, the Dream Team is in that agency, but then each agency within the state of Nebraska has embedded process improvement coordinators, that’s one of the the changes instituted by our governor to get process improvement professionals in every agency, supporting their work and their processes. So I love that we do have some interaction with the other agencies. This conference is a great example of that coming in across all the state agencies. And then we also do continuous education and just different learning opportunities throughout each month, we have different ways to get together and learn to

Patrick Adams  

share. That’s amazing. And even, we were talking, there’s a few sharing opportunities going on across the nation, right, where you can plug in with different states on what they’re doing from a process improvement perspective. There’s some speakers and even sharing of projects and things like that.

Mark Bogan  

Yes. So specifically, the transportation industry, we have some relationships with other states where we have lean forums. And they’re I think it’s out of Colorado, they have a bi monthly gathering, and they invite speakers. And so it’s very supportive. And it’s been great for me as a new practitioner, oh, yeah, get to know who’s in the industry, what they’re

Patrick Adams  

doing, and even being able to bounce ideas or look for best practices. You know, there’s a lot of organizations out there that don’t share best practices, unfortunately. And so you end up doing the same work that someone else has already done a project on, and then that’s waste, right? So the fact that you guys are sharing some of those best practices, you know, that’s going to allow you to move faster through projects and through some of the improvements because of the learnings from other people. So that’s amazing. I love the work that you guys are doing. I’m super excited to be here and just, you know, talk with someone like yourself, who’s brand new to the agency, and, you know, has started the Lean journey. So I wish you the best of luck going forward in your Lean journey.

Mark Bogan  

Thanks so much. It’s been great to talk to you, Patrick.

Patrick Adams  

All right. I’m standing here with LC and Nate. And we’re talking about some process mapping that’s been going on within your department. So I’m interested in both of you, maybe introducing yourselves to the audience.

LC Bobek  

Sure. LC Bobek, I’m the Medical Services Director at the Division of Medicaid and long term care. And I started with Medicaid in June of 2020.

Nate Weston  

And hello, my name is Nate Watson, and I’m Deputy Director for compliance. I’ve been with Medicaid for nearly seven years.

Patrick Adams  

Wow. And so you guys have been integral in the development of a project that you’ve been working on within your agency. And I’m curious to hear a little bit more about the project itself, and then we’ll kind of talk about the experience.

Nate Weston  

Sure. In the state of Nebraska, we within Nebraska Medicaid, we have a state review to the so called SRT and that is a group that among other things, does disability determinations determines if someone meets the Social Security criteria to be disabled because depending on a person or family situation, it’s not always the case that Social Security can make that determination. So our team makes that determination and as part of that there are several moving pieces if you will, involved in the process, both within the Medicaid division as well as our sister division developmental disabilities, which administers the day to day, what we call waiver services and services that come to individuals in their home. And so, as I say, it involves several moving pieces, so many different parts of the process. And it really is the means by which we determine whether someone qualifies for different services. And indeed, in some cases, whether they’re eligible for MediCal, and again, we’ll get because it has so many moving pieces, and so many people. And we really wanted to take a step back and see if there was anything we could do as part of the process, which we strongly suspected, we could Yes, to a sneak peek to the results as we approached them. We’re not quite there yet. It appears that yes, there are things that can be streamlined. But we wanted to make certain that what what about it was duplicative? What about it was less than entirely efficient? What was the way that we can maximize both the efficiency of all those involved in the process, but also was, at the same time still very respectful of their part in the process? Sure,

Patrick Adams  

if that makes sense. And so obviously, it sounds like a very complex process and has taken quite a while to fully map the process. LC, can you maybe tell us a little bit about the experience with the team of mapping the process.

LC Bobek  

My nurses mentioned to me when I started last year that they could see opportunities for improvement. They were getting 400 500 pages of medical records, etc. And so as I spoke to Nate, and we then spoke to the deputy director of the sister division, and then we decided to facilitate, we don’t lead, we listen, and the staff, the teammates, they are the ones who actually discuss each step in the process that they do. And with the help of our process improvement supervisors, Nicola Pickens, and Katy, watch horn, these two ladies have been tremendous. And they have helped us through this process. So, Patrick, to answer your question, what is my experience, I would say it’s my experience of discovery. And not just for myself as I’m learning, but even the teammates, that one didn’t know what the other was doing or responsible for. So it’s been a process of discovery.

Patrick Adams  

Wow, that’s amazing. And I bet if we talked to the team, they would probably feel the same way. They would just say it’s been an amazing experience. I’m excited to see what happens or the results of that. It sounds like you already kind of have a picture of what’s coming in the future. What would you say the next steps are?

Nate Weston  

Well, I think that’s fair to say. We haven’t come to any firm conclusions by any means yet, but it does appear that there certainly is room for improvement for streamlining of the process. And indeed, to make certain that all involved in the process know what they need to know. And really, it helps one do their individual part of the process if they know how it fits into the rest of the process. That’s right. And I want to echo another thing, Dr. Bobek said, it’s so important. And I couldn’t agree more with being able to help empower those individuals on the team to be able to help drive towards the best solution. They’re involved with it every day, I’m not right. And so I greatly appreciate their perspective that they bring to

LC Bobek  

magic, I want to add one more thing to that, because this is our daily work as we review disability, not just to make our daily process more efficient and smooth. But also, as we come into the public health emergency unwind that we anticipate will come sometime maybe in 2022. We internally want to have our process down so we are ready to go. When there will be an increased workload, we can still function smoothly.

Patrick Adams  

I love that. And I just want to say thank you on behalf I’m sure of your team who’s probably thank you but just for the leadership that you too are providing to the team and walking them through this discovery process. So thank you so much for what you guys are doing with your team. You’re in a car puke and she is with the shared services area for the COE Correct? Correct. All right. And I’m excited to hear from you. Because you are currently a Six Sigma Green Belt, and you’re on your way to getting your Black Belt certification. So you’re a black belt candidate. Is that right? Absolutely. Yes. So lots of great experiences over this last year

Patrick Adams  

So let’s start off with just talking about your introduction to Lean Six Sigma. What has been your journey from the beginning?

Nate Weston  

Well, the first time I laid eyes on Lean Six Sigma was when I worked at DHHS We did, or participated in the process redesign with how long applications are processed. Okay. And I think that process was because I don’t have the exact data on hand right now. But I think the process was reduced by about 60% in time. And so I was a coordinator in this licensing unit. And so we begin puddles, visual management, at the cue the board going, got our calendars up. And so we started meeting with the team. And it was touch and go for a while, because, as you know, change is hard. I know some of the teammates, they weren’t too excited to stop and huddle while they had applications that were piling up. So that was a challenge in itself just to gather and get that communication going. As my supervisor said, Let’s embrace this new adventure. I love that as far as huddling goes, yeah. But what it did, it did a three a 180, actually not 361 80, it totally transformed our team, in a way where not only were we communicating about what work is being done, were some hardships were there were some constraints, but it also led into cross training, which was amazing. And that was not even on the table. So after this process improvement project, not only was our team talking more, we were already cross training. And we had some folks, I think two of the ladies that were preparing for retirement, okay. And so we were able to capture their processes as well. So that was amazing. Yeah, because then we hired two new people, and we had to train them.

Patrick Adams  

And you had everything. A lot of companies struggle with that because people retire or leave, and they take a lot of the knowledge that they had with them. So it’s good that you were able to capture that.

Nate Weston  

Yeah, that was amazing. And you know, after being part of that, I don’t know, I just, I guess I was just on fire about process improvement. And I wanted to learn more about methodology. At that time, they were only offering the yellow belt training to the managers, okay. But my manager allowed me to partake in that. And I’ve met other individuals who were process improvement coordinators at that time. And so I applied for the job. So that’s, you know, being part of change, and then actually becoming a pig myself.

Patrick Adams  

Right. Right. That’s amazing. And you talked about some of the challenges. But obviously, I hear a lot of excitement in your voice, too. So it hasn’t all been challenges, right. There’s been some fun along the way. And I’m curious to hear about, you know, what would you say? Has it been enjoyable to be part of the Lean Six Sigma team?

Nate Weston  

Absolutely, I think one of the things that really hooked me in was the mentorship program, because working for the state, I haven’t had that before. And so this was definitely a huge win, is to have an opportunity to be mentored and to grow. And the mentoring at that time was provided by our director, okay, that thing. And he also has trained us to become mentors. So as we hire and train new greenbelts, we’re able to mentor them. And I think that has been a huge piece. When you talk about excitement. Someone not only welcoming you to the team, being part of a community, learning about different agencies and how they operate and just the different cultures, it’s having that mentorship and support. Sure, Director Well, and

Patrick Adams  

That’s where sustainability comes to, right. I mean, you’re excited, and you’re having fun coaching and mentoring others, but also by developing that, that whole program where you’re being mentored and coached, but you’re also coaching and mentoring others. Now, that’s just going to continue to sustain the improvements in the direction that you guys are heading. So that’s pretty amazing.

Nate Weston  

Yes, and with mentoring comes a lot of empowerment, where I’m empowered by Elsa to have an opportunity to empower others. And as we had seen new people come on board, as far as green belts go. You learned along the way of some of the constraints that you’ve had, and lessons learned. 

Patrick Adams  

Very nice. And so what have been some of those challenges and maybe lessons learned, maybe you mentioned a few of them.

Nate Weston  

I think the biggest one is understanding that when you’re doing process redesign with a team, that it’s really their process, not yours. And understanding that the new improved process will be theirs as well. And really empower your team to take ownership of that because if that doesn’t happen to you as a pig, embrace this process and take ownership of it, the outcome is not going to be as successful or effective. Sure, sure, because they will pilot this process and scale the new process and go with it and keep perfecting it, and it has to be there. So it has to be there. So when we do our team meetings, it’s really important to exercise those soft skills as far as hands on learning, like letting them write and letting them map out the process.

Patrick Adams  

I love that. Yeah. So you’ve mentioned your team a few times. And I’m wondering if your team will come into this answer. But I’m curious to hear what you value most about your job. And what you do.

Nate Weston  

Well, I value most about my job. I would say that people aspect, I really like methodology, it really works. But you need the people to do it. And what I have enjoyed is working in shared services, where I’m supporting three different agencies, three different cultures, and three different visions. And so when we’re looking at improvement and change, it’s really trying to build trust, which takes time, right? And a lot of empathy. I feel like Yes. However, you can see it flourish, and you can see the results. So my favorite part, I think, is just really connecting with the people, right, understanding where they’re at, where they are at in their process, and really understanding what they’re trying to change and what they’re trying to

Patrick Adams  

achieve. Very nice. And what would you say just kind of enclosing what our next steps for Ina, you know, in the process of growing with the team and where where would you? Where do you see yourself going in the future?

Nate Weston  

Well, thank you for asking. So I am a candidate. I’m currently in a cohort of black belts training. I’m hoping to work with even more agencies. I’d love to hear and learn more about all of our common agencies. Sure. And something that I have a big passion for is training and developing. I really enjoy training and developing and helping people identify what they’re good at. So they can utilize their talents. I love it. And so I want to pursue more of that.

Patrick Adams  

Very nice. While they’re very, I can’t even say enough about the people that I’ve talked with here so far. And just the people like you that have the ability to help train and mentor these people. I just love the fact that you guys are in the places that you are so that you can continue to help support the growth of the state of Nebraska and the government and what you guys are doing here. So thank you for what you do. Thank you for having me. I am here with Shane dolphin bot, and he is with the COE and you are a black belt trainer with the COE Is that correct?

Shane  

I’m a black belt and one of the trainers. Yes.

Patrick Adams  

What is your involvement with the cog? What exactly do you do?

Shane  

I am what we call the Green Belt and executive Green Belt captain. I’m in charge of the Green Belt training. Okay. And the executive Greenville train in Greenville training is the process improvement practitioners. Sure if that we have embedded in our agencies, like what I do, and the executive Greenbelt is the training that we have for directors and deputies, deputy directors, those kind of things kind of the executive level, and how we train them to be champions of process improvement for their agency.

Patrick Adams  

Very nice. Okay. Yeah. And within that role, obviously, you’ve been taking part in training, multiple green belts and coaching, you have a coaching and mentoring program as well. So what would you say throughout you know, your your time in this role have been some of the challenges that you faced,

Shane  

I think one of the biggest challenges that I’d have to overcome and still work on overcoming is entering into a room with the executives with the people that are very smart. That’s what I said. Sure, I go into rooms with very smart people that don’t know what they do. I don’t really know how to fix the problems that they find. Sure. So that’s, that’s challenging for me, because I feel like I’m the one who’s supposed to know things. They look to me to go, Okay, how do we fix this? And I have to say, I don’t know. But I do know enough that I could facilitate you figuring out how you can fix things, and how you can make what you do better. Not that there’s anything wrong with what you do. Oftentimes, there may not be identified pain points. But it’s not. It’s not to say that what you do is awful, right? It’s to say, Hey, let me help you figure out how you can do it better.

Patrick Adams  

Sure, sure. So what would you say maybe are a couple of facilitation techniques that you use to help make that happen.

Shane  

I think that the first and most obvious is just respect for the people, like understanding that again, I’m not the smartest person in the room. Like I have a ton of training. I have a lot of tools in the tool bag, you know, Lean Six Sigma comes with. Yeah, Lean Six Sigma comes with all kinds of different tools that you have to help facilitate. But that doesn’t mean that I know what you do and I know how best for you to do. So what my job is to really listen to understand All right, talk to me about what it is you do lay that out for me. You know, I’m, tell me what, what I often say is tell me what you do. As if you were saying it to a fifth grader. Hmm. Help me to understand it. Yeah. And then we’ll lay it out visually. Sure. And then just listening to how you do it helps me to better facilitate you. Looking at things differently from the, from the side, from the top, from whatever angle, it happens to be sure. And that, just that, in itself, helps me be a better facilitator, but also builds a trust, that I’m not coming in to mandate this group of people that have so much more experience in what it is, I can’t just say, Okay, do this, do this, do this, right. Instead, oh, this is what you do. That’s fascinating, really, it’s like, I love hearing people’s stories. And then understanding that, wow, you know, when they feel like I’m actually listening, then that builds a trust so that when I do have some ideas, when I do have some things that might be able to share, when I do share some tools, they can go, You know what, I don’t think that’s gonna work. But I think I’m gonna give it a try. Because we’ve built a little bit of rapport, we build trust, and it continues, right, you know, into actually facilitating something that they’re like, Wow, this is really cool. And then they own it, too, because that’s the great thing. That’s a great thing is when it’s all said and done, I can just fade into the background. And they can be proud to say, hey, look, this is what we did with this team, we had a team of, you know, however many people, six people we got together. And we did some incredible stuff. Yeah. And, and then they’re the ones that execute it and implement it so that it continues so that when I step back, when I’m out of the way, I can come back, just the other day, I had the pleasure of I’m a people person, so I yeah, I will just get out of my office, get up from my desk and just wander the halls right of the Department of Transportation. And I went to a couple of cubicles of some friends of mine that I did a project with. And, and they looked at me and one of them said, You know what, I’m really angry with you right now. Really, I’m starting to feel a little bit worried like he had the serious face on again, a really angry view. When I worked with them over a year ago, they had a backlog, probably about six months of stuff that they needed to do. Okay, and we did. And again, I didn’t do anything, we did some process improvement, they were able to work some things out, change some stuff, look at it differently. And they said, and now we have, we’re waiting for work. We went from six months to always cramming things in, and private transportation. Project Delivery is key, like people want these projects delivered. People want roads open, right? want new things, you know, you can’t just sit on things that have this backlog. They were always under pressure. They’re always working overtime. It was crazy. They just felt overwhelmed. And now they’re just sitting there waiting for work. And it’s your fault. Like I had nothing to do till I got you into a room and started throwing things at a wall and they stuck. And you guys started talking about how you can do it better. Don’t blame me. They’re not gonna blame you for that one. Yeah, that’s right. That’s, it’s really cool to see that. That is

Patrick Adams  

really cool. And just in closing, Would would you have one success story, or maybe one, you know, one story that maybe maybe it’s not something that was under your coaching, but maybe from the state of Nebraska, something that was just a big hitter, that really made a big impact for the state, anything that that you want to mention or talk about in closing?

Shane  

Yeah, there’s one that stands that was one of the first projects that I was involved with. And it dealt with occupancy permits for the right of way, okay. And like for utility companies, cable, phone, whatever, whatever it may be, they will often have to occupy right away. And to get a permit was taking on average 20 plus days. And it was really delaying the projects. Because sometimes we really, in order to move a project forward, we have to find ways to get utility companies to move out of the way or to kind of help them through that permitting process. Okay. And sitting with the team, helping facilitate them giving them some benchmarking from other states. That’s what I was able to do. Sure, they really did. The team really put this together and turned it around from a 19 day process that was heavy on the paperwork and a lot of just kind of grumbling back and forth to it’s it’s less than two days now. It’s 1.9 days at that I mean, that’s just fun, just knowing those numbers. Yeah, that’s amazing and knowing that we have a much better relationship with some of those utility companies that we’re doing that and you can begin to serve. Our constituents serve to The people of Nebraska, the citizens, something you know, that they may not even think of. They didn’t even know that was part of the process of rebuilding a road is right, these kind of permits. So yeah, that’s a super fun one.

Patrick Adams  

Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, I love the work that you guys are doing here. And it’s been great to be a part of it here at the summit. 

Shane

So thank you so much for inviting me. Really happy to have you here. Patrick, thanks so much.

Patrick Adams  

All right, I am with John O’Keefe. And he has a doctorate in semiotics, which I’m excited to hear a little bit more about here. But he also is a Lean Six Sigma black belt with the DHHS here at the State. And so John, tell us a little bit more about your background and what you do and even about your doctorate.

John O’Keefe  

I am currently a Lean Six Sigma black belt with the Department of Health and Human Services. And we do projects and large projects dealing with interagency. So a lot of statistical analysis, a lot of statistical data collection, and a lot of interpretation. And that’s what I really like to do. That’s really where my head’s at. My doctorate is in semiotics, which is basically the study of signs and symbols. And it’s my doctoral dissertation on leadership in the emerging culture. What is the next generation leader going to look like? And then how do we know if we are doing it? Right? I’m old and an expert. And so there are a lot of people that are all old, and Boomers, young and Boomers, right, right, that kind of don’t understand millennials and z’s and whatever tag that we want to place on them. Sure. And they have a hard time understanding them. Never realizing that there’s also CUSP generations, between boomers and xers there’s the Joneses, there, they just exist in that cost a few years either way of where they are, and they can either be all x or all Boomer. But as with every generation, there’s a cusp, there’s a transitional period. Sure. But within a lot of specially within state government, there’s a lot of older people are getting ready to retire. And so they’re not understanding how to deal with the next generation or manage the next generation or lead the next generation. So how do they do that? And so that’s kind of where my, my, my dissertation was on. And how do we, you know, I don’t like the term manage because you don’t manage people. Sure of you, you know, you lead them, or you’re encouraged to follow them. But so how do we do that? And with this next generation,

Patrick Adams  

I love that. So hi. So how did that turn into Lean Six Sigma for you? What’s been your connection there?

John O’Keefe  

flashback to the 80s. Okay, I don’t know. Trying to remember that he can’t remember half the 80s. But it’s just a natural thing for me. Yeah. Just because my mind thinks in terms of processes, but doesn’t think in terms of linear. So I think in terms of circular. Yeah, I have a weird form of dyslexia, that I can’t record time, the way others record time. So time is, I don’t remember dates. I don’t remember anything like that, if I remember my daughter’s birthday, and that’s about it. You know, everything else has to be on a calendar for me, okay. But also, if I see a picture, with red, or orange, and yellow, bright yellows, they’re all three dimensional. So that part of the picture pops out is a three dimensional image. Wow, in my brain. So I don’t think the way normal people think, yeah, and Lean Six Sigma makes sense. Yeah. Is there a sound word. So this, this is supposed to be this methodology and all this? And it’s like, yeah, no, it’s just natural.

Patrick Adams  

It’s just that’s what makes you such a good process. Improvement practitioner, right?

John O’Keefe  

I guess. So. I mean, I went from a green belt to black belt in a year and a half, two years. Simon, I’m you know, and I love it. I mean, I love the and in my case, what I do a lot of is, is this statistics is the, you know, the analysis, how do we know what is the what does the analytics say? How are we connecting this? And where are the dots? And how are they? How do they work? Sure. And the interpretation of that data, so that all makes sense to me, I can look at numbers and I can look at data. And I can look at all the statistical formulas you want to create. And it makes sense, I can just see where the numbers lie and I can see how things are working out and, and I’m able to pick where the issues are, where the where the, where the problems lie, and then how do we address how do we can how can we address those very nice.

Patrick Adams  

So John, you and I are wrapping up the 2021 operational excellence Summit. He’s awesome. Yeah, this was the last interview for the day. And so I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on it because this is the first annual they

John O’Keefe  

This is the first time we’ve ever done it. This is the first time we ever put something like this together. And we did it in three months. Wow. The team put it together in three months. And we just had a great team. You know, Lindsey, Eric, Mark, Heather, myself, others. I mean, just this great team of people that really just dove into it went heavy into it. Matt held us to task manager director, he held us to task. And we just really pushed forward with any kind of obstacle we hit. We tried to solve them within the first hour of getting that problem, sir, we just did it. We just hit it running. And it went great. We had over 300 people. Yeah, Full House, everybody’s walking out saying how much they enjoyed it. And people were walking out and telling me, they came in with the idea that this was going to be quick. Oh, great. Here we go, yeah, mediocre kind of thing. And they’re only planning to stay for half, you know, half that thing and then leave after lunch or before lunch or whatever, have wind up staying for the entire time, you know, their whole team stayed for the entire time. So a lot of people were impressed with that. It was just really a powerful conversation narrative on what Lean does and how Lean WORKS within the state of Nebraska. Yeah. And we’ve done some phenomenal stuff in Nebraska with COVID and with some other projects that we’ve worked on. So just to hear those different agency heads and those different agency directors and Cabinet members sitting through this and really walking out with an experience that says, Wow, you did a great thing. And Governor Ricketts was great. Jason Jackson was great. Everybody was great. Matt Singh was great. We just had a really good time and it was fun. It wasn’t just sitting there listening to a bunch of people talking about tools. Right. Right was because you know, you and I had that conversation before. It’s not a tool. It’s the narrative that makes my heart sing. So just to hear the narratives to hear the stories was phenomenal.

Patrick Adams  

Yeah. So it was a great day. So I’m excited to come back next year and see how you guys take some learnings from this year and apply them and make it even better next year. Yeah. And

John O’Keefe  

There’s always lessons to learn. There’s always lessons to learn. But even you, you were great. I mean, you know that you had the crowd where they were wanting to be, you know, lined up with 40 people doing my favorite exercises? Yeah, you know, and I’ve done it before where it’s just words that come out wrong. And I’ve been I like the whole visual of using your hands and especially opposed to that. So I like that. I think it was great. I think everything went well. And yeah, I’m looking forward to next year, too. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

Patrick Adams  

All right. Well, thanks again. It was great to meet you in person finally.

John O’Keefe  

Great meeting you. Yeah, I know. We talk on LinkedIn all the time and everything. So it’s kind of like when I walked in, I thought Oh, good, Patrick. Yeah, yeah,

Patrick Adams  

yeah. Now we can have the face to the voice. And that’s it. Alright, that’s it. Thanks a lot, John.

John O’Keefe

Thank you. Appreciate your time.

Patrick Adams  

Thanks so much for tuning into this episode of the lean solutions podcast. If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to subscribe. This way you’ll get updates as new episodes become available. If you feel so inclined. Please give us a review. Thank you so much.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.