Intangible Character Traits with Elisabeth Swan

Intangible Character Traits with Elisabeth Swan

by Patrick Adams | Oct 18, 2022

In this episode, Elisabeth Swan and I discuss the intangibles when it comes to leading others.  Elisabeth is the president of Swan Consulting & Associates, Inc., and co-founder of the Just-In-Time Café. She’s the co-author of the Problem-Solver’s Toolkit: A Surprisingly Simple Guide to Your Lean Six Sigma Journey, and has been helping clients drive change for decades. She’s a Master Black Belt, Speaker, Coach and Lean Six Sigma consultant with a focus on leveraging people to build vibrant problem-solving cultures.  Today, we discussed her new book titled, “Picture Yourself a Leader: Illustrated Micro-lessons in Navigating Change” which will be published in just a few months.

What You’ll Learn This Episode:

  • What do you mean by “intangibles” in terms of process improvement?
  • Why do people struggle with intangibles?
  • Do you have an example(s)?
  • What are some root causes?
  • What are some actions people can take?

About the Guest: 

Elisabeth has been working as a business process improvement consultant and change leader for over 30 years. She specializes in process-based organization design, problem solving, Lean Six Sigma and change management for blue chip clients.

Her client engagements focus on working with leadership and leveraging the talents of internal project managers and teams in achieving strategic goals. The track records of these engagements consistently showcase measurable improvement.

Elisabeth’s industry experience includes healthcare, hospitality, financial services, insurance, telecommunications, energy and technology.

Specialties: – Process Improvement Program Design
– Lean Six Sigma
– Coaching
– Training Design and Implementation
– Leadership Coaching
– Improvement Team Training
– Large Group Facilitation
– Facilitation and Communication Skills

Important Links:

To get updates on when the book comes out:

To buy the Problem-Solver’s Toolkit (scroll to the bottom):

Full Episode Transcript:

Patrick Adams  00:01

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, everyone. And welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. Our guest today is Elizabeth Swann. And she is the president of Swan consulting and Associates, Inc, and co founder of the just in time cafe. She is the co author of the problem solvers toolkit, and has been helping clients drive change for decades. She has a master black belt speaker, coach, and Lean Six Sigma consultant with a focus on leveraging people to build vibrant problem solving cultures. Welcome to the show, Elizabeth.


Elisabeth Swan  00:44

Thank you for having me, Patrick.


Patrick Adams  00:46

Absolutely. So in in the intro, we talked a little bit about you being the co author of the problem solvers toolkit. I’m interested to hear a little bit more about that. And maybe you could just introduce our listeners to yourself, maybe a little bit of background, and then maybe we can dive into the problem solvers toolkit a little bit.


Elisabeth Swan  01:06

Sure. Let’s see, do a short background version. My my, my sort of industry experience started with a consulting firm that helped Japan recover after World War Two. So I was introduced to set up production just in time manufacturing, but not the word lean. And then as part of working with them, GE started on six sigma, right. And that drew every consulting firm as far as I could tell in the nation. So we all pull together, because GE was just so many businesses. Sure. And then it was, you know, Six Sigma was a coin of the realm and I think I came full circle over time, to see oh, this is, you know, the scientific method, these this, these are two toolkits, and this is kind of how it goes, a lot of my experience is in the transactional world. And I’d say, one client that spanned so much and had kind of both, what I would consider sort of almost manufacturing and service is hospitality. I worked with Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Marriott for for many, many years, and they all kind of there’s a diaspora and they’d gone to work in places like hospitals, or prisons or, you know, places that have kind of similar flows, in terms of patients and people. And now I’m working more in healthcare. So anyway, just like that sort of a 50 foot view.


Patrick Adams  02:45

Yeah, that’s, there’s a lot of experience there. And, you know, different industries, obviously, and also being, you know, in the Lean world, and then the Six Sigma world, and obviously, now a little bit in the in the two. So obviously, a huge breadth of experience. And I’m guessing that some of that is what helped you to write or co author of the problem solvers toolkit. Would that be accurate?


Elisabeth Swan  03:09

Yeah, that is, and, you know, I focused on hospitality, but I thinking, Oh, my God, there’s so many industries in there. But anyway, the the toolkit came out of tracing, I got together formed a partnership, and we built online, no yellow belt, Green Belt, Black Belt programs. Yes, asynchronous and blended, and the flipped classroom, a lot of those techniques. And what we realized was people loved having online access. You know, there’s things people can learn on their own. And then you get together with a coach and you can deepen your understanding. But they wanted something to take home, right? They wanted a tangible, so he said, Okay, well, let’s, let’s put together a book that guides people. And so it was really a problem solvers journey, right. And it’s a roadmap. So it’s really a road trip is the way we wrote it. And what was interesting about that, is that we came up with potholes, right? We said, Okay, you got to have a charter. You’ve got to collect some data, you got to map out your process, you know, we just focused on maybe 35, basic things you have to do on this journey. But then we said, Yeah, but you’re gonna hit potholes. And here’s the potholes you’re going to hit. And here is a detour. You know, here’s a workaround, here’s a repair. And then we said, hey, maybe you want to know more, here’s some sightseeing, if you want to really do a deep dive on the five asked, you know, whatever that aspect was, and then we found that people just really gravitated toward those potholes. You know, that that was like, Oh, no one talks about that the stuff that you know, here’s how you do it. Here’s a nice example looks clean should work but I you know, there’s always something that goes not quite right. So that was a big one. waiting for, for both of us. But I took that with me. For the next book like potholes, that’s where people really want to hear and learn.


Patrick Adams  05:10

Oh, yeah, I can resonate completely, because I just think about the, you know, when we when we train individuals in a classroom, that’s one thing, right? I can give case studies, I can give examples from my experience. And people are in the classroom shaking their head agreeing understanding, right? But it’s not until you get out, you know, back out to your work area. And all of a sudden, you’re like, oh, yeah, he told me to follow these three steps. Okay, let me do that. And then, you know, halfway through step number two, you know, something happens. And you’re like, Okay, wait a minute. He didn’t talk about that. Now, what do I do? And then, and I’ll tell you, from experience, I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve had people come back to me and talk to me, because they’re like, well, that stuff doesn’t work. What do you mean, it doesn’t work? Well, you know, I tried it, and it didn’t work. Why didn’t it work? Well, this, this happened, and this happened, you know, and then it’s like, okay, well, wait a minute, it does work. But we didn’t talk about those potholes. Right. So that’s, that’s powerful. I think that that’s a really interesting concept to think about is like, you know, because everyone will have those, they’ll have the potholes that they’ll, they’ll have to deal with things that are outside of what the, you know, the book told me to do, or the, you know, Elizabeth told me to do, or Patrick told me to do. So being able to navigate that is definitely an important skill set for people to learn,


Elisabeth Swan  06:34

right? Yeah. And I think what you’re pointing out, you know, for people to learn, and also, hitting those potholes enables them to learn, right, but your point, you don’t want them to stop and go, it just didn’t work. You want them to say, Oh, I hit this snag. That’s one of those snags you can hit. And now they know, okay, I’ve got to, I’ve got to, you know, come back on this. Right. And. And I think, as you and I both know, from years of experience, like, those are the things you remember, yeah, that didn’t work. So so now that sticks with me, I know, I’m, that’s not gonna happen to me again, because I, I know, the workaround, but I know that can happen,


Patrick Adams  07:19

right. And also, I would say, you know, for anyone that’s listening to what we’re seeing, obviously, reading, reading a book, like the problem solvers toolkit is one way that you can help develop some of those skills. But also, you know, getting getting together with a coach, you know, outside of the training or outside of reading the book, to be able to navigate, you know, some of those potholes together and really be able to bounce, bounce some of those challenges off of someone else that has had those experiences and be able to, again, you know, learn and work through those. Because it does work. It’s just that there’s you’re always every industry, every company, you’re always going to have those those potholes and you just have to know they’re coming. And not every single one of them I’m sure as laid out in your in your book, but as you said, some of them you just have to kind of work through and learn as you go, right? Yeah. Yeah. And that’s where a coach comes in really handy. Oh, yeah. So Elizabeth, you are also working on a new book. In the title is picture yourself a leader illustrated micro lessons in navigating change. And I’m very excited to hear a little bit more about this because in the book, you actually talk about intangibles versus like you mentioned, you know, in the problem solvers toolkit, where you talk about tangibles. So what do you mean by intangibles in terms of process improvement?


Elisabeth Swan  08:50

So in the toolkit, like you said, those are tangible, right? I wrote a charter this went wrong in in leadership, you’re also navigating potholes, right, things don’t go according to plan. But now these are more intangible. And I think intangibles, you know, you’ve, there’s lots of terms out there, for the intangibles. It’s change management, it’s EQ, you know, emotional intelligence, it’s influence skills. It’s that whole soft skill realm that kind of gets dealt with in a separate arena. Right? Again, we’re like, Okay, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s the plan. Here’s the, but without knowing it, these things are going wrong. And we often don’t kind of recognize why doesn’t that go more smoothly? Why doesn’t that work? Why aren’t people hey, I’m, I’m leading the charge. Why is no one behind me?


Patrick Adams  09:47

Right, absolutely. Makes complete sense. And I think there are some organizations that have, you know, training available like leadership development, training and things like that, that might touch on some of those soft skills and things. But I do think that there’s a huge gap for organizations that, you know, are on their Lean journey where, you know, people have been promoted into positions because they were good at running a piece of equipment or they were good at, you know, whatever, whatever the role is. And so they get promoted into this leadership position. But they’ve never had experience with those intangibles, right, especially in terms of process improvement,


Elisabeth Swan  10:28

you bring up a really great point, which is why people get promoted, right? Not always for the best reason. Also, I think there’s an issue around when you get leadership training, right? People get their first leadership positions in their 20s, you don’t get leadership training classically, until they’re in their 40s. The other thing that I seen and tried to address is there’s like, you know, these programs to be become a green belt, become a black belt get certified or do, you know, learn to do improvement kata, but then there’s kind of this dearth, I think we’re getting better at it. But there’s this dearth of very directed, okay, what does a leader of this person do? How would you develop those problem solvers? You know, so those things I think, are missing, or they’re over here, and I’m over here, right? So they’re different. So this book came out of the middle of COVID. And I just thought, well, let me start pulling together the things that I’ve learned over time. And each one, I just said, here’s an illustration of what I’m talking about. And then here’s a story that relates to this issue. And then I put it out on LinkedIn, and asked a question of the community and got great engagement. I mean, there was just a post that went incredibly deep in terms of examples people had as leaders, their own ways of dealing with it, techniques, books, really rich conversation. So what I pulled together was 52 of these that I felt like I called kind of views are the most evocative, the ones that got the most people were like, Yes, this is a huge issue. And I pulled those together, and pulled a little bit of the wisdom of the crowd for each, right. So got a little taste of, you know, someone like you author’s leaders, even in some other realms, you know, might even be their leaders, they’re just dealing with the same issues. It’s just a leadership issue. And pull those together. So that’s, that’s the so the book is addressing basically those leadership potholes.


Patrick Adams  12:51

And it’s such a such a great topic. I mean, I, I know why it blew up on LinkedIn, obviously, you know, you have so many people that are struggling, you know, or have challenges in in that area. So I’m excited to get my hands on this book. Why do you think, you know, maybe, maybe, from your own experience, or maybe some of the discussions that happened when you started posting some of that out there? Why, why do you think people struggle with the intangibles?


Elisabeth Swan  13:21

There’s a lot of reasons, some of it is kind of baked into what we’re taught. Like you and I both know, when we’re working with folks, and we’re trying to help them improve, we’ve got to get baselines, right we are, we’ve got adages, you can’t change what you can’t measure. So we are pushing people in some ways. They’re not used to it, right? They’re like, Okay, I gotta get data. And data becomes a coin of the realm. And, but that focus on data sometimes has us turn our head away from the human elements, right? We forget that maybe no facts and data don’t always move hearts and minds. You know, people are, you’re giving them this is what it is. And they’re not moved. So I a lot of it was how do you engage? And then there’s this other, there’s this whole other realm. And I think that, you know, for that people need a story. They need something that helps them understand the why. Right, so the data doesn’t always give them enough of a why. And we often feel like, well, there it is. There’s your gap. Man, you’re here and you should be here. Isn’t that enough of a why? And that’s one of the things I think we went into.


Patrick Adams  14:41

Yeah, that’s that’s a good point. It made me think about the argument that I’ve heard from people that leadership and management are the same thing. And really, you know, I always have to remind them that managers manage things and leaders lead people you know, So the thing is managing things, managing the data, managing the equipment, managing the, the, you know, the, whatever the tasks are, that’s one thing. But leading people is, is takes a whole different skill set, you know, then then managing numbers, right? Now you need numbers to make decisions as leaders, right? You, you need to have measurements, you need to have KPIs in order to help guide some of those decisions. But to your point, you know, you’re you’re dealing with people and people are not always, you know, not always easy to work with or, I mean, there’s so many different challenges that come with people, right?


Elisabeth Swan  15:44

We’re messy. Yes. So true. One of the things that I discovered because I deal in stories, and you know, the book is full of stories. And if you’ve ever read any of the neuroscience behind what happens when people are telling stories, there’s something that happens called neural coupling. Like, if I’m telling you something, and part of what I’m telling you is, like, brings out the emotion of sadness, like this happened. And that’s incredibly sad, the same part of my brain that’s lighting up for sadness is going to light up in your mind for sadness. So it’s almost like you’re sharing a living memory. And that person now has experienced your, your experience by you telling the story. And I think we forget how powerful that is. What happens during that exchange. So just an example, I had a, I had someone I was coaching, and she was trying to reduce the amount of lost patient items at a hospital. And, you know, they’re the stats were bad, you know, if you lose a hearing aid, that’s like 20 $100, the hospital’s on the hook for or dentures, but could be 2500. So it’s a lot of money. So she’s showing the gap between what we’re, you know, we’re losing all these patient items, and what it’s costing us. And she wasn’t getting as much, you know, people are like, Well, it’s hard to keep track of these things, we got to storm different places, patients get moved from the ER into other places, this is hard. Then she talked to a guy whose hearing aid got lost. And they replaced it three months later. And he lost three months of stroke recovery, he could not communicate with the, with the people trying to help them without your AIDS. And then that story shifted everything. Right, people completely changed in terms of how they were eight, you know, assisting her getting on board with that project, you know, helping her move that forward. So I think that’s one thing, right, that those stories?


Patrick Adams  17:52

Absolutely, no, that’s that’s a great example. And I think it’s it’s helping to shift the paradigms of, you know, if you’re under understand where people are, that it does change the way that you approach those particular situations. Absolutely. Elizabeth, do you have any other examples that maybe maybe even examples from the book that you share about, you know, other struggles with intangibles?


Elisabeth Swan  18:19

I’ve got one, that’s one of my favorites. And the expression is the opposite of talking, isn’t listening. It’s waiting to talk. And just think about, and then I once again, and everybody related to that. They were like, Oh, my God, I’m constantly trying to, you know, get out of the habit of like, you know, forming my next sentence. And this across the board, right, I see. Katie Anderson’s book right behind you. And Katie was like, so upfront with her struggles with this. So that was, that was really helpful. That conversation was huge, like I said, and then I looked once again, what’s the neuroscience behind that? So, you know, we speak at 150 words per minute, we process speech between four and 800 words per minute. Okay, so now we have a 250 to 650 word gap, all that space, what are we doing with it? Right? So we’re thinking about, did we put the cat out? We’re thinking about, you know, how to respond. We’re thinking about another idea this person just sparked in us and we can’t wait to tell him about it. So we’re doing everything but listening. So that is a discipline that we need as leaders because if you’re not listening to people, right, you’re not forming relationships and relationships, make leaders So


Patrick Adams  19:46

absolutely, yeah, I couldn’t agree more actually. Funny thing. I just made a post two days ago on LinkedIn, with a quote from Stephen Covey that says most people do not listen with the intent to under Stand, they listened with the intent to reply. And in the in the post I was talking about to stop multitasking, because as leaders, we’re always, you know, not always, but many of us, you know, have so many things going on. And during the conversation, we have these different subjects on our mind. And we have to stop doing that, because it’s actually it’s disrespectful to the individual that you’re that you’re there with, and really taking the time to stop, clear my mind from anything else and really give this person the respect that they deserve, by listening by actually listening to them. And you know, being active in that in that conversation to you know, really understand what they’re trying to tell me, rather than, you know, selective listening or ignoring what they’re saying, or you know, or whatever it might be, I’ll tell you just a one thing that I used to do as a as a young Production Supervisor, I had someone telling me this at one time, because I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off take taking care of 20 different things at once. And they said, You need to start carrying a journal with you because people are telling you things, and you’re telling them that you’re going to take care of it, or you’re going to you’re going to deal with that situation. But then you run off and you get busy doing something else, and you’ve completely forget about it. And so they said you got to start carrying a journal with you, and you need to write down the things that they’re telling you in a way that you understand what they’re saying, and that you know that you know what the action item is that comes out of that conversation. And the moment that I started doing that, I remember, you know, I would, I would listen to what they said, I would write down a few points, and then I would write down the action item that’s coming out of that conversation. And, and then I would repeat it to them. And I would say, and I would say, you know, so what you’re telling me is, you know, this, this and this, and the way that I can help you would be for me to, to do this, let me go check on that for you. And I’ll get back to you as soon as I can on this. And then I made it part of my Leader Standard Work that at the end of my day, I would go back and I would check through my journal to make sure that I took care of the items that I said I was going to take care of, and then I would follow up and have those those conversations. And that was that was like a turning point for me as a leader because it made it not only allowed me to to get more things done and check the box, but it also helped show that respect back to my team members, and they were getting the feedback. And then it was, you know, obviously then they they felt like they were being listened to and things were actually happening.


Elisabeth Swan  22:35

That’s a huge shift. You know, both the reflection you were doing, getting back to that, you know, saying back to them just what I’m hearing. And the other point about the writing things down. And when people responded about, you know, what do you do about this, some people that is their MO, I take very detailed notes, or I listen, and I write down what it is they’re saying to me. And people have different ways of you know, handling this, but that was a big one. And I think you’re right, it’s respect, right? And so that conveys something that you should be conveying to other people. But also, it helps solve the problem, right? Because you really listen to what it was, as opposed to like, you know, okay, good. Gotta go.


Patrick Adams  23:22

That’s right. Exactly. Well, and sometimes sometimes we, we probably know what’s happening, and we can have, we can have that conversation right there. But sometimes we have to walk away and maybe even gather more data or information in order to get to, you know, the actual cause of whatever the problem is, it’s happening too. So again, if you’re busy with 20, different things, if you’re not, you know, taking note of that one item, you know, it could drop off your other things, you know, that you feel are higher priority. And then the one time that that happens with one of your team members, where you don’t get back to them, you know, they’re going to feel like you don’t care about them, or you don’t care about their issues. And now, you know, how often are they going to bring another, you know, issue to your to you that they need solved, and now you’re starting to create a culture, you know, of of reserved people that aren’t going to talk about their problems. And you that’s, you want the opposite of that. Right. So, what do you think, are some of the root causes of this? I mean, we talked a little bit about promotion of people into leadership roles that maybe don’t have the training or have never had the experiences. You know, that’s obviously a probably a huge cause. But what what would be some other root causes of why, you know, these these intangibles are such a struggle for people and for organizations.


Elisabeth Swan  24:44

Yeah, I think some of them are not, are not acknowledged. There. They’re just there’s tacit, almost like, tacit, bad standard work. I don’t know it’s like similar like, I’ll give you a simple one, the this jargon, right the way we talk. And that’s another thing that happens. I think the Heath brothers wrote about this. It’s kind of the curse of knowledge, I think they could tell that soon as you know, something, you assume other people know it. Even if you think you’re being clear, and how you’re describing something, people aren’t getting all of it. So that gap, like what you think you’re saying, and relaying and what you’re not. And some of the things that lead to that are our jargon. So you know, our, our worlds have a lot of, we have a lot of Japanese words in them. We have a lot of acronyms that we use, every organization has acronyms. So that when I feel like naturally forms divisions, right, my acronyms are in my silo, your acronyms in your silo, process improvement has its own acronym. So we get together. And we’re speaking in terms, it’s a different language, and people don’t know it. So sometimes you’re speaking a different language from people. And that can happen in acronyms or the the words themselves or the shortening of words. And then what do people do when they hear words they don’t know, or acronyms they don’t know, right? If they either are brave and stop and say, Excuse me, could you tell me what Rex means? Like is that requisition requirement? Like, what does that actually mean? But there’s another term I like a colleague of mine used to use called Public displays of ignorance. of US shy away from saying, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what that means. So we have that embedded a lot of in cultures as well. And it’s funny because I did that with a client once where she said, Rex, and I was trying to understand, you know, what do you say, I stopped her and I kept a running list of terms like mine, hers were the terms were using. And then my husband just said to me, like two days ago, he said, somebody’s asking me for a music doc, music docs. And I was like, and I’m thinking documentaries, they want to know what good music documentaries, you know. So he’s like, Oh, okay. All right. So he wrote the back and he, he said, I do you mean music documentaries? And she said, yeah, got any wrecks? And I thought immediately, oh, she means recommendation. Right. I kind of thought you should know that. In my mind. I realized I was thinking that about my husband, like, why don’t you know, she means documentary record? Recommendations? Sure. I went, Oh, my God, it’s Rex. It’s the same word I just tripped on with a client in here I am assuming you should know it. Like, it’s so insidious, that we don’t know. We’re making those assumptions. I think just clarity like how you speak to people. And that’s hard because texting makes it worse. You know, we’re just like, LOL whatever. Like, and I’m you’re constantly probably getting ones you see your kids using going? Oh,


Patrick Adams  27:57

my God, that one. Don’t even get me started on that. Yeah. I’m like, I can’t even follow these kids anymore with the Yeah, they, and they text so fast. But then they Yeah, they use this these different jargon and words and things. And what do you call them emojis? I don’t even know what they mean.


Elisabeth Swan  28:17

And then if you ask them, you’re suddenly like, Yeah, I’m old. Oh, yeah.


Patrick Adams  28:21

Well, and I think that’s also the problem, like you were saying, in organizations is, especially if you have someone in a leadership position that’s using certain acronyms or jargon that that you know, someone that works for them. They don’t want to look dumb or look like they don’t know, you know, I’ve been in this role for 10 years. And I don’t understand that. That acronym that you just use, they don’t want to ask that question. So then people just continue on. And that, you know, what is that? How does that affect their job or their role, not really understanding or knowing what the expectations are that the leader has for them? Because they didn’t understand the words they were using? And they didn’t feel comfortable to ask, right?


Elisabeth Swan  29:02

Yeah. Yeah. And I think the, you know, you probably have your own workarounds for this. But that’s another big discussion there. But the bottom line is I just spell things out. longhand, because then I know everyone’s going to know what


Patrick Adams  29:20

I do that I find I do find myself doing that even on the podcast here with with, you know, I think the probably the majority of our listeners are lean practitioners or have some level of experience in the Lean world, but I do I have found myself, you know, as episodes progress, where you know, someone says Kaizen or uses a word that that like the majority of us probably understand and know it, but there’s also listeners that are coming on to the podcast for the first time. So I find myself with guests going well, you know, Kaizen, which actually means this and I kind of lay it out and I’m sure there’s other people that are probably thinking, Why does he do that? But that’s why because there’s people that are listening to the show that, you know, maybe aren’t further as further further along in their Lean journey, as some others are. Who would say, well, that’s just basic knowledge. Well, it may be for you it is. But for someone else it may not be. So it’s important that we understand that.


Elisabeth Swan  30:18

And the range of just that one, like Kaizen, then I’ve heard rapid improvement events. Then I’ve heard rapid process improvement workshops. And now you have ri yeas and rip, RP W, like, so. I had to ask a client recently, what’s an RPI wi like, you know what I mean? Like, we take that and then we shorten it. And then we so there’s many layers. Oh, that’s another thing I was going to tell you about. Accurate. Just language itself like acronyms, the way we process language. Did you ever be Brain Rules by John Medina? No, I haven’t. That’s fascinating. Okay, so he’s gonna pick it up talking about how we process language, the language is symbols. So we do it quickly. But we look at each letter. And then we translate that letter. And then we string the letters together, and we get the word. Right. So and we do that our whole lives, we never change that process. So then if you think about an acronym, we take a letter, and then we have to go then interpret what that what word that letter stood for. Right? So then there’s another, there’s a whole nother step there in terms of us unraveling an acronym. And then sometimes we, we use them so much, we don’t know what they mean anymore. Like CVS, we all go to CVS, we have no idea what CVS stands for. I do I do, because I worked with them, okay, this customer value stores, but, you know, we don’t, we’ve lost that. And then they added the word health, because they wanted to like some of their name to relate to their purpose, like helping people on their path to better health was like, most we should add something because CVS doesn’t mean anything.


Patrick Adams  32:06

That’s interesting. But But obviously, so true. And I think to your point, leaders need to pay attention to that and understand that, especially I would say, even especially more now, as we have, you know, coming out of COVID, and so much, so many companies have had so much turnover and you know, people being promoted into positions and people hiring in and, and, you know, again, turnover new people coming in, and not everybody is privy to all of the acronyms or the terms that you’ve been using at your company for the past 20 years. So don’t just assume that people know what you’re talking about, you know, take the time to actually, you know, talk through what that actually means. And that, obviously, that that’s one recommendation. But Elizabeth, what would you have, as far as you know, actions that people can take outside of just, you know, catching yourself and being clear on what you say, but what are some other actions that people can take with the struggles that come with intangibles?


Elisabeth Swan  33:11

I think another big element. And you and I have talked about this, but it’s visuals. And again, we know, visuals tell you a lot. I’d rather just have a visual and then speak to it. It’s why illustrated the book. And that also, I think we forget that, you know, visuals, translate 60,000 times faster, yes, then then then text or numbers. And we’re very again, attached to writing things out. You know, giving people the numbers. But I think taking a moment to say, Well, how would I put that in a picture? How would I relate that to somebody as an image, you know, and and as you know, facilitators and consultants, we often put an image up, right, we’ll have a slide and we’ll just have an image. And speak to that, because we’ve learned, this is such a much more effective way for me to communicate with someone where I’ve got an image for them to take in. And I’m telling them a story to help them take that in. So I think just going back to the things that have power, and the things that help us influence help us lead people help us get clarity. And I think those are some of some of the more basic elements.


Patrick Adams  34:39

Absolutely. Yeah, visual management is such as such a strong tool set that you can, you know, deploy and utilize along with so many other lean Lean tools and techniques. So, absolutely a great recommendation. Elizabeth, when is your book going to be published? What’s what’s the time line on the book.


Elisabeth Swan  35:01

That’s q1 next year. So I am quite excited. It’s coming out with the new year.


Patrick Adams  35:07

Oh, that’s, that’s awesome. That’ll be great. Where can people find the book? Will it be out on Amazon? Will it be on your website? Where can they go to get your book in q1? Oh,


Elisabeth Swan  35:17

right now I’m gonna give you a link and people can ask to be alerted to when it comes out. And it will be on my website, which will be Elizabeth Perfect. And I spell my name with an S. It wasn’t you know, that was handed to me. My parents got fancy with Elizabeth, but just so you know, but it also made me able to get a domain name that maybe shouldn’t you know, like Keira Knightley was named Elizabeth Swann, the Pirates of the Caribbean. But with an S with a Z, Z. Yeah. And you’re willing, I’m different from Keira Knightley a little bit. So that’s, that’ll be there. But I’ll give you that link so people can get post perfect.


Patrick Adams  35:53

And we’ll throw that link right into the show notes. So anybody can go right in the show notes, click on there. Sign up to be notified when Elizabeth’s new book comes out. And also, if anybody’s interested in the problem solvers Toolkit, which we talked about earlier, where would they go to find that?


Elisabeth Swan  36:11

For that they can go on? Just in time cafe. So that’s JITCAF You can go there perfect. And look for I think its products and services. Yeah. Okay.


Patrick Adams  36:27

For that real quick, tell our listeners about the just in time cafe, what exactly is that?


Elisabeth Swan  36:33

Just in time Cafe is kind of a passion project for Tracy O’Rourke and I. And it’s a hub, right? Our mission is to just keep our community, a community, the Lean Six Sigma community, and to learn from each other, and just help people build their skills. So we do free monthly webinars where people come and talk about techniques, their experiences in all ranges of tools and concepts. And then also, we do podcasts every month, with people like you, and authors and leaders, and just hearing stories and talking about apps that help us and also doing some q&a with our community on that.


Patrick Adams  37:21

That’s great. And I’ll throw a link for that in the show notes as well. So if anyone’s interested to learn more about the cafe, that just in time cafe, you can go find a link to that as well. Elizabeth, I’m going to have to have you back once your book is published, so that we can dive into maybe some of the stories that are laid out around the intangibles and, you know, talk more specifically once it’s out about even some of the impact that it’s having around the world. So thank you so much for what you’re doing. And, again, if anyone’s interested, go to the show notes to find more about Elizabeth and her book. And also, if anyone wants to connect with you, they go on LinkedIn or


Elisabeth Swan  38:04

your website and find me once again. Elizabeth salon on LinkedIn.


Patrick Adams  38:07

Perfect. All right. Well, thank you so much, Elizabeth. It’s been great to talk with you and have you on the show and I’m looking forward to hearing how your book goes next next quarter.


Elisabeth Swan  38:16

Thanks, Patrick, lovely to talk to you.


Patrick Adams  38:20

Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the lien 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.

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.