Kevin Kellow
December 22, 2018

Learning to Speak the Same Language

Kevin Kellow has written an article on his interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.  

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

  • What have been the greatest developments?

  • What are the key drivers pushing change in Operational Excellence?

  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


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Learning to Speak the Same Language

The key challenges identified in the ‘The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges and Future Trends’, align almost perfectly with the challenges I have faced throughout my career– how do we drive cultural change? How do we build value in the eyes of senior leaders? How do we deliver a sustainable OPEX program?

Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 



Learn how to speak the same language as...

If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to learn how to speak the same language as those you work with and support. It is too easy to work from your comfort zone; speaking about items, activities and measures that are important to you and your team. However, taking the time to understand how your customers, consumers and other internal teams understand these same items, activities and measures is critical to establishing long-term success. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.

Learning to Speak the Same Language




Let me give you an example:

the Supply Chain team for one of my customers was having trouble getting parts ordered and delivered in time to meet the manufacturing schedule. The root cause was the Program team’s inability to properly schedule the purchases and give the buyers enough lead time to get the parts ordered and delivered. However, when the organization would meet internally, the Supply Chain team would be criticized for their inability to meet schedule, even though the analysis showed the problem was not with the buyers but with the Program team. Why you ask? Because the Supply Chain team didn’t understand how to speak the same language as the program-side of the business.




Communication between different teams

The Supply Chain team would share metrics that meant something to their team, but these same measures did not resonate with the Program team (metrics like: Average Lead Time or Lead Time Index). It was not until we changed the way the Supply Chain team communicated that we were able to break this cycle. We started briefing on-time delivery and revenue impact of missed procurements. Delivery, customer satisfaction, revenue – these were phrases and metrics that resonated with the Program team. When we started including the Program team in our discussions about process issues, it allowed the two sides to work more closely to resolve the issues. Until this point, both sides were communicating but essentially speaking different languages and talking past each other instead of with each other. This invariably led to poor performance, tension and finger pointing, but no positive changes to the process or outcomes.




Move teams out of their comfort zone

With all the tools and resources available in today’s workspace, it is too easy to check the “communications box” when implementing a new project or initiative; to say we have sent out the requisite emails, flyers and SharePoint notices is too easy. If you take the time to learn how to communicate with the teams and customers around you, if you take the time to learn what matters to them, it will make your improvement projects and Operational Excellence programs infinitely stronger.


The key is moving teams out of their comfort zone and understanding problems, challenges, and requirements from someone else’s perspective, and then learning to speak a common language that allows both groups to prosper.



Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Learning to Speak the Same Language


About the Author 

Kevin Kellow: Learning to Speak the Same LanguageKevin Kellow

Vice President, Continuous Improvement at ASRC Federal

Kevin has  spent the past two decades working across varied industries to help define scope, identify business impacts, elicit business requirements, and enable better, quicker decisions while improving cycle time, quality, functionality, and overall business and financial performance. Check out his LinkedIn page.

He has great passion for tackling complex challenges and identifying opportunities to grow business in new directions as well as taking great pride in leading cross-functional teams that can consistently demonstrate creativity, thoughtfulness, and the ability to refine business execution.


The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


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BTOES19 Awards


There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

  • All-day Refreshment & Themed Breaks

  • 1¼ Hour Hot Breakfast Networking Sessions

  • 1½ Hour Hot Plated Networking Lunches with Topic & Industry Sector focussed tables

  • 1½ Hour Roundtable Sessions by Topic & Industry Sector.

  • Keynote & Themes Panel Sessions

  • Hosted Welcome Receptions from 5.30pm

  • Expanded more lavish Awards Program

  • Newly launched Night Summit for attendees to meet after dinner

For more information or to discuss the summit in more detail please schedule a call below,

Click here to schedule a call. 


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