Adam Lawrence
December 09, 2018

The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live on

Adam Lawrence 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 read 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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The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live on 

People like to do things “their way” 

We have been trying to get others to follow standard operating procedures since the Cavemen painted “Way to Kill Mastodon” on the cave walls!  Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.


Research Report : The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live on

But, try as we might, people still like to do things “their way”.  And why not, most people think their way is best. But it may not be, and it may lead to errors and other problems. So, why aren’t we able to get people to follow standard operating procedures, the way they were meant to be followed?




The Wheel of Sustainability

The reason is that we haven’t really thought through what resources our teams need to properly follow standard operating procedures.  This is why Process Improvement Partners LLC has developed The Wheel of Sustainability.  With a hub and eight spokes, it all but ensures standard operating procedures will be followed.


Research Report : The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live on



1. Notification – The first and most traditional spoke in The Wheel of Sustainability.  People are told there is a procedure and they are expected to follow it.


2. Training and Review – The second spoke gives people a chance to ask questions about the procedure, gain better understanding of it, and provide their input.  If there are any opportunities to improve the procedure, this is a great time to uncover them. Buy-in for the procedure starts here.


3. Visible Evidence – The third spoke in The Wheel of Sustainability requires us to develop ways to show that the procedure is being followed, without having to interrupt the person doing the work.  Is the procedure obvious, and are there visual cues that show things are happening as they should, in the proper sequence?


4. All Tools Available – The fourth spoke provides the person doing the work everything they need to do the job safely and productively. Are the tools easily accessible and in a logical location, or do they have to search for them?  The tools can be physical (hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.) or virtual (databases, files on the computer, network connections, emails, etc.)


5. Clear Benefits – The fifth spoke in The Wheel of Sustainability asks if the person following the procedure sees it as being easier, more logical, and/or safer to accomplish.  Have they been given a chance to give their input when the procedure was designed? Have they “seen for themselves” that this is a better way than what they did in the past?


6. Layered Audits – The sixth spoke requires others to engage with people as they follow the procedure, to make sure that they are following it, truly understand it, and can get help if they are unsure of the proper way to follow it.  We also want to reinforce how important it is to follow the procedure as written.  Audits should be visible and engaging, not hidden from view or disruptive.  Many levels in the organization should participate at different times, thus the term “layered”.


7. Accountability – The seventh spoke in The Wheel of Sustainability asks the question, “What do you do if you observe someone who is not following the procedure as written”?  This is the time to jump in and help them, not punish them. We need to understand why the person is not following the procedure and correct their behavior or provide more training.  We must also hold ourselves accountable to help those who need our help. Do not turn a blind eye to improper work. Reinforce the proper way to follow the procedure.


8. Recognition – The eighth and final spoke ensures that people see the connection between the new procedure and improved results.  We need to help people make that connection, so that it will lock in their commitment to continue following the procedure, even when no one is watching.  It also gives credibility to the improvement efforts that generated the new procedure. Celebrate improved performance, when possible.


The Hub

Leadership CommitmentThe Wheel of Sustainability stays together with a strong hub.  Leadership Commitment is that strong hub.  Leaders must commit to helping, supporting, auditing, and providing everything necessary to make the procedure important and meaningful.  Leaders should be visible. They should understand how the procedure impacts overall performance, and they demonstrate they are committed to the new procedure.



In summary, sustainability can be achieved through strong leadership commitment and investment in the eight spokes of The Wheel of Sustainability.  Implementing this approach takes significant effort, so pick critical work first, get some practice implementing all eight spokes, and then add next level work.  The more practice you get, the easier it becomes. The results will make the effort worthwhile.

Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Research Report : Research Report : The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live on

About the Author

Adam Lawrence: Research Report : The Wheel of Sustainability – A Model to Help Improvement Efforts Live onAdam Lawrence
Managing Partner, Process Improvement Partners LLC

Adam worked for Amstrong World Industries for over 18 years , where he was Lean Champion and responsible for Lean transformation of Building Products Technology organization, including New Product Development, Innovation, Capital Execution, and Business support. Check his LinkedIn page.

In May 2018 he founded Process Improvement Partners LLC and is now helping teams achieve breakthrough results in safety, productivity, quality, and customerservice. I work hand in hand with my clients to assure that we implement sustainable solutions  to their most urgent concerns. 

Developed and executed a Strategic Planning Session (VSM) for a client in York PA, identifying millions of dollars of opportunity and engaging their workforce in the design of their future state. Currently working with their Leadership Team on the sustaining processes for this work.


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.


Quick Links



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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