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September 09, 2021

BTOES From Home - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: The Heritage Group: Paving the Way for Continuous Improvement

Courtesy of Heritage Group's Paul Simons, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'The Heritage Group: Paving the Way for Continuous Improvement (and the Indy Motor Speedway)' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES From Home.

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Session Information:

The Heritage Group: Paving the Way for Continuous Improvement (and the Indy Motor Speedway)

“We’ve never done this before. And you might think we’re crazy. But we’re having fun out

here.”

Paul Simons, VP of Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions for The Heritage Group, is a movement maker. A Continuous Improvement leader, Paul’s secret sauce is his ability to take a kernel of an idea to a fully realized, actionable place using a principle-based approach to improve employee effectiveness. 

This main stage session is for those lone nuts out there putting effectiveness over efficiency and looking for inspiration and motivation to tackle transformation initiatives in new, unconventional ways.

For nearly 3 years, Paul has been leading the journey to operational excellence at The Heritage Group, a 90-year-old family-owned portfolio of businesses in core platforms of transportation infrastructure and materials, specialty chemicals, and environmental services. In a continual effort to evolve and improve, Heritage seeks new opportunities to grow their business through innovative R&D and building high-trust relationships – like the one that led to paving and preserving the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Paul will share his roadmap and guidance to help your teams confidently say: ‘This is where we want to go, and we’re going to create a movement to make it happen” with one-of-a-kind insights into:

  • Guiding leadership to self-discovery
  • Establishing a culture of enablement
  • Empowering teams to learn by doing
  • Promoting best practice as common practice

Key takeaways:

· Make new connections.

· Gain shared wisdom from peers.

· Learn what pitfalls to avoid in driving operational excellence.

· How to apply new approaches to accelerate your performance in business transformation.

Session Transcript:

Hello everyone and welcome back to the main stage at the business transformation and operational excellence world summit where we accelerate culture business and digital transformations and where we create environments Where great people and great ideas can connect. I'm Jose Pires the CEO of global excellence innovation and proud host of the summit.

Now I'm really looking forward to our next session here because we're going to be talking with about paving the way for continuous improvement with speed and effectiveness. We're going to talk about speed we're going to talk about continuous improvement we're going to talk about innovation so let me get you right into the action with Paul Simons. Our keynote speaker for this session hello Paul great to have you here quick introduction on Paul Simons serves as the VP of strategy and mergers and acquisitions and has been for the heritage group and has been leading the journey for operational excellence at the company for many many years a 90 year old round family owned portfolio of 30 plus businesses is what the heritage group is all about has a legacy of innovative.

Building high trust relationships like the one that led to paving and preserving the iconic Indianapolis motor speedway this main session is for those loose nuts out there seeking effectiveness over efficiency while enjoying the journey ladies and gentlemen start your engines and your movement get ready for the need for speed you take it.

Screenshot (43)-1Paul I love it Jose thank you so much for the warm welcome and welcome everybody and I echo Jose's mindset right ladies and gentlemen start those engines and start your movement right we are ready to have some fun and it has been an absolute blast right to get ready for you and really looking forward uh to the q a at the end of this and uh i just appreciate you spending the time uh with me and with our organization there's many ways you could spend your 2 p.m. to 2 45 eastern time slot and again just thank you for wanting to spend it uh with us the adventure that I would love to take us on today I want to kind of give you a kind of lay the foundation of the heritage group and as Jose had mentioned this lone nut mindset in creating a movement.

We'll transition then into our road for our transformation right and that we always want to choose effectiveness over efficiency even the tools that we teach each and every single day are how to maximize e-efficiency and then lastly we'll round it out right by closing out of how we're going to preserve our future and more importantly open it up to q a so with that let's go ahead and dive right in so the heritage group is headquartered right here in the beautiful city of Indianapolis Indiana and for many of you when I mention in Indianapolis or Indiana you may think basketball you may think the headquarters of the nca.

When I mentioned the nca you may be thinking more basketball coming march madness here of next year and there's my hope that we're able to have that but for some of you you may think about the Indianapolis 500 or better known as the greatest spectacle in racing this is when for the last 104 years 400 400 to 600 000 individuals descend upon our beautiful city and come watch these wonderful athletes to compete and one of the things that you're probably not thinking about though is our crews our teams and our leadership of what it takes to maintain the Indianapolis motor speedway.

We have a history of partnering with the ims within the past and just providing those services of what it means to preserve this iconic racetrack in the hottest of days in august in the coldest of days within January and the fastest of days on may day within memorial day weekend right and i'm glad that you don't think about our teams when it comes to the ims because we always want to make sure that the race say center us stay center stage as Jose had mentioned right just as your organizations have had with a continuous improvement mindset.

We love partnering with our customers and understanding of what their important business customer problems are and partnering with them from an innovation perspective right a little bit more about the heritage group not only do we have this need for speed we're also too we do it in a family-owned manner we're a family-owned business and just this past Tuesday.

We celebrated 90 years young right we have transitioned to the fourth generation and this scale really started with very humble beginnings uh back in the great depression uh one of the family members uh asked for a thousand dollar loan individual believed in him and with one truck started delivering home heating fuel that turned into crystal flash that has now grown into global operations in north America, Europe and Asia and really three industry verticals heavy civil construction.

Where we build federal roads and bridges secondly environmental services and thoroughly in specialty chemicals and fuel products I am a benefactor of this legacy of this family and you can see the individuals here on the bottom as well and the smiles that they have that they get to create value each and every single day for a long term mindset where we're absolutely in it to win it for our customers a little bit more about the heritage group by the numbers we're a very entrepreneurial focused organization we have 30 different operating companies throughout the heritage group that are supported by 5 000 teammates and over 170 different global locations on top of it a couple little interesting factoids by the number right in 2019 we helped improve over 3 000 miles of roadways to help keep that in perspective for you the united states is about 2500 miles wide next also too in this uh pandemic one of the items that we have continues to add back to society is that we produced three million gallons of eye of ipa hand sanitizer.

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So if you think about it those itty bitty ones one ounce bottles that's over about 400 million bottles of hand of hand sanitizer that was produced this year all right now you have a little foundation about the heritage group what i really want to dive into is this concept of this lone nut in creating a movement the heritage group loves innovation loves diversity of thought and loves hearing from different individuals and we we've actually hosted a couple TEDx events at our locations and i would like to share a ted talk with you from Derek and he's going to talk about how to build a movement with this lone nut concept.

So Jude over to you if you could go ahead and begin the video ladies and gentlemen at ted we talk a lot about leadership and how to make a movement so let's watch a movement happen start to finish in under three minutes and dissect some lessons from it first of course you know a leader needs the guts to stand out and be ridiculed but what he's doing is so easy to follow so here's his first follower with a crucial role he's going to show everyone else how to follow now notice that the leader embraces him as an equal so now it's not about the leader anymore it's about them plural now there he is calling to his friends now if you notice that the first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself it takes guts to stand out like that.

The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader and here comes a second follower now it's not a lone nut it's not two nuts three is a crowd and the crowd is news so a movement must be public it's important to show not just the leader but the followers because you find that new followers emulate the followers not the leader now here come two more people and immediately after three more people now we've got momentum this is the tipping point now we've got a movement so notice that as more people join in it's less risky.

So those that were sitting on the fence before now have no reason not to they won't stand out they won't be ridiculed but they will be part of the in crowd if they hurry so over the next minute you'll see all of the those that prefer to stick with the crowd because eventually they would be ridiculed for not joining in and that's how you make a movement but let's recap some lessons from this so first if you are the type like the shirtless dancing guy that is standing alone remember.

The importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals so it's clearly about the movement not you okay but we might have missed the real lesson here the biggest lesson if you noticed did you catch it is that leadership is over glorified that yes it was the shirtless guy was first and he'll get all the credit but it was really the first follower that transformed the lone nut into a leader so as we're told that we should all be leaders that would be really ineffective.

If you really care about starting a movement have the courage to follow and show others how to follow and when you find a lone nut doing something great have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in and what a perfect place to do that ted thanks all right I love how Derek ends that right have the courage to jump in and I just reflect on back on to my own career and I'm so thankful for the mentors the the leaders the friends that just encouraged me for some crazy idea that I had and this low nut concept and they jumped in and chose to join me and I encourage you right to to reflect back on your own career and reach back out and say thank you for those first followers with your crazy ideas and with that our movement began just as that our movement had very humble beginnings while we're 90 years young right.

We have this attitude of asking ourselves questions how can we do better we wanted to change our paradigm from asking questions to more importantly of who we want to become right asking 30 entrepreneurial decentralized businesses saying look we're going to embrace the lean six sigma toolkit i was absolutely one of those nuts out there saying hey please join me please join me it's fun over here right and we need to encourage others right to embrace that as well too and one of the quotes that really came back to us is I just referenced it a little bit ago but from Dr. Steven covey paradigms are powerful because they create the lens for which we see the world if you want a small change in your life work on your attitude but if you want a big and primary changes work on your paradigm and this is where we wanted to move from our attitude and our heart was absolutely in the right place.

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We were asking ourselves questions of how can we do better but our movement right had this mindset of where we wanted a paradigm of this is who we wanted to become within the future so with this this is a a picture of carl fisher's vision you've never heard of carl fisher carl fisher is the visionary behind the Indianapolis motor speedway back in 1905. and this is his dirt race track from the 1930s right a two and a half mile track on dirt and he had the vision of something grandiose going forward so to help give you an idea of how big carl fisher's vision is this is what the Indianapolis motor speed.

That it looks like today for those that don't know right there is actually several holes of a golf course inside of the Indianapolis motor speedway secondly there's actually a road course now inside the Indianapolis motor speedway if you're starting to grasp how big that it is let me kind of give you another perspective of all that can fit and all that's going on inside of the Indianapolis motor speedway you can fit the Vatican city, yanked stadium the white house liberty island Taj-mahal Churchill downs their own roman coliseum and the rose bowl right there is just a lot going on inside this grandiose vision just like your continuous improvement program has a grandiose vision and there's a lot going on right to transform your business into operational excellence.

So our mindset was is that look we were going to pack the track with effectiveness we were going to pack the track with the seven habits of highly effective individuals as we went on this movement and this lone nut concept right we never wanted to trade effectiveness for efficiency when the tools that we teach each and every single day are all about maximizing the the efficiencies right in these seven habits of being proactive beginning with the end in mind three putting first things first rounding out the corner then and going into thinking when when then seeking first to understand then to be understood next synergizing scaling that overall organization but then ensuring that we're always pulling into pit row by ensuring that we're taking the time out to reflect and sharpen our salt so again our mindset taking this low nut to begin.

This movement that look we wanted to pack the track with the seven habits of highly effective in individuals and i would like to share with you then a little bit of a deep dive of each one and what did that mean for our transformation and how we apply this still today so first of all being proactive so being proactive right in great lean six sigma terms right our operational definition right we wanted to define this is that we are responsible we are able to choose our own response right that we are not a product of our circumstances but we are a product of the choices.

That we make and the habits that we want to instill within our organization we launched our continuous improvement formal program back in 2018-2019 right and for our organization uh times were very different and times were very good right and we chose to be proactive saying that if or when adversity is going to come to us right it's a matter of when that adversity is going to hit our organization how do we build this muscle proactively right to signal to individuals that we're all about growth right we went counter-intuitive to the change management principles is that first of all you have to start with your crisis because people are willing right to have change now we're going to do this proactively with a low nut mindset to say this is absolutely the right thing to do because we're going to be based on principles and effectiveness right so ensuring that you embrace those first followers was very very key but also to a primary challenge.

That I've encountered over my life right I've even had come people say it's like look everything going on uh I hear that we're having green belt class in black belt class I really don't have time for karate I'm really looking forward to get my body in shape but I don't have time for karate right.

So with a limited understanding with your organization right meeting people exactly where they're at and that look this is a leadership development program when you grow we all grow so i mentioned at the very beginning. I'm so thankful for the lone nuts and the first followers that have embraced me throughout my career that allowed me to create and while you get to listen to me today right i really would wish that you get to see these individuals uh on the screen these are the giants you know shoulders that I get to stand on each and every single day they are. 

Can you guys hear me now okay all right so let me go ahead okay apologize for any technical difficulties of that that we just had there appreciate you adapting and overcoming just part of being within the race all right so this next item here is uh beginning with the end in mind right uh the second bullet point underneath a a key theme for us a team without a vision for the future will always return to their past it was our mindset.

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Yes we wanted to be proactive but more importantly we needed to ensure that we could paint a vision for the future otherwise that we would return to our past of just asking questions and having that great attitude so one of the strategic choices that we chose to do within parallel is that we chose to get our top senior leaders together and then walk them through.

A design for six sigma concept where they got to use the voice of the customer right and to experience these tools of how impactful that they could be but more importantly right that they could point the future of the vision of where they wanted to go and to be focused on solving important in business customer problems we wanted our leaders to self-discover one of the great experiences and advice a mentor shared with me is that Paul all leaders need to experience but as leaders rise within the organization they are probably going to expect you to say of course continuous improvement is great of course demaiock is wonderful of course this is going to make us better but they are going to need to self-discover to understand and have this fire in their bell that absolutely.

This is where they're going to spend their incremental time it was great advice and something that we're so thankful that we put in it was a lot of work and if you think about a primary challenge for us when you have 30 different operating companies coming together with an entrepreneurial spirit right to ensure that you're going to embrace a common language and a common toolkit across all the heritage group.

It really takes this wee mindset right team before I but when that is coming together it's not obvious of what that future state looks like but extremely important so this doesn't become of what you do but the paradigm of who you become with that as you think about lone nuts I love creating I love when people are joining in and we chose right just to provide guard rails for our loan nuts meaning that we want to be principal items as they're out there creating their own movement, their own type of dance right what are the guardrails of what it is and what it is not why also two pro providing accountability right.

We had this mindset that we wanted to learn by doing so as we went through our stage gate process right we put a structure in place where is a safe place to learn we would consistently communicate asking for help is the sign of strength and many of us have seen this learning period uh pyramid so with this today this is a a lecture so you're probably going to retain at best only maybe about five percent with it so with this mindset.

When you have a discussion or you learn by doing you will retain 50 to 75 percent of that so we gave all uh all of our belts mentors and mentees as we were going to finish this one project at a time and they weren't projects our north star or our compass was always pointed on how are we going to solve important business customer problems.

We just don't just do projects we don't have the loudest voice within the room saying this is exactly what i want to go do we don't go after low hanging fruit all important in in the grand scheme of things but our future state is that look we are here to solve important business customer problems because that is going to transform our organization when we put our special sauce behind it and that's our people all right so we knew of who we wanted to become as we design our future state now also too we needed to put first things first.

So I don't know what it looks like within your organization but for hours right there is a lot of things that have to get done each and every single day and we wanted to be intentional for us is to build this muscle of making trade-offs and prioritization how do we ensure that we're focusing on the important business and customer problems and how do we ensure that they're important and not just urgent and when they are important and urgent how do we combine those together so a key item that we chose to do to institute as a non-negotiable to help build this muscle what's important is that only champions and sponsors are allowed to write the charters which are important business customer problems now we would get pushed back and said Paul look and I am so busy right do you know what's on my plate i don't have time to write this charter it's a lot of work I said well great obviously of what that topic is is not an important business customer problem.

It's a business or customer problem but what would it rise to your day that you would allocate an hour or two hours to be able to write this charter so you will set the team up for success right so then as we're solving uh this right it's truly important to you so that's one of the habits that we have chose to put in with our champions and sponsors and then we turn our belts loose to go solve the important business customer problem but as you can imagine when you're dealing with the senior leadership in your organization once they have identified something always keeping that constant communication to ensure that it's solved uh at a pace that they would like is always a critical item that we're working through all right and franklin covey speak here what this really looks like is making sure that we remaining on purpose right that.

You always want to make sure that you're sorting the big rocks and that's sorting gravel so many times right organizations will focus on sorting gravel because it's so easy just to put things within pile and activity does not equal e-effectiveness so before we had our future state we had a purpose statement right to help frame of who we wanted to become so lean six sigma enables a common language to solve important business customer problems for growth this wasn't cost cutting within disguise we were going to walk the talk and that look this was going to be about growth and reinvestment back into our people and reinvestment back into our organizations by combining the power of our relationships we want to put our relationships.

Screenshot (43)-1

First businesses are made made made up of people and we want to make sure that we put people first and putting the toolkit last right so this is the purpose statement that we put out to help put the first things first of what it meant to us all right you're rounding out the uh three habits you're going to have a private victory you're going to start passing people you're going to start people passing people on the straightaway and on the back strip on the back stretch you're gonna start passing your competitors right you're that crew chief saying look right i have the encouragement to stand out to you and to publicly say absolutely that's the way to follow but also to to say hey there's a lot of race for us right we needed to make sure that we weren't celebrating too quickly but absolutely encouraging individuals publicly all right we celebrated a little bit now.

We're going into what that win-win mindset looks like and for us uh businesses right are made up by people when people grow the business grows it is people that identify important business customer problems it is people that solve important business customer problems so when the people are growing when your solutions are growing your business is growing so we wanted to give individual a leadership development program that was all encompassing and we gave them mentors a champion sponsor and a master black belt along the way but also too we gave them access to expand their horizons presenting within board meetings presenting within leadership meetings and having one-on-ones with the various CEOs and the senior leaders there's also to a win for the senior leaders is they got access to talent that they normally would not be able to get to in every single day right for them to extend their leadership.

So a win-win all around the other item that we're very intentional with is what is the experience right our leaders are going to accomplish several great things but at the end of the day we wanted to focus on the house right it is our view that our leaders and our belts are going to ask us right do we care can we help them and will we be trusted to stand with them as lone nuts within our organization and embrace their first followership's so one of the things that we were very intentional was was how do you create this experience from beginning to end and here up on the left right is a welcome kit it has a very specific item uh that is um very characterized each one of our belts and you can see with my d make layers up up here probably not normal probably categorize me as this lone nut but individuals are putting the dmag letters within their own offices and also too they get a picture with their cohort they get a personalized high dollar shadow box to say look this is the important business customer problem that that you solved and we're finishing strong with you.

The other item is that just putting others first the first item that they get when they finish they get this memory that yes I completed with my belt they get a personal note from our CEO they're also too encouraged and told hey now it's go time to celebrate with others this is a team sport they open up this box and the first item that they see in it is the word thank you and then on the back of it though it is right blank and these individuals then are asked for them to pay it forward this is a team sport now it's go time tell your friends thank you go tell your first followers thank you for helping you solve your important business customer problem all right seeking first to understand versus to be understood right there are two paradigms here right seeking first understand then to be understood or seeking first and then to respond.

So I'd like to play this video it's called it's all about the nail so Jude if you could go ahead and play this video it's just there's all this pressure you know and sometimes it feels like it's right up on me and i can just feel it like literally feel it in my head and it's relentless and I don't know if it's gonna stop i mean that's the thing that scares me the most is that i don't know if it's ever gonna stop yeah well you do have a nail in your head it is not about the nail are you sure because I mean I'll bet if we got that out of there stop trying to fix it no I'm not trying to fix it I'm just pointing out that maybe the nail is causing you always do this you always try to fix things when what i really need is for you to just listen see i don't think that is what you need i think what you need is to get the nails you're not even listening now okay fine i will listen fine it's just sometimes it's like there's this achy.

I don't know what it is and i'm not sleeping very well at all and all my sweaters are snagged i mean all of them yeah that sounds really hard it is thank you ow oh come on if you would just don't try to see things [Music] all right i hope that made a couple of chuckles um but with if you think about this nail inside of your forehead right we talk about that's the important business customer problem it is right there right it's achy right sometimes some of us bring our work home we're not sleeping well right our sweaters are getting snagged or customers are calling us right ouch what is going on so uh we say hey there if you know the solution that should just go do it right you don't need to walk through the d uh through dmacc or lean six sigma formal program.

We hire great talented people just go solve it but we talk about listening to the data seeking to understand and you have to define measure and analyze before you get to improve we're here to listen to the process right so data always going to win another thing that we provided in here is that we provide this training to our leadership development program as they go through with this to help with our overall listening years but again seeking first understand mercury is fricken versus seeking first to respond and we listen to data all right synergize how are you going to scale this organization right how are you going to make a common practice best practice or more importantly how do you take a best practice and make that common practice and higher high performing teams are definitely characterized having a high trust right so to make sure that we have a common language of what the trust fall looks like right.

I would like to share this video just to make sure that we have a common language of what the trust fall looks like for a high performing team so jude i want you go ahead and play this video for me fall and we're just it'll be an exercise and building trust between one another so Harrison if you don't mind going first uh step up here on this chair and close your eyes all right and then everybody fill in and we're gonna ask you to fall and then they will catch you so you have to trust us I'm gonna count to three just relax and fall okay one two three all right so hopefully a couple more chuckles out there but once again right maybe that you have a common language that's the third item that we were very strategic on what's the common language and common toolkit.

When you have a common language then you can have speed when you have clarity you can have speed and then you can build a high trust environment right don't assume that a best practice is common practice and one of the key items that we chose that we wanted to move out of excel and SharePoint and we wanted a software program right that could help us scale us the ideas of what we could be great at right.

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We chose this wonderful tool referred to as a power steering and a power steering really allows us right to be great at identifying prioritizing solving celebrating and sustaining our gains i also like it because it's I it's iPad and mobile friendly and also too it's cloud-based and allows me to be able to get real-world data when i need it and also to more importantly it allows us to have a common language across all 30 of our different operating companies all right so we've rounded the sixth habit now you have a public victory right and we're waving the flag right we have are some victories out there we are going to celebrate and as I remind several of you you are the race officials right so to ensure that the race is fair it's equitable but more importantly that uh the race is enjoyable that four to six hundred thousand individuals want to show up and say look i cannot wait to be an athlete out on this field and to and to participate with you on the right hand side there's tony Kanaan one of the ims items is that you get to drink a glass of milk within the winter circle and i just commend tony of what he has done here is that look his entire pit crew his entire team is behind him he's pouring this milk over top of him now look we are in this together we're having a public victory together right we lose together we win together but we're in this together all right rounding out the track here going into pit row and sharpening that saw so many times the races won here and one and lost is inside of the pit row and having a strong governance committee is one of the key items here right.

This governance committee helps develop what that common language and common toolkit is but more importantly allows you to help raise up out of the organization with all of the weeds and for you to think strategically working on that future state right what is the next three to five year vision to allow you to have a common practice become best practice right and the iron sharpens iron and having these senior leaders on here so when the belts are working on their project they go look my senior leader is taking the time out to help shape what this organization looks like I'm aspiring to be that type of individual it also too just helps you right to be able to sharpen your your iron of how you want to leave this organization.

All right all of us have different roles within the organization i think the pit crew is a great example of that right it all comes back to attention to detail but sharpening the saw and this pit crew allows you to focus on when you want to be great at and for us we divided up in five key areas one we've integrated identifying important business customer problems prioritizing solving celebrating and then sustaining those gains right in each and every single one of us so making sure that we're taking the time out to sharpen our saw within the pit and making sure that we're focusing on the right items has been a special sauce to our overall transformation all right.

So uh with that right now so we're just in ending this out this is where this is where we started right i was saying hey come join us dmacc is wonderful lean six sigma is wonderful please join in and again i'm so thankful for those 12 individuals that i'm standing on the shoulder of giants and today where we're at our leadership development program is over subscribed right we have more people dancing out with us right then we do have people um sitting on the grassy knoll also too uh we have also two incorporated in our company's mission vision and values again getting into this versus this attitude of asking great questions of this paradigm of who we want to become.

So i'm going to end where I began and told you uh this was going to be the most exciting part is really being a chance to interact with you and i want to open it up now to Q/A for any questions.

That you may have about our continuous improvement journey fantastic Paul you deliver effectively despite the fact that you got bounced right in the middle of your session by someone else who logging right onto your screen and the marvels of technology but you know what this summarizes uh the hurdles that we have to overcome with purpose passion discipline resilience right this is this is what real change is like and uh you uh and the I love the way that you kept going here and was able to deliver an incredible message to all of us so thank you for that and we have questions from the audience.

I want to make sure that the audience take moment think about what you have just learned here from from Paul and type your questions there and rank the questions that are coming up i have tons of questions i can just down just talk to him for the next five hours but I want to hear your questions because you may have issues that you're dealing with that his message can support your journey so contextualize to your needs ask selfish questions okay ask about what you need and uh and we're gonna have an expert here for the next nine minutes or so to to get us to get us a line so looking forward to it so my first question is coming from the audience I have a lot of questions but they don't matter i want to look at the audience questions uh ikai tolosa from Madrid Spain nikau.

How are you great to see you uh we he and he asks you talk about the followers and starting a movement and all that early on it's fantastic but his question is do you have advice for the bosses to become followers so very wise with that question okay so a very critical component with this as well too so one of the items that we put in with the followers right beginning with the end in mind helping them orchestrate what that future state is right that they had a seat at the table and getting the 30 different operating companies to come together with a common language right.

That was item number one item number two is this continuum mindset that champions and sponsors must write their charters right for them to become followers and having them to self-discover because they are expecting me to tell them of course. we're going to solve this of course things are going to go well but when they hear it from their own organization right and when they see it so one of the things that we have asked them to do if you want an important business customer problem solved if you're a CEO you must have commit at least to one hour meeting with your green belt or black belt once a month right now that's why I don't have that well.

We need to rise it to an occasion where it reaches the definition of your important when you're willing to spend an hour out with that individual right again for them to be able to to self-discover i will tell you our governor's committee only started with three individuals right we only had three loan nuts on our governor and some committee now we have people asking how do I get on the governance committee because I see other senior leaders that have self-discovered because we have focused on important business customer problems for allow them to do it.

So my best advice is is what does it look like for your organization to allow your senior leaders to self-discover on their own and they will become their own low nuts and then they will want to spend time with you because it makes their business better that would be my advice to you terrific now what that that fantastic the the discussion about governance is so important as we both know one of the most common failure modes on sustainability of of those this type of programs and organizations um audience again type your questions okay.

Screenshot (4)

I'm watching to to what your needs are and I'm going to ask questions related to them so go ahead type your questions so that we can and rank them so that i can relate them to Paul.

So Paul talking about the seven habits and uh keeping effectiveness first um is there a habit that you and your team believe is most critical to get right among the seven that you discussed so right they're all important right but the most critical i will go back into the end in mind and uh and what what about that i think that Paul frame has just uh frozen right now so i i often like to take it lightly and say we start with the end in mind in the in the end we're all gonna be dead but uh i did not want that to happen so I'm assuming that uh that Paul had an issue with his login and uh he may need to walk out and log back into the session he may have been something with his connection he's logging back in and he's back all right I gotta tell you this Paul i got to tell you this you said you're gonna start with the ending mind and those people who follow me they know that i have a line that i use that and i say yeah you have to start with the ending mind and in the end we are going to be dead so as i as you said start of the enemy mind your connection went away and i know that this connection other thinking jose has jinxed the guy by using that saying on him I'm glad that you went back i mean in my role that but between now and then we're growing.

So tell us about the pickup backup on the most effective of the most important of the seven habits in your opinion starting at the end am i it was it was that for us and really because of what we wanted our future state to be right there are so many that's not Paul that that is not Paul there for a moment yeah someone is trying to get in your in your role right do not like yes correct no worries no worries so if someone keeps logging in with my id which I don't know.

How it's happening but hey we adapt and overcome we are flexible so that is not a problem that's right though go ahead pope i don't know how much time i have with you here before our reality decides to get in and bump you out again so I'm gonna just gonna why is that start at the end of mine so important it allowed us to say this is who of who we want to become and what our future state is going to be looking like right.

We're able to articulate to our individuals of how they ought to behave versus reverting back to where we were otherwise it was just with things that we would have done right and it just would have been the gold shiny penny that something else uh would have happened right for us we wanted to change its paradigm of who we wanted to become right and that was the the critical item saying this is what the future state looks like and this is how we're going to behave without that right we would've been able unable to paint that picture that's excellent inside yeah and as you're trying to uh to apply these habits in practice is that any that stand out you as particularly hard to make it.

You know to implement in the organization yeah uh for me right and being in a uh entrepreneurial organization has 30 different operating companies right that have their own heart and mind and soul in culture getting 30 operating companies to synergize so habit number six right to synergize to have a common language and a common toolkit to make a best practice a common practice across 30 operating companies when it's non-obvious but he able to work through that has made us extremely stronger right but that is i can't hear you go ahead.

Okay yep so um for that for us to develop that common language and that common tool kit right for that to happen right that has been the hardest for us is really to developing what synergy is where one plus one plus one is greater than three not just three right but it actually has to be uh greater than that and across 30 different operating companies it's not obvious and it just takes a lot of hard work for sure so tell us a little bit one of the the comments that were made here is a little bit of background the journey and the heritage group of uh that you're on that you described to us um when did this start how long have you been on this journey in a very intentional way like the way you described.

Yeah so our journey started back and I commend our CEO just putting a stake in the ground as the fourth generation uh took over back in 2018 right and we just refer to it as you know business excellence as an overall hole so we have been on this since 2018 uh right when things were going exceptionally well within the world right and again being proactive to doing during this during a position of strength uh to getting ready when that diversity was going to come so here we're at the end of 2020 and as we go into 2021 we already have our entire year planned we have still rolled out items just as i commend this industry right adapting and overcoming and doing a BTOES over the internet and at home kudos to everyone showing up Jose and team thank you so much, we've had that same mindset and we already have 2021 planned out proactively of how we're going to invest inside a a um of our organization and thankfully all that is already oversubscribed.

That's fantastic what an incredible um program and the attraction that you have you have gotten with your program so far now can you expand a little bit on the key strategies that you use to help keep first things first and among all the other competing priorities you know how how do you identify the first things first uh areas if you will and uh and what is the strategy behind that yeah so uh have we started out with these champions and sponsors right knee and need to write charters uh one of the great things i love about power steering power steering has really allowed us to be able to do this right so uh power steering allows us we we want to be great at five items identifying important business customer problems prioritizing those important business customer problems solving celebrating and sustaining our gains so uh one we're able to collect all of our ideas.

So power steering is our common language and common tool credit across all 30 operating companies so as we get to listen to our teams of what's important to them it then allows us right to prioritize together so we have idea triage committees is really kind of what we're talking about them right so the ideas are coming in and then the business is saying i have an idea triage committee and we have then a way of how we ask them to prioritize against strategic goals because we are focused on solving important business customer problems what's the strategy of the organization and we have developed uh a system with inside power steering that allows us to prioritize that and tell us what's important now and also to from a resource load perspective this is your idea pipeline these are my resources.

Do I want to go out and hire individuals to go after this potential but we have an idea triage committee that's actually allowing us to do that and then before we solve then champions and sponsors must write the important business customer problem charter saying okay idea comes in i assess it we have a way to prioritize it within the software tool that communicates it across everyone and then the charter and then we turn everyone off loose then to go solve that so uh that's one of the ways that we have allowed us to really take our game to the next level across our entire organization Paul this is fantastic listen thank you for taking the time to share those insights from Indianapolis to the world.

We have over 2000 registered participants from all over the world who are part of the this ecosystem and they're going to be watching you live they're going to be watching the recording they're gonna see that you know you're doing a great presentation and you got interrupted and you had to keep going which i think is a wonderful analogy to what actually happens in organizations certainly an analogy to what 2020 has been like right we all had plans but life happened and uh and the ability to intentionally create the future which you are doing a leading but also the ability to pivot when necessary to overcome the hurdles when they show up but never losing track of your directional guidance and purpose because you have the purpose you have the passion you have the discipline and you have the resilience to endure that endure that journey.

So you exemplify all of that through your presentation and for all the mishaps that you have overcome today in delivering a wonderful message so thank you for that uh we're grateful to have a leader of your magnitude and expertise sharing this with all of us thank you Jose.

It's a beautiful thing and again I can't say thank you enough for our team right this is a team sport just like journey Kannan pouring milk over himself again the reason. why I'm here because of those first followers and the teams behind us so if you ever make it to Indianapolis stop by the heritage group would love to introduce you to our team that's awesome ladies and gentlemen Paul Simons from the heritage group.

Well done Paul great presentation on the path forward for continuous improvement and uh and speed not just with efficiency but making sure that you're effective in everything that you do so terrific message. 

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About the Author

download - 2020-11-27T165058.842Paul Simons,
Vice President of Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions,
Heritage Group.

Over the last 20+ years, Paul has partnered with teams to develop and implement strategies that create and deliver value. Currently, Paul is leading the integration of Lean Six Sigma methodology and providing data insights and strategy to The Heritage Group’s more than 30 operating companies. For nearly a decade, Paul served as a leader at Dow Chemical in Profit & Loss for commodities and specialty chemicals. During his tenure, Paul received the Innovating to Win and Pinnacle Marketing Excellence awards. Prior to his time at Dow, Paul devoted nearly eight years to the consumer products industry at Kimberly-Clark, honing his functional implementation skills within R&D, Engineering, Operations, and Supply-Chain functional roles. While there, Paul was awarded two global product patents. Paul holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Economics with honours, from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and an MBA with honours from the Harvard Business School.


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