Edgard Graterol
January 09, 2020

Operational Excellence is Cultural Transformation- (or the other way around?)

Edgard Graterol 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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Operational Excellence is Cultural Transformation- (or the other way around?)

Create your own operational excellence journey

Operational Excellence is usually seen as the result of the application of a series of tools or methodologies that, in turn create a new culture.  For years, companies have tried different approaches following various methodologies and consulting advise in order to try to achieve a mythical state of excellence. Today, the smarter companies have taken pieces of these programs and developed a system of their own (some would call it their production system) in an attempt to use the pieces they need to design a roadmap to follow on their operational excellence journey. Together with the Operational Excellence movement, and sometimes in parallel, we also find the movement for Digital Transformation many times competing for management attention and resources. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.

The application of methods and/or technology on its own, is never a complete solution unless it is accompanied by a heavy dose of change management, a clear behavioral change in the leadership and a true conversion of the shop floor masses into a mindset of continuous improvement. All of these aspects are more difficult to measure and often confused with outputs of the implementation of an operational excellence program rather than an integral part of the program.




Mind the cultural gap!

Companies spend a lot of efforts in implementing a certain toolkit (or pieces of different ones) sometimes without minding the cultural gap that precedes these changes and assuming that because the solutions look good and have been “proven successful” somewhere else, they will be adopted almost without question by those that have to implement and sustainably live with the new processes.   

Operational Excellence is Cultural Transformation- (or the other way around?) 

The same happens with the omnipresent move for digitalization and automation vying for resources and expected to be successful at once given the uncontested “fact” that processes will be easier and, therefore, will be adopted almost without contest. From what transpires in the report on the Global State of Operational Excellence1, it is clear that the bigger concerns of the interviewed senior leadership around the world continue to be related to cultural transformation needs and, therefore, a “change management problem” rather than a “technical problem”.




Attack the problem of cultural transformation

One interesting finding in this report, is that although the biggest challenges are cited to be on the culture side, the measures to be taken in the near future are mostly citing operational success rather than cultural transformation as the goal to be achieved.  Most of the next 12-18 months are worded in terms of things like “roll out”, “Driving innovation” “reducing variation” rather than attacking the much more important (and also more complex) problem of cultural transformation. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19.    




Focus on mindset change

In order to confront this paradox, Operational Excellence must be perceived and marketed as a cultural transformation program as opposed to a set of tools to “make the machine move faster, better, cheaper”.  The subtle difference in marketing, together with a conscious review of the change management component of the program will certainly yield better engagement and also likely better results.


The sustainability of these results will also improve considerably when the focus shifts towards working with people, creating the right messages and living those messages day in and day out.  This way, the organization is “allowed” and empowered to then deliver on the lagging indicators by way of applying their understanding of excellence and leveraging the personal commitment that comes with said mindset change.




Rethink how to reach Operational Excellence

Maybe the time of focusing almost exclusively in tools, technology and program deployment has passed and we should engage in twisting one of the quintessential paradoxes of the OPEX world: Can we continue to try delivering excellence and, then, engaging people?  Or should we rather look at it the other way around and focus on finding better ways to engage people and THEN give them the tools and methodologies to deliver on their vision of excellence?

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Operational Excellence is Cultural Transformation- (or the other way around?)


About the Author 

Edgard Graterol:Operational Excellence is Cultural Transformation- (or the other way around?)Edgard Graterol

Regional Vice President Operational Excellence, LSG Group

Edgard is a globally experienced operational excellence leader with a successful track record in launching, developing and sustaining customer focused quality and productivity improvement programs. 

He has proven ability to motivate and work effectively with multiple cultures. Check out his LinkedIn profile.

He has extensive background and experience in change management and successful project delivery.

He is fluent English, Spanish and Portuguese. He also has working knowledge of German.

His specialities are Operational Excellence, Change Management, Global Program and Project Management, Lean, Six Sigma and Quality.


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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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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