Rebecca H Mott
December 15, 2018

Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change

Rebecca H Mott has written an article on her 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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Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change

Sustainability is consistently mentioned (about 70 times) throughout this year’s report. Sustaining the momentum of operational excellence can help organizations improve engagement which leads to higher levels of leadership buy-in and ultimately has a positive impact on cultural change. But with all of the mentions of sustainability, there were some notable gaps in relating it to leadership support and the key performance indicators used for operational excellence initiatives. There is also a real gap in how current frameworks and models are supporting the need for businesses to deal with change. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19.   



Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change

Three challenges for operational excellence leaders to improve success rate

There are three challenges that operational excellence leaders must face to improve upon their success rate. The first area deals with creating key performance indicators that show how we are doing with sustainability and engagement. Additionally, there are strong implications that our failure to develop the right success indicators may be due to a gap in the skill set of certified Lean Six Sigma professionals. And the frameworks and models established by lean six sigma practitioners more than 30 years ago may not be adequately supporting organizations' ability to adapt to change.Here are additional thoughts on each of those topics:


Research Report: Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change




Key performance indicators don’t point to the sustainability of efforts or cultural engagement.

How do we know that an initiative from 2015 is being sustained? Will it necessarily show in the balanced scorecard? Or will it show up in the ROI quickly enough to prevent management from aborting efforts before gains are seen? And with cultural aspects of engagement typically being measured separately from business outcomes, are we missing opportunities to identify supportive strategies for effective engagement? Operational Excellence leaders need to integrate measures of sustainability and engagement into their metrics. We need to understand that our efforts are part of a complex ecosystem that cannot be narrowly defined by a single metric. We need to create better ways to measure sustainability and pull what we know about the current state of engagement into our view. This can be a challenge for Lean Six Sigma belts that have a limited understanding of organizational theory or who experience difficulties in translating operational excellence indicators into the language commonly spoken in the C-Suite. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.




Lean Six Sigma belts are not traditionally equipped with the knowledge required to tie operational excellence performance to the needs of the business, specifically the need to innovate and adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

While we must improve our ability to measure sustainability and engagement, the language of metrics cannot be divorced from the measures that organizational leaders see as valuable indicators of success. Learning to talk the language of the C-suite is an imperative if Lean Six Sigma leaders want to influence corporate leaders. Our operational excellence leaders need to add business acumen and a deep knowledge of organizational theory to the suite of skills required to support the deployment of programs within an organization. 

Could this be the reason behind the success of programs that have operational excellence leaders in the C-suite? Operational excellence leaders need to understand how to use the tools and strategies of Lean to help organizations innovate and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. They must become C-suite influencers with the answers to the question “How do we prepare for the future right now?” Operational excellence leaders should concentrate on developing effective influencing strategies that go beyond the typical approach of “let’s use our tools and methods to improve upon the status quo.”

Again, it is necessary to think systematically and understand the complex ecosystem that is driving organizational behavior and culture. A key component would be the development of a robust framework that drives the behaviors that will build organizational flexibility. The focus of the operational excellence leader must become helping the organization deal with external pressures and keep pace with a rapidly changing environment prone to disruption and shorter cycles of technology innovation.




External pressures to keep pace with a rapidly changing environment prone to disruption and adaption to new technologies present real threats to the sustainability of improvements.

Operational Excellence Leaders must become the experts of enabling the organization to develop the capacity and flexibility to deal with change. This can be tricky because flexible sustainability generally competes with the framework learned by Lean Six Sigma experts which emphasizes “control” as a sustainment tool. We must get better at understanding how to control sustainment of improvements in a way that allows us to flex and adapt as things change.

How can Operational Excellence Leaders create frameworks that increase the organization’s capacity to absorb change and respond to disruption? There is a real need to revamp our models and frameworks to the reality of today’s environment. We can no longer afford to divide our views on continuous improvement, organizational excellence, and innovation. Our models must become integrated, and our frameworks must become holistic, flexible, and robust.


We will know we are on the right road when we begin seeing:

• Composite metrics that have a balanced view of success that includes sustainability and engagement measures

• Lean Six Sigma training that incorporates an understanding of organizational theory as a core competency

• And the development of more robust and flexible models and frameworks that enable organizations to respond rapidly to change


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change


About the Author

Rebecca Mott: Sustainability of Operational Excellence in the Age of Disruption and Change

Rebecca H Mott

Senior Continuous Improvement Specialist Enterprise Improvement, Tennessee Valley Authority

Rebecca is  a champion for continuous improvement (Lean Six Sigma) and innovation with 24 years of utility and laboratory experience. She enjoys using her analytical skills, business acumen, and strategic thinking to lead teams through change and transition . She lives by the mottos "None of us is as smart as all of us together" and "You can always better your best." 

Wherever she finds myself, she looks for opportunities to make the team and its work better. It is all about the never ending journey of continuous improvement. Check out her LinkedIn account.


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,

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