Speed Learning for Minimally Invasive Training
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Speed Learning for Minimally Invasive Training

How can you help people learn Lean Six Sigma quickly and easily? It’s a simple three step process that will slash the learning curve for everyone.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“In a recent video I talked to you about the whole idea of “minimally invasive training.” How do we teach people in an hour everything they need to know to start solving problems? To do that you have to think about all the advances that we know about in speed learning.

“If I’m teaching Lean what do I do? First I tell them a story of how I’ve used post-it notes to reduce cycle time by 50%, 60%, 80%, 90% in something. I tell them a true story; that’s the first thing: tell them a story. Then what do you do? You say, “Well, do you have some sort of problem where there’s delays in your [process],” They say “Yeah.” Then you demonstrate using these tools to create a Value Stream Map or a Spaghetti Diagram or whatever and guess what: that’s the second repetition. I demonstrate how to use the tools, then what do I do? I give them the tools and I put out a flip chart paper and have them go out around the room and work on building their very first Value Stream Map or Spaghetti Diagram. Invariably, they learn how they come up with ideas about how to reduce their cycle time by 50 percent or more… invariably. Nurses figure out how to cut travel time in a nursing unit by 50%, 70%, 80%, which means they can spend more time with patients. So that’s the simple thing: you tell them a story, you demonstrate it, and you have them do it. That’s how you do it.

“I do the same thing with Six Sigma. I tell them a story about how I helped a company save a million dollars, five million dollars, three million dollars, whatever it is; it depends on what industry [they’re] in when I’m talking to them, and how we use data to analyze and drill down and focus the improvement, and I show them all the charts. I usually do it just on a piece of flip chart paper. I demonstrate control charts, Pareto charts, fishbone [diagrams] and then root cause analysis, and then [show] we actually made an improvement.

“So then what do I do? Well, I flip over the paper and say, “So what are some common problems that you’re facing that you can’t seem to fix?” They’ll come up with something about defects or deviation or variation. I say, “Okay, so if you were thinking about [the problem],” (and I’ll draw a control chart) and I’ll say “What percent of total defects do you think there are…” Right? So I’ve told them a story, now I’m demonstrating… with their problem. Now, I’m very loose about this, all right? I don’t have to know the exact amount or numbers I tell them, “We’ll fill that number in later.” So we go out and I kind of draw it, and they say, “Well, our reject rate is 8% or 12% or whatever it is…” I say, “Okay, so what do you think is the main cause of that?” They’ll give me the Pareto of what the big problems are. I say, “Well, within that big bar on the first Pareto, is there some piece of that that’s even more impactful than any other?” They’ll say, “Well, yeah: it’s probably XYZ (whatever it is, right?)…” So I’m creating… the second level Pareto chart. Off of that I draw a fishbone and I say, “So now we’d be in a position where we could start asking why. We could do the Five Whys,” and they say okay.

“So I’ve told them a story, I’ve demonstrated, and then I take my advanced training manual (my three-ring binder here) and I have them start doing it, right? I just have them test drive doing this on a little sheet of paper (and you can download this off of our website). Now, I can do that in about an hour, and guess what? That becomes the “minimally invasive training” and then I can take them straight into improvement… straight into improvement. That gets them. First, the first one, they see an example, second one I demonstrate, third one they play with it, and then we actually go into actual analysis and root-cause analysis on an existing problem that they have. Sometimes I preprocess their data, sometimes we use their data to turn that into a story. Easy-peasy! Minimally invasive! Then what happens is they’ve learned it because I’ve given them three repetitions. It gets it into the marrow of their bones, if you will, and they can start doing it… and then I give them the QI Macros and teach them how to use that as we’re going along, and guess what? They can start doing improvement projects that day. I’ve had people save tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars in the meeting! In the root cause analysis training and meeting! Or they do it the next week: they implement all the stuff they’ve figured out. It happens.

“Minimally invasive training,” three repetitions to embed the learning very quickly in about an hour. You’re going to be massively more productive about creating improvements, moving the business forward, reducing costs, raising profits, productivity, and making people happy.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go ahead and improve something!”