Culture Change

NO EXCUSE: Responsibility is not a characteristic

personal responsibility in delivering excellence

Sense of responsibility: one has it, or one doesn’t. There is not a word of truth in this statement. Of course some people have more compassion with their fellows than others do, but there sure are techniques for sharpening your sense of responsibility. So no more excuses!

But what exactly is this sense of responsibility?

Some jobs and the belonging tasks demand for a lot of responsibility. Most of the times, those come together with a lot of money, or sometimes even human lives are at stake. People that own a sense of responsibility are characterized by their alertness. They constantly question themselves: Why is this going wrong? Can I do this, better, faster, or more efficiently? Also, they own the capacity of making decisions on their own, and being independent. Responsible people see it as their duty to watch over the well being of others in their surroundings, and will recognize alarm signals or stress factors in the blink of an eye.  It’s not about reflecting responsibility, but taking responsibility!

Developing your sense of responsibility

In case you would like to develop your sense of responsibility, you will have to learn to shut down your automatically generated thoughts. Irritation is a familiar emotion for you? Do you ever think: “Why is this happening now, again? I even told them so; just let it figure them out by themselves!” ? Then, I would strongly advise you to let go of this frustration and to take the following steps in developing your sense of responsibility.

  • Let go of your narrow-mindedness! This is rather the opposite of responsibility. You don’t want to do tasks that are not in your job description according to you? Then you will not be able to make a splendid career. It is showing lack of responsibility and it will not improve the quality of the product or service that you are delivering.
  • Try to be flexible. Has it ever occurred to you to work some overtime to finish this important order? Shake of this ‘from nine to five’ mentality and try to create some flexibility for making an extra mile. Doing slightly more than is requested for can tremendously boost the quality of your product or service.
  • Don’t forget about the details. Often, the quality of your product or service can be found in the details. To have an eye for details is of major concern for showing that you are taking responsibility for the quality delivered.
  • Be willing to do something for one another. To reach a helping hand to your colleague that is overloaded by work can be very much appreciated. Take responsibility for the organization as a whole and for the well being of your colleague. He won’t forget about it!
  • Don’t forget to share your responsibilities. In case you are afraid to do so, you will hinder yourself and your surroundings for no reason. People with too big of a sense of responsibility are excessively critical and point out to their colleagues what possibly could go wrong. This will give your colleagues a feeling of discomfort and it creates an awkward cooperation. Shake off this feeling of doing it better than others. Think of what actually could go wrong. This hardly ever is a irreparable mistake

Do you dare to take the step of developing a sense of responsibility?

I can help you in developing sense of responsibility by my online Lean Six Sigma trainings. With the help of improvement projects, internal process will be scrutinized to discover which input is of importance for your results. Then it will be determined what would be the best way to monitor this input and to optimize the process, and to deliver the quality that you stand for.

Lean Six Sigma works following a certain project sequence. Each step within the project will be gone through systematically, and according to the DMAIC principle, standing for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. For each phase, the project team will have to come together to brainstorm and to work out ideas.

But this only works if everybody in the team takes his or her responsibility, doesn’t it?

In case this is not happening, it is of importance for the project and the organization to stop and talk about this issue. Are YOU ready to take your responsibility?

Have a look at my training programs!

You can also contact me for some more information on the topic or for some advice.

The choice is yours.

: +31 6 54 69 40 47



Why The MD of a Small Company Started with Lean Six Sigma?

What is your reason to start with Lean Six Sigma?

Recently I have started with a complete Lean Six Sigma improvement program at a small maintenance company. This involves the following:

  1. Training 9 employees – including the Managing Director – in Lean and Six Sigma methodology up to Green Belt level
  2. Coaching them on 5 different projects like reducing lead times, improving sales, improving on-time-delivery performance
  3. Setting up a company cockpit to follow the overall performance of the company and our Lean Six Sigma improvements
  4. Identifying new projects for the next wave (2nd 6 month of the program)
  5. Training the project team members as Yellow Belts – they are the “bridge” to the rest of the company
  6. …and do it all in Dutch…

We did not start with this program right away but first I had a single Lean Six Sigma project so that the company – and the MD – could “taste” Lean Six Sigma.

I have conducted a project there to reduce welding hour variation compared to the budgeted hours. This project has reduced the variation – therefore increased the predictability – in the welding shop by at least 40%.

Meaning: after the complete implementation of the findings of our project (I was the project leader and my team consisted of foreman, dept manager and 3 welding operator) this little company has increased its welding capacity by at least 40% without any investments and additional manpower.

Both the team and the MD was surprised by the results but also realized that other steps were required if they wanted to utilize the results of our Lean Six Sigma project.


Because they needed more welding orders to monetize the extra 40% capacity otherwise they had to reduce manpower.

The MD believed that they could get more orders.

Seeing the impact of a single Lean Six Sigma project and the new challenge (extra sales required) he decided to implement Lean Six Sigma in the whole company.

That’s the reason, I am a bit busy nowadays with this program but I can tell you, those guys are enjoying the new way of working on different issues.

It is not only saving money and time for the company and increases customer satisfaction and sales but it is also a BIG FUN.  Nice to see the extra stimulus this new strategy brings to company!

Concerning our welding project, the MD said that he would never start again a single improvement project because it will only deliver an isolated improvement. The potential is much greater when running several projects throughout the company because their interaction and impacts on each other is HUGE.

The downside of running several projects at the same time is that it is fairly difficult to calculate individual savings of those projects due to the interactions.

But I would say: “Who cares!” As long as your company as a whole are gaining and benefiting from those projects.

What is Your reason to start with Lean Six Sigma?

Warm regards,


Improving At All Levels…BIG Change

Applying a process improvement method like Lean Six Sigma will result in CHANGE. A really big one.

Are YOU ready for that?

If you’re a business owner, MD, business unit manager or just starting to become one… let me ask you this: who do you think likes changes?

The correct answer: only the baby with wet diapers :-). Nobody else.

Normally you stuck in the way you work, day-in day-out. You feel comfortable with it, though you might think you should look around and see how you can improve it.

Applying Lean Six Sigma to an organization, in the way in believe to the most effective, will require a huge amount of willingness to change from the whole organization. Why?

The change is the only constant factor. If you don’t change, you will be taken over, passed by your competitors, you will lose customers, your profit will disappear.

Leaders: be ready for change and embrace it.

When you decide as a leader to apply Lean Six Sigma to achieve your goals, you should involve as many people as possible in the program. Because you don’t want only a small piece of the benefits but you want real transformation of your organization, delivering significant cost savings, lead time reductions, elimination of wastes. And you want this on an ongoing base, done by your own people.

Therefore, involving the whole organization in this process will cause the following changes:

1. Openness

People will be invited to work in Lean Six Sigma project teams. They are from different departments because you want to approach a problem from different point of view. Therefore, those people will discuss their experience and share their knowledge on the issue. Isn’t it wonderful to have such openness and interest in each others work and opinion? Often the “walls” between functions and departments are the causes of many problems and mistakes.

2. Focus

The Lean Six Sigma project teams have one purpose: solve the problem. Project is set-up to solve an issue that holds back the organization in achieving their objectives. This problem will be dealt with during a period of 4 to 6 month. During regular meetings the project team will apply different problem solving tools to find the right solution for the problem.

My experience is that only by addressing a problem and communicating to a group of people will result in tremendous improvement. That is due to focussing on a common goal.

3. Problem-solving ability

Applying the tools of Lean Six Sigma during the project work will result in a

  • structured
  • focused
  • data-driven analysis

of the problems. The team will learn how to discuss idea’s, investigate situations, find causes to undesired outcomes, learn to collect and analyze data before making any conclusions.

Would you like to lead such organization?

Culture Change Underway with 40+ Green Belts and Yellow Belts

I’m in Sweden now and its raining…:-(

Today, I’ve just finished the certification process of 16 Green Belts and their team members trained as Yellow Belts in Lean Six Sigma.

It was an excellent day with 8 project presentations and discussions afterwards. It is so good to see these people discussing how to improve the company performance, how to reduce costs and improve quality and speed. They have done a fantastic job!

As I said in my closing presentation:

“The management of the company could not wish anything better than having these 40+ people brainstorming and helping each other in their project to solve problems and improving the company”

…and this is that we are after in Lean Six Sigma: to change company culture to a focused, purpose-driven, learning and empowering culture

…and the results will come, like:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Less defects
  3. Better quality
  4. Higher profit
  5. Reduced lead-times
  6. Increased value
  7. Customer focus

Just to mention a few of the TANGIBLE results.

…but these are the RESULTS and not the objective.

So if you want to start a Business Improvement Program,

  • aim for culture change
  • use Lean Six Sigma as a tool for change
  • involve the whole organization
  • and the results will come

Okay, it is not the end yet, it is just the BEGINNING of the change but change we need, for sure.

Is your organization about to change for a better?