Las Vegas 2023

How I Wired the Winning Organization!

How I Wired the Winning Organization!


Maria Mentzer

Vice President Customer Development, See to Solve





Okay, let's go. So my name is Maria Menzer. Welcome to my session on how I wire the winning organization. Um, so Jean asked me, and you have to keep me honest, he said, Hey Maria, when you do your slides, make sure that you have a slide to introduce yourself, to give your background so that you, so that show your credibility. And then make sure at the end you have a health needed slide. And I said, yeah, Dean, I'll have that stuff, but I won't have the titles like that, but I'll cover it in here so you just keep me honest, make sure that I cover those two things. And then we're gonna have a lot more fun. I'm gonna do a lot of crazy stuff. I think, I don't know if Gina will ever, ever have me come back here 'cause I think I might be going off script, but we're gonna do a little bit of crime mystery combined with like cooking and recipes.


And we're gonna talk about therapy and we're gonna talk about a little bit of European history and some dancing in there. So we're gonna have a lot of fun <laugh>. So get ready for, for the 25 minutes of Crazy Maria. But really my goal, uh, for you for this, this 25 minutes, it's after this, these 25 minutes, I want you to walk away with a recipe that I have kind of honed through 20 plus years of wiring winning organizations. And I want you to walk away with the confidence that you can actually implement that recipe without having to make it your full-time job. Like you should be able to make this your side gig. Just like when you pick up a recipe and you wanna be able to cook that meal for dinner, you don't expect that you're gonna have to be a master chef and take cooking classes to follow the recipe.


So rest, you're gonna get in my recipe, family recipe, I guess call it Maria's Auntie Maria's recipe. Um, you are gonna, I'm hoping you walk away with the confidence that you can implement it. I'm hoping my goal is that you also walk away motivated to try it because it's gonna be just that simple and actionable that you're really kind of feel like me. I have to give it a shot. So that, those are my three goals. Um, and, and one of the things I also wanna say is what you could gain, this could be career changing. I mean, it could be one of the most impactful things that you do in your career. So why not give it a shot, right? What do you have to lose? So, um, this next slide I actually asked AI to help me with. Um, I asked ai, Hey, can you just make like a, you know, one of those crime mystery walls where you have a villain and you have a bunch of clues and red threads and pins and stuff like that to like solve the mystery?


And this is what AI came up with for me, me and I said, I can work with this, this is perfect. Um, but we're not here to solve a crime mystery. But I do wanna cover the mystery of why should you trust me? So that's the mystery we're gonna solve because you don't know me, I haven't written a book. I'm not Steve Spear and I'm not Gene, I've written a thesis. No one reads it, it's a book, but I mean it's on my bookshelf at home. Um, so just bear with me. We'll go through this little detective game here. Why you should trust me. Why should you even listen to my advice? Really, actually, it's really simple. It's Steve Zenio say, well, it's because of that guy. It's Steven here. I don't think he's in there. Um, you should trust me because of Steve Spear and he'd give you, yeah, you should trust Maria.


But if I were you, I probably would say I, I need a little bit more, gimme a couple more clues of why, what is it that connects you to Steve Spear? So we're gonna go through this, bear with me here. Um, so the first time that I heard of Steve Spear, I was about 20 years ago, I was working in semiconductors. My whole career has been pretty much high tech semiconductors. Um, and we were implementing Lean in our semiconductor fab and part of the lean training was to read Steven Spears decoding the DNA of the Toyota production system. I'm sure you have read it. If you haven't, you should. It's an uh, HBR very famous article that he read. It was part of our training and we followed, uh, followed it and we were able to reduce our cycle time. This is a fully loaded factory 20 years ago.


Um, so we run 'em 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And we were able to take our cycle times from three months, which is pretty typical or was typical at least back then to three weeks. We became the fastest semiconductor fab in the world at the time. So winning organization, right? So that was the first time I heard of Steve. Then the first time I met Steve was at MIT, he was my professor in our lean class. And um, one of the things he gave us was this handout of this process mapping technique that was just super simple. So I call it like the process mapping Super superpower, yeah, process mapping, superpower. Um, and that's, that's the first time I met Steve and he was my professor. And we'll talk a lot more about that in this talk. And then Steve became my consultant.


And this was at a high tech business unit. We were, um, this is years later. Um, the reason I love this example is because this business unit was just kind of like any company. It had all the functions and we implemented, uh, the high velocity capabilities that Steve writes about in this book. If you haven't read this book, this is a must read. And it worked across all different types of organizations. We talk about product development, software engineering, hardware engineering, finance, sales and marketing, supply chain operations, human resources, you know, the, the gamut. And we were able to do that following what Steve writes about in this book. And I'll touch on that a little bit later. One of the early wins we had there with one of our incubator teams was they took a process, used Steve's process mapping technique, mapped their process. I mean this is, they're just starting like this is a model line.


They had never, you know, done this before, knew nothing about Lean or Six Sigma or Agile or anything. Mapped their process, identified about a two handfuls worth of problems, did their hypothesis testing experimented, did their improvement and they cut their, their time, their process time from 10 hours to 10 minutes. And that this was affecting customers. The customers were waiting for those 10 hours and now it took 10 minutes to go. That was just an early example. Fast forward a few years now this business unit has, we spread it across a few thousand people and now they took, uh, when we started our customer satisfaction scores were worst in class. And at this point now we had top customer satisfaction scores. So, um, I, I'll give you that. A lot of the part of my recipe is from this, this experience. But at that point, covid hit and we were used to mapping in conference rooms with butcher paper and sticky notes.


And I call up Steve and I say, Hey Steve, don't you have a software company? And don't you guys have like a process mapping tool? 'cause I've looked at Miro and Mural and Visio, it just doesn't do what I need it to do. It doesn't help me map the way that you've taught us to map. And he said, sure, work with my team. So I worked with his c de salt team and we started mapping using, um, their flow tool. So then he was my software vendor, <laugh>. And then now Steve is uh, my colleague. 'cause now I work at C De Salt and I get to work with all sorts of organizations to help them wire themselves to be winning organizations, just people just like you. Um, and I feel very privileged to be able to take what I've done through my career and now help others.


Um, so the reason I went through this little mystery solving clue thing was just to show that I can say with utmost confidence that what Steve Spear and Dean are talking about and wiring the winning organization and in these books absolutely works in practice because I've implemented it many, many times. Um, and these are those experiences in my career that form that red thread of my career best experiences. Okay, so you go to the conference, I'm sure you've gotten a lot of really great ideas, things, books to read, things you wanna kinda implement when you get home. And then we all know what happens. Like you slept through the airport, you're kind of slightly, you're tired, maybe a little hungover, you get home and then it's like family's there, whatever you get going on and it's just hits you like a brick in the face and you kind of go, shoot, I gotta do laundry.


And I get to take my kid to the baseball game and I have thousands of emails in my inbox that I didn't read when I was at the DevOps summit and I just, I don't think I can, like I see it just feels like chaos. And the last thing I can think about is driving collective change, like a big transformation effort. So this picture is actually from, it's called Day H, it's chaotic. It's the day in Sweden. Day HH stands for her again, which is right in Swedish. And this is the morning after Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right side of the road. They decided to do this change at 3:00 AM in the morning. 'cause most people are now driving, but this is what it looked like. The, you know, a few hours later on the main street in Stockholm, chaotic, I mean it's driving change, collective change is pretty daunting.


So you probably go, Hey, the last thing I wanna do, I can't put that on my plate as well. And I say, yes you can because oh, come on, click there, there we go. Because we are not going to do it all at once. So the whole key is we're gonna, it's simple if you break it down so my recipe breaks it down for you so that it becomes manageable. Something that you can do as a side gig. So are you get, are you ready? Are you, do you wanna hear the recipe? Okay, awesome. Yes, let's go. Um, the first thing to do, keep it simple, I've learned because you have to explain to people what it is that you want them to do. How do you want them to change? And you have to bring them along and it, this could be maybe your CEO your leader or maybe you're the CEO and it needs to be your peers or your team.


You're gonna have to get everyone to come along on this journey eventually, right? If you're gonna drive this change across everyone in your, in your organization. So keeping it simple is key. And what I learned through my years is simple plain English or whatever language you speak in the country where you work is great because then people can't say, I can't do that. This's just a bunch of foreign terminology that I don't understand. And it's only for car manufacturers in Japan. You know, I've heard that many times. And so try to keep it super simple where anyone can understand what it is that you want them to do without having to know anything about Lean six Sigma agile. DevOps I found for me, using Steve's book, like I said before, worked great because in this book, and this is where I think you should use Steve and Jean's book and find the terminology that resonates for your organization.


In this book, Steve breaks down the behaviors that people need to do to become, to, to, to become a high velocity learning organization. And it, he breaks it down so simple that anyone can understand it. And even I can explain it to people, right? Like you have to see problems immediately, make sure that they're visible, flag them as soon as they happen, and then you swarm and solve them. So, so that you take care of it before it spreads and before it becomes an explosion. So you do it quickly, swarm and solve those problems. And then whatever you learn when you solve them, you spread it systemically across the organization. And then you get leaders. This is where you guys come in who helped their teams do those first three things. That's pretty simple. Like that resonated with anyone and people can't argue with you when you're backed up by this type of research and applied research. So it's not Maria's idea, it's Steve's idea and they listened to Steve. So that helped a lot. Keeping it simple and you, you someone else's brilliance.


Okay? The next step in the recipe is pick, uh, or start small, but then communicate broadly. Um, so starting small, pick maybe two or three incubator teams or model lines or pilot teams and pick only as many as you can handhold. So this is also where you actually can decide how much time you wanna invest. I mean, if you pick six pilot teams, you probably will make it a full-time job, but if you pick two, it's doable and you're gonna handhold these teams to help them change. So select them carefully and we're gonna talk about that in the next slide. But then communicate broadly, you know, have the leadership sessions, make sure, you know, make sure the leadership is on board that they know. Everyone should know that you're starting small, but these incubator teams, but it's gonna spread eventually. And you gotta have whoever your, your boss's boss, CEO, needs to be on board.


So that's the first person. Keep it simple, convince them first. Um, so start small and then, and then we're gonna talk about these fast followers. But after that it's, it's kind of rinse and repeat and then you spread it through them. So you can get up to about, I learned up to about a few hundred people through the incubators. Incubators about tens, tens of people, fast followers up to a hundred. And then, and then you spread to the thousands after that. And I won't have much time to talk about the thousands, but the important part is the first two steps. Okay, so now how do you pick the right incubator team? Here's some of the things that I learned that helped me. So you gotta find a team with a leader who already gets it. 'cause remember like you haven't done this yet. So, but there are always people in the company, some supervisors, some managers that like, I know what you're talking about Maria, I've been trying to do that.


I wanna, I wanna be part of it. Pick those, those, find who those people are and then make sure that the team also has something that other people care about that is an issue, like a pain point. Something that not just is painful for that team, but it's painful for other people. So other people care. So that's number two. So third thing is find a team who can do improvements in hours or days rather than maybe weeks or months or years because you want these fast feedback cycles. You wanna get some quick wins and you want quick feedback. And then the last thing is make sure you have the complete team roster. So try to get the Intax team and if there are any type of experts that they work closely with, bringing them along as well because you don't wanna have them all of a sudden stop because they have to go ask an expert.


And then it kind of, it just makes it really difficult for you to manage to make sure you have the whole roster and maybe there's a few other key people, stakeholders from on the teams that also need to be brought along into your incubator team. Right? So we've done three now this, now we're getting to like the really good stuff, the secret sauce. Um, this is now what you're going to do with those incubator teams or model line, model pilot lines or whatever you wanna call them. Those first first few teams, you're gonna handhold them through, um, using Steve's mapping method. And Steve also used to say, and this is how you basically teach them how to simplify, solidify and amplify. And, um, using Steve's mapping method, I think is was crucial for us because it's so simple. Anyone can do it.


First thing you wanna do is make sure that people start putting what's in their head onto, into, into words not the paper or in some way share it. And CV used to call this, put what's hidden in their brains into the physical world because once it's in the physical world, you can kind of map it and improve it. I call it therapy because what happens when you do this with people is, I mean it's like venting. Like they just, they go, oh it's, it sucks because I, when I do this and then I never get this stuff on time and it's so painful and, and so you and you kind, oh gosh, they're just complaining. You gotta let them do that. Like let them get it off, like then share it. They, they're sharing with their teammates like all the pain that they have to go through every day.


So just pause and just let them vent. Think Maria said it's therapy, it's happening, I I and I know what she's talking about. And then, uh, and then once they've done that, you can start to structure all that information that they're putting on these sticky notes or that they're writing down or using Steve's process mapping method. And it's really simple. And this is actually a copy of the handout he gives to us at ft when we take his class, the right side picture there that this one. And you basically just map, you still hear me when I turn? I feel like the mic. Okay, so you map the activities, um, what's, what's being done, what's being handed off between activities like baton passes that Steve always says is the baton passes of information or the things that are being handed off. And then you also map any of the methods that people use to do these activities.


And then you sequence them out through who is doing them. And over time it's really that simple. Once you do that, all these breaking points start to become apparent. The stuff that people were venting about, these are those red storm quests, you, you map that too. So that's kind of the, the, the secret sauce of the Steves Steves mapping. So you, you now, now I'm gonna give you the next slide has like, this is probably the one that you wanna copy. This is your practice session blueprint. Okay? So you've already done, we're already, we already covered this. You picked a team, you picked the process, you're mapping the process, you identified the break points on the map, you're brainstorming now start to brainstorm on improvements in experiments. You have the team prioritize 'em if there's a lot of them you can just do simple impact effort matrix or some other way to prioritize them.


Start to implement these improvements in experiments. Update your map. Make sure that it's just like not a one-time thing. It's like keep updating that thing with the new improvements and then that way you can, because now you can share it. Remember the third capability that I just told you is sharing, spread it to the people who can use it. So once you have it all in the map, that's a way for you to share it. Do a map walk, bring in the managers, leaders, stakeholders, anyone who needs to know. And then you just rinse and repeat those steps until you've addressed all the break points. And this is the practice sessions. This, this is what those model line teams get to practice over and over again until it becomes this part of how they address issues that pop up in their work. And I've seen it work it, it does work.


Um, okay next. Now you have picked your incubator team or your model line or your pilot. You have communicated broadly so people kind of know that these teams are working, they're doing something fun with you. You have practice sessions that you repeat with them. So they get, they get to learn. Usually by this time you're gonna have some fast followers approaching you and say hey, this is kind of cool, the stuff that you guys are doing, I really think my team could benefit from it. When those people start coming to you, you gotta be ready because you gotta nurture them. Just like those little cute hands are nurturing that little plant there. This is your chance. 'cause these fast followers is what's gonna help you get from the tents of people to the hundreds of people. So make sure that you prepare some education materials.


Again, keep it simple like you know, but have material ready and whatever way your organization communicates PowerPoint or white papers or brown bag learning sessions, you could go into staff meetings, be ready. Like when they say Hey can you come to my staff on Monday? You're like, yes, I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm there. Then make sure that you have some time or space for these fast follower teams to come and practice with you. Maybe it's office hours that you sit up for them like free. You know, anyone can come in and map. Well if you're gonna do that, you better have a few other people to help you. So train some coaches, some other people that can handhold these fast followers. By this time you probably ought to picked out who would be a good coach 'cause you have these incubator teams that have already been starting to do. So think about who can be a good coach to facilitate some of these other teams and then of course make sure you celebrate and have fun. Celebrate those quick wins and that brings more people in. 'cause everyone wants to have fun and get to do this type of rewarding work I found. Okay, but talking about fast followers, there is actually an expert and Derek Siver and we're gonna watch a video that really tells you all you need to know about the importance of fast followers.


If you've learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let's watch a movement happen. Start to finish in under three minutes and dissect some lessons. First of course a leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he's doing is so simple, it's almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow. Now here comes the first follower with a crucial role. He publicly shows everyone else how to follow. Notice how the leader embraces him as an equal. So it's not about the leader anymore, it's about them plural. Notice how he's calling to his friends to join in. He takes guts to be a first follower. You stand out, you brave ridicule yourself. Being a first follower is an underappreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a bone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that really makes the fire.


Now here's the second follower. This is a turning point. It's proof the first has done well. Now it's not a lone nut and it's not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news. A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers because new followers emulate followers not the leader. Now here come two more people than three more immediately. Now we've got momentum. This is the tipping point. And now we have a movement. As more people jump in, it's no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there's no reason not to join in now. They won't stand out, they won't be ridiculed and they will be part of the in crowd if they hurry. And over the next minute you'll see the rest who prefer to stay part of the crowd because eventually they'd be ridiculed for not joining. And ladies and gentlemen, that is of how a movement is made.


There you have it. This is why <laugh>, I love it. That never gets old by the way. And I have been called a lone nut many times and I'm say it's great. And if anyone calls you the lone nut, it means that you've succeeded. So, uh, so here's my health needed slide 'cause we're almost at the end. I have one minute and I still have one more video to show you. My health needed is please try my recipe and let me know how it goes and add your own flavors to it. It's not meant to be, this isn't rocket science, this, this stuff. This isn't something that I invented. I mean this is stuff that a lot of people do every day, but I pick the best stuff that's worked really well for me. I wanna hear how it works for you and um, that's my health needed from you. And remember too, we're not doing the transformation as a day age. One day everyone changes at once. You can do this because we're breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. Okay, I promised I was gonna have a testimonial video. This is from the general manager of the business unit that I was talking about. Who then who, which then got bought that got the best customer satisfaction scores. So we're gonna play that real quick. And then


The cool thing with high velocity was that the team members were directly involved in fixing the pain points that were impactful to them. And yes, we gained efficiency and predictability along with strong customer satisfaction scores. But the hours we save were usually the unplanned work that disrupted team member stays and many times, evenings and weekends. So their job satisfaction increased along with the efficiency getting started required the breadth and credibility from Steven as well as the implementation knowledge drive and passion from Maria. We couldn't have got off the ground that way.


And, and I didn't write that for Rob. He wrote it himself and read what he wrote. I just wanna make sure you know that. Um, so that's it. I would love to make sure that, don't hesitate to call me or Steve if you need help getting off the ground or you wanna talk more. There's, there are slides with many more words, <laugh>. So just, you know, feel free to look me up on LinkedIn or contact me. We can chat afterwards. Um, I want to hear how it's going. I can help you or just cheer you on because you would be that successful. Thank you so much.