Category Archives: Human Performance

Your next goal: becoming a Social Business


As I continue to improve myself and my service to clients, I have become involved with Social and Connected Business as the next wave of transformation. Below is an article from my good friend Dioni Nespral from everis Spain.  It was originally posted on our Social and Connected Blog at

Becoming a Social Business means growing into a social and connected entity, centered in the digital field and that has socialized its internal and external processes, achieving, this way, great flexibility and a dynamic in line with its sector that allow it to innovate and lead the business models of the XXI century.

Past status: lost.

Maybe you can identify with this: sitting with the executive committee of your business area or even with the company’s management team. Presentations are traditional, the message repeated: “we want to be leaders in…”, “our strategy for the next 3 years will be…”, “the increase in the sales shall be of…”, and you think to yourself how little things have changed in the last few years and in the difficulty when obtaining those leading positions when 5 years ago they were feasible thanks to a witty advertising campaign, a good budget and a thorough market analysis. Nowadays, little of this has its effect; only the current share is maintained.

You wonder where the magic wand is and don’t find an answer. Like it or not, the current situation is way beyond us. Not even the lessons learnt in our highly specialized courses or having attended conferences of the biggest gurus of the moment help. This is changing by leaps and bounds. The future is Social, and probably your area, company or organization isn’t and doesn’t have a strategy to get there. It can be the beginning of the end. Perhaps it’s time to take relevant decisions.

Current status: off/online.

History has always meant permanent change. But now even more, due the speed of the change. We are caught between a growing wave of connectivity that seems to have no end. A wave that will continue to change and modify itself, but that cannot be reversed. The world is connected. The Social world has gotten into the lives of the people and in our “natural habitat”: Leisure, work or school and family. Television programs include a social parallel “reality”, sometimes much more interesting than traditional broadcasts. Conversation occurs before, during and after the event and the connotations are different from usual. Conversations between families, schools and parents, are held quickly thanks to the simple sharing tools that can literally accelerate change and strengthen relationships. And all this has an influence in our professional environment.

Our working environment is where we spend more than a third of our day and it is in deep crisis (not economic crisis, but identity crisis). The restructuring of the organization to adapt it to a dynamic and changing environment takes place by increasing the connection between its members, accelerating the exchange of experience and natural knowledge of the company and by reviewing the working model. Nothing will remain untouched, and it is a priority to involve various actors in the business conglomerate. Nobody said being a Social Business would be easy.

Organizations have ambitious programs of motivation, dynamism and integration of talent running in order to change, grow and build new institutions to lead the post-crisis change. And they focus on collaboration, innovation and horizontal communication. All based on the most important values ​​of the network. However, the vast majority of executives surveyed confirmed that they are concerned about the little or non-existing ability of their organization to cope with this new environment. It is not the technological part that worries them, but the required organizational and cultural change. The barriers to overcome when wanting to become a Social Business grow noticeably as we get closer to the heart of the organization. The lack of interest of the management team and the fear towards the lack of management control are two other things that need correcting asides from the obvious absence of a robust strategy and the need to implement a new company culture.

Future status: Social Business.

We enter a new phase regarding strategy. Organizations need be visible for their clients, suppliers and other external agents in. It is clear that social tools are increasing and that the proximity to the clients, suppliers etc.  is no longer limited “from 9 am to 5 pm “. The client, the citizen, requires extreme attention subject to their own experiences, so the organization has to know how to integrate these experiences in the value chain of its service or product, controlling, this way, its Social Customer Journey.

But nothing will work if no movements in the companies and institutions’ internal processes are made too. The real differential value appears here: 80% of the success of an initiative to become a Social Business begins with the socialization of internal processes. Creating networked environments , fostering collaboration among members of the organization, facilitating the horizontality of the processes against the current hierarchy , investing in sociodigital training and the necessary cultural change, launching the transition to socialized customer care channels and establishing innovation models based on collaboration and collective creation , are, among other actions,  necessary to approach the most important challenge that organizations will face in the coming years : becoming a Social Business .

The match has begun. Social&Connected Business? Let’s begin.


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Filed under Business, connected, consulting, government consulting, Human Performance, Management, Marketing, Social

5S Your Room Please

For those of us in the Process Improvement realm, we are very familiar with 5S (yes I know many people often add the 6th S for safety).  My first encounter with 5S occurred as a kid getting paid to work weekends (i.e. allowance) cleaning up the shop while my dad was working.  It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.  I didn’t know I was following a tried and true method for improving efficiency in the work place.  I was simply doing what my father asked so that we could go to the candy shop, sporting goods store, or pet shop on our way home.  However, 5s launched my career as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt long before I knew what I was doing.

This exposure to 5S and following a process to accomplish a goal set the foundation for process improvement and quality management for my entire life.

  • As a student, I had a place for everything and everything had its place.  Before I started any assignment I would be sure that I had everything I needed to get the job done before I ever got started, snack included.
  • As an athlete (soccer goalkeeper), I prepared meticulously, shining my cleats, taking care of my gloves before and after practice, putting air in my soccer ball, making sure I had all of my equipment packed before practice/games (as well as back-ups), and ensuring my water bottle was clean, full and cold.
  • As a coach, I ensured I had a practice plan, I had the equipment ready to run my sessions, I made sure I had a backup plan (in case something unexpected happened), and I expected excellence in preparation by my players.
  • As a business professional, I utilize all of the things that I mentioned above to make sure that I can get the most out of my day.  But, it all starts with having a clean and organized work space and ensuring that there is a place for everything and that everything has its place.

Now I know that everything I mentioned above doesn’t necessarily align directly with 5s. So, with a nod of deference to the Japanese I will do a quick review.

What is 5S?

5S ensures work spaces are kept clean and organized to form the foundation of a Lean office. It involves five steps:

  1. Sort – Sorting through the contents of an area and removing unnecessary items
  2. Set in Order –  Arranging necessary items for easy and efficient access
  3. Shine – Keeping everything clean as a way to ensure that the work area is always in a condition to support claims processing
  4. Standardize  – Creating standard, visual guidelines for keeping the work area organized, orderly and clean
  5. Sustain – Educating, communicating, and auditing to ensure everyone follows the 5S standards

When following the simple steps of 5S we find that we get more done by creating a cleaner, more organized work environment, enabling faster and easier access to the computers, references, work products, and office material they needed to accomplish work. The anticipated benefits include:

  1. The ability to identify and eliminate waste
  2. Standardized work station setup for each position
  3. Decreased document retrieval times
  4. Reduced clutter
  5. Improved employee health and safety

So what is the point? 

The point is, whether we are a parent, a coach, or an employer/manager, 5S should be part of our approach to helping anyone we advise.  We are not only helping them better prepare for the task at hand but, we are helping them prepare for the bigger things in life that will eventually arise.

Happy Leaning,

The Common Sensei

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Filed under efficiency, Human Performance, Lean Six Sigma