This year marks the third consecutive year the Center for Operational Excellence’s Leading Through Excellence summit has sold out – but it’s never quite happened this soon.
The April 11-13 event reached full capacity in early March at more than 400 attendees, fueled by unprecedented early demand from member companies. In recent years, the summit has reached full capacity within a week of event kickoff.
Miss the cut? Here are the basics:
Get on the waitlist: Cancellations happen, and there’s a chance we will be able to offer some seats to waitlisted attendees beginning next week through the end of March. Your best shot at getting into the summit begins with getting on the waitlist.
Your company’s headcount matters: Member companies make up more than 80% of COE summit registrants, and while the event is open to the public, we want to make sure our partners get a fair shot at attendance – particularly those with none or very few registrants. The higher on the waitlist you are, the better shot you have at being granted a seat, but in the interest of fairness to our member companies, you’ll get priority if your company currently has between zero and five registrants currently signed up.
Missing the event doesn’t mean you miss everything: As in past years, any presentation materials from breakout sessions and keynotes that speakers agree to make available will be posted on our password-protected, members-only Digital Content Archive within eight weeks of the event (summit attendees will have access to electronic session materials immediately following the event). Also be sure to check our activity on Twitter: We’re @FisherCOE and will be posting summit tweets using the hashtag #COESummit17.
We’re be reviewing our process for next year: In just four years, attendance for Leading Through Excellence has more than doubled. Recognizing the strong increases in demand we see each year, we’ll be reviewing the admission process for the 2018 event and announcing any changes in the fall.
Communicating effectively – for a large-scale process improvement initiative, about new standard work, even just scheduling a meeting – is always a challenge, but it’s never been more of one. We’re deluged every day with information from a wide range of sources competing for our attention that can make our lives as leaders harder even as they bring unprecedented ease to our lives as consumers.
The Center for Operational Excellence is focusing on this challenge at its upcoming Leading Through Excellence summit by dedicating an entire keynote session to the challenge of communication in today’s fast-paced, distraction-rich world. Taking the stage at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, is Debra Jasper, founder and CEO of Columbus-based Mindset Digital. Jasper is an award-winning investigative journalist who’s now a leading authority in honing how we communicate in a digital world, making the complex simple.
Jasper, who’s focusing her summit keynote on communication essentials inside organizations, spoke to COE about what’s in store at her presentation.
COE: We live in a world of high-volume, high-speed demands on our attention. How has that changed the game for communicating as a business leader?
Debra Jasper: In a world of information overload, we have become a nation of skimmers and scanners. We have 147 emails coming at us each and every day, and that doesn’t count all of the text messages, posts, tweets and invites. So at Mindset Digital, we teach business leaders how to adopt an “SOS” approach — everything must be short, organized and skimmable.
COE: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when communicating internally to colleagues?
DJ: So often we’re so busy, we think “I’ll just rush through my emails and get them off my plate.” In reality, we have to write with clarity and impact, or even our own colleagues will tune us out. Ask yourself: Are your emails too confusing, too detailed or just too tough to puzzle through? If your colleagues are taking a long time to get back to you, it may be more on you than on them.
COE: One of your big passions is getting people to change how they communicate via PowerPoint presentation decks. What common misconceptions are out there regarding best practices in this format?
DJ: One big issue with PowerPoint is that it was invented in the ’80s, but many of us are still using it as if it still is the ’80s. Today’s audiences are much more visually sophisticated, which means that to tell a great story today, you must tell a great visual story. I sat next to an executive on a plane the other day, and he had been going to Toastmasters to improve. I told him: “If you want to be a great storyteller, spend more time crafting a great story.”
COE: You’ve written before about “the curse of expertise.” What’s the downside of being extremely knowledgeable in your field?
DJ: “The curse of expertise” is when you are speaking to impress, rather than inform. Sometimes we think that speaking in our lofty language makes us seem smart and credible. Instead, all of that jargon can simply drive away your audience.
COE: You speak to audiences in a wide variety of industries. What can our group of process excellence-minded “change agents” expect to walk away with when they hear from you at our summit next month?
DJ: In today’s world, it’s easy to get a message out. It’s tough to get a message in. We will show people how to write and present with clarity and impact.
A company renowned for its customer service and rich history in Columbus is stepping up its commitment to process improvement by joining the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence.
Columbus-based NetJets Inc. formally joined COE in February, with Jennifer Barlette, NetJets’ director of strategic initiatives, serving as board member.
NetJets’ forerunner, Executive Jet Aviation, was founded in Columbus in 1964. Two decades later saw the rollout of NetJets’ signature operational model, where customers – instead of buying an entire private aircraft – can purchase “fractional ownership” of an aircraft for a specified number of hours per year. Billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett joined NetJets as a customer in 1995 and the rest is history: Berkshire bought the company only three years later, propelling it to new heights as the worldwide leader in private aviation.
Today, NetJets has 7,500 customers – dubbed “owners” – around the globe and its fleet of 700 aircraft fly to more than 4,000 airports in more than 160 countries.
NetJets isn’t a stranger to COE: Executives Rich Wrona and Patrick Gallagher headlined a February 2013 seminar, giving an inside look at the processes that fuel its best-in-class customer service. NetJets’ debut as a member of COE steps up an already strong commitment to excellence.
“Process improvement is a priority at NetJets,” said Mindy Drummond, SVP of Human Resources at NetJets. “Every day we strive to maintain our position as the industry leader and that takes discipline and a commitment to continuous improvement. By joining COE, we will be able to learn from and collaborate with other industry leaders, pushing each other forward.”
COE Executive Director Peg Pennington said the addition of NetJets to the center’s roster further grows opportunities all members have to share best practices.
“COE has seen exciting growth in service-sector membership in the last several years, and we’re thrilled to bring NetJets on board,” Pennington said.
Click here for a look at COE’s full membership roster.
Two-dozen leaders from 11 Center for Operational Excellence member companies are gathered at Huntington National Bank, overlooking downtown Columbus and looking to learn from each other.
One company distributes pharmaceuticals. Another is keeping the lights on in the room itself. Yet another makes forklifts. And another sells insurance.
Spread across a variety of industries, they’re allowing the rest of the group a look under the hood of the operational excellence transformations they’re all sustaining in the hope that their challenges and successes help others – and that they walk away with new insights, too.
“We need help seeing things,” Huntington Chief Continuous Improvement Officer Jeff Sturm tells the group as the morning begins. “We base this on the idea that we’re better together and we need each other.”
This late January meeting marks the third occasion a group of leaders from COE member companies has gathered at a host company for an informal benchmarking session. At the meetings, attendees take advantage of the casual atmosphere to open up about some of the most crucial challenges in process improvement – sustainability, leadership behavior, metrics – and field questions from others. It’s a quick procession of slide decks and Q&As that offers a snapshot of how these companies are injecting structure and momentum into transformations that, in so many companies, fail from a lack of either.
The benchmarking group launched in August of last year at COE member KeyBank in Cleveland. Deb Lindway, Key’s enterprise director of Lean Six Sigma, reached out to COE about bringing leaders to its headquarters to connect.
“We’ve realized tremendous value from participating in COE events, but we wanted to pull together a subset of COE members from service-based companies to share our stories and leverage our collective experiences,” Lindway said.
Fewer than a dozen attendees from several member companies got the group started in August. A follow-up session in November at member Grange Insurance attracted a larger group, and now the gathering has doubled from its original size.
One regular attendee is Tim Krall, deputy director of LeanOhio, the group formed after Gov. John Kasich took office in 2011 and made process improvement at state agencies a key priority. LeanOhio joined COE last year and Krall is presenting a breakout session at April’s Leading Through Excellence summit.
Krall himself is a continuous improvement veteran who’s spent time at COE member Owens Corning along with Emerson Network Power and Sandvik, where he was serving as a continuous improvement leader when he joined LeanOhio more than a year ago.
“Getting a chance to meet with my peers from other industries really ignites my excitement for continuous improvement,” he said. “It’s great that others share openly both the good and bad, giving others a chance to learn from their experience.”
COE Executive Director Peg Pennington, who’s served as emcee of the benchmarking sessions, said she sees the gatherings as a start of something new – and potentially transformative – at the center.
“The most visible aspect of COE is its event roster, but COE is more than that – it’s a community of people committed to solving problems and learning from each other,” Pennington said. “I really see groups like this as the future of our center. It’s exciting to see these connections get made and keep growing.”
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the benchmarking sessions, contact Pennington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In just 10 weeks, 400 process excellence leaders from around the country are gathering at the Fawcett Center in Columbus, Ohio, for the Center for Operational Excellence’s fifth-annual Leading Through Excellence summit, a wide-ranging deep dive into problem-solving and leadership insights featuring two-dozen speakers.
Here are 10 things you should know as the April 11-13 event approaches:
We’re 70% booked. Registrations are coming in at a record pace that could lead to a full sell-out before April 1. If you’re considering returning to the summit or joining us for the first time, now’s your opportunity to guarantee your spot and have the best access to available Tuesday workshops and tours.
Early bird pricing ends Feb. 13. Right now, all member and non-member registrations to the summit are automatically discounted by 5%, while groups of five or more that register trigger an additional 5% discount. On Feb. 14, one of those price breaks will vanish, leaving only the group discount on the table. Gather your team now and sign up before then to ensure the best pricing.
Most breakout sessions are up for view. Leading Through Excellence offers five breakout session windows across April 12-13, with four options during each session. Of the 20 total options, 15 full abstracts are now posted on our website, with the remaining five set to debut by Friday, Feb. 10. Take a look now at what’s being offered and some of the organizations featured, including Cleveland Clinic, Bose, LeanOhio, IBM, LeanCor and FedEx.
Another keynote will be announced next Friday. Right now, we’re thrilled to feature Mindset Digital CEO and organizational communication expert Debra Jasper and The Alliance co-author Chris Yeh as keynotes for Leading Through Excellence. If you’re joining us for the Feb. 10 seminar via live-streaming or in person, you’ll be the first to hear our latest keynote announcement, which we’ll be posting on our website and via social media later that day.
Workshops and tours are filling up… Even with a record 15 workshop and tour offerings on Tuesday, April 11, some sessions are beginning to fill up. The all-day “Business Storytelling for Leaders” workshop hosted by ThedaCare has reached capacity along with the morning “Aligning Improvement with What’s Important” strategy workshop hosted by lean expert Beau Keyte. In the afternoon, tours to Anheuser-Busch InBev and Fuse by Cardinal Health – 2016 offerings back by popular demand – have booked up, as has a tour of BMW Financial Services.
…but many are still available. The upside? Another 10 tour and workshop offerings – including a newly added afternoon session of Keyte’s “Aligning Improvements” session – are still up for grabs. That includes an all-day lean office-focused tour of the Cleveland Clinic’s massive Revenue Cycle Management area, a morning crash course in data analysis, a zombie-themed afternoon Six Sigma workshop, a trip to Honeywell Aerospace, and more.
We’re going digital. Leading Through Excellence is debuting an official app for this year’s summit that includes all information on sessions and keynotes, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and more. Attendees also will have the opportunity to connect with others via messaging, rate sessions, and submit Q&A electronically. The summit app will roll out a month before the summit, giving you a chance to explore what it has to offer and make the most of it across the event’s three days.
Hotel deadlines are approaching. Coming in from out of town? Bringing a group? There’s still time to take advantage of specially reserved hotel blocks at two venues near the Fawcett Center: The Hilton Garden Inn and Staybridge Suites OSU. Hilton Garden Inn’s block pricing is available through March 10, while a newly added block at Staybridge must be booked by March 25. Rooms in the summit block have sold out each year in advance of the deadline, so head to our lodging/travel page to make your reservations.
Our summit schedule has changed – for your convenience. To better accommodate travel schedules on the summit’s final day, Thursday, April 13, Leading Through Excellence will kick off at 8 a.m. and conclude with a 12:30 p.m. lunch following closing keynote Chris Yeh.
Thursday’s early start is worth it. A very special guest will take the stage at 8 a.m. on the summit’s final day – and you won’t want to miss it. Intrigued? We’ll be making the announcement in the March summit preview edition of our Current State e-newsletter and on this blog.
With fourth-quarter and year-end financials for online retail juggernaut Amazon.com set to be released Feb. 2, industry watchers were abuzz with a statistic from digital commerce watcher Slice Intelligence: More than half of all 2016 growth in e-commerce came from Amazon alone.
This dominance is the latest sign that Amazon is growing as an industry disruptor, shaking brick and mortar retail to its core and reframing what it means to be competitive – and to win. Amazon’s most headline-grabbing move of late – Prime Now one-hour delivery – demonstrates that what’s propelling the company along is a relentless push to satisfy customer demand with lightning speed and unprecedented convenience.
Indeed, a shift toward instant-gratification customer demand is transforming the supply chain as we know it – and for a variety of industries. In the space of several years, Uber has turned the personal transportation trade on its ear and become a model of disruption, leading the Wall Street Journal in 2015 to state “There’s an Uber for Everything Now.” In the traditional world of goods production and fulfillment, consumer product giants such as Procter & Gamble Co. are undertaking vast strategic overhauls of their distribution models.
These changes roiling in the operations, logistics and supply chain management worlds pose huge challenges to companies just as they present opportunities. The Center for Operational Excellence has teamed up with the Fisher College of Business Operations and Logistics Management Association for a look at this trend through a half-day Supply Chain Symposium event called “On Demand,” set for Friday, Feb. 24, from noon to 3:30 p.m. At this event, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from leaders at companies including Nestle USA, DHL and Amazon about how they’re working to keep pace with demand and stay competitive.
The first speaker at the event is Adrian Kumar (pictured, right), VP of Solutions Design, North America for DHL. Kumar leads a team of 50 engineers and supply chain professionals to drive growth and continuous improvement across the US and Canada. He’ll be discussing how changing consumer trends are changing the traditional fulfillment model along with the economics behind the model, crowd-sourced delivery. Kumar also will highlight the shift to regional and local fulfillment centers and the challenges in addressing short supply chain lead times.
The keynote speaker at the event is Michael Coburn (pictured, right), head of customer-facing supply chain for Nestle USA. Coburn, a nearly 30-year Nestle veteran, will introduce the concept of short-shelf-life products and their impact on products and customers. By presenting Nestle case studies, he’ll also illustrate their challenges and complexities along with the evolution of the short-lead-time supply chain space.
The event, open to COE members and Fisher graduate students, will wrap up with a discussion panel where Kumar of DHL will join Rob Precord, project manager, supplier-facing supply chain at Nestle and Matthew Fein, an operations manager at Amazon in Columbus.
The Center for Operational Excellence’s first event of 2017 is shaping up to be one of its biggest.
The Friday, Feb. 10 keynote featuring strategy expert Trish Gorman is nearly 80 percent full with weeks to go. The 1 – 2:30 p.m. session, open to employees of COE member companies and invited guests, is preceded by a noon networking lunch and is followed by a book-signing with Gorman and an optional debrief session.
Gorman’s keynote, “From Strategic Thinking to Strategic Leadership,” explores how strategic thinking is essential to competitive success – but it’s not enough. Strategic leadership, Gorman assets, is needed to energize yourself and others to convert ideas and analysis into coordinated and timely action. Especially in dynamic, uncertain environments, it’s leadership powered by analysis that ensures firms can respond with agility and resilience to challenges in real time.
Gorman is a renowned speaker and consultant currently working as an innovation expert for the Ohio State Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fisher College of Business. She is the founder of an online assessment firm, KEASkills, and serves as an advisor and subject matter expert for early stage investors and leaders of growth-focused organizations. Gorman also co-wrote What I Didn’t Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World, which she’ll be selling and signing following her talk. Five registrants at the event also will win a copy of the book in a drawing that will take place the day before.
Click here to register for this event, which is expected to reach full capacity by the end of January.
The Max M. Fisher College of Business, home to the Center for Operational Excellence since its founding, formally celebrated its centennial year in December, ringing in the occasion with a top honor for a global leadership icon and an impassioned defense of higher-education institutions as fuel for tomorrow’s innovation.
Students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and business partners gathered this month for a Centennial Celebration that honored one of its most successful alumni – L Brands founder and CEO Leslie H. Wexner – and featured CNN’s Dr. Fareed Zakaria as keynote speaker.
Zakaria, who hosts the show Fareed Zakaria GPS and contributes to publications including The Atlantic and The Washington Post, looked back in his keynote on a year in which divergent perspectives on many of America’s institutions had no shortage of ardent defenders and impassioned detractors. One of those institutions: The higher-education system in the U.S. that, 100 years ago, helped create schools such as Fisher.
“We’ve become very worried that we are not poised to be able to reap the benefits of this new world we are all moving into,” Zakaria said. “There’s a great fear that we have an expensive, outmoded education system that really doesn’t work for today’s world.”
Zakaria has become an outspoken advocate for the notion that this fear, often rooted in statistics that show American students’ middling scores on international tests, is in many ways unfounded. Other countries, he noted, view America’s education system with overwhelming admiration and envy that has fueled ongoing attempts at imitation for many years.
“(Other countries) like our complex layering of science, technology, humanities and social sciences,” Zakaria said. “This has been America’s innovation.”
If results on a test don’t define innovation, then, what does? Innovation flourishes in large part, Zakaria said, by how much a society allows its people to dream big, question the status quo, and keep trying in the face of failure. It’s no coincidence, he added, that top innovators such as the U.S., Israel and Sweden have these characteristics and more, allowing their people not just to master tools and technology but understand the insight into human beings that truly drives innovation.
“Innovation really is about exercising all our talents and senses,” Zakaria told the audience. “There’s an understanding of human beings, of countries, of wants and desires and tastes. The United States does this through the kind of education OSU provides better than almost anyone else in the world.”
Wexner, a famed innovator in the retail world, was presented with Fisher’s Centennial Award of Distinction, an honor he said he shared with college namesake Max M. Fisher, a mentor who drove him to new heights as a leader and philanthropist.
“This is really a joint award, and maybe I’m the junior partner,” Wexner told the crowd. “It’s really from the Fisher College of Business to Max.”
Read more about Fisher’s Centennial Celebration here or watch highlights from the event in the video below.
Planning to attend the Center for Operational Excellence’s Leading Through Excellence summit in April? Less than two weeks remain to get the best available pricing on the three-day event.
Any registrations before Jan. 1, 2017, automatically will receive 10% off the total price. Group registrations of five or more receive an additional 5% off, a discount in effect the duration of the summit sign-up period. The automatic early bird discount for individuals and groups of up to four drops to 5% at the beginning of the new year.
Leading Through Excellence, COE’s signature event, will take place April 11-13 and feature a wide variety of workshops, tours, breakout sessions and keynotes designed to help attendees sharpen their problem-solving and leadership skills. This year, we’re taking attendees to the Cleveland Clinic, exploring the power of business storytelling, and hosting sessions from leaders at companies including IBM, Bose, FedEx and more. Keynote speakers include communication expert Debra Jasper, CEO of Columbus-based Mindset Digital, and Chris Yeh, co-author of the bestseller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.
Emotional Intelligence: Becoming a Leader Who Cares, hosted by American Woodmark CEO Cary Dunston. In this session, Dunston will explores why leaders with the best intentions often make choices that limit their ability to be effective. The root cause, he proposes, is a lack of “emotional intelligence,” which can steer leaders to become emboldened by purpose and aligned with their core values.
The Power of Lean Habits, hosted by Eric Olsen, a professor at California Polytechnic State University. Drawing from Charles Duhigg’s bestseller The Power of Habit, Olsen in this session explores how companies can leverage the key components of the habit loop – cue, routine, reward, craving – to identify the lean and non-lean habits at work in their organizations.
Building the Fit Organization, hosted by Dan Markovitz, Shingo Prize-winning author. Markovitz wrote his book of the same name after realizing too many companies in their pursuit of operational excellence were trying to mimic “the Toyota way” without translating the core concepts of lean into a language that resonates with their employees and in their unique corporate culture. This session offers the keys of the Toyota Production System in jargon-free terms.
Getting to the market before a competitor can mean the difference between smashing success and crushing defeat. This has prompted many companies to look critically at their product development processes in hopes of finding new ways to slash time.
So is faster better? New research this year from Fisher College of Business Associate Dean Elliot Bendoly shows it’s not that simple.
Bendoly’s research, co-authored by Rao Chao of the University of Virginia and published this year in Production and Operations Management, took the novel step of scrutinizing the product development process at eight distinct stages – spanning the “fuzzy front end” to market entry – to find out what happens when each one is sped up.
They found evidence that shortening two of the eight stages – beta/market testing and technical implementation – was linked to market value gains, though only to a certain point. How aggressively companies innovated and how much time they cut were key factors of influence. The research, which you can read about in full on the Management Sciences department website, might break new ground in how we view the product development process.
Fisher’s Management Sciences department, where COE’s associate directors reside, is a powerhouse in generating the latest research insights the managers’ most critical challenges. Check out these other research highlights, published in recent months: