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Enterprise Excellence Podcast Episode 3: Professor Peter Hines, Part 2


Welcome to Episode 2 of the Enterprise Excellence Podcast. In this episode we continue the conversation with Prof. Peter Hines. We explore his recent work from the book the Essence of Excellence and he shares insights on the topic of sustaining excellence journeys for the long term, with techniques to avoid the frustration and impact of failed improvement efforts within organisations.


This episode delves deeply into the BESCILLED model develop by Peter and his co-author Chris Butterworth. The interview explores the key elements of this model and how it’s use can help create a sustainable excellence journey. In this episode Peter provides advice to new leaders on what to focus on initially and how to make improvements sustain.

Peter talks about his new focus on the Enterprise Excellence Network. This network gathers together the world best organizations, many of whom are Shingo Prize winners. Peter discusses how the network provides members to visit the best of the best and learn what to focus on next. It is a forum by which high performing sites can learn from each other to keep progressing their excellence journey.


03:04;29 I remember asking the Toyota guys, why is it that you're so good? And the answer was 'the rigorous and disciplined application of the Toyota Production System'. And really, what I got to learn from that, eventually, and it took some time, was 'the rigorous and disciplined application of' was probably more important than the Toyota Production System.

14:15;18 Clearly for many organizations, the core three processes that you need to manage is the fulfilling of orders from order coming in to shipping the product, which obviously a lot of lean focuses on. The second process being the winning of new business, so the sort of sales and marketing, which obviously you'll be very familiar with that as a, as a process. And the third process being the development of new products and new offerings, which obviously is another core process.

15:21;08 And if you ask even senior executive, what are your values, they can usually reel off two or three quickly, but the other two or three, probably they can't even remember what they are. So, in other words, they're not making an impact.

16:13;01 So, the sum of behaviours is the culture in the organization. So, hence the starting point is not just strategy formation and deployment which obviously, we have to do Hoshin, planning etc, which gives us in best case the 'what do we need to do', hopefully also the 'why' which is sometimes missing. But it doesn't give us the 'how' in terms of culture. So, the starting point for most organizations is only the 'what', it’s not the culture. So, actually adding the behavioural and strategy deployment means that we start with values and principles, we turn them into behaviour, we deploy them down into the organization.

17:30;04 So, the continuous improvement is the 'do' but the 'do' not just on the technical, but actually on the behavioural side as well. So, the improvement is as much focused as improving this side of the bridge; the cultural side, as it is about improving the technical side.

17:48;02 And then what we found with many lean organizations, certainly that hadn't got to a high level of their journey or high level of maturity is they were missing the 'check and act' or the 'study and act'. So, we saw that Leader Standard Work was actually the 'check' or the 'study' in the system. And probably the majority of organizations doing improvement programs have some sort of approaches in this area. So, they might have team meetings and so forth. And probably the Gemba walk is a particularly popular tool. The problem being that it's usually interpreted as a tool. So, in other words, we have a once a week, one hour walk, we don't quite know what we're doing. We go and have a random conversation; we probably tell people what to do. And in many cases, we probably do more harm than good. So actually, what we found on the Leader Standard Work when we started thinking about it, it's much more than just the Gemba walk, it's actually about the observation. It's about asking people what they need to do to become better, what help do they need. And if it's going well, giving them strong recognition and positive feedback, which obviously increases the level of engagement. And if it's not going well, trying to resist blaming people, because it's not going well. If anything, anyone has to be blamed, it's actually the managers for not creating an environment where people can actually improve.

19:38;13 The key role of the manager is actually checking whether or not we're running the organization to standard, and we're actually achieving the gains and we're achieving what we need to do in terms of strategy. We're actually checking whether the right behaviour is in place. And if it's not, we're then spending time developing coaching, either through formal courses, or actually mostly from on the job and ongoing coaching and development, which takes us into the last segment, which is the learning and development.

20:21;09 If you can increase the learning and development from sort of this rate to this rate for the individuals and teams, you're actually increase increasing the ability of the organization from this to this for the next cycle around. So hence the learning and development is absolutely key.

21:18;06 , So, the connections are 'What's my behaviour on the leadership wall? What Situational Leadership do I need to apply when I'm doing a Gemba walk? How am I actually doing 'plan, do check act' on the Gemba walk, not just doing the 'do'? So actually, bringing it together as a whole system in terms of the technical and this sort of cultural and learning side of things.

24:27;09 And certainly, when I've been out, and I've taken these senior people, and we've shown them some of these organizations, you know, the lights just come on. And they come back so passionate, and so fired up and so wanting to do this sort of approach, it's unbelievable. But it's actually quite difficult to prise them away from, you know, we don't have time for this, you know, or we don't think we need it and so forth.

32:47;22 I think my advice is go see someone better than you... And you know, they may not be perfect, but if they're better than you, there's something to learn. And, you know, any firm on any office complex or any industrial estate, there must be someone there better than you. So, you know, go and knock on your neighbour’s and have a look around. You know, even if you just start at that local level, I would do that.

34:21;09 ... Because if you had a good top person, but no improvement, then it didn't work. And if you had a great improvement person without the ear of the top person, it probably didn't work either. And where we actually see both of those in place, you, you can't quite overcome everything, but it's pretty close to it.

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