Public speaking is my Gemba, (a Japanese word that means “the real place”). In my Gemba, I meet and connect with those who are living the challenges and opportunities. I meet those who embrace, or would like to embrace, the disciplines of Operational Excellence. All in their real place.
Speaking of Culture Change
In my speaking engagements, I always take the time to learn the context of the circumstances and use an interactive approach that engages the audience and enables me to learn as much as I teach. Through our dialogue, I hope to inspire people, perhaps even to transform them. For instance;
Lecturing on “Guerilla Transformation” at an Industrial Congress in Monterrey Mexico may influence industry executives, challenge them to question their perspectives and realities, and inspire them to change long obsolete practices.
- Conducting a workshop on “Lean Six Sigma for the Service Industry” at a university in New York may inspire some company leaders to improve the customer experience and improve their bottom-lines.
- Speaking about “A Frictionless World and Role of the Industrial Engineer” on the big stage at a Conference in Bangalore India may encourage professionals – not to just think outside the box – but rather to forget the box ever existed at all.
- Stewarding a Strategy Session around “the campfire” with an executive team discussing ways they can align their resources and make the commitments necessary to become a “High-Performance Organization”.
My goal is to influence the thinking of business leaders, so they can improve their businesses and their circumstances.
Evolving Business Environments
Much of my effort goes into understanding the subject matter from the perspective of the audience; whoever they are, whatever their nostalgia, and wherever they may be. My goal is to deliver ideas that are relevant to the challenges my audience members face in real-time, in real-life, and to present those ideas in a meaningful context. After all, it’s not what is important to me that matters most, but what’s important to you.
In advance of a speaking engagement, I read and research the cultural, economic, and political history associated with the venue location, as well as the expected delegates; looking for glimpses of current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Almost always, I arrive early enough for a personal “gemba,” to see the audience’s reality first-hand.
I always make time for unfiltered, unobstructed one-on-one conversations afterward. It is wonderful to meet members of the audience and learn how they are attempting to establish a culture of change within their evolving organizations.
And above all, I believe learning must be fun and entertaining – as Walt Whitman illustrated in “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged
in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add,
divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured
with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Sharing Ideas about Operational Excellence
I invite you to join me at my next speaking engagement. Let’s learn from each other, let’s debate, and let’s discover together. I’d love to know what you’ve found that works and – equally important – what doesn’t work and why.
And if your organization has an upcoming event, feel free to browse my most popular lecture titles. Then let’s discuss your topic ideas for a keynote address, panel discussion, or lecture to challenge and energize your participants.
I look forward to meeting you in your real place.