Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. -- Mark Twain


That’s what the Fast Five is all about. Quite a few surveys and the most common statistic sighted in news stories show that 70% of companies are typically disappointed in the results of their Lean Sigma CI efforts. In writing our latest book, we kept asking why is this true?  Why do organizations get better but still fail to change their competitive position? Based on our research, it comes down to these Fast Five actions. All of which are action areas owned by the leadership team.

Pain and Disappointment Gap

The graphic above represents frustrations experienced by most organizations. The Brown Line shows an organization’s ‘typical’ rate of improvement. The organization then adopts an improvement methodology like Lean, Six Sigma, Supply-Chain Management, or years-ago TQM, Theory of Constraints, Just-In-Time, and a host of other tool sets; all useful, as far as they go. The Green Line shows leadership expectations for great things to happen and for performance to significantly accelerate. As time goes by, leadership begins to assess how much their operating performance (and competitive position) actually improved. It is rarely at the Green Line level. The Blue Line is more typical of what happens. The organization did get better and there is some competitive benefit. But not nearly what was expected, thus most leadership teams end up rating their performance improvement activities a disappointment.  Our research has shown that most organizations implement the improvement tools in a very similar fashion. Everyone in the industry gets better, so nothing much changes from a competitive perspective. The Fast Five go beyond the common improvement tools. The leadership team owns them and they can provide considerable synergy when done well in partnership with improvement activities.

  • Customer Focus
    Make sure customer value drives improvement efforts.
  • Engaged People
    Proactively engage people’s passion and creative energies.
  • Key Metrics
    Establish the few key business process metrics. None unclear, off-target.
  • Process Thinking
    Develop process understanding, thinking, doing, improving capabilities.
  • Executive Mindset
    Establish an executive mindset for business improvement maturity (IM).

The question for your organization is do you do a significantly better job than your competitors with the Fast Five? Do you need some type of assessment to figure that out? TCG identifies the weak or missing ingredients and helps you fix/adjust your recipe for ongoing, competitive business improvement.