No More Flavor of the Month! Learn How To Deliver Sustainable Change [Webinar Recording]


I'm happy to have hosted another session in the KaiNexus Continuous Improvement webinar series.

Learn more and view the recording here:

No More Flavor of the Month! Learn How To Deliver Sustainable Change

It was presented by D. Lynn Kelley, Ph.D., recently my guest on the Lean Blog Interviews podcast.

Scroll down for a short video discussion that previews the webinar.

Preview Video:

Video Summary:

A Revolutionary Approach to Organizational Change: An Introduction

Change is the only constant in both life and business. Continuous improvement is a key principle that empowers businesses to adapt, evolve, and succeed in rapidly changing environments. However, driving authentic change can be a daunting challenge, often feeling like a ‘flavor of the month' initiative that fades over time. What's needed in today's dynamic world is a practical, intuitive method for implementing and sustaining meaningful change.

Delivering Sustainable Change: No More Flavor of the Month

Invoking enduring change requires straightforward and systematic ways to deliver sustainable improvements. This mindset has led to the creation of a transformative webinar titled “No More Flavor of the Month!: Learn How to Deliver Sustainable Change.” This thought-provoking session is part of the Continuous Improvement webinar series hosted by KaiNexus and is set to be presented live on Tuesday, November 7. This engaging learning experience will be led by D Lynn Kelley, a seasoned Continuous Improvement professional and the co-author of the book Change Questions: A Playbook for Effective and Lasting Organizational Change.

Unveiling the Change Enigma: A Journey of Continuous Improvement

Lynn's impressive career journey looks like a roadmap of continuous improvement in itself. With a background rooted in the various tenets of Continuous Improvement, Lynn has held pivotal roles at notable companies such as Textron and Union Pacific Railroad. Her experience in these organizations allowed her to witness and participate in change implementation on a grand scale, which became the stepping stones to her unique approach to change management.

Smarter Change: Operational Excellence

During her tenure at Textron, as she progressed through various roles and eventually began reporting directly to the CEO, the organization shifted its focus to encompass all forms of improvement under the umbrella of Operational Excellence. Charged with implementing change spanning 32 different countries, Lynn embarked on an enlightening journey that brought to light the stark realization of the high rate of failure when attempting change.

Asking the Right Questions: The Lean Approach

Determined to turn this tide, Lynn resorted to meticulous analysis and introspection following each failure to pinpoint what could have been done differently. This exercise culminated in a concise list of questions critical to effectively managing change. This set of questions, carefully curated and tailored to complement the unique nature of each change effort, proved instrumental in streamlining change implementation. This method empowered her with the ability to mitigate risk, thus increasing retention, sustainability, and overall success, delivering on the promise of truly lean change.

Change Questions: Transformative Insights

In collaboration with John Shook, renowned for his work at the Lean Enterprise Institute and Toyota, Lynn shared her approach in the book Change Questions. Rather than offering a rigid step-by-step skill to navigate change, the duo provides a flexible and dynamic approach promoting the idea that every change is unique and demands a different strategy.

Their methodology encourages businesses to ask the right questions that enable a tailored approach, aligning with Lean principles' ethos of avoiding overproduction and underproduction. This intuitive strategy yields a balanced, optimal outcome, enhancing an organization's capability to deliver sustainable change.

As we anticipate the insightful webinar with Lynn on November 7, we look forward to unveiling the true power of asking questions instead of prescribing solutions, a compelling framework sure to resonate with all aspiring to lead change effectively.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, dive into their unique discussion on change in their book, ‘Change Questions', readily available for all those who wish to challenge the status quo and deliver sustainable results.

Video Transcript:

Mark Graban: Hi. Welcome to the KaiNexus continuous improvement podcast. I'm Mark Graban. We're joined today by D Lynn Kelley. Lynn is going to be presenting a webinar for us November 7 as part of our Continuous Improvement webinar series.

Mark Graban: It's titled no More Flavor of the Month. Learn how to deliver sustainable change. And that's going to be presented live again Tuesday, November 7, 01:00 Eastern. You can register for that by going going to You can look for a link in the show notes and if you're watching or listening to this preview after November 7, the recording will be available.

Mark Graban: So we encourage you, if you attend live, you'll be able to ask questions. So Lynn, thank you for joining us and doing this little preview here. How are you?

Lynn Kelley: I'm fine, Mark, how are you?

Mark Graban: I'm good. Congratulations again. I'll also mention the publication of your book Change Questions.

Lynn Kelley: Thank you.

Mark Graban: Very exciting times. Co-authored with John Shook, who I know. People know John from the Lean Enterprise Institute and Toyota. So that book Change Questions. Lynn, before we talk about some of the content in the webinar, if you would tell us about your background, if you would.

Lynn Kelley: Well, yeah, I spent most of my career in Continuous Improvement back when it was called TQM and all kinds of other names. My last two positions was I spent twelve years at Textron and I was head of Continuous Improvement reporting to the Chairman and CEO. And then I moved over to Union Pacific Railroad where they wanted to think about what does Continuous Improvement and Lean look like in the railroad where you have 42,000 operating employees barely, rarely under a roof. And so that was a wonderful eight-year adventure. And the case study in the book comes out of my experiences there.

Mark Graban: Yeah, great opportunities to apply Lean in a setting that's unusual or groundbreaking and then to have a role. It was a previous role where you reported directly to the CEO.

Lynn Kelley: Both roles I reported. Yeah.

Mark Graban: That's got to be a great advantage. That's an opportunity a lot of people don't have.

Lynn Kelley: Yeah, it is. Because you're a voice at the table, particularly at Union Pacific where every decision was made by the whole leadership team. So you really had a lot of leverage in the organization. It was very helpful.

Mark Graban: Yeah. So the webinar. No more flavor of the month you mentioned. I mean there's all these acronyms TQM in some organizations was the Flavor of the Month. Sadly, Lean might be a flavor of the month, whatever methodology, sometimes organizations go through a lot of them.

Mark Graban: But delivering sustainable change is so important. So I love the framing and the title of the webinar. We're going to hear so much more in the session, but could you give us a bit of a preview of what you're going to talk about?

Lynn Kelley: Absolutely. So let me back up to my Textron job. When I reported to the Chairman and CEO. Well, I had started at Textron originally, as in Six Sigma Lean and working in the factories, boots on the ground, steel toed boots, everything, and moved up. And then with the Six Sigma side, became a master black belt, then a VP of Continuous Improvement.

Lynn Kelley: But then when I started reporting to the CEO, he wanted just to call it Operational Excellence, and he wanted to do all kinds of improvements. So now I was responsible for implementing change in 32 different countries, all those different languages in engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and quality. And some of them were not a continuous improvement activity officially, like a lien or something like that. It was just change. So we're going to roll out a supplier portal to everyone change.

Lynn Kelley: Right? And then I started realizing, oh, my failure rate is pretty high. And then I researched what the average failure rate was, and I thought, Well, I kind of industry average, but it's still not good. And every time I failed, I researched what I could have done differently. And I ended up with a list of questions that I had asked myself before every change, because when I asked it and answered it, I could mitigate the risk of failure.

Lynn Kelley: And I saw the retention rate and the sustainment rate and the success go up. So that's the whole story behind this. And then John and I wrote this book together because he had had a similar list. And when we put them together, it's very robust. And we just want to share this because I love the methodologies that are out there on change.

Lynn Kelley: But the thing is, usually there are step one, step two. And my thought is every change is different, so you don't have to do the same rigorous eight, six, whatever steps. You can look at the questions, and when you answer the ones that are appropriate for your change, then you end up with a lean approach in its truest sense. You don't overproduce and you don't underproduce. Hopefully, it's just right, and we just want to share that with everyone.

Mark Graban: Yeah. Well, I'm thankful in advance for what you will share during the Webinar. I should have planned better. The copy of your book that I have, I think is in the other room. I should have had it.

Lynn Kelley: I don't have one here.

Mark Graban: You don't have.

Lynn Kelley: I'm in New York. I'm in a meeting. I borrowed a little office.

Mark Graban: But encourage people to go check out the book. It's available now. Change Questions. I love that approach of I think, as you're saying, Lynn, instead of having this prescriptive, if you will, kind of cookbook methodology, asking questions, I think that'll resonate with people watching the Webinar. How many of us try to lead by asking questions instead of giving answers?

Mark Graban: That seems to really line up with what you're saying.

Lynn Kelley: Yeah, I agree. I like the approach. It kind of resonates with me personally, and that the fact that it delivers.

Mark Graban: Results is even better, delivering results and sustainable results. So, so much more to learn in the webinar with Lynn again that's titled No More Flavor of the Month! Learn how to deliver sustainable change punctuation wise. There's an exclamation point there. I tried to make sure I wasn't reading it like a question mark, a statement.

Mark Graban: No More Flavor of the Month you can learn how to deliver sustainable Change through Lynn. The webinar again. November 7, 01:00 eastern. Go to webinars and check out the book co authored with John Shook, Change Questions. So, Lynn, thank you for doing this preview.

Mark Graban: Really excited, really looking forward to the webinar.

Lynn Kelley: Thank you.

Mark Graban: Thanks.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleRyan McCormack’s Operational Excellence Mixtape: November 3rd, 2023
Next articleRedefining Excellence: Quint Studer’s Vision for Modern Healthcare, Learning From Mistakes, and More
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.