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My guest for Episode #494 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Chad Bareither, the founder and principal consultant of Bareither Group Consulting. He brings a wealth of experience as a change agent in the corporate world, having worked with organizations that include several Fortune 500 companies.
He's now the author of a new book, Improve LESS: The Focus and Align Framework for Sustainable Continuous Improvement.
Chad holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and has further honed his expertise with Master's degrees in both Industrial & Systems Engineering, and Applied Statistics from Rutgers University.
In this episode, we discuss his experience in various industries where, of course, Lean is not about building cars. We also discuss his book, the “Focus and Align Framework,” and why trying to improve less can lead to greater results.
Questions, Notes, and Highlights:
- What's your Lean origin story?
- Civilian role with the U.S. Army – working with the manufacturers / suppliers vs. internal Army processes?
- Can't copy and paste? “We don't build cars”??
- Becoming a consultant? Being an outsider vs. insider – what have you learned about that?
- The story behind the book — why this book?
- Tell us about the common problem statement and the current state — trying to do too many things, being too busy?
- The “focus and align” framework?
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Embracing Continuous Improvement Across Industries: Insights from Chad Bareither
The relentless pursuit of excellence and exceptional performance in the corporate world has always been a hallmark of successful organizations. This pursuit is embodied in the concept of continuous improvement, a foundational principle that drives efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. Chad Bareither, a distinguished figure in continuous improvement, has recently proliferated his knowledge and experience through his new book, “Improve Less: The Focus and Align Framework for Sustainable Continuous Improvement.” This examination of Bareither, his methods, and insights provides a clarion call for companies across various industries to embrace the continuous improvement ethos.
Who is Chad Bareither and His Approach to Continuous Improvement?
Chad Bareither is not just an experienced change agent in the corporate landscape; he is also an educator and innovator, seeking to distill his extensive knowledge into forms that can readily transform organizations. With a background that spans mechanical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, and applied statistics, Bareither's multidisciplinary approach has been refined and proven through his interactions with several Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Army.
Change Agent and Certified Expertise: Bareither's status as a Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt underlines his expertise in triggering effective change within organizations. His professional evolution, from a civilian engineer for the Army to a principal consultant overseeing process improvements, demonstrates his commitment to leveraging statistical and logical analysis to enhance corporate performance.
Educational Foundation and Career Pivot: Emphasizing the value of a strong educational background, Bareither originates from Michigan Tech University, where he pursued mechanical engineering. However, a transformative internship experience at Caterpillar led him to pivot towards industrial engineering. Subsequently, Rutgers University honed his expertise with master's degrees, further equipping him with the tools to reshape the corporate fabric of process improvement.
The Heart of “Improve Less”: Simplifying Continuous Improvement
Bareither's new book is a manifesto on simplifying the process of continuous improvement. Recognizing that businesses cannot merely “copy and paste” successful models like Six Sigma or the Toyota Production System, he has focused on distilling a framework that acknowledges the uniqueness of each organization's culture and objectives.
The Focus and Align Framework: At the core of “Improve Less” is the idea that continuous improvement does not require a convoluted or complex toolset. Instead, Bareither presents an approach that asks what the minimum effective dose of change is necessary to foster improvement. With this philosophy, organizations can adopt foundational elements that matter most–deploying strategy, managing daily business, and evolving processes.
Tailoring Improvement to the Organization: Understanding that each business operates within its own cultural and strategic parameters is pivotal in Bareither's model. By advocating for a foundational yet adaptive toolset, he suggests that continuous improvement becomes more sustainable when it truly aligns with an organization's vision and capabilities.
Educating and Empowering Through Teaching and Writing
Chad Bareither believes that learning and teaching are reciprocal elements that drive deeper understanding and innovation. His pedagogical skills prove to be integral in translating complex statistical concepts into actionable insights for professionals across various sectors.
Teaching as a Tool for Transformation: Bareither's dedication to teaching underlines his passion for seeing others reach “light bulb moments” where they gain new perspectives on familiar processes. It is through this engagement that he has been able to share his expertise, both in formal educational settings and through the written word.
From Experiencing to Sharing Knowledge: Bareither's journey from applying continuous improvement principles in the field to articulating them in his book has been a journey of self-discovery and altruism. The act of teaching, for him, is not just about imparting knowledge, but also about continually learning from the people and organizations he interacts with.
In summary, the wealth of experience and dedication Chad Bareither brings to the table is indicative of the transformative impact that continuous improvement principles can have on any organization. His work–both through consulting and his publication “Improve Less”–serves as a beacon for professionals seeking to enhance their operational processes and align them with strategic business goals. With a mindset geared toward simplicity and sustainability, Bareither's contributions have the potential to reshape the landscape of continuous improvement for industries far and wide.
Streamlining Reports for Improved Efficiency
In many organizations, reports play a critical role in decision-making processes. However, the traditional approach to reporting can often be bloated, entailing lengthy documents that few take the time to read thoroughly. This inefficiency was highlighted through one of Chad Bareither's client experiences, where a hefty twenty-page report was effectively condensed into a simple two-worksheet Excel table. This radical simplification underscores the importance of understanding what information is truly valuable to the end users. By focusing solely on the necessary data required for decision-making, organizations can save time and resources, while ensuring that the communication of information is optimized for utility and clarity.
Leveraging Lean Management in Non-Traditional Sectors
Health and human services, with their complex operations like foster care, counseling, and adoption services, might not appear as obvious candidates for lean management principles. However, the application of a tailored continuous improvement framework, as implemented by Bareither's clients, proves otherwise. Such organizations can benefit from a structured approach to evaluate their services. This may involve a hierarchy of meetings–strategic sessions to assess alignment with overarching goals, reviews of program performance, and regular team huddles addressing daily operations. By adapting the continuous improvement processes to their unique environments, these service-oriented organizations can improve efficiency and effectiveness in ways that resonate with manufacturing successes but are intricately adapted to meet the needs of their specific operational contexts.
Problem Solving as a Universal Business Competency
Problem solving is a fundamental skill set that all employees can benefit from developing, regardless of industry or role. Bareither promotes a consistent problem-solving process that moves beyond relying on a handful of naturally gifted individuals. By institutionalizing a process for problem solving, like PDCA or DMAIC, and equipping a broader staff base with the necessary skills, organizations cultivate an internal culture of improvement. This goes hand in hand with building an “army of problem solvers,” as remarked by leaders like Patty Poppy, where the mindset of identifying and tackling issues becomes ingrained in the very fabric of the company's operations. Organizations can then benefit from more consistent and sustainable problem-solving outcomes across all levels.
Transitioning from Employee to Consultant: Gaining Perspective and Influence
The shift from internal change agent to an external consultancy role can offer different challenges and advantages. Internally, one's opinions might be more readily sought due to pre-established relationships and a sunk-cost perception. However, as Bareither experienced, consultants can bring a fresh perspective that often garners greater attention and openness from clients. This outside vantage point can be potent, providing insights drawn from a broad spectrum of industries and operational modes. External consultants, therefore, have the chance to influence client organizations by helping them see problems in a new light and introducing effective solutions that might have previously been overlooked or underappreciated within the internal culture. Nonetheless, the key to sustainability is empowering the client, not simply solving problems for them but creating a framework in which they can effectively manage and maintain improvements themselves.
Beyond Problem Solving: Daily Management and Strategic Alignment
Effective continuous improvement is not restricted to strategic planning or adept problem solving. It also necessitates thoughtful daily management practices. Leadership must take ownership of ensuring new processes are adopted and maintained consistently. For instance, standard work is not just about documenting processes, but about creating accountability within the leadership to enforce and refresh these standards over time. When introducing changes, there must be a sustainable and supportive structure where these adjustments can take root and flourish, aligned with the broader strategic vision of the organization.
By emphasizing simplification, the correct alignment of problems solving with strategic goals, and embedding these into the daily management routine, Chad Bareither's multi-faceted approach to continuous improvement offers a comprehensive blueprint for organizations aspiring to elevate their operations to new heights of efficiency and effectiveness. processes in the organization by engaging the team to say, “Tell me about the problems you encounter. Teach me what gets in the way of achieving our objectives.” This turns the focus towards active listening and collaboration, enabling leaders to understand what is really happening on the frontline. Such insights drive more informed decision-making and create a more resonant strategic direction.
In addition, fostering a culture of learning within an organization encourages employees to share their knowledge and experiences. This exchange not only bolsters individual growth but also builds a collective understanding that is greater than the sum of its parts. The aim is to move beyond just executing tasks and into a space where learning is continuous and leveraged for improving every aspect of the operation.
Practical Steps to Create a Learning Culture
To transpose the principle of a learning culture from concept to practice, there are several critical actions a leadership team can undertake:
- Encourage Experimentation: Provide a safe space for employees to experiment with new ideas. This could involve setting up a pilot program or innovation lab where the fear of failure is minimized and learning from mistakes is celebrated.
- Knowledge Sharing Systems: Implement systems or forums–for example, a regular ‘lunch-and-learn' series or collaboration tools–where insights and skills can be shared across departments, breaking down silos and fostering cross-functional learning.
- Invest in Personal Development: Offer opportunities for professional development that align with both the individual's career goals and the company's objectives. This investment shows a commitment to the growth of the employee and the organization.
- Reflective Practices: Encourage reflection as a regular practice after completing key projects or at the end of each work cycle to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement. This could be in the form of after-action reviews or post-mortem meetings.
- Establish Learning Goals: Alongside performance goals, set learning goals that encourage employees to acquire new competencies or deepen their knowledge in specific areas relevant to their work and the company's focus.
Bridging Strategy and Daily Activities
Ultimately, strategy should not be a concept that is revisited once a year during planning sessions. It needs to be a living, breathing part of everyday business activities. By weaving strategic objectives into daily management and aligning them with a culture of learning, leaders can ensure that every action taken is a step towards the realization of the company's long-term vision.
Continuous Improvement as a Cornerstone
Continuous improvement should span more than just addressing problems after they've become evident. It involves proactive observation, listening, and constant tweaks to daily processes. The objective is not merely to solve known issues but to anticipate potential setbacks and preemptively address them.
This approach demands a transformation in the way companies view and enact their operations:
- Shift focus from simply hitting targets to understanding the processes that lead to results.
- Regular engagements with front-line staff to gain actionable insights.
- Leadership must become facilitative, guiding their teams in identifying and solving problems.
As Chad Bareither's insights illuminate, it is not about inundating staff with numerous projects or introducing complexity with new tools. The strategy hinges upon simplification, prioritization, and fostering an environment where continuous improvement and learning become interwoven into the organizational fabric.
By narrowing focus, aligning strategic imperatives deep within the organization's daily rhythm, and encouraging a pervasive culture of learning, leaders can better position their organizations to not only achieve their goals but to exceed them with better efficiency and efficacy, turning strategic vision into a tangible, shared reality.
Empowering Teams Through Leadership
Leadership shapes the bedrock on which successful team performance is built. Recognizing the pivotal role leaders play, it is essential they understand that their job is not to micromanage but to steer their teams towards independence and self-reliance. Effective leaders become facilitators, creating environments that nurture problem-solving and innovation.
Delegation and Coaching for Success
The art of delegation goes beyond merely assigning tasks; it's about entrusting your team with responsibilities and allowing them autonomy to execute their roles effectively. This requires a delicate balance, providing enough guidance to ensure success while allowing enough space for teams to take ownership of their tasks.
Coaching, on the other hand, involves a more hands-on approach where leaders work alongside their teams, offering insights and feedback that help them improve. Leaders who are good coaches understand the necessity of:
- Offering constructive criticism that fosters growth, rather than instilling fear or stymieing ambition.
- Celebrating successes to build confidence and motivate further positive results.
- Providing teams with the resources they need to learn, adapt, and solve problems independently.
Aligning Team Members with Organizational Goals
An effective leader realizes the importance of aligning the team's objectives with the broader organizational goals. This alignment ensures that every individual effort contributes to the company's desired outcome. To achieve this synergy, leaders must:
- Clearly communicate the organizational vision and strategic goals to every team member.
- Encourage feedback from employees to refine and adjust strategies.
- Recognize the connection between individual team member contributions and the organization's success.
Continuous Learning from Both Sides
Chad Bareither's perspective emphasizes the reciprocal nature of learning within an organization. Leaders must stay connected with the work being done on the ground to keep their knowledge current and applicable. Conversely, team members engaged in the day-to-day operations can provide invaluable feedback that shapes better decision-making and strategy formulation at the top.
Knowledge is Ever-Evolving
In dynamic sectors like healthcare, technology, and service industries, processes and best practices evolve rapidly. Leaders who have ascended the ranks need to re-familiarize themselves with these changes to stay effective.
- Encourage leaders to revisit the front lines occasionally to stay attuned to the evolving nature of the work.
- Incorporate feedback mechanisms so that insights from the ground can be quickly and effectively acted upon.
- Recognize that past experience is a starting point for learning, not an end in itself.
The Role of Books and Resources in Leadership Growth
Publishing works like Chad Bareither's “Improve Less” serves as a testament to the importance of sharing knowledge and experience. Books and other resources provide frameworks for understanding complex concepts and offer strategies for leaders to refine their approach to continuous improvement and strategic alignment.
- Use literature and resources not only for personal growth but also as a tool to engage and educate teams.
- Create book clubs or study groups to discuss concepts and how they can be applied in the organization.
- Consider author talks or workshops to deepen understanding and stimulate intellectual conversations among team members.
Final Thoughts on Leadership and Continuous Improvement
Leaders who aspire to create a legacy of improvement must realize that the journey is an ongoing process. By focusing on process optimization, empowering teams through delegation and coaching, and constantly fostering a culture of learning, leaders can ensure that their organization is always moving forward, consistently aligned with their strategic vision, and ready to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing business landscape.
Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)
Mark Graban: Hi, our guest today is Chad Bareither. He is the founder and principal consultant at Bareither Group Consulting. He brings a wealth of experience as a change agent in the corporate world. He's worked with organizations that include several Fortune 500 companies, also worked with the US Army on process improvement. Chad is now the author of a new book.
Mark Graban: It's called… Got a copy here. “Improve Less the focus and align framework for sustainable continuous improvement.” So Chad holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech University. I know Chad a little bit through Michigan Lean Consortium events and I'm from Michigan, so I'm going to get all casual and just call it Michigan Tech.
Mark Graban: Is that okay?
Chad Bareither: Sounds great.
Mark Graban: Chad is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and he has master's degrees in both industrial and systems engineering and applied statistics from Rutgers University. So Chad, congratulations on the book. That's going to be a lot of what we talk about today and the story of the book and topics within, but big accomplishments. So congratulations.
Chad Bareither: Thank you very much.
Mark Graban: I think it was like two years ago, or I mean last year, I guess at the MLC conference. And you shared with me that you were working on the book at that point. Am I remembering right?
Chad Bareither: You are remembering correctly. And then just in my freshman endeavor here, the journey between words on a page and published work was something I'd never been through. So that was a great experience. A lot of learnings there.
Mark Graban: So maybe we'll talk a little bit about the process of writing. We have probably people listening who might be interested in doing a book of their own. And we'll certainly kind of talk about the content within there around continuous improvement. But Chad, I always like to hear people's origin story kind of tell us the Chad Bareither story of how, when, where, why you got involved in continuous improvement.
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So try not to make it too long, but I studied mechanical engineering, was working on an internship that was with Caterpillar, large equipment manufacturer and doing design work. And my favorite part of the whole summer was actually taking design revisions down to the manufacturing floor to speak with manufacturing or industrial engineers, manufacturing engineers, depending upon their title, about the feasibility of making some of these changes. And I'd get Enamored down there watching. And they had automated guided vehicles and they were running production heavy equipment.
Chad Bareither: And I'm like looking around like, this is way more fun than walking around on the carpets upstairs. And so I went back to school, I said, I don't think I want to be a mechanical engineer. I studied industrial engineering and the aspect that really caught my attention was things like quality and reliability. So coming out of that studies, I worked for the army, which you mentioned as a civilian engineer doing development of different systems that then we would oftentimes have produced by a government contractor. We would own the tech data and either a government facility or a contractor facility would do that.
Chad Bareither: So process improvement became a pretty big deal. And at the time, they were pioneering a new program, new to them at least, called Lean Six Sigma. And I was able to be on one of the inaugural classes, the Green Belt classes. And I mean, I loved it. It was a lot of things I had learned put together in a pretty neat package and then was able to leverage that skill set with a lot of suppliers, right.
Chad Bareither: To work out and rather just show up and do the sampling inspection and pass or fail was like, well, let's talk about your processes, why we think we failed work on improvement. And that was great. I feel very blessed that I found kind of my niche early on of partnering logical thinking with engaging and teaching people and statistics and kind of smashing all that together. After I transitioned from that career with the intent really to relocate back to the Midwest, was involved with an organization, a medical device manufacturer that was much more on the lean side of that. And that was great, right?
Chad Bareither: So it was kind of mentioned in that Lean Six Sigma program, but now actually seeing working through things like frontline problem solving and the mentality of Kaizen and talking about material replenishment, that was fantastic. I'm like, man, now partnering kind of the heavy analytics with some of the logic and the people skills of that. I just continue to grow, add things to my tool set. There was two other career stops there. And basically leading up to what I do now in the book was I've seen in some large organizations and some smaller suppliers, like what I feel works and doesn't work from my own experience.
Chad Bareither: And I'm saying, I think we can simplify the approach down and we don't need volumes of text to get the concept across. And just each organization is going to evolve their own form, right? We can't copy and paste whatever you want to say. You can't copy and paste six Sigma from Motorola. You can't copy and paste TPS from Toyota.
Chad Bareither: You have your own corporate culture and you have your own corporate objectives. And so I said, well, what are some of the foundational elements? We need to deploy strategy, we need to improve processes. We need to manage the business every day. That's pretty universal.
Chad Bareither: So I just added up kind of the minimum tool set, and that's still how I engage clients now, saying, what's the minimum we need to get started? And then we'll add things on as the need arises. We identify a problem. There's a different strategic objective.
Mark Graban: Yeah. So we'll come back. I want to talk about your shift into consulting and what you've learned in different settings that led to the book. Just kind of going back to some of the story that you told there I think it's interesting how we can often end up starting down one path. And at least you learned early on.
Mark Graban: I mean, we're not doing an episode of My Favorite Mistake here, and I don't know if that was your favorite mistake doing that me internship, but it's good that you listened to your gut or what your heart was telling you about where your interests were and making that Pivot relatively early on. I'm glad you were able to do that. Some people kind of get stuck and say, well, here's my path. I'm going to keep going down that path. Any other kind of thoughts about if there's somebody listening who's trying to figure out early career path?
Mark Graban: Because it took me a little while. I started off at one point I was a material science engineer, and there was a summer internship, and I'm like, I don't care about life through a microscope, even if it's a cool electron microscope. So I made my pivot. I don't know, just other thoughts around just kind of trying to figure out that career direction.
Chad Bareither: Yeah, it's really, what do you want to do? So when you envision your work day, your work week, I was just like, going from computer screen to punching a time card. I was just like, man, this also partners in. So I had that internship I went back to school at. And, you know, if you want to be even more casual when you're in Michigan, it's just tech.
Chad Bareither: So back to tech. And one of the professors I had, Craig Fredericks, taught a class on design for manufacturing, and I had this quote written down for years. I even carried around on, like, a Post It note, right? Which was, the best design in the world isn't worth anything if you haven't thought about how to produce. And he showed a couple of examples of senior design projects that had component parts that were not produceable, like great design.
Chad Bareither: The technology doesn't exist to make that part the way you've designed it. And that really just got me thinking. I'm like, yeah, I mean, design doesn't matter. And the other thing is you don't need to make one. Typically, you need to make ten or 10,000.
Chad Bareither: And so thinking a lot more about production and satisfying the customer more than just the design element of it just really resonated with me. So, yeah, maybe that sounds a little cheesy. Listen to your gut, but I guess pay attention to what lights you up and what you get interested in. I was fortunate enough. I also really like teaching.
Chad Bareither: I like teaching because I like learning, which is a weird way to put that in, but like, learner is my number one gallup strength finder. Strength is like, I love learning new things and so new skill sets. So teaching others, seeing that light bulb moment for someone else when you give them a really simple data analysis tool to display their data or look at a process, and suddenly they look at a process they may have been doing for ten years through a different lens, and they just get it. That is what is fulfilling for me. So I saw that more of engaging with production than trying to iterate to the next optimal design and a finite element analysis, right?
Mark Graban: No, but you're right. Teaching is a great way to deepen your understanding of a field. Right. Writing a book I think is kind know, a similar thing. Again.
Mark Graban: Chad's book is improve less. So before we come back to dig a little bit deeper into the book, I'm curious, your experience in that civilian role with the army. Do I hear you right that you were working with contractors, suppliers, manufacturers that were producing goods for the army, and then there were maybe other people working on army processes.
Chad Bareither: So a little bit of both. Right. So I started out my career there in the Quality Engineering Department, which was working with government contractors. Some were government owned facilities, if we want to get really hip to the lingo, they were. So you'd have a go go, government owned, government operated facility, a goco go c o government owned, contractor operated or strict government contractor, it didn't matter.
Chad Bareither: The product you were producing had a specification that it had to meet. And the specification in there, there is a military standard. It's abbreviated. Mil STD. So Mill Standard 1916 is the DoD's preferred methods for acceptance of product.
Chad Bareither: The first half of that document talks about process control and variation, and then the second half talks about if you don't have process control. Here's sampling tables you can reference. 98% of the contracts I was supporting were just like, we would fly in, we would do the sampling pass or fail. And I'm like, has anyone read the rest of this document? Why are we not focusing more on process control than end of line inspection?
Chad Bareither: There's a lot of things that could be failing. If we could find that out upstream, we'd be wasting less money. We could get these contracts at lower cost, blah, blah, blah. So I actually took ownership of that for a few years. I was the custodian of Mill Standard 1916, and I've traveled even internationally to suppliers to help coach them through implementation of process control rather than just sampling plans.
Chad Bareither: Yeah, so that was amazing. Right? And then kind of pivot that into a reliability engineering role, looking more upfront on product design and capabilities, and then was trained and certified as a black belt eventually and joined it was called the Lean Six Sigma Competency Office. But we were doing training and deployment across our yeah.
Mark Graban: When you think of all the benefits that come from Lean and how that would apply to the military, first off, you think of the safety and the quality of what's being provided, thinking about making delivery, being cost effective, that space doesn't have a glowing reputation for cost control and cost effectiveness. So there's so many arguments, it seems, for the army and the DoD to be encouraging, if not requiring suppliers the way Toyota and Automakers, it's pretty much the default nowadays. But there's that question of, well, okay, if you require it, are they going through the motions or are they putting methods into place like you write about and improve less?
Chad Bareither: Right.
Mark Graban: Kind of superficial lean versus, oh, we're actually committed to this.
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So it's a great question, and it's just example that popped in my head was things like using statistical process control. It's like they produce the lot and then they go back and they chart the data. And I'm like, but you computed the control limits based upon the lot you just produced. I hope it's in control rather than forward looking for that.
Chad Bareither: So, yeah, I totally get it. There's some going through the motions if.
Mark Graban: You make it a contract requirement and not just checking the box and getting chad off your back. But hopefully that was all a cooperative relationship of the army, helping those contractors help the army. Hopefully those were good collaborative relationships. I think, like, you would tend to see in a lean supply chain, or at least that's the direction that you'd want to see it going.
Chad Bareither: In the direction we were going, I wouldn't say 100% ended up that way.
Mark Graban: Yeah, but so then working in that type of setting, something that comes up a lot, whether it's anything non automotive, this happens a lot in healthcare. This probably happens in other manufacturing sectors where you're teaching this, and people may hit you with some variation of the statement of, like, well, yeah, but we don't build cars. You spend a lot of time helping people see well, look, I think as you write about this is a transferable framework, like the word car probably doesn't appear in your book. I don't have a digital copy to go and search. How do you help people see that this is something that really can apply to any type of business?
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So my thinking, both from my education as well as my experience, is inherently process based. So whatever it is they're producing, you ultimately serve a customer or client. We're fulfilling a need, whether that's a service delivery or a product delivery to a customer client. So, okay, who's that client?
Chad Bareither: That's usually pretty easy to answer. Okay. And what service or product you provide to them? And what's the process that you produce that that could be a financial report. That's things I've looked at before.
Chad Bareither: I've worked in utility industry for a while. One of the reports they do is a load study, which is looking at electric distribution loads. So what's the consumption of our product profile distributed between industrial, commercial, residential, all these other things. So there's a report that needs to be produced. So there's a process that you follow.
Chad Bareither: And do you know how long it takes, and how often do you make a mistake and have to go back? And what do your customers actually need in the end? And in that particular example, we found out that we were able to shorten a 20 page report into a two worksheet Excel table and just say, just email them the Excel table. That's all the information they need. No one's reading the report, not because they don't want the information, because to make the decision, that's what they need.
Chad Bareither: So there's a report. I just had lunch yesterday with a client I haven't been engaged with for a while, but they're Health and Human Services, so they do foster care and adoption and counseling services. They have a pretty mature lean management system in place where they're actually looking at at a top level for the organization. How are we on track to strategy, how our programs performing? Then?
Chad Bareither: At a program and portfolio review, they call that like a tier two huddle, then a tier one huddle where they're looking at individual program performance and things like that. So they get it. Now, the areas that's been deployed in is it does work. There is an underlying process, and you don't have to convince them, like, we're not manufacturing, we're not automotive. If we just step back and say, are we following a process?
Mark Graban: Yeah. And you've worked for manufacturers. You mentioned consumers Energy. Were you there when Patty Poppy was.
Chad Bareither: I was, yeah, CEO. She was CEO when I was hired in.
Mark Graban: She's now CEO of PG E in California. I was not real familiar with her until September. She was one of the speakers at a GE event that they organized and produced called the Lean Mindset. So Patty really impressed me, and I know some others from Michigan who knew Patty industrial engineer by background, and yeah, really impressed with her leadership and commitment to lean. And there's a video available on YouTube.
Mark Graban: I'll put a link to that in the show. Notes or chat. I'll send it to you if I haven't seen it. But she was really emphasizing using a three problem solving to address the biggest problems they were dealing with, which was basically setting fires in California. So she emphasized, to use your words, they weren't trying to copy and paste from any other organization, and they weren't just training people on, well, here's this a three process that you could use someday.
Mark Graban: She really zeroed in on, this is how we're going to learn and practice. And they've had a huge reduction in incidents and fires and damage and harm. Really kind of putting safety first. So anyway, sorry to tell little mini speech about Patty Poppy, but I should turn it into a question.
Chad Bareither: She's a great leader, and she really understands the people side of it as well. Of continuous improvement, engaging the people and empowering them. You talked about problem solving. So the problem solving methodology, whatever goes on that a three size sheet of paper, right? Whether you have five phases or eight steps or PDCA or Domaic as you write or Domaic.
Chad Bareither: Well, I am a little bit partial to Domaic. That's where I cut my teeth.
Mark Graban: I'm not here for an argument about.
Chad Bareither: You can always get out your lean decoder ring, right? How many slides have you seen where it's like, well, these are the phases of domainic and it maps to these eight steps and this is the ad and that's the PDC. And it's like, whatever works. My purpose of bringing all that up is just like we talk about you have a process for producing a service or a product, having a consistent process for solving your problems. Just make sure that you get more consistent results, right?
Chad Bareither: You can't rely on the lone few, just inherently brilliant problem solvers. It's like, let's teach. And this is the big thing that Patty was about, and some of the organizations that are more mature about building an army of problem solvers where that's just the way we think. Well, if I want to think that way, I have to build the muscle memory. I have to go through it a few times and it's going to feel, I don't know, maybe even burdensome or overwhelming and unnatural the first couple of times, like trying to write your name with your left hand or something.
Chad Bareither: But that's the way we build the muscle memory and that's the way you get broader engagement to where it's not the lone consultant or master black belt or whoever parachuting in to solve the problem for.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Yeah. So I wanted to also talk a little bit, Chad, about your transition to being a consultant and what you've learned about being an outsider to an organization versus being an employee directly on the inside.
Chad Bareither: So the transition kind of happened gradually and then kind of ramped up it a little sooner than I expected. So was like a friend of a friend would ask for some help, like, well, I know Chad's good at this, so in this case it was problem solving. Could you come in and help our team solve this problem? Yeah, sure. Then the same client maybe could you teach a class on that?
Chad Bareither: Teach some more people to do that? Yeah, sure. Could you coach them through? So it's like we see the ratcheting up of expectations here. Then eventually it's like, well, and I always challenge him.
Chad Bareither: Well, we're kind of scattershot problem solving. Like, what's the strategy we're trying to accomplish? Right? And you get a little bit of the glaze work look of like, well, we have an X matrix somewhere. It's like, well, let's talk about your strategic planning process and what are we trying to accomplish?
Chad Bareither: Could you help us with all of that? And it was like, okay, here's a proposal that I thought they'd surely say no to. And they said yes. And then at the same time, I was onboarding another client. I'm like, Man, I can't keep up with a day job.
Chad Bareither: So it was great. I think there are a lot of validation of a skill set that I could deliver as an internal change agent. As you mentioned, the difference there there's pros and cons to the difference as an internal change agent. The nice thing is, if I'm being a little cynical, you're already a sunk cost, so people aren't scared to ask your opinion, right. But there is a little bit of that effect of like, a profit isn't recognized in their hometown, where they feel like you don't have a separate enough perspective to help them solve the problem.
Chad Bareither: And that's something that is valuable. Being an outside resource is that you do bring a different perspective, but often they're more willing to listen, to say, well, you've seen a bunch of different operations in this industry, across industry, so maybe you have seen something that's significant that we could learn from. The challenge, though, is getting some of the commitment or the buy in of, like, upfront, that I can solve your problem. I should rephrase, that I can help you solve your problem rather than me solve your problem. I can kind of step down my own words.
Chad Bareither: There.
Mark Graban: Well, there's that difference between or there's this question of expectations, right. Is the client wanting you to teach everybody how to fish? Or are they looking for you to come with a boat full of fish for them short term?
Chad Bareither: Yeah, I think it depends on your consulting model because we're using a very broad term when we say consultant. I've been more moving towards when people ask me what I do, I said, I'm a process improvement professional. And they say, I kind of understand those three words. Tell me more what that means. When you say a consultant, they expect you to be, I fly in on Monday, I fly out on Thursday, and I wear a suit.
Chad Bareither: And it's like, well, no, I help you lay out the strategy, but I also help implement. Right. And I think that's the value. And really, I've had a good fortune of working at different levels in an organization where I do the shop floor, problem solving, if you will, and implementation in Kaizen events. But I've also been in the C Suite room talking about strategies so I can work across that.
Chad Bareither: So the organizations I really like to work with are kind of medium sized, where I can have that span of impact. You get too big and it's like, that's a big group in the C Suite, and that's a monstrous group on the front line, and you just can't possibly span all of that.
Mark Graban: Yeah, I think it's being consultant to consultant, you try to find fit with organizations that you like working with. Organizations are going to like working with you. And there are some people who don't have the patience or the interest in, well I'm going to coach your people how to improve. There are some people that want to hire the problem solver with the answer and there's a lot of people who could do that and there's a time and a place for that I would say. But it comes back to questions of what's more sustainable.
Mark Graban: I think we're on the same page of realizing it's more sustainable when it's not some outside person lobbying a solution in and then leaving no matter how good that solution is.
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So that word shows up in the subtitle of my book, right, sustainable Continuous improvement which is building a system around it. If we just at your point like lob a solution at the problem or even teach someone to put the solution at the problem, now we have one isolated solution that is operating in a fundamentally different paradigm management structure than the rest of the organization. Right. It can't thrive in that.
Chad Bareither: What's the infrastructure that we put around that to change leadership's behavior. So I've had this conversation a couple of times over the last month. So once you make a process change, whose accountability is it to make sure that process sticks? I agree with the fact that you say we want to empower people to solve their own problems but the accountability has to go to leadership. So who's going to reinforce the standard that you wrote?
Chad Bareither: I was engaged with a client, just begun an engagement with a client and the front line will tell you we don't train to our standard work. We don't audit to our standard work. And I'm like, so why do we have standard work? Because leadership told us we had to have standard work. Right, that's great and I can help you write, quote unquote, better standard work.
Chad Bareither: But that's not going to thrive without leadership saying yes that is how this process is going to be conducted. That's how we're going to train an onboard, that's what we're going to audit to. And if it's wrong we'll continue to update it. It should be living. But just saying the problem is that we have too much variability.
Chad Bareither: We're going to write standard work. It's like okay and then what?
Mark Graban: Yeah. And so then it's not just process improvement but it's daily management. As you touch on two of the three pillars of the book and again we're joined by Chad Bareither, the book is Improve Less the Focus and Align Framework for Sustainable Continuous Improvement. Before we dig into more the content of the book, tell us a little bit more about the spark, why write a book? Why write this book?
Mark Graban: Not challenging that you should have, but I just always like to hear an author's perspective of like what was the moment where you're like, yeah I'm going to do this, I'm going to take this.
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So it went through some evolution, right? So it started out with just looking at a few client engagements and saying, I seem to be doing something different for each client. And what I noticed is three distinct clients that I look back on now is like, one really wanted help with strategic planning and strategic deployment, but that was it. And I'm like, great, but then how are you going to change your processes to get different results if you're saying you want better performance?
Chad Bareither: However you're going to measure that your processes need to change and evolve to get you better results, and we need the rest of the equation. I had another client that was just looking at training and certification around problem solving. It's like, great, but are we strategically aligned? And who's going to manage those changes afterwards? And another client that was looking just to talk about implementing Huddle meetings, which is, I don't know, maybe they saw it at a conference or something.
Chad Bareither: So great, but what metrics go on your daily Huddle and what do you do if it's off track? Like, who's going to do the problem solving? So I'm like, I was engaging at these three different areas. I said, if I had to start over with those clients, where would I start? And so I started just mapping it out like whiteboarding it, pencil and paper.
Chad Bareither: Like, what would my structure be? The past organizations that I've worked with, the common elements of their lean management systems, like what was in there. And I say, all right, if I had to start off, we need to engage with leadership in understanding, first of all, why we're even doing this. Why do you want lean or continuous improvement? We'll more generalize it.
Chad Bareither: And if that is something like cost reduction, okay, fine. And maybe that's valid, but cost reduction for what? And if it is fine, then that means the management system is going to be structured around that. Then we set strategy, improve the processes, and then stabilize the processes with daily management. So I started mapping that out and I said, oh, this is good.
Chad Bareither: I like the way this is flowing. I should write this up into a white paper or something like that and make it marketing collateral so I can share with my clients. Here's how I would engage with you. And so I wrote all of that down. I was meeting with a business coach, and I kind of shared some of what I was working on.
Chad Bareither: He said, Send me a copy. And he says, this is a book. And I said, like a book book. I'm like, It's not long enough to be a book. And he's like, that doesn't matter.
Chad Bareither: We started throwing around titles and the concept that I have, we're trying to improve too much. We should be doing less. And we got to that. And he's like, now the book makes sense of like it is a skinny book, right? Cover to cover.
Chad Bareither: I think it's 138 pages.
Mark Graban: My book coach would tell you. You're spot on with doing a small book, a skinny book, if you will, because it's not overwhelming. Someone can quote, unquote, read it on a flight. You've probably heard that already, right?
Chad Bareither: I did. Originally, the back cover was read it in a weekend and implement on Monday. And I was like, I don't know. I want people to feel like they have to read on the weekends, but you can digest it really in a few hours. And then there is a structured process in chapter five to say, okay, where do I start?
Chad Bareither: And it's not tool heavy by design because I said we'll introduce the tools when we figure out what problem we're trying to solve. Outlines a high level framework that's been very successful for the clients I work with. Do I bring in more? Yes, but that is a great place to start. So that's kind of the evolution of how I got there.
Chad Bareither: Then it ended up with words on a page. Business coach says, you should turn this into a book. And I'm like, great. I have no idea how to do that. So then I work with a publishing strategist.
Chad Bareither: I decided to self publish, and then that process was all foreign to me as well. So we need content editing. We need copy editing, we need layout, we need illustration. And I'm like, Great, just tell me what you need me to do.
Mark Graban: Well, you got good help, you can see. And that's where I think self publishing is a bit of a misnomer. You didn't do it all yourself. I didn't do all by myself. So it's like I like to say I am the publisher.
Mark Graban: My company is the publisher. But, yeah, it's a team effort.
Chad Bareither: And you were asking at the top of the interview a little bit about people who are interested in writing. And here's something interesting. I did definitely share with a small group of people, professionals that I trusted, their opinion, that would at least understand the subject matter so they could challenge me on content. Right. I'm just on the periphery right now of a group that's going through it as, like, a book club, and they're all continuous improvement professionals, right?
Chad Bareither: So there's some agreement and there's some tearing it to shreds based upon your background. And it's fun. It's valuable input for me to hear about. Okay. Do I agree with that input or not?
Chad Bareither: Tying back to writing a book, it's too bad that it's very waterfall in its approach to get to the customer. Right. And if I had to do it again, and if and when I do another book, I would advise people to get eyes on the content, right. Before you get too far down the road where it's difficult to change. Right.
Chad Bareither: Once you've been through copy editing, if you change anything, you've got to go back to copy. And I think a lesson I had learned, maybe a mistake, Mark, is like, I had professionals read it. I should have had, when it was in manuscript form, more of my target audience read it. Luckily it is resonating with them very well. But as I look back, I'm like more of an agile deployment of like here's the outline, here's the mind map, here's the introductory chapter.
Chad Bareither: What do you think? I felt like once I had sunk so much effort into it, then it's difficult to pivot or else you're restructuring the whole book. Does that make sense?
Mark Graban: Yeah, it does. You get another crack at a different book. You're right. Agile or Lean Startup ideas, I think, apply really well to a book. There's a whole methodology out there called Lean Publishing where you can apply some of those ideas to have it be more iterative.
Mark Graban: And I think there's what the experts might tell you about the content. But then having readers who don't know anything about process improvement doesn't make sense to them. Like, who are you writing it for? And getting some of that feedback early and often.
Chad Bareither: Yeah, there's like phases of any clients journey right, where you're kind of upfront and you're just problem unaware. Right. Not even aware. That the way I'm running my business, that there's challenges with it. And then eventually you have some different perspective, insight, some learning that you become problem unaware.
Chad Bareither: But solution I'm not probably problem aware, solution unaware. Then eventually I'm problem aware and solution aware, but I'm not implemented. Right. Then problem eventually goes away.
Mark Graban: Right. Or I'm trying to implement and it's not going well. So then you maybe need coaching or help. Are we not doing the right thing or are we not doing the thing well?
Chad Bareither: Right. Yeah. Well, that's an excellent point as well. But if I'm trying to write and I was trying to write people that are kind of on this first two of like, I'm either problem unaware or I'm problem aware but solution unaware, it's a different audience than saying like, yeah, we've tried Lean and it didn't work, or something to that effect. I'm like, if continuous improvement isn't in your lexicon right now, where would you start?
Chad Bareither: Yeah.
Mark Graban: So one thing in the book and you say this early on, and I think this is a great call to action change fewer things, but the right things. So there's a problem statement or current state in a lot of organizations of people, leaders are trying to do too many things, too many projects, too busy. How would you describe that problem statement and some of the causes of why that is so common?
Chad Bareither: So I think you describe the problem statement very well, but the problem that it creates is a lack of focus and a lack of alignment. So if I don't know what to focus on I'll give you an example from a past organization I work with and they had 26 strategic goals. So it's like great. It's 26. One I probably can't even list them all if I work in the organization.
Chad Bareither: So that's the first problem. Secondly, it's Tuesday afternoon, and I say, what's the most important thing to be working on? It's like, maybe it's one of the 26.
Mark Graban: Maybe Flyer has popped up.
Chad Bareither: Right, exactly. So if I have a limited amount of space time in my calendar, wouldn't it be great if the whole team was growing together? Maybe that sounds a little cliche, but if we can align more on a few I'll even challenge one one to three strategic objectives that we're really trying to accomplish as a business, and we mobilize more of the efforts towards that, then we'll actually make more headway, we'll make more progress. So that's the thinking I'm doing all the way down to the front line of like, don't fix everything, fix one thing. What's bothering you today?
Chad Bareither: Let's work on fixing that rather than why should we have 20 open a three s versus two closed? It's always been a challenge to me of saying we have to have more improvement ideas. There's no shortage of ideas. Let's finish one right? And then we can talk about another one.
Chad Bareither: There's a couple things I see as a root cause. So one is everyone feels like they need to contribute. So it's like, Well, I'm not involved in that strategic initiative somehow, whatever. So I'm going to have my own. Okay.
Chad Bareither: So they feel like I have to have something to work on. If you think about something, like theory of Constraints is like but that might not benefit the organization at all for you to be changing and improving right now. And if every organization has a finite capacity for change, changing more stuff just takes away from the overall capacity. Different organization I work with, the director was a friend of mine and was lamenting to me one day. He's like, Chad, I get a call every week.
Chad Bareither: If I just need one person for this initiative, it's like, yeah, but that's the 10th call I've had. I don't have ten people to loan out for a strategic initiative. I got to run the business. So that's one thing is folks feel like I have to have something. The other thing is our planning cycles is I feel like if it's a year plan, I need to load it up to make sure that there's enough to get done.
Chad Bareither: Well, maybe strategic planning shouldn't be year to year. I still advocate for an annual review, look back at what we've accomplished and then look forward. But prioritize, if you pick one to three and you're like, It's not enough, I'm like, Great, get those done, and then we'll pick another three. Right. But what's the sense in starting six and maybe finishing two by the end of the year, right?
Chad Bareither: I'm trying to remember the name of the organization. I was at a Lean Solutions conference here in Muskegon, and they had a beautiful chart, which I'm totally going to steal. And it was empirically sound. And it talks about the number of goals that an organization has and the number of goals that they accomplish. And guess what?
Chad Bareither: As the goals go up, the number that you actually accomplish goes down. Which is completely logical from my point of view. But we see this hedging of bets of let's put more goals on, and every function needs one. And then what we actually experience is there's no manageable change. And then sorry to make this a long answer, the last thing I'd put on that is we're not thinking about sustainment.
Chad Bareither: So we might think about how many people would it take to run this project? Great. When the project's over, there is some investment by that process owner, the leadership involved, to actually sustain that change. And the hardest part is going to be in its infancy when we're actually asking people to do their job differently, measure their job differently, et cetera. So we don't think about the effort.
Chad Bareither: Those are kind of the three root causes that I experience. Like, everyone feels like they need something, that we have these long planning cycles, so we're just going to fill it up to make sure that we don't run out of stuff. And the third thing is we don't plan the resources for sustainment after the change is made.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Hey, don't apologize for giving an in depth answer. I don't need to ask all the questions maybe I can ask. Yeah, hopefully I'm prioritizing and choosing a good mix of questions for everyone. But when we look at this framework, Chad, the three pieces strategy, deployment, process improvement, daily management.
Mark Graban: One thing you touch on in the book I was going to ask you about is a gap between how senior leaders are spending their time versus maybe how they should a different mix of spending their time that might be effective. I wanted to say that in a less judgmental way.
Chad Bareither: Yeah. So there's a worksheet that I have that I've evolved that when I'm coaching individual leaders, we will look through, which is a reflection on your calendar. And I would say before we go into that specific tool, reflection in general, in business is, I think, underutilized, like taking a step back after a project, after a financial quarter, and really reflecting on how we did, how our processes are performing. But I don't see and I force is that the right word to do? I ask politely.
Chad Bareither: You strongly encourage, strongly encourage to do this. Let's look at your actual calendar and where you spent your time and then categorize it like, are you spending your time putting out daily fires? Are you spending any time on process improvement? Did you spend any time on a regular basis on strategy? So we talked earlier, like annual planning cycle.
Chad Bareither: So if we really do all of our strategic thinking at a four hour workshop before we play golf in November, is it surprising to us that folks in the organization don't know what the strategy is or what they should be working on. Yes. I advocate literally on a daily basis, we should be talking about strategy. Progress is strategy and what our key initiatives are. It's leadership's job is to clear communication on that.
Chad Bareither: So we look back at the calendar and just say, where are we spending our time? Are you working on the right things now? That only is the starting point for a problem. Right. A problem is a gap between what I want to have happen or what I expect to have happened and what actually happened.
Chad Bareither: So then if we find a gap, then we can say, great, what do we think we should do about that? There's not one answer to that question. But man, some reflection on that and reflection on problem solving, what went well and what didn't go well, reflection on a product launch. So reflection in general is, I think, underutilized in industry.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Because that doesn't feel or look like work thinking. Right. But it's so important. But I think people discount that because it doesn't seem as somehow like going to a meeting and sitting there seems more action oriented than sitting and thinking and reflecting.
Chad Bareither: Yeah, I feel like we could do a whole other podcast on meetings and the values of meetings and attendance of meetings, but we do in our traditional I'm speaking from a very Western mindset. Right. Find value in going to meetings and having my calendar filled.
Mark Graban: Yeah. It's something people brag about how busy I'm triple booked. That means all sorts of things. And we probably could have done a good 45 minutes on each of the three components here. But let me ask you one other question, Chad, related to daily management.
Mark Graban: Maybe it's related to all three of these things. When you write about a culture of learning, what are some things that you've learned that help leaders turn that goal into a reality or at least working toward and developing a culture of learning?
Chad Bareither: So I don't know if I'm going to go in exactly the direction you're expecting, but one of the things they have to learn is like one, they're not responsible for getting there. They're not the ones turning the screws or meeting with clients or delivering the product. Right. The other thing is they don't even necessarily have to know how to get there. And so that's kind of crazy of saying we need to know where we're going, we need to know what we want to accomplish.
Chad Bareither: And then I really need to empower the team to tell me, can we get there? If you think about the catch ball process, is this reasonable? And once we've arrived at something that's reasonable to accomplish, how do we get there? Now, what that culture of learning creates now is the leader is learning about the process. Because often if you've moved up in leadership, you've been separated from the work, from the actual assembly, from the actual service delivery for some years.
Chad Bareither: Your knowledge is already I don't know, what do you want to say? Rotting expiring.
Mark Graban: And that happens in healthcare, too. A nurse leader used to be a nurse, but that was very different 1520 years ago or even just a few years ago. You're right. Things change.
Chad Bareither: The leader needs to learn again about the process, not just assume they know the process because they did it at 1.5 years ago, or I spent 15 minutes on the line last month. So there's some learning of, like, I need to understand how we're going to get there, but empowering the team to do that, and then the learning of we talked early on about one of the best ways to learn is to teach. So then, like, teaching the problem solving process. Again, the process the process. The process not the answer.
Chad Bareither: What this builds for the team now is giving them the chance to learn. So I've told you, Mark, as the leader, you've told me the goal. We've agreed on what we think we can accomplish and how we're going to get there. And now I get to learn, right? I get to learn how to accomplish that, and when I fall short of that goal, what I should do, and I learn about accountability to, like, if I'm owning this, it was my idea, I want to make it work, versus, like, I'm just doing what Mark told me to do.
Chad Bareither: So some of the biggest learnings we see in leadership is relearning about their process, but also learning how to delegate and coach, which I think are terms that we say, and everyone's like, they nod their head of, like, yeah, I know what delegation means. Yeah, I know what coaching means. It's like but we're not widespread. We're not delegating and coaching. Right.
Chad Bareither: We're dictating answers to the organization.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Well, Chad, congratulations again on the book. Improve less. I wouldn't be surprised if there's another book that will come out of your work. And reflection.
Mark Graban: Congratulations on getting this book out. So I will put links in the show notes to your website, Chad, and ways people can get more information about the book. So it's great to have that over the finish line. I'm sure that feels good to have it out there. Hopefully the reviews, I think, when I looked are all five stars.
Mark Graban: Not to jinx it, because every author gets their first non five star review. Brace yourself for that. That's a different conversation. So congrats. I'm sure it feels good.
Chad Bareither: Yeah, it does feel good. I'm thrilled that there's some initial positive sentiment towards it. It's bringing people value, which is like, what I set out to do. So it's fantastic.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up, Chad?
Chad Bareither: No, this has been an awesome conversation. I think I was telling you up front, a little geeked out right is like Lean blog. Some other podcasts that I've been on are things that I've listened to for a while. I followed your work for a while. So I mean, this is a little bit surreal to be at.
Chad Bareither: Operating it and communicating it at this level is just fantastic. So it's great.
Mark Graban: Well, good. Well, thank it was great to have you here. Thank you for telling us about your story, things you've learned, things that you're sharing here in the book. So again, we've been joined Chad Bareither. The book is improve less the focus and aligned framework for sustainable continuous improvement.
Mark Graban: Maybe we can do this again sometime. Whether it's here on My Favorite Mistake, there's so much more we can discuss. Look forward to whether that's next year at MLC wherever we cross paths next or here in the podcast.
Chad Bareither: Excellent. Thank you, Mark.
Mark Graban: Thank you.
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