Lean from a General Manager and Executive Perspective: DeWayne Allen

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My guest for Episode #502 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is DeWayne Allen, an executive, speaker, and workshop facilitator.

DeWayne is a results-driven executive with over 20 years of experience, renowned for leveraging a solid engineering and operations background to propel growth for Fortune 500 organizations. 

As a visionary leader, DeWayne excels in crafting and executing strategic plans to deliver desired outcomes. With a proven track record in fostering relationships and adeptly managing cross-functional teams, DeWayne ensures seamless alignment of internal operations with overarching business objectives. 

He is also a trusted advisor to C-suite executives for strategic decision-making.

DeWayne is dedicated to empowering 1000+ Black leaders to become influential corporate executives through STEM education, fostering diversity, equity, and innovation.

In this episode, we discuss how industrial engineering principles can be harnessed into strategic corporate leadership. Allen, who began his career as an engineer, spotlights his use of Six Sigma, lean methodologies, and continuous improvement tactics to tackle modern business challenges, from corporate turnarounds to driving growth. His success in transitioning into business-oriented roles, executing lean success in dynamic environments, and managing diverse operational aspects as a general manager add to his rich collection of professional experiences.

Moreover, Allen's innovative application of lean methodologies to the hectic process of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) demonstrate his knack for using these principles regardless of context. And his view on incorporating lean management within nonprofits signals a broader utility for these principles outside of just manufacturing or profit-centered entities. In light of Allen's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), he champions the integration of these ethical and social values with lean principles for greater operational excellence. Join us and delve deeper into the workings of DeWayne Allen's lean philosophy and powerful leadership style.

Questions, Notes, and Highlights:

  • What's your Lean origin story?
  • As a leader, helping everybody feel like and work like ONE TEAM?
  • Becoming a formal leader — steps to work up to being a GM?
  • What are some of your favorite stories or examples of using Lean throughout your career?
  • You've worked as General Manager — The split of your time and attention? 
  • What was your view of Lean in that role and what you learned there?
  • Tell us about applying Lean in Mergers and Acquisitions work? Can you make that a process?
  • Tell us about your work in the Non-profit space – National Society of Black Engineers, applying it there?

The podcast is brought to you by Stiles Associates, the premier executive search firm specializing in the placement of Lean Transformation executives. With a track record of success spanning over 30 years, it's been the trusted partner for the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare sectors. Learn more.

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Episode Summary

Dwayne Allen: A Leader's Journey from Industrial Engineering to Executive Influence

Dwayne Allen stands as a beacon of success, illustrating the profound impact a robust engineering background coupled with strategic planning and leadership can have on Fortune 500 companies. Over the span of his 20-plus-year career, Allen has established himself as an executive force, a speaker, a workshop facilitator, and an advocate for empowering black leaders through STEM education and corporate diversity.

The Foundation of Engineering Excellence

From his early days as an industrial engineering student at Tennessee Tech University, Dwayne Allen embraced the principles of classical engineering philosophies. The rigorous foundation included teachings about thermodynamics, value streams, time-motion studies, and the intricacies of factory planning. The '90s were a pivotal time when continuous improvement philosophies were increasingly permeating industries–particularly automotive, which provided Allen with a practical application field for his academic learning.

The proximity to Saturn's facility in Middle Tennessee offered Allen a front-row seat to witness and participate in lean process flow lines in action. Even though the term “lean” was not in his vocabulary at the time, the concepts were becoming ingrained in Allen's skill set. This early exposure to lean practices at such a formative stage set the stage for Allen to become a unique kind of engineer–one who combines technical savoir-faire with effective communication and a genuine affinity for leadership.

Cultivating Strategic Growth and Fostering Relationships

Throughout his career, Allen has consistently utilized his solid engineering foundation to help propel growth for various organizations. His expertise lies in crafting and executing strategic plans to deliver desired outcomes, a testament to his forward-thinking and results-driven nature. This knack for strategy has been augmented by his proven ability to foster relationships and manage cross-functional teams effectively.

His tenure as a general manager and P&L leader has enabled Allen to provide valued counsel to C-suite executives for strategic decision-making. His role as a trusted advisor highlights the intersection of engineering expertise and executive acumen, showcasing his capability to guide corporate strategy with insights grounded in technical knowledge and operational leadership.

Empowering Leadership and Promoting Diversity through STEM

Beyond his corporate achievements, Dwayne Allen is dedicated to shaping the future of black leadership within the corporate space. His commitment to empowering over a thousand black leaders to become influential corporate executives through STEM education is a testament to his belief in diversity, equity, and innovation. By promoting these key components, Allen contributes to creating a more inclusive and dynamic corporate environment that benefits from a multitude of perspectives and talents.

The emphasis on STEM as a pathway to leadership is a clear reflection of how Allen has woven his personal experiences and knowledge into advocacy work. Through his efforts, Allen strives to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are well-equipped with the skills and educational background necessary to make impactful decisions and drive the enterprise forward in an increasingly diverse and competitive world.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Dwayne Allen's journey from engineering student to an influential executive encapsulates the transformative power of combining technical expertise with leadership prowess. His story serves as an inspirational blueprint for aspiring leaders looking to make a mark in their industries and beyond. His dedication to fostering diversity and supporting the next generation of black corporate executives through STEM education reaffirms the critical role of inclusive leadership in shaping a more equitable future.

Advancing Lean Methodologies in Corporate Leadership

Dwayne Allen's journey from engineer to general manager has been marked by an unwavering commitment to efficiency and productivity. His strategic embrace of lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement methodologies has become second nature, positioning him to tackle challenges ranging from turnarounds to driving growth. Whether in periods of stability or change, Allen's leadership style reflects a deep understanding of lean principles–continually striving to increase efficiency and reduce non-value-added activities.

Transforming Challenges into Growth Opportunities

A key factor in Allen's ascent through the corporate ranks was his openness and passion. By aligning his skills, interests, and experiences, he successfully transitioned from engineering to more business-oriented roles. His ambition was not merely to understand different aspects of the business but to excel in them, indicating a strong desire to be among the best in his field.

Allen's transformation into a business owner and profit & loss leader was facilitated by a readiness to both seek out and create opportunities for professional growth. This entailed articulating his goals to both himself and those around him while working collaboratively with mentors, management, and HR to map out his career trajectory.

Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders

As a mentor, Allen places substantial emphasis on helping individuals identify their strengths and align them with their career aspirations. He believes in the importance of recognizing one's achievements to date and understanding the unique qualities they bring to their roles. Through this reflective process, individuals can set clear and purposeful directions for the future.

Allen also acts as a champion for those he mentors, ready to support them and ensure they have the necessary resources to excel. This involves managing the need for giving space for growth while being ready to step in with guidance and advice when needed.

Implementing Lean Success in Dynamic Environments

One of Allen's most notable lean success stories transpired while managing the retrofit of engine parts for an aerospace provider–a process that demanded acute analytical and strategic skills. Through implementing a comprehensive lean value stream approach, Allen and his team managed to convert a production challenge into a lucrative aftermarket operation. They restructured the workflow to maximize operational efficiency and successfully managed both the inflow of retrofitted parts and the subsequent outflow, with an eye on maintaining optimal output levels.

By applying critical lean tools like value stream mapping and bottleneck analysis, Allen led a transformation that not only enhanced productivity but also expanded business capabilities into new areas.

Balancing Priorities as a General Manager

In his role as a general manager, Dwayne Allen's time was divvied up across a multitude of critical business areas, including lean operations, supply chain management, talent development, financial oversight, company culture, customer relations, and external engagement.

A typical day could start and end with check-ins on the factory floor to foster interpersonal connections and stay abreast of operations. Carving out time for customer intimacy and updates played a crucial role in maintaining strong external relationships. Meanwhile, strategy sessions allowed Allen to work on both immediate metrics and long-term planning, likening the task to a game of 3D chess where anticipation and proactive decision-making were key. This balanced approach helped to ensure that while maintaining the operational efficiency, other aspects such as talent development and company culture were not neglected.

Harnessing Lean Thinking in Mergers and Acquisitions

One of the less discussed but impactful areas where Dwayne Allen has applied lean methodologies is in the complex and often chaotic process of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Allen understands that M&A not only involves financial and strategic planning but also a series of intricate processes that must be aligned to maximize efficiency and achieve the intended benefits of the consolidation.

By deploying lean tools during the due diligence and post-merger integration phases, Allen has championed the elimination of waste and the smooth transition of business processes. In both the pre- and post-integration phases, there are ample opportunities to scrutinize each step and eliminate redundancies, thereby saving crucial time and aligning with the overall goals of the venture.

This focus not only expedites the merger but also reinforces the reasons for synergies, which can range from consolidating functions to fostering a unified culture. Exercising a lean philosophy in this context is an innovative approach that can lead to significantly improved outcomes in the M&A landscape.

Lean Management in Nonprofit Organizations

The application of lean principles is not limited to for-profit entities; it has equal relevance in the nonprofit space. As a leader in the National Society of Black Engineers, Allen has been pivotal in advocating for the adoption of these principles within nonprofit organizations.

He argues that the efficiency achieved through lean in a corporate setting can be mirrored in a nonprofit context to enhance productivity and effectiveness. This might involve streamlining meetings, adopting structured templates for reporting, and enforcing a disciplined approach to decision-making.

By applying the discipline of lean management to volunteer-run organizations, Allen has visibly improved operational efficiency, allowing the groups he's been a part of to focus more on their mission with less administrative overhead.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a Lean Value

Dwayne Allen's dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a testament to how lean methodologies can extend beyond operational efficiency and inform ethical and social principles in corporate leadership. Lean thinking, at its core, requires an environment where all employees feel valued and are empowered to contribute their best. In this spirit, DEI initiatives align closely with lean philosophies.

Being a DEI champion means more than just embracing differences–it involves advocating for system changes that promote inclusivity and ensure everyone has the opportunity to excel. This can include addressing bias in processes, ensuring diverse representation in leadership, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement that embraces diverse perspectives. By integrating DEI as a fundamental aspect of lean initiatives, leaders like Allen are creating workplaces that value each individual's contribution while pushing for operational excellence.

The Unified Thread of Lean Leadership

Throughout his career, Dwayne Allen has shown that lean methodologies are not just tools for optimizing production lines or reducing waste in manufacturing processes; they are instrumental in every facet of business operation and beyond. From facilitating M&A processes to guiding nonprofit organizations, and from supporting diversity initiatives to driving corporate expansion, the principles of lean are as ubiquitous as they are transformative. Allen's commitment to these principles has made him not only a successful general manager but an inspiring figure who demonstrates what it means to lead with a lean mindset across varied landscapes.

The Role of Engineering in Leadership Development

For Dwayne Allen, his background as an engineer is not just a technical foundation; it's a springboard for leadership and capacity-building in any domain, especially for African Americans who aspire to enter and excel in the STEM fields. Engineering, with its intricate problem-solving and analytical demands, provides a versatile set of skills applicable to various aspects of business and community leadership.

Allen's philosophy is that the rigorous training and structured thinking that comes from an engineering education can be invaluable for strategic planning, operations management, and even in navigating the sociopolitical nuances of corporate diversity initiatives. His own journey attests to the seamless transition from engineer to executive, illuminating a path for others coming from similar backgrounds to follow.

Strengthening the Bridge Between Corporate Interest and Community Mission

Allen's prodigious work within his company and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is noteworthy for the manner in which he has melded corporate interests with the mission of advancing diversity in engineering. By demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI) for the corporations sponsoring NSBE, Allen effectively strengthened the ties between the corporate sector and the nonprofit community.

Corporations, through their engagement with organizations like NSBE, not only contribute to a diverse and inclusive environment but also witness firsthand the breadth of talent available among African American engineers. This symbiosis benefits all stakeholders – the companies gain access to a broader talent pool, and the organizations receive the essential support needed to foster the next generation of engineers.

Creating Opportunities and Role Models

Visibility is crucial when it comes to inspiring the next generation of engineers, and Allen has made it his mission to ensure that young individuals, like those he once was in Memphis, Tennessee, see and believe in their potential. He emphasizes the power of representation, understanding that the impact of meeting someone successful in your desired field, who also shares a similar background, cannot be overstated.

By taking industry leaders to conferences populated by thousands of black engineers, Allen not only broadens the horizons of corporate executives but also provides tangible role models for aspiring engineers. These connections and exposures are about more than recognition; they are about tangible, life-changing opportunities that can shape careers and lives.

Investing in Future Leaders

Dwayne Allen's enduring impact lies not only in his corporate and social contributions but also in his personal commitment to being a testament to success for upcoming African American engineers. He stresses the importance of active, ongoing engagement and responsibility as a leader to extend his influence beyond his immediate circle to the broader community.

Allen's actions challenge preconceptions and pave the way for systematic change, thereby ensuring a legacy of empowerment and opportunity for future generations in the engineering and leadership realms. His dedication to engineering and business excellence, coupled with a genuine passion for uplifting others, stands as a powerful catalyst for transformation and progress.


Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)

Mark Graban:
Well, hi. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm Mark Graban. We are joined today. Our guest is DeWayne Allen.

Mark Graban:
He is an executive, a speaker, he's a workshop facilitator. He looking at his career and we're going to hear his story. He's a results driven executive with over 20 years of experience. He's really known for leveraging his solid engineering and operations background to help propel growth for Fortune 500 companies. So he really excels in crafting and executing strategic plans to help desired outcomes be delivered.

Mark Graban:
He's got a proven track record in fostering relationships and managing cross functional teams. He's been a trusted advisor to c suite executives for strategic decision making, and he's been a general manager and P L leader. So we have a unique opportunity to hear his perspectives from those roles. DeWayne also is dedicated to empowering more than a thousand black leaders to become influential corporate executives through STEM education, fostering diversity, equity and innovation. So, DeWayne, thank you so much for being here today.

Mark Graban:
How are you?

DeWayne Allen:
Thanks for having me, Mark. I really appreciate it. It's going to be fun.

Mark Graban:
It will be. There's a lot to talk about here and as I tend to do, as you know, I like to ask people about their lean origin story. Let's hear your story.

DeWayne Allen:
That's a great question. So I am a classical industrial engineer. So grew up when I decided to stop playing football and be a full time engineering student at Tennessee Tech University in know I'm a classical engineer. And what we learned, the first thing we learned about the third leagues, right? We learned about the classical engineering philosophy, industrial.

DeWayne Allen:
And then you learn about value streams and time motion studies and factory planning and all that stuff, right? And knowing those times in school in the mid 90s, it was more of a lot of these, I want to say, continuous improvement philosophies were being thrust upon in industry, right? Particularly it's always been prevalent in the auto industry, which a lot of stuff we did, we worked on. And it was very influential in our institution, right. I don't know if you remember the Saturn factory.

DeWayne Allen:
Remember Saturn? Yeah. That Saturn factory is down in Middle Tennessee. And we did a lot of work with a lot of the car manufacturer and that Saturn factory. And actually one of the commercials talked about that assembly line that was set up, which basically was a lean process flow line because they could crank out so many Saturns and so many times, particularly in that time frame that was created at our institution.

DeWayne Allen:
And I was a part of participating in that. And so even though I didn't know necessarily what lean was. Right, exactly. Deaf defined it. It was just embedded in me.

DeWayne Allen:
And I dare say that's my origin story. I dare say I was a unique engineer, number one. I was trying to be an athlete. Right. And then also I could actually talk to people.

DeWayne Allen:
I wasn't better at that, right. And I kind of like people. Right. And I was good, and I was always the one. They were put in front to go do the speaking.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. On the projects we did, I was always the one in front and not necessarily the best student academically. I went through my struggles, but definitely I had a skill set, a superpower that came out. And so that's my story and I'm going to stick with it. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
From the origin of that and my career, those skill sets follow me throughout my career, and I'm using them to steal today. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
When you talk about the Saturn plant, I started my career at General Motors in Michigan, Detroit.

DeWayne Allen:
Right.

Mark Graban:
And we knew of Saturn. It was talked about internally as a different kind of company. Like, those were the ads, I think.

DeWayne Allen:
That'S what ads, right. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
It was a different union and contract. It was this fresh start similar to new me in California. Well, it was more of a fresh start than new me was in California. But GM was. I met some of the people who had been involved in the union side and the management side with Saturn, and they would come through, and it was such a struggle to try to spread any of that with GM.

Mark Graban:
It wasn't just about the union contract being different.

DeWayne Allen:
Old attitudes that were just right. And you got to think about it just that whole. And during those times, we're about the same age range generationally. There were ways you did things right. And back then, it was the GM way, the IBM way, everybody had a way.

DeWayne Allen:
And that way their philosophy, those cultures just stuck. And when you had these new up and comers who were based in continuous improvement, high quality, leaning out, offering low cost products, Toyota was really destroying everybody during that time, too. Right. And they were heavy into it with their production management system, same thing. And Saturn was that company, that GM offshoot, I would dare say that was really empowering and embracing those things.

DeWayne Allen:
And I think even after the product line move and closed, they moved that philosophy, moved into more of the other GM products. And actually across industry.

Mark Graban:
I think one of the differences probably, I'm going to point out, all of the UAW people I was working with had at least 35 years of seniority.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And I'm not saying that was the problem.

Mark Graban:
I'm just stating the fact that they had been subjected to 35 years of the old GM management style.

DeWayne Allen:
That's right.

Mark Graban:
Even when we got a new plant manager coming in who had his new me education, people are still looking at him. Little kind of tilt of the head of like, who are you? And not sure if after that long, somebody could adjust where Saturn didn't have.

DeWayne Allen:
As much of a, you know. And if, you know, even GM had GMI and Kettering institute. Right. You know, that's where they were cranking their own engineers out. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
And next thing you know, they spend those years, what was like four years, and then you did the co ops and all that good stuff. You were embedded in the factory, right. So it was just a thing. I actually had some really good friends that graduated from GMI Kettering. I think that was the new name of it, right?

DeWayne Allen:
It is. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
It's the name. Now, my dad was a graduate of GMI, a co op student.

DeWayne Allen:
Small world, brother. Small world, man.

Mark Graban:
40 years at GM, but no football team.

DeWayne Allen:
No football team. No. They didn't play in the big Ten. Right? That wasn't happening.

Mark Graban:
And just. This is trivia at this point. I was on the field playing drums in the marching band.

DeWayne Allen:
There you go. There you go. That was athletics.

Mark Graban:
Marching band, hat, not a helmet.

DeWayne Allen:
That's right. That's athletics. That's the athletics, man. Sweating, trying to get it together. You had it together, brother.

Mark Graban:
So you had that early exposure in the auto industry after school or after that? Some people stick with the auto industry. You've moved into different things. What kind of drove some of the choices about where you wanted to.

DeWayne Allen:
So when I graduated, right, I didn't have that many offers. And so I just said, hey, I was going to go to grad school at UT university, Tennessee. And as I was getting ready to go, and then I was going to concentrate in engineering, economy, right. Because I was also really good in business. And when I was about to start grad school, I joined this company called Raytheon and got into the aerospace side, and I thought it was pretty cool based on what was happening in that different industry, right?

DeWayne Allen:
Because I knew it was classical industrial. Engineer is like, hey, you got a factory I can work in, right? All right. You build in some, I can work there, right? I wasn't on the design side with the E's and the me guys.

DeWayne Allen:
Just yet, right? Just yet. And they grabbed me right out of school from grad school because I was sick of being broke college student and was in the midst of and doing immediate classical industrial engineering work that early in my career that you wouldn't know from. It was a lot of acquisitions and mergers that was happening in the industry at the time. Between they had that last supper thing where it was like 20 aerospace and defense companies, and then it went down to, like, six, right?

DeWayne Allen:
So a lot of mergers, a lot of things happening. So I was classical engineering, going, traveling to supplier sites, building their lines out, going and building brand new factories, whole new facilities, moving, transitioning work over, moving one production line to another production line. And then once we got that up and going, we had to crank out the systems that were still in, that was keeping them in production, keeping these production lines hot, learning it back in. And so you're doing value stream projects, all kinds of continuous improvement projects around that lean based projects to go increase efficiency, because, hey, this merger happened, these acquisition happened. You got to go back, pay the street.

DeWayne Allen:
And what that means, you got to go deliver this product, right. You got to make sure you're on contract, get your own time, deliveries up, things like that. And so that was the starting point of being an industrial engineer. And then, I dare say, spending those first four or five years, four or five years of my career doing that. It gave me the ability to learn a bunch of things.

DeWayne Allen:
Number one, from a lean perspective that you got to keep always understanding. You got to understand, you whip the ship, right? That's a moniker there, right? Understanding the outflows and the back end of the business, that's where money is made. And so you got to maintain productivity and increase productivity and decrease your non value added activities, right?

DeWayne Allen:
And that shows up in the dollar signs. That shows up on the balance sheet. And you didn't know that. As you was learning, as you go get MBAs and things like that, that stuff sticks with you. So you're already getting the build of that business acumen that they didn't teach us engineers.

DeWayne Allen:
Teach us engineers for a show because you didn't think about it. But as you got in the business, that's what you got it. And those things helped morph my career as I came up.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, kids today, if there's young professionals, I should say, listening to the podcast now, they would laugh at me because I literally carried, like, a digital stopwatch.

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah, literally. Literally. That's right. And a clipboard. Right?

DeWayne Allen:
And I was counting movements, counting arm movements, timing, feet movements, walking, looking at spaghetti charts, walking. It's literally.

Mark Graban:
I would get scolded. I'm just sorry, I'm having a flashback to, like, no, it's all good. The union shop chair can't be timing the workers now. I'm like, no, I'm timing equipment. I'm looking at the equipment.

Mark Graban:
And that was true, but they were really sensitive.

DeWayne Allen:
Oh, yeah, that was a big deal. That was a big deal. But I think that's where you had to have that communication, like, hey, we are going to do a proposal and we need to know what the hours per this unit is. Right. How long it takes to build this unit and where are the opportunities where we can go reduce that, to go and make this product more affordable.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And that's a function of basically knowing what's the standard to measure you on and then figuring out what's that standard and then what things can we do differently to change the standard. Right. And if we reduce the standard, the standard standard. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
You're going to be more productive. And so that's where you really had to learn those influencing things. You got to learn to tell the story. I think we all had some war wounds dealing with our folks on the floor who are busting their tail, really adding value to the product. You're basically non value added yourself, but you're trying to help them understand that, hey, we build more of these in which they want.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. You'll get more and it'll come down to you, and it will affect all of us. Right. Because we all got 401 ks and stock prices we embedded in, and that all matters. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
And so that's where you got to really meet people, where they are in doing it. But we had a pretty good relationship with our folks. I mean, I got. I got my little yellow card, but my first boss told, my first department manager told us that you ain't doing a job. You didn't get a citation, so you didn't do your job.

DeWayne Allen:
So I was like, okay, got it. So let me go ahead and get one out the way. Right? Yeah.

Mark Graban:
And I think there's a leadership challenge of helping everyone realize and meaning it, that we're all in this together.

DeWayne Allen:
Absolutely.

Mark Graban:
The second plant manager I worked under was trying to shift away from that old adversarial management wins. That means the workers lose. Thinking about the future of the factory and winning together.

DeWayne Allen:
That's right.

Mark Graban:
As you've gone through different leadership roles in your career, what are some of your thoughts about helping everyone feel like one team?

DeWayne Allen:
Well, I think it's setting the table where we are. Right. And getting people's opinions and understanding. Hey, here's where we are. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
So we're in the business of. In the business. We're doing. We're in the business of providing the service and the products for our warfighter to protect us. And we got to get it in the hands of them as soon as possible, him and her.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And they understand that and they're honorable about that and they get that. But we also have a fiduciary responsibility because we are a business. We are to drive and ensure that we are doing the best we can to ensure that keep our profit margin up and deliver to our stakeholders, which we are part of those stakeholders. Right?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah. Now, what does that mean? That means if we are more affordable, we have more affordable products, we're more efficient with our products, we have high quality products, and we decrease all the non value activities, decrease our quality escapes issues, things like that, we will win more business. More business means, hey, 401K looks nice. Hey, that means the bonus structure looks better, right.

DeWayne Allen:
That means the percentage of business would to help us that the reason that it provides the lifestyles that we like to live provides for our families, things like that. That helps us. And so for us to do that, let's put it on the table, right. And let's talk through that. It's all about transparency.

DeWayne Allen:
So in my career, particularly when I got into affordability and I was working on proposals and really predicting a system and really using parametric estimating, really understanding what a system should be at when we start, even in early design, as we go on and propose this thing, it was always important for me to understand, okay, we are basing this off of something we've done in the past. Is there a way we can reduce how we do something more efficient than what we've done in the past and add that to the proposal. Right. And challenge ourselves to go do that. And using our continuous improvement mantras, lean six sigma, all those type of things, to go help us do that.

DeWayne Allen:
And so that's where my mindset has gotten to. My mindset of, hey, we can do this and we can do this more efficiently. And it's just something that's standard in your brain, right. Because usually when I'm getting into situations, it's not necessarily I'm in a situation like, hey, I'm either setting us up that doing a turnaround situation, or I'm in a situation where I need to go drive growth, right. Either way, I need to go increase efficiency, increase productivity.

DeWayne Allen:
Either way. Right. Either one of those. And even if we're in steady state, you still got to go, okay, I'm in steady state, but still I got to go increase efficiency increase productivity and decrease non value added. So it's just a part of what you're doing.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And whatever you think about and how to be innovative and creative to go make that happen. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
What would you say were some of the key moments or some of the key lessons about rising through the ranks from engineer to GM with P l responsibility, thinking, being the business owner?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah, I think it's a little bit of that. What we just talked about. Right. I think the key points, the key things is being open, being passionate about what you do. You want to be the best in the world at it.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. Or try to be right. Everybody wants to do that. Everybody wants to be that. But that means you got to put in work to do that.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. It also means aligning. For me, it was about, I just wanted to understand being experienced parts of the business where I can just pull what I did before and incorporate that into this different role. Right. And I wanted those experiences, and I had to go find them, and at first I had to go express them and to myself that I want to go do this.

DeWayne Allen:
Then I had to go work with my leaders and management team and HR whoever to say, hey, how can I go do that? What does that look like? Right? How can I get myself there? Once you reach up to your 1015 years in your career set, that's when you're like, okay, what experiences do I want to go get after I got to engineer levels five and six, right.

DeWayne Allen:
What thing is, I want to do? I want to go run a business, right? Do I want to do this or do I want to be a tech fellow? Right? I want to do some research.

DeWayne Allen:
You got to make that choice path. And for me, I wanted to go do. I did some design work. I said, well, I wasn't that good at it, but I got it done. I'm happy did that design stuff.

DeWayne Allen:
And I was like, well, I'm really good on this business thing. Right? I get that stuff. I've been doing that for ever. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
So that's where it fit with me, and that's matching my skills and my interests and my passions towards that. And just being in a place and being open to giving yourself grace to knowing that you're in a new experience, but you can bring what you learn there. Right. I dare say those were some of the tenets, I would say, yeah.

Mark Graban:
And as you're mentoring people today or helping develop others, I'm sure there's opportunities to lend support when someone's a little bit afraid of, like, hey, this is a new function or a step up. Can I do it?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah. When mentoring now for me and coaching and all that for me now with my folks is, okay, let's talk about what have you done right? What are you really good at? Can you articulate that? Right.

DeWayne Allen:
And then what did people say that was responsible for you and your job or in places in your journey? What did they say that you were good at? Does that align? And then what do you want to go do next? Right.

DeWayne Allen:
I was in with next because that continues a continuous thing like, hey, I want to do something different. I want to do it this, and I might do something different this way. What do you want to do next? Being able to articulate that. And then if I have any type of pull, influence, or sway, it's more of going, helping that person get ready for that, being that ready now position to go jump there.

DeWayne Allen:
And if I'm in a sponsor or a champion type mode, I can go and make that happen, bring you on my team and do that role and find, make sure they're set for success when you get it so they can get the grace to make the mistakes. That's the thing I think we don't talk enough about as leaders, as people are progressing, is that everybody is not perfect, and we know that we just don't talk through it. And failing is a part of the process in some points, right. You don't want to fail too big, but you want to do it fast, right.

Mark Graban:
Fail fast and recover.

DeWayne Allen:
And you want to recover. You want to learn from it. Say, okay, we did it this way. Particularly when you're trying to do something innovative and creative, man, you got to experiment a little bit, know what you're doing, but you got to get this person, that sandbox, to go do that and figure that out and say, well, this sandcastle needs a little bit more water, this little less water to make it get sturdy enough. And then I can build up to four levels instead of three.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. Or five, and then I can get the whole thing done. So that's what we got to do as leaders to make sure we do that for our folks. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
So I want to come back in a little bit and talk more about leading lane as a general manager, but kind of stepping back, even if it's earlier steps or even more recent. What's a favorite story or example that you use of great, lean success story?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah, I think one of the better ones is when I was zero managers, we had an opportunity where we had to do a couple of things. One, we had to do a retrofit for some parts for engine provider, right? And this was a live retrofit that was happening for aircraft that was in the fleet. And then we also had to do. And that retrofit was an upgrade, right?

DeWayne Allen:
Think about that. So you bring in these parts, the old parts, you got to supply these parts out in the fleet so they can go do the upgrade or retrofit in the field, right? And then you also, for those that are necessarily on the ground, they're going to send you a set of these new parts, of these old parts that you got to retrofit in your factory. And so what we had to do was like just a big huge value stream. It was a classical lean value stream problem, right?

DeWayne Allen:
It is spaghetti flowchart, what can happen, what upgrades we need to do. But it also provided an opportunity for us to grow a line of business where we can do retrofits and upgrades not in a production environment on a production line, but in an aftermarket line, right, where you're supporting the O and M part, operations and maintenance piece of it, right? And you're dealing on that level. So you got a different set of skip resources, you got a different set of things to go make it happen. So for example, as you know, in the union factory, right, you got folks that can only do work on the production line, right?

DeWayne Allen:
And they do one thing or two things and that's it, that's all they do. But if you get somebody in the aftermarket space, you basically got a jack of all trades, right? You got somebody who can do job ABCDE, and then you find somebody else to do CDEF and then those tasks there and think about that, right? So that's less people with more capability. And because it's in a retrofit environment, I get to add those efficiencies there.

DeWayne Allen:
Bring in factored also in a retrofit environment and an upgrade environment in an aftermarket. Now I get to charge a different profit margin on that too, right? And so we were able to grow significantly a part of the business. One of a couple of leaders we had go design the new line design with the test capability and building that up, building that together. And then we were able to manage the inflow.

DeWayne Allen:
This is classic lean, right? If I can manage the inflow, what's coming in house, how many of these things can come from the fleet? Then I can definitely manage the outflow, right? And if I get that in some working order, I basically am controlling the output. And if I can get that in somewhere, I'll know how I can crank.

DeWayne Allen:
Turn that crank right and turn that crank on those output. And you're using all the tools in the lean tool set, right. Spaghetti flow charts, value stream management. You're using all kinds of critical chain opportunities there. Soothing the bottlenecks, removing those bottlenecks, working through that.

DeWayne Allen:
So it was really cool to watch the whole. And it was a whole team that really set up the team we had set up around it, folks on the factory floor, everybody that was responsible for helping us get that thing off the ground, and we grew that business, and that was one of my shining stars as a lean guy. So I really appreciate that. And actually, I got crit. And then at the same time, I was getting my executive MBA at University of Tennessee and University of Tennessee aerospace and defense program, and we had these projects that we had to do.

DeWayne Allen:
We call them OAPs, organizational action projects that we had to sign up for in the executive program, which bring real value to it. So that became my project, my oap, and I actually got rewarded first place with the class that stuff would do. So it was pretty awesome. Pretty awesome, yeah.

Mark Graban:
So you go from setting up and improving production to being a leader who's overseeing all of that. I mean, imagine you've got people on the team who are doing a job you used to do. I don't know if playing favorites is the right word, but having a different level of interest or attention to.

DeWayne Allen:
You got to give them a space. Right. This might be a bad example. It's like when you get those player coaches, right? There was just a coach.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. But then you can actually play, too, right? Or you get that deal going down and you're like, oh, no, I do. I got to let you get. But you got to give them their space to figure out their thing.

DeWayne Allen:
But what I did as a leader, I didn't step into those sandboxes. Right. Unless they asked me to. Or when I had questions during our reviews, like, did you consider this? Right?

DeWayne Allen:
Did you think about going it this way? So how would you do it if you did it this way? Right. That gave me time to focus on the stuff that I needed to spend the energy on, right. Risk reduction, working with the customer, customer relationship, flowing it up to our leaders, making sure everything is all right, dealing those type of status and things, keeping the team fed because we were working.

DeWayne Allen:
Sometimes we work on weekends, working second shifts, things like that, making sure I'm feeding them, making sure I'm taking care of them and the morale and managing that, and also keeping the lights on for the other parts of the business that we had to run. Right. So for me, it's all about I have no choice but to trust who's on my team, right? That's what I think people don't realize you have no choice. You necessarily, particularly when you're in these hyper matrix organizations where you got folks that report to you but they dotted line to you, right.

DeWayne Allen:
And then you got folks that report to you or they're two or three levels lower than you, right. And you got to let your leaders lead and so you don't jump in the stuff. That's just bad leadership when you got to go jump in and go get into a space where you think, you know, without being requested to go jump in and help with that. Right? Yeah.

DeWayne Allen:
I was like that in being an affordability person with some of our hardware, our engineering hardware, engineering designs that we had. I would ask the question, okay, so what's the design and cost goal here? I was going to get the cost down on this thing. What are we using to estimate how we're doing this for or when? I'm asking the supply chain folks like, okay, are we challenging the supplier to lower the cost here?

DeWayne Allen:
Let's go to their line. Let's go see what they're doing. Let's go do a visit. Let's go challenge them and see what are they doing to get us more efficient. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
It is those type of things where those friends I have where you're empowering the folks to do the work, but you're just asking those key questions along the way. And if, you know, if they see you doing that, they notice that, hey, okay, you know, DeWayne a pro at this. Mark is a pro at this. Know, he did. We basically, he's basically looking at us like, okay, you know, he can do it better, so we got to show him how we can do it better than he can.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And he's going to ask those questions. So we better be three, four questions deep, understand what's going down here.

Mark Graban:
So in a general manager role, what generally speaking would you say was the split of your time and attention? I'm going to make up categories. Lean and supply chain, talent, finance, culture, customers, and external facing work. There's a lot of demands.

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah, that's a great question. I think for me, I like to call it, you got your day to day projects that's due. You got your metrics that you need to meet, right? And you cadence around when those metrics are real time, right? And you cadence around leading and lagging.

DeWayne Allen:
And then you got all the swirl of the cadences of what happened when happened now. Right. And for me, it's a function of I would spend time, I would spend a day, the first part of the day and the second part of the day, walking the floor, just checking on team, see how everybody's doing, what happened over the weekend, blah, blah, just to let people know we're human. Right? Yeah.

DeWayne Allen:
And then the other part was, as we go spend part of the day, the first part of the morning, because you got to have that cadence of, okay, what's on the docket, what happened, what we're doing, where we need to spend that energy. Your customer sessions, I dare say, was probably 15% to 20% of it, just out doing the customer intimacy work, telling how things are going, giving those updates. And the rest was spending time strategizing and visualizing and planning. I like to call it 3d chess, of using all that cadence of what happens when. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
So can I get in front of this, of this and play the chess and say, how many moves can I make before we get there? How do I know that we're going to make rate this month and it's the fifth and this is February and not a leap year. Right. I don't have the extra day, but I'm still responsible, making plans. So what are we doing there?

DeWayne Allen:
What's happening? And so you start finding patterns, and I study the patterns and I try to work that. So a lot of my time, 50% of 50%, probably about 35% of my time, I want to spend the day doing that stuff because that helps my team unless it's a big project going on, you know, how fires happen all the time. But that's how I like to spend my day. And the team, the morale thing is, I think it's something that.

DeWayne Allen:
It's just embedded in who I am. Right. So the office door is open if I'm not too busy, unless I'm strategizing what happened, come on through what's happening. And I'm usually got some tag up with the team, tag up with some of the leaders part of week. So it's just embedded in what you do.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. It's hard for me to put a percentage on it, but it's all embedded in what you do. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
So in that role as a P L leader, when you're thinking about lean and culture and what things can or must that PNL leader do that are unique to that role as opposed to people that are in roles like engineer, continuous improvement specialist.

DeWayne Allen:
So because you're a PNL leader. You got a little weight with that, and you can set the standard and hold ourselves accountable to that standard we setting. Right. So for me, it's like we're going to go use name the lean philosophy. You might have an internal one.

DeWayne Allen:
We're going to use this and we have a goal to increase profit by X, and we're going to use our lean philosophy to go make it work. We're going to be more efficient at bringing cost savings to the business every year by X. We're going to use lean to go do that. And that's everybody's standard and goal. So I'm letting you be creative so you can find out where it is, and then you got to set the structure around.

DeWayne Allen:
How do you cadence that? How do you update that? How do you status that? How do you hold everybody accountable to that? Make sure that's in their goals, right.

DeWayne Allen:
And you ask questions along the way. Is this a lean project that's going to have to do that? Do I need to sponsor something around that or are we doing a gimbal walk? What's happening? Right.

DeWayne Allen:
What are the things that we're doing to ensure that we're going to be more efficient and we're going to increase the productivity in this moment? Because that's productivity that helps my profit, my margin, that helps everything else, and then articulating that. The why. Right. Some leaders, you at some level where you should know how to do the how.

DeWayne Allen:
At the lower level, no, but you better be able to articulate the how. But you always got to say, particularly, you always got to start with the why. The why right, as well. And that should be a part of your why. So you can get the ownership and the accountability across the board.

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah.

Mark Graban:
I think there's a risk of a leader mistakenly assuming the why is understood.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. It's never understood unless you say it. You got to keep saying it. And my favorite thing is I would say something. I said, does that make sense?

DeWayne Allen:
Am I saying I give them the right now you got the right to say DeWayne crazy day. Yeah. Just know my wife calls me crazy all the time. It's all good. I'm.

DeWayne Allen:
You said right. Am I being crazy today? Am I being crazy? And say, no, I get it. You get it?

DeWayne Allen:
Or help me shape what this means. Here's what the vision is. Help me shape this. Right. How can we get there?

DeWayne Allen:
Help me use that beautiful brain God gave you and help me out here because I'm short. I'm short, right? Here. And I think that for me, that's just being a human being. I humble myself and say, I don't know this.

DeWayne Allen:
Help me figure this out. Right. But I know we got this goal. I know that we need this. Right?

DeWayne Allen:
We got to get this. We got to play our part here. So what is our part? Help me understand that. Right?

Mark Graban:
Yeah. So other than maybe answering a question like that, candidly, when you're asking people to challenge you, what general advice would you have for engineers or improvement professionals? What can they do to better communicate with their P L leaders or engage them when it comes to lean and improvement?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah. I think what you have to understand is, particularly if you are continuous improvement professional or you are in engineering and you got some productivity goal that you understand that came down to you, you need to be able to articulate in the language of what that leader is going to need you to articulate. And it's dollars and cents, percentages and whatever, right. And so if you need help, you need to ask for help. It's like, how does this show up finance person?

DeWayne Allen:
How does this show up in the numbers? Right? Tell me, how does that show up? Right. Because that's what they're there for.

DeWayne Allen:
Because a lot of times, particularly on the engineering side, no one tells us the business impact of what we're doing, right. Because they tell us to go deal with this widget and you got this much schedule and budget to go do it. Right. No one tells us, like, what's the impact of that? Right.

DeWayne Allen:
We used to spend time with our team doing the quarterly reviews, and we'll get a meeting together after the quarter review and we'll say, hey, so do you understand how we affected these numbers this quarter? Do you understand why and what you did impacts that? Right. And that helps them bring it homes at the level they can understand and take all the financial language out of it and put it in their language and put it in their vernacular on how they can go and understand what that impact is. I think that's what all our post professionals got to have.

DeWayne Allen:
You got to have a business acumen, right? You got to have it. You got to have it. Right. You got to have it.

DeWayne Allen:
It helps you predict, be more aware if and when the situation that's happening with the company that you need to be at. Right. It helps you look at and say, okay, we got X amount of resources. This is how much sales we bring across. I come in as a cost center.

DeWayne Allen:
I'm not generating necessarily profit here in my role. So it behooves me to ensure that on that middle part of the balance sheet, when it talks about costs, I need to make sure that I'm bringing efficiency and productivity and bringing that to bear right in what I'm doing. That adds value to the business, that adds value to my P L leader, and that shows my impact, my impact on the business. Right. I need to realize that same thing with an engineer.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. You need to realize that a customer is only going to pay so much for this. There's only a market. A market is going to only pay so much for this thing they're requesting. They need.

DeWayne Allen:
So I need to be able to ensure that my design is modular. It's in the right target space of where it can be sold at. Right. And it's in the right space where we can actually go build it. Right.

DeWayne Allen:
And instead of it sits on a nice little PowerPoint or in a CAD program. Right. It's something that we can go actually build and actually be sold. Right. And that's you understanding what that market looks like and understand your options of if I give you this requirement, this is what the thing is going to cost.

DeWayne Allen:
But if you're asking for something that's just technically compliant, I don't need to go give you the, you know, you might be cool with a Honda Accord. Right. And so I need to be thinking that way and provide an option where you can upgrade a Honda accord. Right. To get what you want, if you wanted to be swanky.

DeWayne Allen:
Right?

Mark Graban:
Yeah. So, DeWayne, you had mentioned earlier we were working as an engineer. There were mergers and acquisitions in aerospace. Mergers and acquisitions continue over time. You've been able to apply lean in some of that work.

Mark Graban:
Can you make this m a work? A.

DeWayne Allen:
There'S a, I had a great learning and I'm a plug ut again. And not just because, but it was a great learning experience. When we talked about like Lean as a, we have one of professors, Peterson, he teaches this thing called lean as a business process. Right. And it really helps you outline and look at the processes that you're doing to set forth.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. So if you think about M A. Right, you're doing due diligence, you're doing pre and post integration, then you're doing, you're doing there. And then there are steps and all those things. That's the rulebook.

DeWayne Allen:
Harvard will tell you, everybody tell you what that is. Right. But there are efficiencies that you can go grab out of that during this project time to really help understand, help you move the needle forward, because there is an end. And you want to go maximize the story of why it's supposed to come together. And you want to go maximize the reason why in terms of synergies and in terms of reorganization and in terms of culture.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And so when you're doing those things, there are processes embedded in there where you can actually look at the value stream and lean out some stuff, add some innovatives to that, crank down that time, and really focus on those big things. You want to go crank out projects. So if you're doing, you're combining organizations functions, right. You got BD development from company X and BD development company Y.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. What are the things? What's the process of how you go lean out all the process? The basic process that you're supposed to do. Sales, capture, proposals, output.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. Those things. Customer influence and customer engagement, customer relationship management. Right. If you look at those things, like, what do you do?

DeWayne Allen:
What do you do? Let's go align on those processes and using the lean philosophy to go help us get there. So there are opportunities there. People just don't think about it because it's hard. There's a lot of days, nights, but you can actually use that philosophy to help you along with the teams that's going to be putting that together.

DeWayne Allen:
Because usually when you're doing the M and A, you're on a team of superstars, right? There's a bunch of superstars. And then you got your outside consultants and things like that that's there to help do all the legs and feet. But you were the superstar brains that's going to be doing this hard work because it's so important, because these things came together. So why not bring that innovation and creativity to using that?

DeWayne Allen:
Using lean to go do that? Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Framing that as creativity, as innovation.

DeWayne Allen:
That's great application.

Mark Graban:
And then one other thing we have time for here, DeWayne, I know one thing that's really important to you as well is some of the work that you do in the nonprofit space, the National Society of Black Engineers processes and opportunities for lean and creativity and productivity.

DeWayne Allen:
I dare say you can do it in whatever thing you're doing from a nonprofit extracurricular perspective. Right. If you're managing a soccer team, if you're leading those. And the thing I did when I was chair of NASA Black engineers and I was able to be chair of the alumni extension legit organization was, I said, guys, we don't need all day, all night to do meetings on the weekends. And we already tired.

DeWayne Allen:
We came from work. Right? Let's focus ourselves and use, hey, let's use these work at philosophies that we do to get things done right. If we can't solve these problems or these opportunities, what we got to do to serve our members between eight and five on Saturday and maybe do some functional work between your teams, with your teams on Friday. We don't need to be doing this.

DeWayne Allen:
We don't need to be going all night. There's no need for that. Right. And I said, we know how to do meetings. And so lean business process, functional meetings.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. All that stuff. We had Robert's rules of orders. That was already a mantra we use, but got to know how to implement that, how to use those things. And you create a cadence.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. This is how I want you to report out. Everybody doesn't make the same. I don't need any special presentations. No, I need.

DeWayne Allen:
Here. Here's your template. This is how we're going to be more efficient. Right? Here's your fourth panel.

DeWayne Allen:
That's it. The team was like, man. And I had the paid headquarters staff coming out meetings. I had the executive directors, and all of a sudden, I mean, it's like, man, these means efficient. I like, yeah, it gets real easy when you just get down to the brass tax, right?

DeWayne Allen:
Everybody. There's a reason you do it. And we had one of the most successful three year runs of that organization, but it also helped us with secession planning because people start saying, hey, this job is definitely a labor of love because you have volunteer basis of anything. Right. But it also lets people know that they can do.

DeWayne Allen:
It's not as hard as it can be because you got the structure that people can go accomplish what you got to go accomplish. Right? Yeah.

Mark Graban:
So there's an opportunity for that same management discipline that you would absolutely bring.

DeWayne Allen:
That to web, bringing that to church meetings, bring that. I am like that in everything I'm doing. Nonprofit, extracurricular. I do. I am the same way.

DeWayne Allen:
What we're doing, which way we're going, there's a way we can do this quicker. What's happening? Let's make a decision. Let's go. Where's the structure?

DeWayne Allen:
Let's move it. Right. And let's follow a cadence. Let's get it done. And then you imagine how much time you save doing that, right?

DeWayne Allen:
Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Well, we're short on time, but I want to ask you this last question anyway. Realizing the time pressure in your bio, and it talks about the importance of Dei, it seems like you've shifted from being an engineer to a lean champion in your role as a GM, what does it mean to be a Dei champion?

DeWayne Allen:
Oh, that's great. It means that you are representing the company and you believe in the values and particularly the values and the structure of the values and the mission of the company. And those goals like that were around taking care of people, being inclusive, understanding that we can be a better representation of the places where we work and what we work. And you can do that. And then from my standpoint, because I think everybody is an engineer, Us engineers, we love engineers, right?

DeWayne Allen:
And I truly believe that being in the Stem Field is a wonderful springboard to whatever you want to do in life, particularly for African Americans. And that way, I've used that to that passion that I have and the company that I work for, I've always aligned with those passions. And when I was doing the Nesbi stuff, I was a part of the company and the company fully supported me. That same company was a longtime top tier sponsor of the organizations that I'm part of. And I was able to connect the dots with the ROI for the company, but also increase the ROI for the mission of Nesbi.

DeWayne Allen:
Right. And that's where you bring in game at, and that's where the championship came out of and understanding and saying, hey, ain't nothing new under the sun. Let's go do it. And we can open up. And you're opening up doors.

DeWayne Allen:
You open up eyes to, hey, engineering leader, vice president, look at all this talent. Let me take you to a conference where there's 10,000 black engineers, and you go and, like, look in your eyes, you're like, oh, my God, I didn't think this existed. I was like, yeah, you did. And it's just, you didn't know, right? You don't know what you don't know.

DeWayne Allen:
Come on, get this experience, right? And you go get this. Like, man, look at this. This is what it's about. We need to be doing this.

DeWayne Allen:
Look at all this talent around us, and what are we doing, right? And then at the same time, I'm impacting the DeWayne Allen's of the world, the young DeWayne from Memphis, Tennessee, who trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with this engineering degree, right? Where are those opportunities? And somebody that looks like me is the physical embodiment that I can do it. That's why I knew I could do it, right?

DeWayne Allen:
And people don't realize those visuals really matter because you see the visual embodiment of your goal, of your dream, and you see it, right? And you see it and you can touch it and you can talk to it and it talks back to you. Right. And it's more than just this inanimate thing. It's a real thing.

DeWayne Allen:
And so that's why I incorporate and proud to do some of this work and effort. And it's an impactful thing of mine. It's that thing that I'm going to make sure that I lead the earth with it, that I had an impact on, man. And so that's important for me. So really thank you for that question.

DeWayne Allen:
I really appreciate it. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Well, thank you for your answers and your story here today. DeWayne Allen has been our guest. I'll put a link to his website in the show notes. He's an executive, a speaker workshop facilitator. DeWayne, really great opportunity, opportunity to talk with you here today.

Mark Graban:
Thank you.

DeWayne Allen:
Thanks, Mark. Really appreciate it. Thanks for all you do, brother. Keep going for them industrial engineers. Keep us imagine engineers going as they used to call it.

DeWayne Allen:
Right?

Mark Graban:
Thanks for making time and your busy day here.

DeWayne Allen:
All right, thanks, man. Have a good one.


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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.

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