A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation

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Book Title: A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation

Authors: Aristide van Aartsengel & Selahattin Kurtoglu

Review by Steven Bonacorsi

I found Dr. Aartsengel & Dr. Kurtoglu’s book "A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation" extremely valuable in guiding business leadership through the art of delivering continuous improvement projects both short-term and long-term. The guidance provided in the book, will help leadership avoid the pitfalls that have resulted in transformations that have failed, while focusing on those lessons learned that have created successful change.

I first met Aristide van Aartsengel, Ph.D., and Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Selahattin Kurtoglu Ph.D., and Project Management Professional (PMP) on the LinkedIn Lean Six Sigma Group open forum discussions. I am the owner of the Lean Six Sigma group with over 200,000 members. We shared numerous discussions around continuous improvement across various industries.

One of the challenges I struggled with as a Master Black Belt and Change Leader is that I get a different answers to "Are we doing things right?" from everyone I ask. It appears every practitioner can point out things we should be doing more of and less of, but there is no consensus on what are the "best" things we should be doing to ensure we do not create a "flavor of the month" process improvement program, and truly develop a culture that embraces continuous improvement.

Too many business process improvement books focus on the tools and methods we use, and understandably as there is a huge learning curve that has to be achieved to reach a level of proficiency as a practitioner. What are often lacking are the Leadership skills, the Deployment Planning, the soft skills, and most importantly the constant need to build a trusted advisor relationship with our employees, customers and suppliers.

What is the reasons process excellence programs fail? This question is constantly being asked, and while there are many reasons, the one that always stands out is the lack of Leadership support. The problem I have with this finding is that I have worked with thousands of Leaders and have never met even 1 that wanted business process improvement to fail. It is the opposite, they want them to succeed, they want to see the Return on Investment, the link of projects to strategic objectives, to create greater customer value, and to build the organization resources towards a culture that is data driven and customer-focused. But wanting success and executing success can be a gap that even the most experienced practitioner cannot close. So while the tools and methods are important, those wielding those tools are more important. Leadership is critical to bringing the vision, the priority, the strategy, bringing the practitioners together; creating a culture that collaborates continuously towards operational excellence.

A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation is broken into 12 main segments, 28 Figures, 11 tables, over a total of 204 pages, incorporating the Work Breakdown Structure, and organized to easily lookup and find information fast. There are hundreds of references leveraging other thought leaders and published works, and a simple index to assist in finding information easily.

A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation provides Business Leadership, Champions, and Master Black Belts with a systematic guide "how to" create an environment that will enable continuous improvement transformation to occur. The guide addresses "How to" create that Strategic link that practitioners need your support to ensure projects are aligned towards your goals and objectives. The book addresses the performance measurements and management everyone has been wanting every year, it has a focus on what you need to do to build commitment and alignment to those measures. There is a strong focus to building teams, the soft skills needed in change management, as well as your need as a leader to remove issues and barriers that fosters a resistance to change.

In Summary, A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation addresses the sustainability challenges that we face in building a culture that is data-driven, customer focused, and committed to continuous improvement that will deliver a Return on Investment, Strategic objectives, and alignment to the values of the business.

I recommend the "A Guide to Continuous Improvement Transformation" for Business Leaders, Deployment Champions, Master Black Belts, Project Managers and Black Belts and hope you find it as valuable as I, in achieving continuous improvement results and success in your process transformations.