15 Types of Process Excellence Professionals

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How to recognize a Toolophile from a Power–Point Maestro

Process excellence professionals come in a variety of shapes and sizes, says PEX Advisor Debashis Sarkar. Here how’s to recognize them and how you can make sure you use their strengths to your advantage.

Whether they’re experts in improvement methodologies like Lean, Six Sigma, TOC, or not, what binds PEX (aka Process Excellence) professionals together is that they use the power of process to enhance the performance of their organizations. But it’s definitely not "one size fits all". It takes all types to make a PEX team and it’s helpful to know who’s best at what.

Here are the 15 types of PEX professionals you’re likely to encounter on the job.

#1: The Tool-o-phile

The Tool-O-Phile is a person who loves tools and spends a lot of time gathering knowledge on tools and techniques from methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma, TOC, A3 etc. For this type PEX professional, brandishing capability on lean tool is more important than the outcomes of process improvements. One to watch as you can often find him or her using tools in projects even if not required- just to demonstrate knowledge of the methodology.

The Tool-O-Phile loves to apply tools to everything – even when not required!

#2: JDI Pusher

JDI stands for Just-do-it. This type of PEX professional is a person who will provide you the solutions even before complete analysis to a problem has been done. He will encourage teams to avoid the rigour of analysis and just go ahead with the deployment of the solutions (usually recommended by him or her). The JDI Pusher takes it personally if their solution is not implemented. You can recognize this type of PEX professional because they have a tendency to narrate stories about past successes and process knowledge – especially in support of his solution. The challenge? If he is not able to push his idea, he will withdraw and stop participating in the process improvements.

The JDI Pusher is driven to push his solution through. But watch out if his idea isn't selected.

# 3: The "Know-All"

The "Know-All" claims to have knowledge about all methodologies and tools that exist for process excellence. Be it Six Sigma, Lean, TOC, TRIZ, process management, CMMI, COPC etc; he will claim his competencies in all and will have a line or two say on each of them. Whichever one you name, he will nod his head as if he has successfully used it for years. You can easily recognize this type because when told to demonstrate his knowledge by implementation, he will struggle.

#4: The Change Master

The Change Master treats every process improvement initiative as a change endeavour. He is strong in influencing skills and is able to engage teams across hierarchies. He is tool deficient as believes that they are not important so far he is able to manage the trials and tribulations of change associated with process excellence efforts.

# 5: The Power-Point (PPT) Maestro

The PPT Maestro is a person who gets all his power from power-point. His passion is not process-improvement and his involvement at the most is superficial. However, he is in the forefront in leading the encapsulation of the project outcomes in power-point presentations and sharing this with the bosses.

#6: The Thinker

The PPT Maestro is a Master at Microsoft, but his passion for process is only skin deep

He is a thinker and loves conceptualizing the process-improvement journey. You put him in any organization and he will quickly tell you what needs to be done to enhance its performance. However, his forte is not execution and needs others to deploy what he was conceptualized . He observes and learns from across industry and successfully able to customize offerings for his organization.

#7: The Communicator

He is an individual who likes communicating to all the power of process and what it can do to business performance. He loves evangelizing and sharing concepts of quality. His forte is collecting relevant information and disseminating it to all relevant organization. But clearly deployment, change and engagement are not his cup of tea.

#8: Data Whiz

This is someone who loves data and spends a lot of time playing with it. You give him any information and he would quickly analyse for your reference. He is adept in statistical tools, software packages such as Minitab, JMP etc.

#9: The Systems Thinker

The Systems Thinker is able to quickly connect the impact of process improvement efforts on the big-picture of the organization. Being a systems thinker he is able to quickly tell you how an improvement impacts the other parts of the organization. However, he has dislike for tactical work and would avoid being a part of it

#10: The Deployment Champ

This is someone who is passionate about deployment and able to execute projects on time because of solid project management skills. He gets kick from actions and loves putting out organizational "fires" through process tools. However, if you tell him to think, you may be a bit disappointed with the outcomes.

#11: The Advisor

This is an individual who loves to advise teams on how improvements can be carried out but if you tell him to lead deployment, you could be disappointed. He believes in arm-chair consulting and likes being a bystander when deployment gets done. He is willing to take accountability of results so far as someone else would do the actual work for him.

#12: Trainer

He likes to build capability of teams and is passionate about created agents of change who can do process improvements. He loves training people and gets all charged up when he has to teach a set of people in a classroom. Out of a classroom he’s like a fish out of water.

#13: The Fixer

The Fixer’s approach to process excellence is by short-cuts and building opportunistic relationships with people . You will find him less in process related work and more in finding out about organizational politics. From his friendly demeanour you will never able to realize that he has some motives to achieve. Since his process related efforts are superficial the outcomes that his improvements deliver are most of the times ineffective.

#14: The Chronicler

The Chronicler loves to study process excellence pursued by organization or individuals and chronicle them for others. He studies & researches organizations, practices and teams; and understands why they are doing what they are doing. He puts his findings in articles or books for others to read and learn.

#15: The Silent Force

He is a quiet individual who talks less and wants his results of process improvement do the talking. His knowledge and ability to deliver results is valued by those around him. Typically his silence is mistaken for incompetence but when he is in working on a project one can see a craftsman in action.

Most individuals will have a mix of many of the above traits but they will tend to fall into one category or another.

Have you found any other types of PEX Pros in your team? Do share with me if you have found more that than the 15 above that I have listed.