I interviewed Randy Kesterson who discussed Change Management, Lean, and Supply Chain Management.







It's good to speak with you today, Randy. Looking forward today to discussing change management, lean, and supply chain management. Before we start, can you provide us with a brief background of yourself?


I've been in executive-level positions for nearly years with companies like Cobham, Doosan Bobcat, General Dynamics, Curtiss-Wright, also with companies like John Deere and [0:00:29] of that. And I've also worked as a management consultant with companies like Bank of America, Caterpillar, and Motorola, Bank of Montreal, Ford Motor Company. A pretty broad spectrum of companies, mostly working on process-related strategic change.


Can you provide an overview of your recent book that's titled The Intersection of Change Management, Lean, and how it applies to supply chain management?


Absolutely.I've spent time in a fairly small niche, and that's the intersection of the people who have employed organizational change management tools and approaches, which tends to be kind of a right brained thing, oftentimes occupied by people who are organizational development experts. The other part of the group I've been working with are the more left-brained folks, the Lean, 6 Sigma black belts, if you will, who approach things more from a data, analytical standpoint.


What I've been trying to do is bring those two practices and approaches together to solve a problem that all of us face — whether it's in supply chain management or elsewhere — which is dealing with resistance to change.


So the book is all about how to use those two methodologies in concert to reduce resistance to significant changes within an organization.


Can you talk about why this topic is important?


It's important because many of us — probably all of us — have been faced with significant changes we've tried to bring about within an organization, whether it's an organization structure change, whether it has to do with process changes, whether it has to do with systems, IT related changes, whether it has to do with culture or changes in key metrics and so forth.It's important because what I've found is without using... Especially the organizational change management approach oftentimes, the changes are not successful.


How is it done effectively? And where have you seen good results?


It's done effectively by, first of all, having people with skills in organizational change management and execution deployed together. Either a person equipped with both of those skillsets or two people working together on a project team. I've seen it done effectively in many of the companies I mentioned before. Caterpillar tractors is a perfect example. Another example of a company that does it well is a privately held organization that's grown to multi-billion-dollars revenue in size — Milliken. Many others are doing it well. Unfortunately, there's a lot of organizations out there that are just not doing it well.


Do you have any final recommendations on change management and lean and SEM?


Yes, absolutely. When I think about change management, I think about resistance to change. Change is very hard. Just for an example for you or anyone else who happens to listen to this recording, I want you to try a little experiment. I want you to cross your arms in front of you. How does that feel?


Dustin: it feels good.


I want you to unfold your arms, and I want you to cross them again. But I want you to put your other arm on top this time. So if your right arm was on top before, put your left arm on top this time.


Dustin: Okay.


How does that feel?


Dustin: It feels different.


Typically, what people say is it feels awkward and uncomfortable. So uncross your arms again. Now cross your arms one more time.


Dustin: Okay.


Did you go back to the original way or to the new way?


Dustin: I think I went back to the original way.


Probably 95% of the people I work with, that's what happens. So why is that?


Dustin: I'm assuming it's because I—


I gave you a new, better way to do it. Right?


Dustin: Yep.


So that's what we encounter, whether it's a new system or whether it's a new way of working a process. Anything new in the work at work, when you're exposed to it, your first reaction is to go back to the original way of [inaudible 0:05:58] to do that. That's a perfect demonstration of resistance to change.


One more thing I want you to think about — and this applies to supply chain, and it applies to, really, any type of project we might want to take on in the world of work...


When a project team is formed, the team gets together. And let's say it's for a new ERP system, for a new spend analytic system that the supply chain team is going to be using. So the team gets together, and they consider alternatives, and they select the system, and they understand why it's needed. They understand the business case. They understand the WIIFM, the what's-in-it-for-me to use the new system and so forth. So the team hits the ground running, and what's the first thing they do?


They typically want to train people in how to use this new tool. So they start with the what-are-you-going-to-do and how-you're-going-to-do-it and how-you're-going-to-do-it and who's-going-to-it and when-you're-going-to-start and so forth. The problem is that is the project team has already gone through the most important step, which is understanding why. So with regard to any change — whether it's supply chain or any other part of the organization — the most important thing to do is to get people to understand and embrace the why. What's in it for me if I make this change? Just like crossing your arms. Right?


So what the project teams forget is that they went through that process of understanding the why, what's the business case, what's in it for me to make this change within the organization. And so that, to me, is the primary take away from the book. It's that if you're going to drive a change, transformation of an organization, the first thing you have to do is get that entire team — those people who are going to be changing in some way — to understand the why. They might not all get there, but enough of them will. Understand why we're changing, what's the business case, what's in it for me. Then and only then will they be ready to listen to what you want to tell them in the training course with regard to what are you going to do differently, how are you going to do it, who is going to take this next step, when are we going to take it, where are these changes going to be put into place.


For me, that's the primary mistake that most people — whether it's supply chain or elsewhere — make when they're trying to bring about a significant change within an organization.


Thanks, Randy, for sharing today.


You're very welcome. Appreciate the phone call. Have a good ev—




About Randy Kesterson







Randy Kesterson


SVP Operations & Supply Chain Mgt. at Cobham


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