Business Process Response Agility in Disruptive Times

Posted on April 21, 2022

Among the indelible truths that managers face is that most of the external factors that influence your success are beyond your control. Ask any restaurant owner, bank executive or health care professional if they could see the pandemic coming. Most will admit that they didn’t.

If they tell you that they did, few had well-conceived contingency plans in place to deal with its massive disruptions to their customer sales and service processes, not to mention their physical workplaces.

In Modern Businesses, Leaders Must Act Fast

Astute managers are also process risk managers, for whom capability and readiness assessments are important aspects of contingency planning. Having strong process management and change management skills in place as organizational disciplines are also vital.

Bank leaders, for example, who have been tied to long-term leases for millions of square feet of office tower space in our large cities, have had to totally rethink how they house a significant percentage of their administrative staff.

Then there is what we refer to as re-deployment agility, which can be defined as one’s ability to re-orient resources to maintain product and service delivery continuity when sudden, dramatic environmental disruptions occur.

Assess Your Re-Deployment Risks

It will come as no surprise that thanks to the pandemic, the word “pivot” will forever be associated with managers’ ability to master re-deployment agility as a distinct skill. Re-deployment success is determined by three things:

  1. Understanding one’s baseline processes
  2. Distinguishing between customer value and the disruptions you face in offering that value
  3. Project and affect management proficiency

If you cannot give a convincing case for why you excel at all three pivot prerequisites, the processes under your purview are exposed. As a leading certifier of Lean Six Sigma practitioners, we can say that if you are feeling uneasy by that last statement, you have much company.

Lean Six Sigma Could Be the Key to Your Success

With its focus on process design and management disciplines, project management skills and change management skills, Lean instills all three of those fundamentals in its practitioners.

Lean’s progressive certification hierarchy, starting with the White Belt and topping out at the Masters Certificate in Lean Six Sigma – Black Belt Learning Path, is designed to align with organizational hierarchies, in the sense that the higher you go, the more proficient you are.

The bar is set higher with each certification level in terms of ability, project complexity, resource assembly, team leadership and the teaching of skills to others in your organization level. Married to Six Sigma’s emphasis on “defects” and their elimination, Lean Six Sigma is a vital enterprise skill in uncertain times.

Explore Schulich ExecEd’s Lean Six Sigma Courses

Don’t forget, putting the Lean Six Sigma methods into practice, is no cakewalk. But it is immensely rewarding. That’s because through early project involvement, practitioners also see the fruits of their efforts early, as do their supervisors and executive sponsors, often translating to career benefits.

If a senior leader has a meaningful Lean Six Sigma certification, you will always see it on his or her CV, especially if it has been issued by a reputable certifier. What I’ve described here is just the surface of what Lean can do for you. To learn more, get in touch with our team.


Michael Ewing is the program director for Schulich ExecEd’s Masters Certificate in Lean Six Sigma – Black Belt Learning Path.