Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recap of the Newt 2012 conference call tonight on Lean Six Sigma

Tonight, Newt held a conference call with those in the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) field and those interested in it. The last number I heard was about 800 people had RSVP'd, but that may have grown in the last day or two. (And others may have called in without signing up.)

(Also: there were a number of people who wanted to be on the call but who could not, so the campaign recorded the call and will have it up online at some point.)

The call opened with Newt's Coalitions Director, Adam Waldeck, saying that since Newt's mention of LSS during the Ames Debate and other public appearances, there has been an "outpouring" of people wanting to get involved.

Newt got on the call then and said this has a chance to be one of those moments that leads to very big change. (And the right change.)

He gave some background of his experience in "lean" thinking. To anyone who has read Newt for years or listened to the audio tapes Renewing American Civilization, you have heard him mention the name W. Edwards Deming. And even though he was not a "lean" thinker per se, the ideas he taught are reflected in those advocating Lean Six Sigma today. Newt said he took a sixty hour tutorial of Deming's and invited him to the Capitol to introduce him to some of the Congressional members.

All of which shows that Newt did not just discover this issue conveniently at election time. (If you did not see this the other day, here is Newt talking about how to use "lean" ideas back in 2009.)

There's more to than this, but some of the important pricniples of Lean is to be looking continuously improve and to be flexible (including being able to pay according to achievement.) All of which, Newt said, are either not allowed or discouraged under the current bureaucratic system.

Newt seemed to be setting up a huge debate over "big, big changes" in the coming months over how to "modernize government now." The fight will have to upend the civil service system, the bureaucracies, and the regulatory apparatus. Every committee and subcommittee in Congress should be looking at Lean Six Sigma, Newt repeated.

Next week, helping to launch that big fight, Newt will hold a strategy session with Lean Six Sigma experts and practitioners on Wednesday, followed by a townhall on the subject in Hew Hampshire the next day. Townhalls, Newt said, are helpful because, besides the obvious benefit of talking to citizens, the media will typically cover them and maybe will actually talk about an issue.

Declaring that LSS is "not a theory, not an abstract" but something that works incredibly well, Newt suggested that everyone help in spreading the message. One of his ideas to do that was to show elected officials and the media around to factories and other sites at which the process is being used.

Echoing Margaret Thatcher's line that "first you win the argument, then you win the vote" -- which Newt loves to quote -- he said that in order to implement LSS, we will have to first educate people why we need to do it, then win the fight, then finally have an action plan to get it set up. "Lots and lots of help" will be needed, Newt added, with many volunteers helping all throughout the process.

A "[f]undamental cultural revolution that will shake Washington to its' core" is the way Newt described it. The bureaucracies and the old order "will bitterly resent and fight this fundamental change." That is why Newt repeated his wish that people not be for him but with him. People cannot just elect me and then do nothing, saying "I hope he changes it," Newt said. Every day, Congress will need reminding what they need to do to turn this country around. "Eight hard years" is how Newt described what his Presidency will be. (What a great thought, though, huh?)

Along those same lines, Newt said that when the 10th Amendment is re-asserted that citizens will need to make sure their states and cities do not just end up being mini versions of the current mess in Washington, D.C. "Smaller Government, Big Citizens" is the name of Newt's Team 10 Facebook Page. Please click on the link and add your name to the group.

To sum it up:

A woman from Charleston, South Carolina, was very enthusiastic about not just the LSS issue but Newt's campaign in general. Toward the end of her call she said there was a "lot of positive energy" in Charleston about Newt, to which Newt replied, "We'll be back."

"You're on the right track," she replied.

Indeed he is.


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