Q&A with Duke Rohe

Duke Rohe is a performance improvement specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He will be giving his keynote presentation at the IISE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference Thursday, Sept. 15 at noon EDT.

What is the most pervasive issue or challenge arising in lean and Six Sigma implementations today?

Not that how you are and what you do right now aren't already awesome, but what are some things you can do differently. Have you ever heard of the Creative Problem Solving Institute, the Mindshift Change Model, the 7 Levels of Change, the Run the Business/Change the Business model? Have you ever created a Popcorn Thought? There's a world of "different" out there just waiting to be tapped into and mastered then used at work and at home. How will you know it made a difference? This is the measurement part. Believe it or not we were built help others. The reason you learned something different wasn't just for you; it's for those who might gain from it. If knowledge is good, then knowledge shared is mighty good. Your legacy begins today.

What do you plan to discuss in your keynote presentation?

Real change. It can't be mandated. It can't be coerced. It can't be coached from the sidelines. If you want real change, you must look deep inside you to see how you can be part of its reality. It doesn't come by hoping. It isn't a delegated task. It is a deep-seeded change inside that permeates your being and is evident to those around you. What you say is different than before. How you say it is different. Your whole outlook on life takes a shift, a resolve to make it happen. This change requires reinforcement. It sends a barrage of messages declaring this is the direction I'm heading and the course is not going to change. Running against a brick wall? Then repeated poundings from a sledge hammer of determination will begin to crack the wall, it splinters and eventually comes down. The resolve to make the change happen must be as unrelenting as the waves, which through time, make their mark on the beach. As the head of the Ritz Carlton put it, "You don't just see the fire, you are the fire." You are the very heat others catch to fuel their momentum. They can count on the fact that you will stay the course regardless of the circumstances. It is your diligence that gives them the belief that things will be different. Your attitude has been tested over time. And as you carry out this vision, others will begin to see it too. They begin doing what they have never done, for they themselves are being changed from an earlier position. This is how great things end up being done by ordinary people. It's what you become that sets the stage for what will be done.

What would you like attendees to take away from your presentation?

When others listen to us, they get two aspects of our message. They get the words and diction that describe what and how we think. This is the realm of logic, interpretation and translation. It passes along what we know in a one-dimensional manner. It could be as light as a weather report or as deep as a theory in life. It reflects our interests and thinking process on an intellectual level. It takes the abundance of what we have learned and condenses it to the application at hand. It is sharing what we know and this is updated by the hour. We also send a message of how impassioned we are concerning the subject. This aspect punctuates how we feel on the matter. It is like the DNA of our character which is embedded in how the knowledge is delivered. It is the side of the message that animates our soul on the matter: deep or shallow, for or against, excited or ambivalent, serious or playful. It imparts a piece of us to those who care to receive it. It hollers "this is me" on the inside of the information. It expresses our values, our zeal or our zone of indifference. It is the very container that holds what we know and actually speaks more than the words themselves. So next time you share, what part of you are you passing along?

For more information about Duke Rohe and the other IISE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference keynote speakers, go to the Keynote Speakers page.