Helping Organizations Improve Faster for Over 20 Years
In 1993, three experienced industry change agents challenged themselves with a simple yet frustrating question: Amid an endless stream of theories and approaches, why do organizations invariably struggle and miss their target when it comes to managing change and improving process performance?
The search for an answer to the faster improvement paradox launched Leap Technologies, and started us on a race to help leaders find a better, faster path to improvement through teamwork. Our first learning opportunity came at the General Electric Company, with our in-depth examination of the famed GE Work-Out! Method. Developed under Jack Welch in the mid 1980s, this process was designed to jumpstart performance improvement by breaking down silos and freeing up ideas. After carefully studying this process, we saw an opportunity to take the learning from GE’s large-scale “change catalyzing” methodology and apply it to a small team setting.
Combined with knowledge gained through similar benchmarking efforts (including the Toyota Production System and Motorola’s Six Sigma Methodology), we developed and launched Action Workout™ as a faster and more engaging alternative to the traditional TQM quality circle teams in vogue in the late 1980s.
Action Workout was different from other quality improvement methods. Three key features were embedded into the approach that appealed to both leaders looking for faster results and frontline workers eager to share ideas, but without all the rigmarole: Speed (60 days or fewer from launch to results); Simplicity (learn-as-you-apply tools, no upfront training required); and Results (built-in tools for documenting and reporting financial gains as well as other key performance scorecard improvements).
Leap’s first client, the global environmental services company Waste Management, deployed over 1500 Action Workout Teams over a three-year period to spread best practices, solve local problems, and engage frontline leaders and employees. As a result, the company reported savings in excess of $75 million dollars, an unprecedented return on investment versus other quality improvement methods previously deployed.
With re-engineering gaining popularity as a way to improve U.S. competiveness in the 1990s, Leap expanded the reach of Action Workout by developing the Breakthrough Workout Methodology for core process redesign. Breakthrough Workout combined the core action learning model of Action Workout with best practices from Lean to create a rapid approach to process redesign.
The unique innovation of this product was an engaging Breakthrough Workshop that brought together process stakeholders to analyze the current process and design a new process capable of breakthrough performance in just three days.
Breakthrough Workout proved to be a very attractive alternative for organizations committed to re-engineering their core processes while avoiding the expense of an army of external consultants.
In the wake of the Lean Six Sigma “tsunami” of the past decade, Leap has continued to innovate, expanding the impact and relevance of the Action Workout approach by incorporating best practices from the Six Sigma discipline and adding the Leadership Jumpstart Process for aligning leadership goals and priorities.
With the addition of these tools, particularly Leap’s innovative 4-Box Rapid Improvement Model for matching improvement opportunities to the right tools and resources, Leap has developed a complete system for rapid improvement.
Today, Leap Technologies continues to blend of the science of improvement with the psychology of change. Through our innovative Team Engagement Toolkits, we’ve simplified process improvement and change management challenges for leaders while making rapid improvement more accessible and easier for people doing the work.
The benefit for our clients is faster improvement and a more engaged workforce.