Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management

Implementing Improvement Strategies: Practical Tools and Methods

Dates: Jul 10-11, 2014| Nov 20-21, 2014| Apr 07-08, 2015| Jun 23-24, 2015| Nov 19-20, 2015

Certificate Track: Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management

Participant Ratings


| 4.7


| 4.7


| 4.5


| 4.7

This program goes beyond traditional Toyota-style tools and far beyond the factory floor, translating Toyota methods to western cultures and language, and to industries to all kinds. It provides participants with a framework for understanding what drives improvement and how it can be implemented in every function across the organization. It also helps leaders see how these methods can be applied and integrated with major business targets and work streams. It focuses on the thinking behind the tools and methods, allowing improvement to be accomplished in a rapid and natural way. The course helps managers identify the true value-added elements of work and understand the good practices that they already have in place so that they can build on their successes in a principled way rather than forcing a formulaic, programmatic approach. Inspired by extensive research on several leading companies, this program highlights the principles and practices that have enabled several such companies to consistently and significantly outperform their competitors year after year.

Join the MySloanExecEd Community Group for this program to network with past, present, and future participants.

The main purpose of this program is two-fold: one is to help participants understand how continuous improvement strategies, sustained over a long period of time, affect core business metrics and contribute to the success of the organization from bottom-up and top-down perspectives; and the other is how to change the way managers see work and their own roles as leaders in the culture of improvement. This program will enable participants to:

  • Understand the principles and approaches that drive improvement; and apply them in all areas in the context of a particular company, thus creating a tangible culture of continuous improvement
  • Implement improvement naturally in their everyday work, not from a prescribed list, but from a deep personal understanding of the principles
  • Recognize successful improvement initiatives already in place and build on them
  • Identify the true value-added aspects of work performed by individual workers and the entire organization
  • Ensure that business targets and improvement activities are tightly linked at every level
  • Develop inquiry and evidence-based problem solving skills for individuals and for organizations
  • Transform managers from controllers to enablers by leveraging the relationship between designing the work well and the engagement of employees that follows
  • Generate “pull” from within the organization for new methods of work
  • Make results (and problems) visible so that they can be addressed constructively
  • Not just remove defects, but learn how to design work correctly from the beginning

The program is intended for executives, senior managers, and leaders from every sector. Managers at any level of responsibility will benefit from this program, but it's the senior leadership that should be able to embrace and champion the principles of improvement for the benefit of the entire organization.

Here are some indicators that this program will be of value:

  • An organization's need for improvement is greater than its ability to deliver it.
  • Company executives are drowning in data, emails, and meetings, and suffering under the weight of a large number of activities and initiatives, many of which are not focused on the important issues.
  • Management behavior doesn’t change much or is actively resistant to improvement.
  • Improvement methods are not integrated into all of the company's work beyond that of the improvement department.
  • There is lack of clear understanding how improvement methodologies and value-add apply to executives, knowledge workers, and technical and administrative staff in non-factory settings.

07:45 AM - 08:30 AMRegistration and Continental Breakfast
08:30 AM - 09:00 AMIntroduction and Program Objectives
09:00 AM - 10:30 AMPrinciples of Improvement
11:00 AM - 12:00 PMPractical Applications
12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLunch
01:00 PM - 02:00 PMProblem Solving, Structured Thinking
02:00 PM - 02:30 PMProblem Solving, Practice and Live Coaching
03:00 PM - 05:30 PMPractical Applications II; The Kieffer Company Simulation
05:30 PM - 06:30 PMReception
07:45 AM - 08:30 AMContinental Breakfast
08:30 AM - 10:00 AMSystematic Management
10:30 AM - 12:00 PMPractical Systematic Management
12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLuncheon
01:00 PM - 02:30 PMScaling up: Visual Management and Collapsing Square
03:00 PM - 04:30 PMHow Do Leaders Show Up?
04:30 PM - 05:00 PMAdjournment
  • Title: Useful Doesnt Always Mean Used

    Description: This is the recording of the webinar, Useful Doesnt Always Mean Used, presented by MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty member Nelson Repenning. The event was recorded on December 12, 2013. Managers are faced with an increasing array of tools, technologies, and processesfrom lean production methods to virtual communication systemsall with documented benefits. Companies often invest significant time, money, and efforts to incorporate these innovations in their day-to-day operations. Nonetheless, such efforts often fail to produce significant improvements in performance. Why? Professor Repenning shares examples of how organizations can increase adoption of these tools, along with the risks of failing to do so. Repenning also shares the capability trap and its impact on organizations. Nelson Repenning teaches in our related courses, Implementing Improvement Strategies: Practical Tools and Methods and Business Dynamics: MIT's Approach to Diagnosing and Solving Complex Business Problems. Learn more: and


    The "Hardly Davidson" professor is one of the best professors I have ever had. Very knowledgeable about the improvement procedure with many vivid business stories. Great class activities that inspire thinking.

    This course blends the practical insights of the experience of the instructor with the "theory" (still very grounded) of the MIT professor along with a highly-engaging game and a case study. The combination of learning modes reinforces the concepts in a highly effective manner. Although the examples tend to focus on manufacturing, the concepts are readily transferrable to service processes, and if anything, the grounding in the tangibility of production makes the concepts similarly tangible.

    Simply outstanding. Don't hesitate to attend and buckle up when you do... The information will change everything you think you know and will adjust your perspective of how "good" you are... as a matter of fact, it may just show you how much you "suck". Attend the course and you will understand... and suck less.

    The course structure is well-planned: 1st) Present the Big Ideas; 2) Talk about the science and psychology behind these ideas - why they work; 3) Approaches and tools to implement these ideas; and 4) Show proof that they work in practice (Broad Institute presentation). Outstanding - didn't expect less from MIT. Dr Repenning and Don Kieffer are excellent and engaging presenters. MIT staff is attentive and approachable. But there's always room for improvement: a) Bottle game is a little overkill for me. I think most people get the point after 3 runs; b) There are 8 separate documents on course website - for me it comes across somewhat fragmented.. Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback. I am coming back!

    Excellent program!