Annie Mamigonians is a consultant that aims to deliver optimal customer experience to her clients using the expertise she developed throughout her engineering, pharmaceutical and financial services career. In this episode, we look at how continuous improvement and lean principles can be applied to the banking industry.
Annie believes that the key to empowering employees and boosting company performance is through the use of Lean Six Sigma. In this episode, we look at what it means to implement such practices in your workplace, as well as cutting down on wasteful practices / non-value added processes.
“It’s important to go and experience first-hand rather than digesting metrics and reports. Actually go and see what’s happening first-hand, identifying what your employees are doing and what their struggles are”
The Lean Six Sigma Steps
- Define – When solving the problem at hand, you must first define and identify what exactly you would like fixed.
“Use something like a project charter and identify your current state”
- Measure – Measurement is of utmost importance when it comes to lean processes, as the team will collect the necessary data and measure the magnitude of the problem.
“Hoshin Kanri is used at this step, taking business goals and cascading them through the company, allowing each division to develop certain initiatives and deliver against that.”
- Analyse – Identify the cause of the problem, while undergoing process and data analysis before the implementation of the solution.
- Improve – Implement and develop solutions that can improve the baseline measure and customer experience.
- Control – Sustain and maintain the solution. Monitor the success to make sure there are no dips that need to be addressed.
Annie also shares the importance of good leadership, and how initiatives or culture changes may fail under the wrong management. We discuss ways in which leaders can create a comfortable environments and ensure that all opportunities and pain points are raised.
This article summarises podcast episode 96 “How Lean Six Sigma Enhances the Banking Experience” recorded by CX Insider.
Written by Octavian Iotu
Full Episode Transcript
Annie: The Gold Mine by Michael and Freddy Ballé. Now it talks about Lean and it introduces the Lean. It’s one of the first books I read online.
Alex: This a fictional book?
Annie: It is a fictional book.
Annie: Yeah, it’s a novel.
Annie: Yeah, it is. It’s called The Gold Mine. It brings a human transformational story into the book. So it talks about the black and white principles, you know, the technical stuff, but it brings them to life in a story. You know, non-fiction books can be quite dry. There’s a lot to digest and there’s a lot of great information out there. And just think, what’s the easiest way for me to digest and analyse that and that human story or the reality or anecdotes of what brings them to life and kind of embeds them in your psyche. You think that makes sense?
Octavian: On today’s episode, we sit down to talk to Annie Mamigonians, we’ll be discussing Lean Six Sigma, Automation and continuous improvement. Enjoy a conversation and if you do, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you want to hear from CX experts across all industries, let’s get into the episode. Okay. Welcome back to another episode of the CX Insider podcast. I’m your host, Octavian, and I’m joined today with Annie. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself? What is it you do?
Annie: Yeah, absolutely. First of all, thank you for inviting me on. I’m a fan of your podcasts, fantastic guests. So yes, I started off as an engineer. That was the first thing that I qualified in, and that has stayed with me. That love of learning how things work and fixing things that don’t potentially work as they should. So I started off as an engineer working in pharmaceuticals, heavily regulated environment, and that again has come through with me to where I am now in financial services. But along the way I’ve gone through working in utilities, and then I became a consultant where I really got to hone those lean skills that I have and the tools and techniques. And I’ve worked in IT and I worked in central and local government and insurance. Following that, about ten years ago, I moved into financial services and I haven’t looked back since. And now I find myself helping clients within customer experience as well as lean and process improvement and more. Most recently, I’ve been working to support clients with preparing for the consumer duty regulations that have just come into place under the Financial Conduct Authority. So it’s been a great time for customer experience.
Octavian: So you’ve transitioned from engineering to a lean Six Sigma expert. Can you talk to us about that shift?
Annie: Yeah, no, it wasn’t planned at all. It’s what you’d call a squiggly career. And many people have those nowadays. But I think that all of my experiences are being quite congruent and they’ve all been complimentary to where I am now. I’ve been very lucky in that I started off as an engineer interested in how things work, producing things like medications for the benefit of humanity. So again, serving and producing products. And through that I’ve my curiosity has continued. I’ve had opportunities presented to me to to work in different environments and different businesses. And I’ve had some very, very trusting managers and I’ve been very lucky to come across their path because as I was pivoting careers, I may not have looked like I had all the credentials on paper that were required for those roles, but those managers have obviously taken a bit of a chance on me and given me the opportunity and I’m very grateful to those people. But I think underlying all the principles of what I’ve learned around lean and engineering and customer experience, it all is congruent and comes to the fact that it’s driving a product or service and looking at quality and looking at delivery and doing things in the best way for a customer.
Octavian: I’m glad you’ve had people that have inspired you and have helped you, actually, yeah.
Annie: It’s really you have to be sometimes in the right place at the right time, but you also have to have done some work or taken an interest and put some effort in like you can manifest. A lot of people do manifest, but you also have to put some effort in or have some some sincere interest in it. When you’re presented with an opportunity and somebody that trusts you is great. And not everyone has to have all the credentials on paper in order to seize an opportunity. But I went back around and I did a master’s. I’ve just graduated from in retail and digital banking because I thought that would fill a void for me and a gap for me. And that again, you know, you can do these things later.
Octavian: So throughout Annie’s engineering, pharmaceutical and financial services career, she has developed a lean continuous improvement mindset. But how can Lean be applied to the banking sector and how can it optimise the customer’s experience?
Annie: Now I think lean, lean tools and techniques are fundamentally common sense and very practical and apply to many scenarios that I’ve been in, and I’ve kind of dipped into that toolset. So one of the ones is just really defining the problem and being very clear. And I think we can we can jump to solutions quite often. So defining the problem and using something like a project charter and qualifying or your current state and using some metrics around that. And just going back to those principles regularly. And then once once you’ve defined your problem, it’s actually looking at the outcome that you expect and qualifying that against your business strategy and the objectives that the business. This has and that it makes sense within that. And it cascades and we call that hoshin kanri, where you take the business goals and you kind of cascade them through the business, allow each division to develop certain initiatives and deliver against that. So that’s quite a simple principle to follow as well. And then once you’ve done that, one of the things that Lean advises us to do is to understand the current state. So we would, in this case, map the customer journey end to end. And the customer journey always starts outside of the walls that we’re working in. It starts from them understanding and having awareness of the brand coming through the doors of a branch or logging on to the website or engaging with a chat bot. So what happens at those stages? But it’s just around visualising that and drawing that out and that’s what we do in customer journey mapping. And one of the other things that we talk about in Lean is, is Gemba, which is a Japanese word for the real place. And in this context, it’s the place where the actual work is conducted. So it’s important to go and experience it firsthand rather than kind of digesting metrics and reports, but actually go and see what’s happening and firsthand identifying what your employees are doing and what their struggles are. And in the case of Frontline, be it a call center or other where the customer is interacting with and what those customers are saying and what the insights that you could pull from that situation. So all of these practices work really well in any circumstance, especially in customer service and banking.
Octavian: So what skills and perspectives have you seen in Lean continuous improvement that you would use in the financial sector?
Annie: A couple of things to think about that I haven’t mentioned is, one, you know, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. You’ve got to, again, stick to the charter and stick to what you are trying to achieve. And if there could be three scenarios for you there, One, the data exists and you report it and you analyse it and you take actions off the back of it, great happy days. You’ve got exactly what you wanted. Number two, the data that you’re asking for is recorded within the systems of the bank, but it’s not reported. It’s not extracted, and it’s going to be difficult to get. And you need to go to the the data team. And that can be, you know, access requests and all sorts of things and can be quite complicated. But you have to stay dogmatic. You must stay fixed to “I need this data because it relates directly to what I’m trying to achieve.” If you start compromising, that’s when you can fall into the trap of then going down a slightly different road and at the end you’ll look back and say, I didn’t quite achieve my outcome. That’s because I wasn’t measuring the right thing and I had to compromise. So stay true to that. And the third, the worst scenario is when you don’t have the data and you don’t capture it well, you need to escalate that. You need to, again, stay dogmatic and stay true to the fact that there is a requirement for that and a necessity. So those are the things around data to think about. Another thing to think carefully about is don’t make changes that you can’t confirm that customers are going to relate to or require. So one of the things we talk about in customer experience more so is the bias that we tend to have in organisations about what we think and again, what data is presented to us or the decision makers, which leads to those actions and solutions being implemented. So be very careful with that and take the time to understand the employee and the customer experiences. So Gemba comes in again, but insight and sometimes you have to make a case for gathering these insights. There’s an ROI that’s always expected from any investment. So how do you do that? It’s not always easy with customer experience. But again, stay true to it and lobby.
Alex: Does lean deal with the Human factor at the same time, as much as customer experience, let’s say theory does or?
Annie: That’s a good question. So Lean is about empowering the employees and it’s saying that those that are on it comes from manufacturing on the production line have the authority to stop the line if they see a defect or a problem. Yeah, it’s totally within their means and it looks at how they operate a process and what resources are given and it makes it easier for them to do that. So it centers around people and humans.
Alex: But in customer experience, you have the humans that are on the outside of the organisation, which makes things more complicated.
Annie: So the external customer. And so I look at it internal customer and external customer, internal customer, my employees who are doing the job external and I’m responsible for them and I need to provide them with the resources they need. External customers are receiving that product from us, but you can see them with the same lens and think about how you can treat them in the same way.
Octavian: According to Gartner’s robotic process automation stats, a staggering 80% of financial leaders have implemented or are planning to implement RPA, which only goes to show just how much AI and automation has risen in modern times. But are there times when automation can be a drawback? And if so, how do you find the right balance between automation and maintaining a human touch in banking?
Annie: So yes, we’re we’re fully within the fourth industrial Revolution now with the Internet and AI, and it’s it’s something that is discussed regularly online around how far you can take automation and what you should do. Again, the question is what should you do? What is right for the consumer, not what can you do. We’re now in a situation where consumers and it’s not just banking, it’s retail or any service industry expect and always on. Culture. I expect to be able to do my banking at 11:00 at night or do some shopping at 1:00 in the morning. I expect to have access to what I need access to and the services are available to me. So with that, you have to think about some level of automation because humans, although we can have a number of shifts and work 24 hours a day, there are opportunities obviously to take away some of that, what I’d call mundane work from humans. So Lean will talk about non-value added work and by that we mean things that are quite mundane or laborious to take time but aren’t quite utilising human potential. More often than not, it’s inputting information from one system to another, and those things are essentially taking the the employee away from directly servicing a customer. These tend to be background activities. So when we think of automation, there is a lot of good that can come from automating some of these activities, taking that burden off the employee, but also allowing us to redirect employees to do what they do best.
Annie: And in Lean, we also call that the eighth waste, the underutilising human potential. And that’s where people are amazing and people want to deal with other people and sort out complex problems and do all the exciting stuff. They don’t want to sit in the back office and update one system’s information to another. They want to be directly on the front line or directly dealing with cases that are the most interesting and and sorting out human problems. So that’s where automation is great internally. But if you think about externally where an external customer would see that automation, bear in mind we can train our employees on the platforms and automation and they can run them comfortably. An external customer, a consumer, has not been trained on your platform and they need to navigate that. And if it’s the first time, it can be quite overwhelming. But more so I think where it can be a drawback or a challenge is when you have vulnerable customers. And under the Financial Conduct Authority’s definition of vulnerable customers, they talk about people with physical or health issues. They talk about consumers who might have low financial resistance. So an unexpected bill can be a shock and kind of topple a situation. Also, those who’ve had life events recently, so bereavements and all sorts of things. So all of these can affect how a consumer is working with your platform or working with your agents. And one of the key things there as well, especially in financial services, is cognitive challenges that a customer may have with understanding or comprehending financial matters. So how do you if a system is automated or an interface is automated, get that insight or get that information that this customer needs extra help? And how do you therefore put in place triggers to reach out to them by a specialist team, ideally, or, you know, how do you support them? And again, it goes back to redirecting the resources that would have been used doing some of those non-value add tasks to redirect them customer facing tasks or customer support tasks. So automation can be beneficial internally to release those resources externally. Just think about your demographics and your different segments of customers and think about those vulnerable customers and how do you support them in interacting with you. But as we’ve already said, that always on culture is quite demanding. So self-service is an important aspect of of any service industry to offer that. So for example, you forget a password. I don’t necessarily want human interaction to deal with that. It needs to be quick, a quick, efficient transaction and I need to get my reset password and it needs to happen instantaneously and I need to get back online. I want to do what I need to do immediately in a conversation can sometimes slow that down or a phone call. It’s basically, yeah, so there’s opportunities there where automation absolutely is demanded these days, from a customer facing point of view.
Octavian: When Lean is used, it’s important to create an optimal working environment for all employees, otherwise known as hygiene factors. But what does the term hygiene factor actually mean when it comes to customer engagement and what are some examples of it being used?
Annie: So yeah hygiene factors have come about through a lot of research and study. So I first came across it through the Kano model, which was developed in 1978 by Professor Noriaki Kano, and his work was based on the theories by Frederick Herzberg around employee satisfaction. And he identified things that were hygiene factors or non-negotiables for employees that would lead them to leave or be uncomfortable with their working environments if those things weren’t in place. And at the other end, and the canine model reflects this as well, there’s certain things that customers expect because they see it all around them with your peers providing those services and expectations and would cause them to walk or complain. But the other flip side of that is your delight is a motivator. So things that you can add that can delight and further excite customers, but if they’re not there, that’s fine. Customer doesn’t grow to expect them. But what happens over time is those delight has shift downwards on the chart and they become hygiene factors. For example, a call centre. I want extended hours, I want 24/7 call centre for my financial services products. What if I need something and there’s something online that that doesn’t work out for me? Another one would be a mobile app. What financial institution doesn’t have a mobile app? 24/7 access ability to pay bills, make payments, check my balance. You know the basics. And there are obviously additional insights and features that have been added to mobile banking. But there are some basics. And if they don’t exist, you will either not take up contract with that vendor or you will complain, you know, because you expect to see that there. And that’s what we mean by hygiene factors, these expectations and it might not be just within your industry. So banking is a service industry and so you need to look at the entire service industry. You need to look at retail and see what they’re doing and how they’re relating to their customers and managing their customers transactions and life cycles, because they will come to expect that from you.
Octavian: Can you talk to us about some expectations that you’ve seen customers have that need to be implemented into the industry?
Annie: Neobanks have launched and they’ve challenged a lot of customer expectations and they’ve led to a lot of hygiene factors being implemented. And that’s because they’ve had to they’ve had to innovate. Where you don’t have a high street presence, you have a problem. So the smartphone has become invaluable to consumers as we’ve shifted from using home desktops to having our smartphones with a majority of the day has meant that that becomes a hygiene factor and expectation from digital cards. We’ve then gone into virtual cards. So where the card number changes every time that you use it online and that protects you, that’s a security feature. So there are certain things like the digital cards and digital wallets. That’s going to be an expectation. Not every financial institution does that at the moment, but it’s something to think about. But as we’ve said before, don’t just look within the banking sector, look broader into the retail sector and what those interactions are looking like and what those features of products are looking like, then surely an opportunity to implement something like an LM model and surmise. And I would just go to my bank’s website and I would say, Look, I want a mortgage holiday. Can I get one? Who do I call? What’s the link? Rather than scrolling through FAQs and search search functions, I could just ask that question and get that answer. Yes, you can. Three months is the maximum. Here’s the link you need. Fantastic. Think about the opportunities for vulnerable customers. Customers that struggle, customers that are struggling to read that or manage or use your interfaces. Think about how easy that could be. Add that into an audible response as well. You know, the world’s your oyster, but it’s that kind of technology and those opportunities I think that we can bring in. But it’s, you know, lots of questions about should we or shouldn’t we? But I think there are opportunities with that kind of technology and surmising and personalising and making it easier for consumers to do what they need to do.
Octavian: Using lean principles is crucial to improving customer experience. So what are the steps that leaders in the banking industry should take to help them achieve optimal continuous improvement?
Annie: There’s there’s a lot of papers out and a lot of research about why transformations fail or culture changes fail and initiatives fail. And they do talk a lot about leadership and the role modeling of leaders and the importance of role modeling of leaders within this context. I think the first thing is that commitment to a customer focused culture and customer focused business and and role modeling that and portraying that coming with that is the communicating that out to your workforce, being sincere, being honest about it, talking about why it’s important, why it’s necessary, and if it’s a slight change, why that change needs to happen and what does that mean? Communicating regularly and frequently about your achievements and successes, but also dealing with people’s anxiety? If it is a change, if it’s what you do already, then just continue to sustain that and that behavior. The next thing you need to think about is, is making sure you’re getting close to your customers and your employee experiences and keep close to that. We talked about Gamba previously, which is one way you can physically do that. So it’s about creating a comfortable environment for your employees to be able to share their insights and feel empowered and comfortable in raising opportunities, pain points and enabling them to also solve some problems themselves. So we’ll talk a bit about, you know, servant leadership scenarios where you provide all the resources and you listen closely and carefully and communicate. So those are important in order to make a success of any if it’s a change. But any kind of substantial drive or direction that you’re you’re looking for in your organisation.
Alex: During the time that you’re assessing that customer journey, do you identify opportunities for your employees to develop and be trained in order to assist the customer experience strategy that you’re trying to implement?
Annie: In my line of work, if I’m going to look at a customer journey, the first thing I would do is go to the employees that are involved in supporting the customer, interacting with the customer in that journey, and I will invite them into the work that we do together and into the workshop we do together so that their voice is represented and their experiences are represented. This is the next best thing to going to Gemba, which is me to go and shadow and experience that first in first hand. But obviously an organization can be quite large. Experiences can vary between one call center or one branch or one team to another. So that’s a huge investment of time. So you need to think about different mechanisms you can employ. So one of them for me is inviting them along to the workshop. So each step will say, what’s the customer thinking, feeling and doing? But we will also continue in the method that I use and ask the employees that are in the room, that are serving the customer and directly interacting with what are you doing and how hard is it? So straight away we get the well, okay, this is quite complicated because that system, the screens work in this order, but the customer has given me information in that order or the customer gives me their documentation. It doesn’t quite align. And I just so we bring out the opportunities or the pain points that the colleague is feeling directly, the employee is feeling. And so when we have an opportunity where we see a poor customer experience and a poor employee experience, that’s what we call a moment of truth, there’s an opportunity to to direct our resources to resolve that because it will have a win win situation.
Annie: Now that needs to sit against a backdrop of overall prioritisation of what’s going to have the biggest impact overall when you qualify those. But that’s something to look at, say, well, that’s a poor experience on both sides. Something’s not going very well here. So that’s the mechanism that I use. It’s always easy to to look at your internal processes and find opportunities. So lean we do process mapping, for example, and I tend to do a bit of process mapping alongside my customer journey, and I’d go and speak to those employees and I understand what is it they do so A, b, C, D, e, f, g. What are the steps you undertake? And again, what are the challenges? What are the opportunities from your point of view? So I build up quite a good picture, but I think the customer journey mapping just brings it together the way that I do it. And we have the outside in and inside out view. We’re lucky enough to have the employee in the room, however, and it might be a great experience for the customer, but a poor experience for the employee. The customer won’t see anything. So that’s great. Good customer experience, happy customer generally, but that’s where we drill down into the employee has got some challenges here and it’s making it very difficult and that can have a knock on effect. We’ve talked about employee morale, which then affects customer satisfaction, which then affects employees satisfaction at work and a number of things. So I think it’s really important, but that’s how I tend to bring it in. I’ll go to Gemba or I’ll bring those employees in directly.
Octavian: So Annie has gone over many business strategies, talked about moments of truth and lean process mapping, but what advice would Annie give others that are engaging in their own companies to implement such strategies?
Annie: There’s always going to be a challenge with resources available to complete projects and run customer experience initiatives. The main challenge is not just the people, it’s the budgets, it’s the money that you have to spend and that comes to all of us and it’s a challenge we need to work through. But if it was your money, if it was your own money, what options would you exploit before you went out to external vendors or started spending that capital? What what resources have you got? And I think I’ve learned over time that there are different ways to approach these things. But the most important element is don’t wait too long and have an all singing, all dancing feature released because the market will have moved on, consumers would have moved on and people are tired of waiting. So again, working in an agile manner and looking at minimum viable products. So what’s the minimum you can do with the resources you have now? But it will still create an opportunity for customers and solve a problem for customers. What are those things you can do? Is it free minimum of spend? And think about phasing. But again, if you work in an agile manner that all comes to you naturally.
Annie: You release small increments and you create those little incremental changes that customers are looking for. And one of the things to consider is what resources do you have in-house already? So what systems that you’re not exploiting. So, for example, Microsoft Dynamics and other vendors are available has got its own automation inbuilt so power automate, you can automate workflows. So those are some technologies that you can use. And what’s the minimum viable product? What’s the simplest, easiest way you can get some sort of step change in place? And then when regarding workloads, you know, there’s there’s a lot of things we want to do and we’ve got lists as long as our arms and some of them will be lucky enough and we’ll we’ll get some funding for. But it’s a side effect of being involved in something that you’re really passionate or engaged in and thinking about opportunities and collaborating. So and again, going back to your business strategy and your business objectives, why am I doing this? And does it make sense? What’s the minimum viable product? What’s the minimum I can do? What’s the incremental change, What’s relevant now? And then just prioritise, prioritise, prioritise.
Alex: You’ve transitioned from working for companies as a executive to being now a consultant to helping other companies to improve their strategies. What is your vision and how do you plan to leverage your expertise in helping these clients that come to you to help them create better strategies for their?
Annie: Essentially, I will use a framework harnessing both the CI and the Lean tools and techniques and the customer experience analysis. But essentially the first thing we do is I sit down with a client and I’d look at their ambition, I’d look at the. Defining the problem that we talked about and making sure that we are aiming for the right thing in the right way. And if we don’t have the data or that sort of stuff, we’ll discuss and decide how we’re going to leverage what we have and how we obtain what we don’t. And then obviously following that very simply is just the bespoke plan of work. What is it? Depending on what the customer is looking for, there’s a combination of internal processes and external contact points digitally through the contact centres and through any face to face interactions. And we’ll look at that and exploit those opportunities and create action plans. And again, talking about incremental change, but then the kind of transformation culture or change culture requires some sort of capturing of hearts and minds and taking the employees with you. So there’s an element of that, again, that I would affect. And then overall, depending on the client’s requirements, there’s a whole set of operational management techniques we can employ there quite heavily talked about in Lean. But in any operational environment, we talk about, you know, daily stand ups. So do you have a daily team meeting with your front line teams or with your back office teams? What do they talk about? What do they measure? What do they discuss? What problems do they raise and what happens with with those issues? Do they get escalated? Are they able to resolve some of those directly themselves? So we talk about those techniques and they’re quite straightforward to put together. Obviously, they take time and energy and again, they work with the employees directly. I’d work with the team and I’d set up those daily communication cells wherever you want to call them. And again, very prevalent in Agile working. So nothing new there. It all kind of works really well together with a digital environment as well as an operational human led environment.
Alex: Do you think being an external consultant this time is a bigger challenge in this setup? Rather than working directly inside the company?
Annie: You’d think it would be, but I’ve worked as an internal consultant in many places, and I think that credibility and that trust with me either way, being an outsider to that team. So if I’m coming into a business, I’m already an outsider and I need to build that credibility and trust and build those relationships, which is really important to me. So I’ll take time out to do that. Being internal and coming to another team and starting to basically nosey around and ask questions again, Who am I to ask those questions of those individuals and those employees? They’re going to feel very uncomfortable. They’re going to want to know why. So there has to be a setup performed by the management team prior to anybody coming in and doing any sort of improvement work or investigative work to say this is why we’re doing it. We are doing it, and we have bought in Andy or whomever to help us to guide us. Maybe it’s slightly harder as an external individual to an organization, but I think it’s still the same things and you still have to put in the same legwork.
Alex: It always goes back to leadership and how they manage that expectation.
Annie: Key Because I’ve been in situations where we haven’t had that preamble and that leadership standing up shoulder to shoulder and introducing us. And there’s been a lot of, you know, anxiety, as you can imagine, and worry what does this mean? So it’s super important again, why transformations fail? Many, many papers out there, many discussions about where the leadership role is and other roles. But yeah, leadership is behind the success of many of these things.
Octavian: And that concludes the end of the episode. Thank you to everyone for listening. If you enjoy the episode, please don’t forget to give this video a like. It means the world to us. And most importantly, it shows us that you like this content. And by the way, this podcast is sponsored by the Global Leaders in CX Software ACF Technologies. Let’s get in some quick fire questions. So Annie, what’s your favourite book?
Annie: There is one book that has stayed with me and I’ve quoted it through my career. So The Gold Mine by Michael and Freddy Ballé. Now it talks about Lean and it introduces the Lean concept. It’s one of the first books I read on Lean. It was as we were going through the transition, I got into that theme and I thought, this is this is fantastic. That book talks about the principles and it talks about a retired sensei lean sensei that comes out of retirement. He’s helping this manufacturing business kind of transform them where they are, and they’re failing on quality and delivery and losing money. And it brings a human transformational story into the book. So it talks about the black and white principles, you know, the technical stuff, but it brings them to life in a in a story and a story that you can kind of align to and understand. And the human part, which is important for me to have that human element in everything that I do. It brings it to life and talks about how they overcome and work together and collaborate. And the story takes you through to the success.
Alex: And this is a fictional book.
Annie: It is a fictional book.
Alex: Lean. Yeah, it’s a novel. A novel. Okay.
Annie: Novel. Yeah, it is. It’s called The Gold Mine. And you think and then but, you know, non-fiction books can be quite dry. There’s a lot to digest and there’s a lot of great information out there. And again, I’m just thinking, what’s the easiest way for me to digest and analyse that and that human story or the reality or anecdotes of what brings them? To life and kind of embeds them in your psyche and you think that makes sense?
Octavian: So if you were to interview anyone, who would it be.
Annie: Alive or dead? Um, if we go back to dead because there’s a lot more people, a lot more populist there, I think somebody that’s really interesting and goes through the same kind of curious and variety of things that I’m interested in as well, would be someone like Leonardo da Vinci. Okay. I mean, he artist, inventor, engineer, engineer. There’s so many things that he just turned his hand to or was curious about and interested in. So it’s interesting to speak to someone like that and say, Well, what drives this? There’s so much there’s infinite possibility of things you could do or be, and you kind of trumped so many of them. How how do you find the time? What how did you offset that? What happened with family, friends and the rest of your life? Did you have to shut that down? How did you balance it? So I think that would be interesting. The world is full of exciting things. How do you balance that with also trying to have a life and relationships? How does that work?
Octavian: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Annie: It’s one that I don’t always take, but I know it to be wise and it’s to be patient mostly from my dad. But yeah.
Octavian: What was the last place you went abroad on holiday?
Annie: I’m going to have to phone my husband. I can’t remember.
Alex: Phone a friend.
Annie: No favourite ones are the ones that stay in my memory. As the best times we’ve had would be going to Armenia. Food. Weather, you know, friends, family. Those are the things that kind of the human elements that stay with you and the experiences that you’ve had. Those everything seem to gel and work really well and everyone was having a good time and feeling comfortable those.