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Case Study: Influencer Training Drives Rapid Adoption of Improvement Tool at Xerox

Frustrated, Joyce Geier and her team in Xerox’s Corporate Lean Six Sigma Office had just developed an implementation plan they knew to be flawed. Yet how were they supposed to disseminate a new process improvement tool—called QwikSolver—to a corporation of 50,000 employees?

Months later, reflecting on what was ultimately a successful deployment, Geier, a Master Black Belt and QwikSolver Program Manager, concludes: “QwikSolver is a good product, but we could have killed it by rolling it out wrong. The Influencer Model from Influencer Training is what gave this thing legs to run—and, by golly, it is running.”

The Context
Nearly a decade after implementing Lean Six Sigma, Xerox Corporation not only achieved widespread adoption of the new framework, but also discovered some of its limitations. Culturally, employees regarded Lean Six Sigma as a program “for the privileged few” and aimed only at massive problems rather than day-to-day issues. Ms. Geier explains, “That’s not the kind of culture we wanted at Xerox, and so we said ‘we have to do something about it.'”

Based on extensive internal research, Geier and her Lean Six Sigma team developed QwikSolver—a simple decision-making rubric that any team, division, or department could use and was free of cumbersome requirements. Geier’s team believed that if they could train and motivate Xerox employees to use QwikSolver, the entire organization could benefit from the kind of results traditionally experienced by Lean Six Sigma.

Although convinced of QwikSolver’s merits, the team was challenged by the implementation. If only influencing the behavior of 50,000 people were as easy as making photocopies!

The Problem
Ms. Geier’s team knew from experience—and from the earlier research—that a traditional, management-directed approach would likely backfire. Yet, their best attempts at creating a deployment plan that didn’t rely strongly on management direction felt flat. “I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just didn’t feel like our rollout plan would meet what our people told us they wanted—a process supported by employee pull, not management push.”

Ultimately, a colleague recommended the book Influencer to Ms. Geier, and her thinking about designing an influence strategy changed.

The Solution: Read our case study to learn how Xerox used the Influencer model to drive rapid adoption of QwikSolver.

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