TEDx Talk Planner

TEDx talks are locally licensed events that make use of the TED brand for publicity and production.

TEDx talks are to present ideas worth spreading, to inspire and inform.

Our purpose is to inspire a change in culture of business leadership from hierarchical control to a more networked customer driven focus.  Our range is regional – all across Hampton Roads.  The outcome will be manifest as continuous improvement of organizational productivity in terms of customer perspectives.

TEDx licensing rules and event standards are outlined on their site: TEDx

Let’s see if this blog format works to look at initial event purpose and various TEDx TALK topics.

Here’s input from our first discussion – from Chase’s email:

As we were speaking I was writing down a lot of the buzz word phases that were being mentioned. Maybe these can become topics or culminate into a theme:


1)      The seven principals of business management (as defined by ISO 9001)

2)      Education vs. Training

3)      The need for Executive training and the resistance to it.

4)      Management disengagement (reference ISO 9001:2015)

5)      Why are people found with SpaceX shirts that have no affiliation with the organization and do people wear Liebherr shirts or Newport News Shipbuilding shirts in the same manner? What’s the difference?

6)      The Peter Principal.  Address it or wait till death of the manager?

7)      Why does the Baldridge Award always  go to foreign countries?  Why does no one in America know about it?

8)      Employee empowerment. What does it mean and how do you do it, what are the benefits and what are the risks?

9)      How to achieve Senior Management “buy in” for a product or project and get Senior Management accountability?

10)   Corporate language and culture and the good and bad effects from it.

11)   Employee / management trust relationship.  How to maintain trust post failure?

12)   The Silo Effect.


Since Seth wants the theme to be catchy here are just some idea. Also we want to consider this is a Liberal Arts type of event, which usually involves people with more creative style than I or likely many engineers possess.  Benchmarking other Tedx themes may be a good idea.  Maybe we want to talk with a director for Tedx so get some pointers on what is desired.


1)      The Terrifying Environment of Change.

2)      Language, Barriers, Culture, and Customers

3)      Management 201 – So You Think You’re a Manger.

4)      Killing Quality – An Experience in Workplace Language


Potential speakers:  Stuff in yellow could be fairly solid.


1)      Rob Lawton – C3 Quality guru.

2)      Mike Melton – Liebherr Quality Manager, ASQ speaker.

3)      Dr. Mike Gilbert – NASA Langley director (interesting guy, super approachable.  I worked for him for about 6 months).

4)      Ron Murry – Newport News Shipbuilding.

5)      Terry McAuliffe – Governor of Virginia

6)      Seth Pillsbury! – Head of HRQMC.

7)      Dr. Neal Seymour – Top contracts and legal advisor for Liebherr (this dude has the lights on, written several books, international lawyer, mechanical engineer, good speaker).

8)      A Naval Ship Commander.

9)      Gallop polling director.

10)   Sure there are more but this is who I can immediately think of.


The Problem: getting change into daily work.

At ground level workforce development wants to be all about skill training and recruitment.  Job Descriptions provide the baseline.

HR budgets for minimal cost providers and looks in all the usual places for new hires.  Not much is spent on training and salaries are likewise kept as low as possible.

If trainees don’t learn the necessary skills they are replaced or the work gets done by someone else.  New hires are brought aboard in numbers to allow job openings and to cover excessive short term departures.  Onboarding varies a lot, depending on the department and the individual.

At the 15,000 foot level workforce development wants to be all about effectiveness and productivity.

New hires need to not only be certified, they need the knack of actually getting the job done.  The focus is on teams and projects.  Skills are needed for the various equipments but also for waste reduction and process improvement.  Leaders need a program through which they can develop workers’ capabilities to set objectives, measure properly, lead others, etc.

The costs of training and recruiting lose relevance here.  Instead there must be the ability for projects and initiatives to return a minimum of 10 times investment.

And from the 30,000 foot level the focus shifts dramatically.  Senior leadership needs programs that enable them to positively engage strategic plans throughout the organization.  Worker performance must not only effectively produce the necessary products, their productivity must be significantly improved.  And there must be a culture supportive of customer-centered requirements throughout the enterprise.

The drumbeat of daily work easily drives out any effort to improve.  Yet the requirement to improve is critical to enterprise success.  Integrating change platforms into daily work is the critical game changer.

Step one is to frame the challenge with reference to the impact of demographics and the need for sustainability.   The problem must be viewed from the appropriate altitude.

Next we’ll outline a business plan to address resources and agendas that deal with the opportunity.


Traditionally, training is all about filling gaps. Let’s look at it in two ways so we can not just improve, but get a handle on actually managing change – creating a new dimension of performance.

The usual gap is that of skills. Compare job descriptions with worker certifications and list the differences. Then schedule classes of appropriate curriculum to fill the gaps.

We should also discuss performance gaps with our primary customer – the manufacturing/operations/maintenance managers. What outcomes do they need and how capable are their workers at execution? Answers will vary a lot, but the focus should be on adding value with changes to enterprise competitiveness.

We can’t schedule a class of appropriate curriculum for this. Some training might help, but the functions or capabilities we’re looking for are for teams to sustain themselves, define their own challenges and the work needed, and learn necessary principles to deal with them. We need teams that can do DMAICs themselves.

Are your gaps just skills, or of a larger context?
Are your gaps just skills, or of a larger context?