Chicago Bulls Box Out Injuries With Lean Six Sigma, Featuring Chip Schaefer


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Podcast: Just-In-Time Cafe, Episode 29 – Chicago Bulls Box Out Injuries With Lean Six Sigma, Featuring Chip Schaefer -

Find out why the Chicago Bulls Director of Sports Performance brought a Fishbone Diagram into the NBA and what happened next!

Join the launch of our new poll about how to solve common Lean Six Sigma challenges. Check out Lean Six Sigma Industry News where we’ll highlight a new publication from a nonprofit that exists to help other nonprofits and lastly, one of our listeners asks, “What’s with the belts?”

Also Listen On:

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  • 2:09 This Month’s Poll Question

Poll: What is your preferred method of making time for process improvement? -

Podcast Transcript

Tracy O’Rourke: Hi, everyone. I’m Tracy O’Rourke.

Elisabeth Swan: And I’m Elisabeth Swan.

Tracy O’Rourke: And we are from and you’re listening to the Just-In-Time Café Podcast where we bring you fabulous apps, polls, news, books, and people so you can build your problem-solving muscles.

Elisabeth Swan: And I’m going to shoot this napkin into that waste basket from here. Do you think I can make it?

Tracy O’Rourke: I sense your interview with Chip Schaefer might have influenced you, Elisabeth.

Elisabeth Swan: Yes, so don’t roll your ankle on the way to our private dining room.

Tracy O’Rourke: Got it. Oh, and you missed.

What’s on the Menu (Podcast Agenda)

Tracy O’Rourke: So, we’ve got the Chicago Bulls and what else on the menu today?

Elisabeth Swan: This is a great day, Tracy. First, we find out what happened when Chip Schaefer of the Chicago Bulls brought a fishbone diagram into the NBA. Then we’ll announce our new poll for Lean Six Sigma practitioners about how they solve common challenges to getting improvements done.

And for Lean Six Sigma industry news, we talked about a new resource publication from a nonprofit that exists to help other nonprofits.

And lastly, one of our listeners asks, “What’s with the belts?” So I confess Tracy, I am slightly star struck with the whole NBA thing.

Tracy O’Rourke: I know. I can tell. You might have a new celebrity crush even.

Elisabeth Swan: I do.

Tracy O’Rourke: Just kidding. Remember to stay tuned for this month’s coupon code in order to get a discount on’s online training.

Elisabeth Swan: Let’s get to our poll.

Latest Poll

Tracy O’Rourke: So which challenge does this latest poll address, Elisabeth?

Elisabeth Swan: So Tracy, you and I hear about challenges around improving processes constantly. And we both work with people who are working hard to improve processes and they do have success. These guys do great work. But sometimes they run into barriers.

And in our poll, we explored one of the biggest issues which is, low to no leadership support. That was in our last episode. And this month, we’re exploring one of the other issues that people reported and that’s not enough time to get their work done, their process improvement work.

So this month, we want to hear from listeners about what they consider the best way to schedule and get improvement work done. So we’re looking for some best practices. And this would be a poll that will help your fellow listeners. So please, chime in.

And the poll question is, what is your preferred method of making time for process improvement? So we want to know how people best make time for process improvement. Is it:

  • A) Schedule an hour a day at the same time.
  • B) Set up regular weekly or bi-weekly team meetings.
  • C) Carve out a whole day for it every so often.
  • D) Catch up on weekends.

I hope this doesn’t win.

Tracy O’Rourke: Me too. That’s not my favorite. I’m not voting for that one.

Elisabeth Swan: Or E) Fit in as my workload permits.

So take a second and answer the poll and we’ll give you the results in next month’s episode. Thanks for that.

Tracy O’Rourke: Do we get to share what ours is or are we going to wait until next week?

Elisabeth Swan: What’s yours, Tracy?

Tracy O’Rourke: Well, I honestly like C the best. Carve out the whole day because you actually get more done in a day when people are focused. I bet it’s not people’s favorite though.

Elisabeth Swan: I don’t know if it’s a whole day. I almost carve out – here I am giving an answer that’s not on there. I carve out a half day and turn everything off. You have to turn email off. That’s like the critical sort of caveat to all of that.

Tracy O’Rourke: Yeah. I kind of feel like scheduling an hour a day is like squirrel up, I forgot what I was supposed to be doing. What? That happens to me a lot.

Elisabeth Swan: Emails are squirrels. I think that’s exactly what we got.

Tracy O’Rourke: I’m Tracy O’Rourke and you’re listening to the Just-In-Time Café Podcast. We’d love your feedback. Please leave us a review on iTunes or on our website and don’t forget to subscribe!

Elisabeth Swan: Up next, it’s In the News.

In the News

Tracy O’Rourke: It makes sense but I was surprised that there was a nonprofit whose mission was to help other nonprofits.

Elisabeth Swan: It’s true. When we first read about this organization, it took a few beats to understand all the areas they addressed and in a word, many. So that’s why this month we’re highlighting the Center for Nonprofits, an Ohio-based agency that’s in the news.

The shorthand for their title is C4NPR which sounds kind of like either C-3PO or a formula for explosives. And they are powerful, right? So what’s great about this group is that they are not just a nonprofit. They exist to provide other nonprofits with access to experts in the nonprofit world.

They screen and select the best vendors and turn them into partners. And they host trainings and webinars and workshops. So they become a hub and they have a rich archive of really useful and targeted information.

And the resource catalog they published contains original material from all these experts. There are things like 5 ways to win over the media, successful fundraising, lots of great tips on grant writing.

The guide contains readily available infographics, blogs, and videos. The links are right in there. You can click right to the infographic or right to a short video of that person describing what they do which is really cool.

C4NPR recently partnered with to offer process improvement resources to the nonprofit world. So we are their selection for Lean Six Sigma.

There are over 15 different experts and total transparency. C4NPR recently partnered with to offer process improvement resources to the nonprofit world. So we are their selection for Lean Six Sigma.

We’ve got lots of free stuff and they’re helping to bring that to more in this industry that really needs it. So a great resource for nonprofits, lots of free resources, and a list of improve experts. We’ll provide you a link so you can download the catalog for yourself.

Tracy O’Rourke: I love it. I actually love the fact that there is a group to help nonprofits. It’s a nonprofit helping nonprofits. That’s awesome.

And I love helping nonprofit organizations myself. There is such a need for process improvements because resources are so limited sometimes. And I’m actually spending some time helping a nonprofit in San Diego. It’s called Feeding San Diego now. It used to be Feeding America. And I’m really enjoying my time helping them improve their processes because that means that they’re going to be feeding more people in San Diego. And who doesn’t feel good when you say that?

Elisabeth Swan: No, it’s great. And I’ve already forwarded this resource to my local nonprofit, the Cape Cod Child Development and they’re already saying, “Hey, thanks especially on some of the grant tips, things like that.” So yeah, it’s really nice to be able to provide that for nonprofits who are all trying to do some good in the world. Yes.

Tracy O’Rourke: It feeds the heart.

Elisabeth Swan: It feeds the heart. I’m Elisabeth Swan and you’re listening to the Just-In-Time Café Podcast. In a short while, we’ll get to hear my interview with Chip Schaefer, the Director of Sports Performance for the Chicago Bulls.

Up next, it’s a question from one of our listeners.

Q & A

Elisabeth Swan: OK, Tracy. You get to field this one. Why does Six Sigma use belts for levels of training?

Tracy O’Rourke: that’s a great question and it’s very simple especially people that are not as familiar with that kind of training. So Six Sigma uses belt level training, White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt. And actually, White and Yellow are optional sometimes. And they use it – it comes from the analogy of karate. And I want to believe it’s because they’re saying that you use karate-like moves to cut through waste in an organization and get rid of it.

So you’re really being precise about getting rid of waste in organizations. So I really like that analogy.

And ultimately, these belt levels help organizations really organize the levels of training that their employees are getting.

And ultimately, these belt levels help organizations really organize the levels of training that their employees are getting. So if you have a very large organization, it’s helpful to understand what levels of training are required or that you would like certain groups to have. And so I think more than anything, it really does help organizations create some level of definition of training and what that level of training is equivalent to. So I really believe that’s really what it’s for.

The downside sometimes is that people want to just get through the belts and they’re sort of checking the box if you will and just going through the training and not really leveraging the skills or tools and not using it to deliver value. And that’s unfortunate and I think that sometimes Six Sigma belt level training gets a lot of criticism but I feel like there are a lot of positives with that organization, that level of organization. You’re going to find check the box attitude everywhere no matter where you go. And so, I don’t think having those belt levels enforces that thinking or promotes it.

Elisabeth Swan: I like that aspect that you describe where it – it’s clear what level of understanding you have of Lean Six Sigma. And that’s helpful. And it has been so long. It has been over 25 years and I forget that this is martial arts or maybe it’s kind of fun that it’s martial arts. But the downside that I also see, you described one of them which is that check the box, but the other downside I sometimes see is people think you have to be some belt level to actually do improvement work, which is crazy because we got really nice examples.

In fact, Lynne Emmons just put a success story and she did the Yellow Belt and immediately started a project and she got like 100% throughput increase on her audit process, which was amazing.

So there’s no need to think about those belt levels in terms of, “Oh, I have to have certain belts to actually do anything.” But I do like the fact that it clarifies, well, how much have you studied or how much do you know or sort of where are you in that sort of organizational level, which is helpful.

Tracy O’Rourke: It is helpful. I find it very helpful.

Elisabeth Swan: And I’m just so used to it, I’m never going to change.

Tracy O’Rourke: Coming up next, it’s Today’s Special. I know Elisabeth has been waiting for this moment. Elisabeth, can you give us a little preview of your interview with Chip Schaefer?

Elisabeth Swan: Of course, I can. In his role with the Chicago Bulls, it’s Chip’s job to keep the players on the court performing at their best for as many games as possible. But as we know, players get injured. So we found that about Chip because he had downloaded the Fishbone and the 5 Whys single module and that led us to ask him for an interview to find out why. And he said he used the tools to analyze the root causes of injuries which led to some interesting changes to players’ workout routines.

He is a great guy. It’s a fascinating interview. Check it out.

Tracy O’Rourke: And did you happen to score courtside tickets?

Elisabeth Swan: Working on it.

Today’s Special

Elisabeth Swan: Hi and welcome to Today’s Special. Today, I’m honored to be speaking with Chip Schaefer, the Director of Sports Performance for the Chicago Bulls. Welcome, Chip.

Chip Schaefer: Thanks for having me, Elisabeth. Pleasure to talk to you.

Elisabeth Swan: As Director of Sports Performance, Chip has a doctorate in Health Science. He was Head Trainer during the Bulls’ title run, that six rings from 1990 to 1998. He was Director of Athletic Performance with the LA Lakers resulting in five rings from 1999 to 2011. He spent some time with UC Santa Barbara, that’s 2012, 2013, 2016. He is with the Sacramento Kings, again, Director of Sports Performance. In 2016, got pulled back into the NBA with the Bulls.

And we learned about Chip when our Client Experience Manager, Kelvin, noticed that he purchased a few of our single modules. He downloaded the 5 Whys and the Fishbone Diagram Training, and then FMEA which stands for Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. And then he had signed up for the Yellow Belt Training. And that got us curious as to how Chip was using Lean Six Sigma in his role with the Bulls.

So Chip, just as a starting point, where did you hear about process improvement or Lean Six Sigma in the first place?

Chip Schaefer: Well, that’s an interesting question. Actually, the first time I ever became familiar, I never heard those terms before, my oldest child, my son, Alex, has a BS in Chemistry and an MS in Chemical Engineering and as he was entering the workforce about a decade ago, I can’t remember the first exposure to it but I think we were looking for helping him with his job search upon graduating from the grad school. We noticed a lot of the job postings were requiring or requesting it and so that kind of got us curious and started looking into and saw how valuable that can be and sort of those – a lot of those process driven professions particularly when it came to – what he was getting into, which his engineering and manufacturing type things.

So that was my first exposure to it. And then again, I was exposed to it while earning my doctorate and some of the courses that related to management and organizational leadership and continuous quality improvement and things like that made a number of references to it. And for me, the light bulb just went off immediately and I became increasingly curious about it. Just from some exposure, I was doing some things and works earlier this year doing some presentations to a number of our staff and I thought well, why not become even more proficient?

And I started poking around online trying to find maybe some quick courses to kind of refine my skills because it had been a few years since I’ve really delved into it and that’s where I found your website and got the courses. And then like you said, Kelvin, who I think serendipitously is also from Chicago kind of gave me a more personal email response and welcomed me into the programs and we kind of hit it off. And I did one course after another as my curiosity continued to pique for that.

Elisabeth Swan: That’s great. I like that it started with hunt for colleges with your son and then also occurred in your own academic experience and brought you in.

Chip Schaefer: And validated it.

Elisabeth Swan: Yeah. So the modules you downloaded, the 5 Whys and then the FMEA, what made you decide to take those in particular?

I mean the 5 Whys is a pretty straightforward concept. But the fact that I was presenting it with other staff members and even some management people, I wanted to be very precise and correct in it. And so I thought, “Well, why not take the actual course and get a very detailed description and do it by the book rather than sort of doing it generally?”

Chip Schaefer: Well, even though I was – I mean the 5 Whys for example and Ishikawa diagram, you can just look at them in a matter of minutes and discern what it basically is. I mean the 5 Whys is a pretty straightforward concept. But the fact that I was presenting it with other staff members and even some management people, I wanted to be very precise and correct in it. And so I thought, “Well, why not take the actual course and get a very detailed description and do it by the book rather than sort of doing it generally?”

And I knew a lot of these things. But the interesting thing is I think these things are although they maybe were born in the manufacturing and engineering side of things, they’re sort of creeping into health care and I have no problem seeing why and enormous applications of potential for it. But I think it has a potential to be a really difference maker.

Elisabeth Swan: Absolutely. Yeah, they all started in manufacture like you pointed out but health care particularly really gains from it. So, how did you apply it? What did you do when you did – you just mentioned you worked with some of your colleagues there, what were you doing with them?

Chip Schaefer: Well, there are a couple of applications. One thing we use quite a bit, for example, as the season is drawing to a close here, what I did last year was I looked at one of the key statistics in the NBA when you’re on the health care side is the people look very closely at is games missed due to injury. And you look at that which is a one total number, every time a player misses a game due to an injury that goes – that’s tracked. And at the end of the year, over an 82-game season, you have x number of those games that you’ve missed but there’s a lot of different causes as why those occur.

And so, when you looked to potentially – I hate to use this phrase, but that to injuries because it’s almost impossible to do but I kind of looked kind of a risk management in trying to decrease the risk of those things. You want to break those things in a category.

So for example, an acute trauma, if a guy goes up for a rebound and comes down in somebody else’s foot and suffers a severe ankle sprain, there’s not much you can do about that. These guys are big, massive people in a limited amount of space and competing intensely, bodies colliding and those things happen.

So that acute trauma, a lot of times, those injuries aren’t things that are avoidable but a lot of the other things, some of these things dynamic overuse or overload of tissue where maybe some of these things can be through a quality monitoring system of looking at different variables like their ability to have joint range of motion or ability of the muscle to produce force, quality of movement through different movement screenings and these things, you can kind of start to correlate changes in some of those variables with increases in injuries. And so those are some of the things that we wanted to do.

So again, kind of the season last year, I’ve kind of created a Pareto diagram with those bar graphs kind of illustrating where the greatest number of injuries occurred and what areas knowing that’s where we should kind of put our resources. And so once you’ve identified that and you start looking at applying things like the 5 Whys and the Ishikawa diagram and looking at everything from the athletes themselves to their equipment to maybe some of the coaching strategies, involving people and all the different variables that may contribute to those injuries.

…In anticipation of the new year that the idea of using the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis can be very powerful tool in trying to look at some of these things that you feel like have a high probability of occurring.

And then obviously, in anticipation of the new year that the idea of using the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis can be very powerful tool in trying to look at some of these things that you feel like have a high probability of occurring. And again, putting the resources in that area because some of these things, it can kind of – it migrate out even in the basketball side of things as well.

And to be honest, anybody that follows our team, we were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak at one point and when athletes are having a lack of success like that, a lot of things can happen. Tensions can build and people get frustrated and things like that. So it was actually using the FMEA that I wanted to create and had our staff and our management in the room and to try to raise to the board that I want – I did it very much by the book. I downloaded your diagram on how to conduct one and it was very successful.

And so, everything from the health care side to even the basketball side, all these things have become enormously powerful tools for us.

Elisabeth Swan: That’s so impressive and it’s so great here and you throw out the terms Ishikawa and the Pareto charts that resulted from your categorization of the risks for the players. So can you tell me some of the most high impact changes you made or improvements you made to just all the different categories you mentioned?

Chip Schaefer: Yeah. So there are so many of these concepts that I became aware of through schooling and through my independent readings and stuff. And another one, allow me to keep – I need to throw out acronyms and phrases but some of these things when you see them for the first time, they can be very powerful to you because you just have that moment when the light bulb goes off and you just say, “This is so neat or this is awesome. I want to apply this immediately.”

And so for a few examples and some of the solutions based on what we were seeing, things like the Plan, Do, Study, Act, PDSA is a real powerful tool. So there were some things for example, there’s an Italian system that’s meant to reduce risk of ankle sprain. It is obviously a very high incident injury in the sport of basketball and it’s basically a balance wobble board that’s I guess the biofeedback that you’re trying to control the movement of the board and so it helps with proper reception and things like that and you’re building your – these small intrinsic muscles of your ankle that help control and stabilize the joint.

And so, we apply the PDSA principles with that where I don’t go into anything, any new technology saying, “Oh, this is the end all and be all.” We’re going to run it through a system here. We’re going to evaluate its effectiveness. And at the end of the year, either you adapt it because it proved to be effective or you discard it because you didn’t or you’re not sure. So maybe you run it through another cycle. But that would be one example of several …

Elisabeth Swan: Did you decide to use that one?

Chip Schaefer: Yeah, we did. That was a very successful program that we have adapted. And we think that that’s has been very impactful on one, reducing the risk of ankle sprains. And again, coming back to that original point of games lost due to injury. It’s pretty simple math when you add up the salaries of all of our players and you divide by the number of games 82, you take a player’s salary, if they missed a game, if a guy that makes $8.2 million a year, every game he misses that’s theoretically $100,000 that you’re not getting what you paid for.

And so people up the chain of command take a very serious look at that and so on those things – those injuries start adding up with high-end players, the numbers add up too. And so, anything you can do to prevent those things can be seen as really quite cost-efficient to nothing. We don’t – best decision-making on saving money to just not having players miss a game but those things are very important.

So that’s just one example of a number of things that we’ve utilized from again, from surveys and checklist and other types of analysis. It has really driven a lot of our clinical decision-making.

Elisabeth Swan: There is a great book you might like called The Checklist Manifesto. You’ve heard of that?

Chip Schaefer: I haven’t but I’m writing it down as we speak.

Elisabeth Swan: The author is Atul Gawande, G-A-W-A-N-D-E. And he is a surgeon and it’s a great quick read. He is a great writer and it’s just the power of checklist and he is basing it, obviously starting in health care. So I see how that would resonate with you.

Chip Schaefer: Right.

Elisabeth Swan: It’s interesting we had a podcast guest not long ago. She was from the hospitality, Starwood Hotels and Marriott. And they’re kind of dealing with exact same thing where it was – they’re looking at people out on Worker’s Comp or on-the-job injuries and trying to reduce those and did pretty much exactly what you did trying to analyze what were the big sources and what were the changes.

Chip Schaefer: Right.

Elisabeth Swan: So have you seen – I don’t know if you’d any opportunity but have you seen a change? Have you seen a reduction in say, ankle injuries or anything you could measure in that way?

Chip Schaefer: Yeah. No, we’ve had – I mean it’s almost impossible to get through an NBA season without having a few of those. But what’s difficult to quantify but then what you can just – so you maybe at that time lost isn’t as great because the guy has already established some strong proprioceptive skills or good strength in those little intrinsic muscles that stabilized the joint beforehand. So maybe an injury that might have had a guy out for two weeks and missed 6 to 8 games now becomes 3 days and two games and those things all add up too.

And a lot of it quite frankly is the athletes themselves wind up embracing a lot of these things and that sort of alleviates it too. So that was – that factors in as well and they are the ones that really seem to – they’re the ones that notice the difference like in the case of that assessment that they notice their ankles felt more stable any time they are overly stressed or maybe they’ve not done that program before, it would have suffered a more severe injury. And they said, “Well, I caught up myself before it rolled the way over or something.” So that really validates the whole process and their mind too,

Elisabeth Swan: So they’ve seen the difference and they are embracing the fixes you are putting through.

Chip Schaefer: I like to think so. They are not very good – they’re not doing a great job of faking it with me.

Elisabeth Swan: I’m sure you’re going to deal with that as well.

Chip Schaefer: Yeah.

Elisabeth Swan: Do you have an example of a checklist you were using or just sort of the sense of it?

Chip Schaefer: Yeah. No. So yeah, all of these things are things that have been – I got I think the checklist out. I sort of think of maybe the stereotype is the airline pilot. Check, check, and it’s sort of this check and respond checklist.

And so, if we have a routine – one of the things that has happened, the big changes in the industry like when I started with the Bulls 28 years ago, I was a staff of one. We have about seven people now that do all kind of – share the responsibility. And that’s largely due to changes in the industry. There’s a lot more emphasis on manual therapy and so you just – one person just can’t do it.

So what does happen in that instance is things can get lost in the shuffle. Imagine a big kitchen where, “I thought you made that sauce.” “Oh no, I thought you were doing it.” So that’s the value and importance of these checklists because all 13, 14, 15 of our players have specific routines like the minute before practice or before a game.

And so, we have these things, these boxes that get checked that help ensure that something doesn’t slip through the cracks and somebody doesn’t get whatever it is, the muscle activation or the joint mobilization or the particular treatment that we want them to do before every game and that we’re able to look at that checklist and ensure that there no steps were missed at all.

Elisabeth Swan: Yeah. So what was the reaction of your colleagues or I don’t know how much the players are aware of you’re using these techniques but what has been the reaction to those around you to – I’m assuming you pulled people in to have them do the Ishikawa with you.

Chip Schaefer: Yeah, very, very strong. Again, it’s so new and I think a lot of people when I shared these things with them had the same reaction that I had upon being exposed to like, “Wow!” Because particularly in – my background is both in the athletic training field and the health care side and then the sport performance side is strength and conditioning. And these two fields are very much kind of integrated with each other because I think it’s all through health care, it’s has been more of an emphasis on being proactive rather than reactive.

…it’s has been more of an emphasis on being proactive rather than reactive.

And that’s kind of typical even of American medicine traditionally is you wait until you have the symptoms before you go see the doctor. There has been a big push now and healthier lifestyles and eating a more nutrient-dense diet and increasing physical activity and trying to kind of ward off illnesses and disease rather than wait until you have it.

So the same thing is happening in our field. And it was hugely very positively embraced by everybody. I think they thought it was – I think they think that these are great concepts and the real difference makers.

What’s really interesting – one of the very – just to continue to use these terms that I became exposed to, one of the big ones was even just the first time I had heard this very simple phrase about four stages of group development which is I think Tuckman was the originator of it but this sort of the idea of forming, storming, norming, and performing.

And so when I came back to Chicago, we had a staff like I said of six, seven, or eight people that I was essentially placed in charge of. And so a lot of these people didn’t know me before or whatever. And so, you kind of go into with an expectation of, “Hey, we’re not – they’re not always expecting us to set the world on fire the first week we’re here. Let’s just get to know each other in the beginning and establish some trust.”

And of course in any group situation, there’s going to be a little storming. And frankly at the time, the organization that I was with when I first became exposed to it, it was interesting, is I was put right in the middle of some fairly heavy storming before we kind of resolved those issues and we start to norm and perform at a higher level.

And so, the group I’ve got here in Chicago now is a really outstanding staff and I’m very privileged to work with, very talented individuals. But it’s not that you don’t have your share of disagreements or have a different perspective on the best ways to resolve an issue and that’s fine. I think that debate – we’re not looking for group either. I think that some healthy debate is an integral part of a group functioning at a high level.

But no, it was received very well and continues to be even from the very beginning just something as simple as asking everyone to write a mission statement or a value statement is a very powerful thing to get everybody on the same page.

Elisabeth Swan: Yeah. No, those are great. That’s great to hear you talk about it. And also, that you’ve clearly got and had a hand in creating a culture where there is openness and people can disagree because you’re right. You’re going to have – you have stronger ideas and better risk assessment if you’ve got all the ideas on the table.

So, process improvement wise, what’s next for you?

Chip Schaefer: To grow and become more proficient in all these since I still think I’m a layman with it quite frankly. And I’m learning all the time too with it and I don’t think you can ever – one of the things I tried to be life-long learner and these things are still very new to me. And I think the more I do it, the better I get at it or that we get at it. And so, it’s just a continued on-going process that’s really never-ending.

And so, just through programs like your wonderful programs, very user-friendly I might add, I think you just keep on plugging away and learn new things and get better with the things you already know and don’t stop.

Elisabeth Swan: Don’t stop. I hear you. Well, kudos to you. This is impressive and fun to hear the actual application and that you’ve had an impact. And we’ll keep in touch with you and see what evolve because I would imagine you’re not going to stop here.

…this is a very important thing [Lean Six Sigma] and I think it’s really the missing piece for a lot of people that are in this particular field right now. And I hate to almost lose the competitive advantage of hopefully not too many NBA teams are listening to us right now.

Chip Schaefer: Yeah. Feel free to check back with me in a year and who knows what else is out there and hopefully by then I’ll become more proficient and maybe I could even get up to the next belt level with your program. Who knows? But this is a very important thing and I think it’s really the missing piece for a lot of people that are in this particular field right now. And I hate to almost lose the competitive advantage of hopefully not too many NBA teams are listening to us right now.

Elisabeth Swan: No. We’re going to keep them off the radar. And I think I see the future for you. You’re going to be the only Black Belt in the NBA.

Chip Schaefer: Yeah.

Elisabeth Swan: It will be awesome. You’ve been listening to the Just-In-Time Café Podcast. My guest today has been Chip Schaefer of the Chicago Bulls. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with our listeners, Chip.

Chip Schaefer: My pleasure, Elisabeth. Great to talk to you.

Elisabeth Swan: You too.

Tracy O’Rourke: This month, check out an Expert Excerpt by Ayesha Basheer. She came from Home Depot and now she is at AMN Healthcare. And she has some great insights on how to launch a process improvement effort. And if you haven’t yet, please sign up for the Webinar: Introduction to PDCA for a primer or refresher on this time-tested improvement model.

Elisabeth Swan: And tune in to our next episode where I interview Leslie Henckler, a mentor for a Shingo Prize winning author, Karyn Ross, and expert on getting the true voice of the customer. That’s just two weeks away.

Tracy O’Rourke: Thanks for joining us. We love having you here at the Just-In-Time Café.

Elisabeth Swan: Come back soon.

Thanks for Listening!

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