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Building Leaders’ Strengths in a Virtual World

Leadership development can be an organization’s impetus for organic growth and workforce engagement. As the year ends, it is a typical practice for many organizations to identify their high potential and top talents in a roster of the leadership pipeline as a critical succession strategy. 

Such is the case for a financial services company, whose goal is to continuously develop their people managers in the organization. And it is more crucial now, given the circumstance of the need to strengthen leadership capability in managing people virtually; there is the realization that there is a certain uniqueness in a virtual environment versus face-to-face or on-site managing. 


From Classroom to Zoom

Through a re-designed instructor-led approach, learning opportunities in discovering one’s leadership style and management capabilities were surfaced, and there was an emphasis in applying the management functions to actual projects and initiatives. The need to be structured in establishing the blueprint for executing the plans can be appreciated most especially, in identifying and engaging interdependent work units. It has been a common misstep that ‘other’ work units are not determined at the onset; for example, for a system-related project wherein Group A is the project owner, the supporting resources identified are the leaders or the management team that belong in Group A. That is an understandable route because these are the decision-makers who set the direction and provide the necessary approvals. However, a big lesson to be learned here is that alongside the key stakeholders, the rest of the support groups should be set up early as well. This refers to the IT support group, the developers, folks from a quality, administration team, and human resources. Early engagement with all the support groups means immediate collaborative efforts coming to life and breaking that silo mentality, and thus, can be much easier to sustain throughout the life cycle of that initiative.


Leaders See, Hear and Feel

In addition to being functional experts, effective leaders should possess a good understanding of organizational behaviors and motivation. One ought to be unflinching in facing the main challenge that any leader is confronted with: to be placed in an uncomfortable situation where they had to manage difficult conversations such as correcting the mistakes of another, managing unmet expectations or dealing with non-performers. An application of this simple, yet effective lesson in these scenarios was put into action: keep communication lines open. Even if communicating virtually, invite them to turn on their videos. Be observant by using both eyes and ears. Be sensitive to silence, to the tone and pitch of voice. Solicit verbal confirmation so the other party becomes more confident in expressing their selves. 

Overall, a significant lesson gained is that leadership is not just about being a technical guru. It takes a holistic approach in which relevant tools and techniques in performing the essential management functions are flourished throughout the learning experience, then nurtured long-term. Leadership proves itself to be a journey indeed because it must be developed as a habit over time. It is continuous, done every day as you log in to work – virtual or not.


A Fulfilled Collaboration

Whitehall Consulting had the pleasure to be an instrumental partner in this organization’s thrust in leadership development. Being online-ready for learning is our way of ensuring that the organization’s needs for learning and development are fully and effectively met in any circumstance. 

These are the top three feedback from the participants of the course, ‘Developing Everyday Managers.’

“Even at Zoom, it was really interactive.”

“All concepts of management were discussed with examples and explanations.”

“Participants were engaged by doing some exercises/role-playing.”



Investing in the process improvement mindset

Innovative physical assets, the latest technology, a well-researched business strategy – all of these contribute to ensuring successful business operations. According to any top company, in any industry, the key to a successful business isn’t any of these things mentioned. The core of successful businesses are engaged and empowered employees.

Stolt-Nielsen Global Shared Service Center (GSSC) in Manila advocates this way of thinking and this is why they have invested in Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Yellow Belt certification for their selected employees. LSS is a method that combines lean manufacturing and Six Sigma to systematically remove waste and reduce variations.

“Our strategy is to become a competitive advantage for our businesses so as a GSSC, we need to deliver reliable, efficient and cost-competitive end-to-end process services so the business can focus on optimizing operations,” says Raymond Hartmans, Operational Finance Director, GSSC Netherlands based in Rotterdam HQ. “To be able to fulfil this, we need to train and educate our GSSC employees in continuously questioning or challenging themselves and others on what, why and how they are doing their work and become more focused on improving what we are doing. This is how we will become more reliable and efficient in providing higher quality services. Training our people in LSS is one of the ways to achieve this.”

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Start your Process Improvement journey. Enroll in the Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt on March 13 & 20 via Zoom. Click here for more details. Reply to this email to reserve your seat.

Improving Business Results using Lean Six Sigma

What is the value of a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt in a business? We sat down with April Musa-Marinay, entrepreneur and business owner of BOAZ  Pest Control Services, and asked exactly the same questions you may have.

Why did you seek professional certification?

Would like to be certified. Also to resolve some issues at the office Six Sigma way.

What value has the certification brought to you and your business?

While doing DMAIC, a lot have been processed and resolved in between. Just by doing the Swim Lane and SIPOC through brainstorming with the group, awareness and consciousness of each team member arose. More collaboration efforts have been observed with the team too. It also paved the way for clarifying job standards and key performance indicators for employees.


How did the professional certification help you grow in your role?

I have become more critical and objective in analyzing things. I have become aware of the importance of participative leadership instead of the authoritative leadership I do before.

What is your key take away from your professional certification journey?

Looking back at how I consolidated my data set for the GB project, I reckon the data shows a lot of noise (outliers). So much of my energy and annoyance were spent being angry about this, but when I removed the outliers, and my data have normalized, I realized that we still are in a pretty bad position, but not really that bad. The Certification helped me look better at the information that is being shown my way, instead of being reactive to a non-conclusive set of information. I think it made me do my job better as a manager and as an entrepreneur.

Start your Lean Six Sigma journey with us. Email us at info@whitehall.com.ph to start the first step of process improvement in your organization.

Invest in your career in the new normal

What is the value of professional certification and how does it enable the development of the employee?  We sat down with Jun Nicerio, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and asked exactly the same questions you may have. Jun is an operations manager in the contact center industry.

Why did you seek professional certification?

I seek for professional certification to be able to gain more technical skills relative to my role as Contact Centre Manager. Furthermore, in today’s competitive arena  experience is no longer enough in my personal opinion, solid professional experience plus technical expertise is a must.

What value has the certification brought to your career?

I became more confident in my job execution specifically in the aspect of performance improvement/management and I was able to gain more respect from my colleagues and direct reports.

How did the professional certification help you grow in your role?

After my certification, my organization has given me vital responsibility to be part of the implementation of our very first  performance management process. The technical skills I’ve learned from my training played a very important role in the execution of my duties and tasks as a project member. 

What is your key take away from your professional certification journey?

I think my favorite takeaway is that  learning never stops after your training or certifications, you will appreciate more the value of what you’ve learned once you put everything into practice.

Start your Lean Six Sigma journey with us. Email us at info@whitehall.com.ph to start the first step of process improvement in your organization.

Are you seeking a professional certification?

We sat down with Sheryl Perez, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from a technology company, about her thoughts on the value of certification in her profession.

Why did you seek professional certification?

The reason I seek for Green Belt certification (GB) is to enhance my skills and knowledge when it comes to using and interpreting statistical tools and results, to which I see that my current field of work is of great need.

Aside from that I honestly feel like it will give me a deep sense of professional achievement and an enhanced professional image, which it just did, after I received my certificate.

What value has the certification brought to you and/or your work?

The certification has helped me deal with data analysis with more confidence, especially when it comes to decision making, because I am supported by data driven results with statistical interpretation.

Has your professional certification helped you grow in your job/role? If so, in what way/s?

Achieving GB certification helped me think more lean and get excited to look and initiate improvement activities that I can contribute to the company.

It doesn’t feel like  an added responsibility or a role expansion, but it is being able to constantly practice the learnings, grow more  and share the knowledge to colleagues and influence them to start doing things in a sigma approach so we are in the common page when dealing with data analysis.

What do you consider your favorite/greatest learning/take away from your professional certification journey?

My favorite part from my professional certification journey is how my project support group collaborate and brainstorm ideas, and being able to share with them the tools and other learnings I have from the training, which makes them a little amazed.

Aside from that, seeing that Sigma approach really does have an impact on improving things, I think that’s my most favorite in this whole certification journey.

Start your Lean Six Sigma journey now. Join the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Program ONLINE.

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification ONLINE program (via Zoom) 
November 7 & 14 | 1-5 PM
Regular Rate: Php 7,990.00 (VAT inclusive)
Payable until November 05, 2020 only.
Super Saver Promo: Php 5,990.00 (VAT inclusive)
Save P2,000 Payable until October 23, 2020 only.


Eight (8) training contact hours
Up to 45 minutes personalized coaching
Yellow Belt e-tool kit (Templates, guides, examples, and access to online classroom)

Register Now!

How to overcome resistance to change

In an organization with flatter hierarchical structures, high impact teams are smaller, agile and are formed to benefit from individual specialization without regard to a ‘pecking order’. Even though these teams are assigned to provide maximum flexibility in a continuous changing environment, there are still some who are resistant to change.

Overcoming resistance to change in an organization  doesn’t have to be a constant battle. Change transformation requires forward-looking and proactive energy, so resistance to change can be reduced and eventually eliminated.

Do you know that according to the 2013 PwC survey, nearly ⅔ of employees surveyed felt that top leaders are responsible for change and half felt that top leaders should be in charge of cultural change?

To influence those who are resistant to change, a leader must be potent to change. Here are 7 strategies for overcoming resistance to change in an organization:

  1. Structure the team to maximize its potential

  2. Set challenging, achievable and engaging targets

  3. Resolve conflicts quickly and effectively

  4. Show passion

  5. Be persuasive

  6. Empower innovation and creativity

  7. Remain positive and supportive

Employees expect their leaders to manage changes. Leaders create a culture where change becomes the responsibility of all.

Lean Six Sigma Deployment: Leadership Insights

What does it take to successfully deploy Lean Six Sigma in organizations and why does it matter? We asked Whitehall Certified Leaders, Ernesto Manuel Jr., Senior Managers for Operational Excellence at Asurion; Jeffrey Solis, Global Continuous Improvement Manager at Panalpina; Melvin John Dela Pena, Operations Excellence Manager at a technology company; and Christeen Cereno, Credit Card Excellence Leader at Home Credit Philippines.

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Working from home tips during the pandemic

Since 2015, the Whitehall team has its employees work remotely from home. As COVID-19 pandemic impacts our communities and businesses, many of our customers are doubling down on work-from-home practices or trying it for the first time. We are sharing some of the tips that helped us successfully make this transition.  


Communicate clearly and deliberately

According to Barbara Larson, a professor of management at the Northeastern University of Boston who studies remote working, “Have really clear-set expectations for communications day-to-day. Ask your manager if they don’t mind having a 10-minute call to kick off the day and wrap up the day. Often times, managers just haven’t thought of it. When you communicate with the team, treat it as if talking face-to-face.”


Treat work-from-home as if it’s a real job

Do the preparations you do as if you’re preparing for work. Allot a space for your work to help you increase productivity. “Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand: ‘When the door is closed, pretend I’m not there,’” says Kristen Shockley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia.

Always remember to unplug after-work hours and do things to set yourself up for work like drinking coffee and exercising.


Don’t feel isolated

With the rise of the COVID-19 cases, we are required to work-from-home. This prolonged set-up will create problems aside from reduced productivity. Employees who are parents, for example, it will be hard for them to work at home because their children might be a handful, and managers must be extra understanding. 

It is suggested by the experts that creating normalcy and camaraderie helps to increase productivity and morale for the employees. For example, host virtual parties or happy hours where employees can have downtime to socialize via Skype or Zoom.


Keep your spirits up

In these tough times, an increase of effort by the managers is a must for the employees’ well-being and for them not to feel isolated.

According to the experts, A short period of working from home (2-4 weeks) can be painful but bearable. While a  longer period of working from home (2-3 months of full-time working) can lead to serious economic and health problems.

You may leverage online interactions through video calls or manager check-ins especially to the employees who are living alone or isolated. You may allot time on talking freely with the employee and avoid talking about work. 

A manager must provide clear communication to their employees since most of us are vulnerable to stress these days. As a manager, accept the difficulty and stress but don’t forget to cheer the team. 

Overcoming challenges and difficulties: an integral part of the Lean Six Sigma Journey

We had a chat with Mikko Pasco, Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and asked his insights as he completed another milestone in his Lean Six Sigma journey. Mikko is currently the Process Excellence Manager of Home Credit Philippines.


Whitehall: What was your key learning from your GB project?

Mikko: Projects rarely go in a smooth-sailing fashion. It is normal if your project took a slight detour.

Whitehall: How does the professional certification program impact your work and career?

Mikko: I was recently hired for a more challenging role as a Process Excellence Manager; which is not only responsible in leading projects, but also in coaching and mentoring other ongoing GB proponents.

Whitehall: What advice do you give to aspiring GBs?

Mikko: Always communicate – with your sponsor, stakeholders, members, and coaches. They can help you. You all want the same thing – meet the project goal. 

Whitehall: What is your plan to continue practicing as a GB?

Mikko: I’m looking forward in pursuing my Black Belt Certification this year while managing a portfolio of 30+ GB projects in my current stint.

Level up your career. Start your Lean Six Sigma journey now. To know more, send us an email: info@whitehall.com.ph