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      Category Archives: Uncategorized

      Demystifying Complex Change Management Using the Pizza Principle

      Complex Change | By David William Lee, Change Management Expert and Contributing Writer

      A person I admire recently explained his view of managing complex change as,

      “Taking people who are in a room eating pizza, dragging them by the hair
      to another room, and forcing them to eat a slightly better pizza.”

      This image of violent change for incremental improvement is extreme, but it is representative of many change efforts I have observed and explains simply why so many of them fail. The typical approach to organizational change is top down with a specific intent driven by people who are relatively unaffected by the change. The change is often high risk where failure can have a major impact and success is often determined by achieving the change within a specific time period. As a result, resistance is combated or suppressed. A standard assumption I often hear from change practitioners is that a certain percentage of people will self-select out of the organization because they cannot adjust to the change.

      So, if people don’t like the pizza or simply object to the way they are forced fed, they are SOL?
      What if someone is allergic to an ingredient?
      What if their previous pizza was healthier?

      For some organizations, the level of energy and resources required to change in this manner generates a lot of waste, undermines trust, and achieves little for all the pains taken. Moreover, what is considered “success” leaves in its wake unforeseen and unintended circumstances. I have seen statistics stating that between 60-80% of all organizational change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives, but if we look at how many actually achieve sustainable results, the numbers are likely to be much worse. By professional application of change management methods, these odds can be improved. That is as long as the organization is not complex.

      Change in a Complex Environment

      In a complex change environment, challenges are magnified because of diversity, rendering typical organizational change management methods inadequate at best. These methods assume that change occurs linearly through successive efforts and that by building consensus, people will ultimately support the change.

      In fact, many changes are happening simultaneously, sometimes hidden from sight, and the consensus solutions only lead to dissatisfaction and frustration. The change will either have no application or undermine the interests of the agents. It may have unforeseen impacts or be one of many forces impacting them that cannot be reconciled. As a result, many people will openly reject the change or create shadow systems to maintain the status quo.

      By looking at organizational change through a Complexity Lens we have an opportunity to see that our assumptions about change… need to change. Here are some of the ways to consider a complex change:

      Change is normal and multi-linear: Change is not an event with a beginning, middle and end to be endured. Instead, it is inevitable, perpetual, and happens simultaneously all over the organization.

      Change comes from many sources: Change is not driven from the top but comes as a result of many factors and influences. Bottom-up change efforts are recognized and valued.

      Complex change is affected by internal & external conditions: Change is impacted, not only by what is going on inside the organization but also what is changing in the external landscape. The adaptive organization remains ready to adjust to the outside environment.

      Successful change comes from observing & adapting: The outcome of complex organizational change may have a destination in mind, but the adaptive organization does not try to predict what may occur along the way. Instead, continuous observation and adaptation is used to make small adjustments like a ship correcting its course.

      Change is efficient and results from many smaller/low-risk interventions: Changes occur at the lowest levels of the organization. This is enabled through the creation of connectivity and establishment of simple rules. As a result, the interventions are smaller while the risk is isolated. Once success is achieved at one level, the change is escalated for consideration at the next level further mitigating the risk.

      Differences drive complex change: Resistance simply means that people have competing attractors. Identifying these differences allows for greater adaptation and drives better solutions. Finding a common attractor can help immensely.

      Balanced dissent and cooperation is optimal: Dissent amplifies the differences and is to be explored. Where opportunities to cooperate are identified without sacrificing on essential local requirements, synergies exist. Where cooperation would be damaging to one or more players or bring down the satisfaction of whole, other solutions are sought out. Consensus is failure.

      Under these assumptions, organizational transformation happens differently. Structuring for complex change requires a framework that allows for emergent behavior so that each agent or group make changes that at once align with the organization and meet local needs.

      Let’s stretch our metaphor to the limit and see how it can work.

      In this case, we may still make pizza, but people are encouraged to make their own small pizzas while experimenting with different ingredients. The dough, spices, utensils and oven are all provided (as part of the change framework), but each cook designs their pizza according to their own preferences, desires, and tastes. Some may decide that calzone is better while others may decide to use lavash bread to keep it healthy. A number of cooks may share recipes and partner on a pizza, or they may choose to make a single pizza with some ingredients on one side and different ingredients on the other. Once the pizzas are made, everybody gets to sample the results. If one or two pizzas prove to be popular, then more of these pizzas are made to share. If no optimum is achieved, everyone continues to experiment within the pizza framework.

      Now isn’t that a nicer picture than being dragged by the hair for incremental results? What is interesting is how it works. Whether looking at the way organisms adapt or how companies like Lego or Pixar create, this balance of top down and bottom up adaptation is highly efficient and it can be applied differently depending on the environment. Of course, change starts with an idea. Innovation is what adaptation is really about and Change Management is in inexorably linked to it. A truly adaptive organization never ceases to innovate and remains in a continuous state of complex change. Integrating these two systems is the path toward efficient adaptation. But, what is innovation and how can it best be encouraged? This is something we will address in the future discussions.

      Technological Evolution Creates a New Breed of CIOs

      By Ralph Stauffer, MSSBTA Consulting Manager, January 2021

      Evolution is an often misunderstood concept.  Our elementary vision of it is of fish growing legs, crawling out of the muck as alligators turning into rodents then monkeys then apes and finally something resembling people.  Of course, this is not how it works. In fact, evolution is quite complex. On one hand, it requires billions of mutations spread over millions of organisms. Many failures die out while others stick and eventually the whole system reaches a tipping point leading to a great evolutionary leap. On the other hand, drastic environmental changes can lead to significant mutations within a few generations. Both types of evolution are relevant when looking at digital transformational and the role of the CIO.

      How Technological Evolution Happens

      Technological evolution follows similar patterns as biological.  Much of it happens as a result of millions of small innovative changes that take place before the next technological era occurs.  Take for example, the transition between the agrarian age to the industrial age.  Many innovations, discoveries and failures were made over hundreds of years until they culminated into the technologies that enabled mass production. This similar process has been taking place over several decades culminating in the digital age.

      Just some examples of current technological “mutations” include:

      • Blockchain – Distributed electronic transactions,
      • Drones – Unmanned autonomous vehicles,
      • Internet of Things (IoT) – Any device connected and exchanging information over the Internet,
      • Robots – Virtual agents assisting humans,
      • 3D Printing – Manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects,
      • Virtual Reality – Simulated images that viewers can realistically interact,
      • Augmented Reality – Virtual reality overlaid on the physical world, and
      • Artificial Intelligence – Automating human intelligence

      Any of the above can be considered a major advancement in applied technology, but we happen to exist in a time when they are all maturing into useful applications simultaneously and being used to transform entire industries. It is from this aggregated development and maturity that we will likely see the next great leap as these new technologies come together to create the next tipping point.

      One specific example of how this works is Jaguar’s augmented reality windscreens.  You may have heard of heads up displays (HUD) for fighter jets. Essentially, it is a transparent display that presents data in a view that allows the pilot to see the information and the viewpoints beyond.  Well, Jaguar is also applying this technology to their automobiles.  The HUD highlights obstacles in red, yellow, or green to indicate their distance.  It allows the driver to see through the sides of the car so they appear to be fully transparent.  It can even project a “ghost car” that the driver can simply follow instead of listening or looking down to a navigation device.  Meanwhile, Tesla, Google, and Uber are taking it to the next level by producing cars that can autopilot or don’t even need a driver in the car.  These changes are literally transforming the automotive industry.

      As the bridges between accessibility, artificial intelligence, and automation closes, organizations move faster and faster and bring us closer to the evolutionary tipping point.  One day, in the future, we will be able to clearly identify the “mutations” that enabled the leap to occur like the ape tossing the bone in 2001 a Space Odyssey (that, when tossed, turned into a satellite), but in the midst of the process, the specific contributions are difficult to foresee. We just know it is coming.

      How Must CIOs Adapt?

      For the CIO this presents a challenge. The CIO has to evolve as well, but in the way that responds rapidly to the new environment. There are so many possibilities and opportunities, yet the outcome is uncertain. So, how do you know what strategies to pursue and when to pursue them? How do you know what capabilities to build when you are not certain of the requirements?

      While the final evolution of the CIO’s role in technological evolution is uncertain, there are several steps that one can take to be to be prepared for the environment:

      The Business Strategist – The CIO has a new role in leading business initiatives rather than just the technology applications.  The focus of the CIO is changing from that of controlling IT spend to meeting and managing business outcomes.  You need to review your strategic planning from a Business-IT alignment point of view, establish a clear vision based on business objectives, and develop an agile execution approach.  Moving faster only helps if you are moving in the right direction.  Otherwise, you might find yourself in Death Valley when you were trying to get to Yellowstone.

      The Change Leader – CIO’s are often responding to or causing change. But you also need to be a change leader which means becoming a visible and active advocate communicating the purpose of change and the expected results to the employees and stakeholders. A CIO cannot afford to be an introvert. You need to engage and interact face to face with all constituents.  This will enable you to accelerate change when necessary and keep the organization engaged.

      The Framework Architect – Volatility and uncertainty mean that the CIO also needs to develop an ecosystem and structure that is flexible and adaptable to variation.  This goes against the grain of traditional, hierarchical command and control approaches into more organic structures where team members are embedded into the organization they serve, collecting intelligence and testing innovations. This way when one or more components changes the ecosystem to adapt. Just like a smart phone can incorporate different apps within a single framework.

      The Bimodal Manager – A CIO needs to have an innate ability to manage both stability and innovation at the same time.  This might be accomplished with separate teams each focused on either stability or innovation, or separate projects with a different focus but using the same resources.  The key is both stability and innovation need to co-exist throughout technological evolution.

      The Keeper of Data – After all of the strategy discussions, where the rubber meets the road is with your data.  No matter where your ever-changing path leads you, your data needs to be there with you.  Now, where it is stored, how it is stored, and how it is retrieved may all change, but in the end you will always need quality data (customers, products, clients, staff, etc.).   Your data needs to be in an agile environment and available so the business can respond to an ever-changing market.  Yes, if you don’t already have a BI tool you could go out and get one, but you need to be thinking large scale.  In order to evolve you need to think not just outside of the box, but outside of all existing boundaries.

      The Chief Security Officer – Protecting data extends to ensuring that the data you keep it safe from intrusion. This is more and more a challenge as there are more entry points and methods available for those who want to benefit from your data or just want to disrupt the world. You must be on top of these methods but also build systems that adapt and advance faster than those with bad intentions can think.

      As technological evolution happens through the trial-and-error method until the tipping point is reached, the CIO needs to evolve by being responsive to the environment over a short period.  Fast, flexible, and fluid are all traits that are import, as is being the sponsor of change. In the end, when we look back we will see that it was the CIO with the combination of great leadership skills and promoting innovative change that really led us all into the next digital age.

      Podcast: Get to Know SWAE and Yuma Regional Medical Center


      An Introduction to Baldrige with the Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE)

      Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) members Carl Herring and Karen Shepard provide an in-depth introduction to the Baldrige framework of business transformation and it’s application. With the mission to empower organizations to pursue performance excellence, improve outcomes and contribute to the economic strength of their community and state, Carl and Karen discuss how Baldrige methodology holds the potential to positively alters the foundation of many organizations. The discussion was led by David William Lee of MSSBTI.


      Download this podcast: Introduction to Baldrige by SWAE


      SWAE Baldrige Implementation at Yuma Regional Medical Center

      The team of Yuma Regional Medical Center joins David William Lee in an animated discussion of the SWAE Baldrige Framework’s implementation. In the conversation is Robert Trenschel, President & Chief Executive Officer of Yuma Regional Medical Center, Deborah Aders, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services and Woody Martin, Chairman of the Yuma Regional Medical Center. The group discusses their application of the Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) “Baldrige” Framework for the past 5 years. Discussed is the journey through the implementation process of this business transformation module. The group expands on the execution of this framework in a uniquely high risk, high expectation environment of a hospital.


      Download this podcast: Baldrige Implementation at Yuma Regional Medical Center


      Webinar: Accelerating High Performance Team Development

      MSS Webinar

      Download a PDF copy of Team Mapping

      Accelerating High Performance Team Development utilizes an easy-to-understand 3D visual called Team Mapping that represents organizational relationships and identifies opportunities to improve in the areas of Communication, Cooperation, and Leadership and Decision Making.

      See first-hand how Team Mapping works as MSSBTI Executive Director David Lee reviews a recent client Case Study and covers the benefits of Team Mapping, how it works, and the 3D software utilized.

      This is a great opportunity to get an up-close look at how Team Mapping works and how it can benefit your team.  Learn more about Accelerated Programs and High Performance Team Development.

      Podcast: From Nearly Turned Out to Successfully Turned Around with Tim O’Neal


      With nearly three decades of experience working in the thrift industry, Tim O’Neal has spent the past 18 years focused on the mission of fighting unemployment in the state of Arizona. When O’Neal was brought on with Goodwill of Central Arizona, the organization was in serious financial trouble and at risk of having its membership removed by Goodwill Industries International.

      O’Neal’s arrival marked a turning point in the 70-year history of the organization, and his leadership was instrumental in keeping the organization running by increasing retail operations by 3000 percent during his tenure as the Vice President of Retail Operations

      During this Podcast, we discuss the transformation and growth of Goodwill of Arizona into one of the top 3 Goodwill organizations in the world.

      If you would like a tour of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona’s facilities contact Tim at





      Delivering Project Results

      Delivering Project Results program is intended to lay the foundation for applying change management on projects. The goal is to connect employee adoption and usage with the results and outcomes of your projects, and understand how change management drives increased adoption and usage.

      Program Length

      • 4-6 hours

      Intended Audience

      • Intact project teams
      • Project leaders
      • Solution developers
      • Lean and Six Sigma practitioners
      • Organization Excellence practitioners
      • Organization Development practitioners

      Ideal Size

      • 10-15 participants

      Success Factors

      • Sponsorship
      • Managing expectations
      • Completing pre-program work
      • Familiarity with project management

      For more about Delivering Project Results, contact us at 602-387-2100 or  Workshop can be performed at MSSBTI facilities in Central Phoenix, AZ or onsite at the client location.

      High Performance Team Development

      ASAP™ High Performance Team Development

      The High Performance Leadership Development program is a unique method for facilitating increased communication, collaboration and decision making across teams at all levels in an organization. Based on the concepts developed by Radvan Bahbouh PhD, Charles University in Prague, the ASAP™ method is utilized by elite special forces teams in NATO and has been adapted to work within organizations of all types including Dell, T-Mobile, Jackson Health, and the European Space Agency.

      Utilizing 3D, the facilitation approach starts with an intuitive, easy-to-grasp, display that uncovers challenges and opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden. From here, the facilitator works with the teams to develop immediately actionable plans to improve their performance. Whether you are forming a project team, building a new department or transforming a large organization, the ASAP™ High Performance Team Development program will help you get a jump start in a matter of days and track your team development to its potential.


      Develop your High Performance Team.  Contact David Lee, MSSBTI Executive Director, at 602-387-2128 or

      Program Audience

      • Business leaders and their teams
      • Teams at any organizational level
      • Limited to 20 people per session

      Type of Program

      • Workshop


      • 1 day per session
        1-hour follow up for tracking improvements (recommend a least one per program)

      Expected Outcomes

      • Action plan for step–level improvement in team performance
      • Ability to track progress with intuitive visual tools
      • Accountability for changes in team dynamics
      • Revelation of hidden perspectives
      • Desire for continuous improvement


      • Immediate results within a month and ongoing trackable improvement
      • Safe, open (but challenging) approach to team development
      • Elimination of barriers and silos
      • Alignment of priorities & actions across participants
      • High impact that enables teams to improve their performance in the short- and long-term


      • Strategic Business Planning
      • Opportunity Prioritization
      • Outcome Alignment
      • Product Development/Innovation Decisions
      • Organizational Improvement Priorities
      • Requirements Gathering/Definition
      • Project Development


      • All workshops can be performed at MSSBTI facilities in Central Phoenix, AZ or onsite at the client location

      Podcast – Cyber Security: Not a Technology Issue – A Transformational Business Strategy

      Airing on December 5, 2017, this podcast provides C-level perspective on building a transformational cyber security strategy that creates value for the organization while protecting its most valuable – nonhuman – asset; its data. Our expert panelists address the ubiquitous nature of the cyber security issue, how to set and achieve expectations from your cyber security strategy, what to expect from a Chief Information Security Officer, and how cyber security adds value in business terms.

      Dr. Roméo Farinacci is a senior security consultant with Terra Verde Services, specializing in security program development, risk management, security architectures, and risk assessments. He brings over 20 years dedicated IT/Security experience and 5 years consultation of complex enterprise infrastructures in public, private, and government sectors. Roméo’s passion in cyber security enables him to effectively develop and communicate change strategies for improving the security posture of organizations. His education portfolio includes a Doctorate in Management with an emphasis in Information Systems Technology, an MBA in International Business and an MS in Information Technology. He also has the following professional certifications: CISSP, CISM, PMP, GSLC, and Six Sigma Green Belt / Lean.

      Kim L. Jones is a 31-year intelligence, security, and risk management professional with expertise in information security strategy; governance & compliance; security operations; and risk management. Professor Jones is a former Chief Security Officer who has built, operated, and/or managed information security programs within the financial services, defense, healthcare, manufacturing, and business outsourcing industries. Jones holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a Masters Degree in Information Assurance from Norwich University.  He also holds the CISM and CISSP certifications.

      Download the podcast


      OCM podcast

      Podcast: Supply Chain – from Process to Integrated Performer


      This Podcast discusses supply chain the transformation point of view. Specifically, we are considering what organizations can do to ensure that their supply chain is adaptable and able to absorb disruptive forces. We exist in volatile and uncertain times with high variability that can have massively disrupting impacts. How does a leader prepare and transform its organization to thrive in such an environment?

      Dr. Greg Grindey heads the Public Sector Solutions Department at LLamasoft, Inc. overseeing projects in the military, Government, and Global Health spheres. He joined LLamasoft in October, 2008 after working for the previous 6 years at Northrop Grumman, and has worked for the past fourteen years as a senior analyst for the United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, first under the Strategy, Policy, Programs, and Logistics directorate (J5/4), and most recently with the Joint Distribution Process Analysis Center (JDPAC).

      Sr. Director of Planning & Procurement at Katerra, Heather Tammelleo is an APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional and S&OP certificate holder, and a graduate of Arizona State University. She has nearly 15 years of progressively responsible supply chain experience across a number of organizations and industries. Throughout her supply chain career, Heather has focused on development of meaningful metrics that drive organizational focus and action. Among these are inventory management, customer fill rates, forecast accuracy, etc.  Additionally, she is an experienced leader in driving the development and implementation of, and continuous improvements to Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) processes.

      Download the full Supply Chain podcast