Lesson 2 of 3!

I’m a continuous improver AND a beauty pageant winner (and loser). I certainly cannot ignore the parallels between two of my favorite things – making ugly processes better and walking on-stage in 5″ high heels and a swimsuit. In this post, I’ll explain one of the parallels between CI and beauty pageants. Stay with me here….

Lesson 2 > Pageant Interview: Sharing the WHY


It is said that pageants are won and lost in the interview room. And above all, pageant interview is all about your “why”. Why did you choose to compete in this pageant? Why should the judges pick you to wear the crown? You stand in front of total strangers and attempt to convince them, in the matter of minutes, to put their trust in you. It’s about making yourself completely vulnerable and sharing your true intentions, your “why”.

It’s about making yourself vulnerable and sharing your true intentions.

This is where I see many continuous improvement projects fail to garner support. It’s completely obvious to you, the project leader, that the improvement has to be done. (And it’s obvious that you should win the pageant.) But all too often, your co-workers (or judges) don’t see it immeditately. They need to be “sold”. You and your team may have spent weeks collecting data, process mapping, and talking to stakeholders. But now you have to provide leaders and other stakeholders with a compelling case to support your effort, so you need to share your “why?”

  • Why is this project important?
  • Why should they care? (or what’s in it for me?)
  • Why do we need to change?
  • Why does the change need to happen now?

The Lesson? Figure out your why. Document it. Share it. Then re-share it.

Sharing the WHY is the first step in driving continuous improvement culture and finding success in continuous improvement projects! However, so many improvers have great ideas but fail to clearly communicate the why.

My Pageant Why? Cancer prevention, education and advocacy. I lost my mother to colon cancer when I was three years old. For the past 20 years I’ve volunteered with the American Cancer Society pursuing my dream for a world with less cancer and more birthdays!

Missed the first Lesson? Read it HERE. Ready for the next lesson? Keeping reading HERE.

Author: Allison Greco

Author: Allison Greco

Founder, CII

I created my foundation with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Over the past decade, I have held Continuous and Process Improvement roles for Black Hills Energy, Williams, the US Air Force and BNSF Railway. I’ve started new CI programs and reinvigorated stale ones. Along the way I earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and became a licensed Professional Engineer.