Cultivating a Culture of High Performance

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACOLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s new Center for Professional Solutions kicked-off service to the corporate community in Columbus with a Lean Six-Sigma Yellow Belt Certification workshop on September 16. The workshop was offered in partnership with Riverwood Associates, an Atlanta-based company that provides operational training and consulting to organizations working to improve performance levels, and was hosted by Synovus.

The Center for Professional Solutions is a new service of Columbus State University’s Division of Continuing Education that focuses on performance improvement through consultation and training to the Columbus, GA region. “We aim to be the primary resource within our region for helping companies identify and close the gap between current and desired performance,” says Susan Wirt, Executive Director for Continuing Education.

The core offerings of the Center for Professional Solutions include Lean Six Sigma, project management, outsourcing contracts, labor issues and risk management, contract law and intellectual property for the business manager. In addition, the center provides information technology and business intelligence consultation and training in partnership with Columbus State’s IT Innovation Center.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGroups from the private and public sector came together for this event at Synovus to learn proven techniques and practical tools for reducing waste, increasing profitability, improving quality and driving overall business improvement.

Lean Six Sigma offers a powerful methodology and set of tools for improving business processes. Many organizations have adopted Lean Six Sigma — manufacturing, service, healthcare and government — to significantly improve their bottom line and customer experience. The Yellow Belt is the first step for those new to Lean Six Sigma. This Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification was the second in a series of workshops that will be offered through this unique partnership.

Peter J. Sherman, Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with 20+ years of experience, lead this day of training. One goal of this certification is to cultivate a culture of high organizational performance and to provide a high performance workforce with solid skills in problem solving, analytical and critical thinking and decision-making.   Participants, working in teams, learned how to prepare a Voice of the Customer (VOC), map a current state process to identify and quantify gaps, and perform root cause analysis. When asked why Lean Six Sigma is so important, Peter replied, "Organizations are looking for people who can break down problems and solve them quickly and effectively. The skills we learned today are relevant for anyone in today's workforce."

"The entire day was insightful,” stated Amanda Lewis, a workshop participant. “The Center for Professional Solutions delivered on quality and professionalism. Peter Sherman from Riverwood Associates created that personal touch by really getting to know us as individuals. There was great synergy in the room that added even more value to the information that was received." Forty-seven participants benefited from this learning environment charged by the synergies created among the diverse group of participants as they became certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belts. Participants from the private sector included Aflac, Columbus Specialty Hospital, Communicorp, DMI Columbus, Golden Peanut, Kellogg, Panasonic Energy Corporation, Paragon Benefits, OmegaFi, Synovus and Tensar. Those from the public sector included Columbus State University, Columbus Water Works and the Muscogee County School System.

In early December, the Center for Professional Solutions and Riverwood Associates will be offering a Green Belt Certification, the next step in the Lean Six Sigma methodology.  Information about the Green Belt program can be found online at or

For 40 years, the Columbus State Division of Continuing Education has served as the center for lifelong learning by providing innovative educational training and personal enrichment opportunities for students, businesses and community partners in Columbus, Georgia area.

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