Vice President and Chief Learning Officer
Modern enterprises often measure learning impact with metrics, definitive numbers to support the belief that learning initiatives affect the bottom line. Raytheon Company is no different. As vice president and chief learning officer for Raytheon Company, Don Ronchi has used some 30 years of learning and development, human resources and organizational psychology experience to manage the enterprise supply chain function at his company. Ronchi was one of the original architects of Raytheon Six Sigma when the initiative was designed in 1999. Responsible for all facets of the initiative, Ronchi worked directly with Raytheon’s chairman and CEO to ensure that every one of the company’s businesses established Six Sigma objectives to enable them to reap the benefits of increased productivity, which is essentially a numbers game.
Ronchi built a learning culture where employees from all areas of the enterprise work as teams to make Raytheon customers more successful. Since launching Six Sigma, more than 2,500 projects in all parts of the company have been completed. These projects developed more than 1 percent of the employee population as Experts and qualified 18 percent as Specialists. Recently, Ronchi effectively guided a restructuring of Raytheon’s Six Sigma Expert Development Journey, further improving focus on specific functions in the Expert curriculum so that employees with the Expert designation can more quickly add value to their organizations.
The company enjoyed a substantial return on investment by encouraging its workers to develop specialized knowledge through learning. Under Ronchi’s direction, Raytheon’s Six Sigma initiatives have had significant impact on the company’s financial performance. Tuition for Expert training and mentoring is $11,000, while the average gross financial benefit per Expert is $1.1 million per year. In five years, Raytheon has realized more than $2 billion in gross financial benefit, marking the company as one of the most profitable businesses in the aerospace and defense industry in the United States. Responses to an employee opinion survey given on alternate years since the program’s implementation in 1999 indicate an increase of 41 percent of respondents who said they applied Six Sigma in their jobs in 2003. Those are definitely numbers the organization can live with.