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Lean Six Sigma

Demystifying Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is linked to some myth that are unjustified and merely a result of half-knowledge or wrong assumptions. Therefore, let’s try to demystifying lean six sigma:

MYTH: LEAN SIX SIGMA IS THE LEAN, THE SLIM VERSION OF SIX SIGMA.

The truth is: Lean Six Sigma is the advanced version of Six Sigma. It combines two powerful toolboxes, Lean and Six Sigma.

Lean has been developed by Toyota starting after WWII under the name of Toyota Production System which has been contributing as a major factor to Toyota’s world-wide success in making the most reliable cars available for an affordable price.

Six Sigma was a major means during and the result of Motorola’s successful fight for survival in their bleeding TV business during the mid-eighties.

Whereas Lean focusses on waste reduction in all kind of processes by cutting out unnecessary activities, Six Sigma helps to reduce variation and increase predictability in the steps that are really necessary.

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Lean Six Sigma, Working Capital

Working Capital Meets Lean Six Sigma

Working capital is influenced by a complex system consisting of external and internal factors as well as strategic decisions. External drivers are composed of economy, cost of capital, regulations and market position. Strategic decisions include geographies of customers and suppliers, customer mix and vertical integration. Tactical factors are policies, processes and metrics, systems and tools and also the degree of execution of the former. Whilst external drivers and strategic considerations cannot be subject of short-term changes to gain cash advantage, tactical factors definitely are. Lean Six Sigma helps to analyse the drivers and their impact on the working capital situation. Working Capital meets Lean Six Sigma.

BPR, Lean Six Sigma, Operations

Nuts and Bolts of Project Selection

The art and science of project selection for improvement projects is one that most organisations take rather seriously. Some companies in a variety of industries have developed highly sophisticated methods for project screening and selection to ensure that the projects they choose offer the best promise of success.

Even without having such kind of method at hand, it is necessary and possible to screen projects before embarking on them. Some common sense questions may help:

1. Why is This Project Worth Doing?

Project Selection is not a Result of Gambling

Project Selection is not a Result of Gambling

Every project must have a crystal clear business case. The first reason for this is that the project needs support by not only the sponsor but also other stakeholders in order to be successful. This support can be ‘organised’ by deriving the compelling need for this project from Customer Satisfaction, Financial Benefits or Employee Engagement reinforced by rock solid data. The positive side effect of having this kind of business case is that the team will likely be more motivated to spend their extra time on this kind of effort.

Pareto charts are powerful management tools to explain business case and therefore support project selection. Do not forget to have financial calculations be signed off by the experts.

2. Why is it Important to do This Project Now?

A business case that shows a growing backlog, a decrease in customer satisfaction or employee engagement over time is a compelling reason for doing this project now. If, in contrast, the situation has been getting better over time, i.e. the backlog is melting away as a result of other initiatives, it is much harder to justify this project. Then the question really is: Can we not sit by and wait for the problem to resolve itself?

A simple time series plot may help to understand the history and even to forecast the future.

3. What are the Consequences of not Doing This Project?

Sitting by and waiting will not be a good idea if the problem might grow in future. Knowing the current state well is a prerequisite. And, having a more than rough appraisal of the future demand as well as the expected changes in the industry will enable some good assumptions that help to heighten the need for the said project. These assumptions may be used to create a basic simulation to generate credible data before project selection.

The resulting scenario, well presented to the management, will certainly generate support for your project idea.

4. Which Activities Could Disguise Your Project Results?

No organisation has only one initiative or project running at any given point in time. Usually, there are plenty of overlapping activities changing the business environment on a larger or smaller scale every day. Such activities may have affected historical data why it is not always wise to use a long data window for deriving the business case without ensuring that the tackled process was more or less undisturbed. Such activities may as well confound with your project work in future. If you already know that there will be unrelated changes that will affect your process, make sure you have a chance to see which process change triggers what change in the result. Without that, you may get improvements but you do not know why.

Ensuring a very close-loop, data-driven cause-effect-chain for all activities will help untangling the coils. Based on that, the project selection has more foundation.

5. How Does it Fit With Business Objectives and Targets?

If the business case is important enough, related KPI’s will be on some managers’ scorecards. These managers will be supporting this project naturally since it drives their targets and hence the business objectives. In case the suggested project is targeting on improving something that is not someone’s KPI or is not even measured yet, two situations can occur:

Firstly, the project idea may not be a good idea after all.

Or secondly, it is certainly a good idea and it needs to be made a KPI as soon as possible. Then, it should  appear on the management dashboard frequently.

All project proposals should be linkable to the organisation’s or departmental dashboards, hence must have someone with ‘skin in the game’ who is likely the project sponsor.

Conclusion

Starting projects ill-prepared is much worse than not starting at all. Failures in project selection usually lead to frustration amongst team members and confusion within the organisation. It will make your initiative a nonstarter if this happens at the beginning. Time well spent in selecting projects saves a multitude of that time later.

Choose the right projects to maximise your organisation’s performance to the benefit of customers and employees.

 

Enablers, Innovation, Lean Six Sigma, Operations

Lean Six Sigma and Innovation

Over the last decade, companies and organisations in nearly every industry all over the world have introduced Lean Six Sigma to increase customer satisfaction and to deliver impressive results. An outstanding example is General Electric, the company who has made Six Sigma as popular as it is today.

Another term that has drawn tremendous attention in the business world is Innovation. On the one hand, Lean Six Sigma works towards very low variation in processes with high efficiency. Innovation, on the other hand, seeks to find undiscovered, uncertain territory. Such efforts are rather inefficient. Innovation requires risk-taking, making mistakes and learning from failures.

Can a corporate culture be developed on both key thinking patterns in order to get the best out of Lean Six Sigma Efficiency and Innovative Solutions? Does it make sense to think Innovation Six Sigma?

Innovation, Lean Six Sigma, OD

Seven Habits … – Habit 3: Drive Continuous Improvement

Working with management teams of our clients often takes them away from their business for a few days. They frequently get in touch with their teams at home. Sometimes I involuntarily eavesdrop their part of the conversation. “How is it going? Is everything ok?” is a very common question they ask their teams. When they get some kind of “yes” they feel much better.

Continuous Improvement Needs to be a HabitMy old professor at the university, we called him Ho, had the habit of having tea with the whole team of his assistants in the morning whenever he was around. I cannot say that these sessions were my favourite pastime. Yet, I have to say that these sessions had been a great learning experience. Ho would never ask a question like “Is everything ok?” Instead, his preferred question was “What are your issues? What is new?”

Not knowing the context of his enquiry, I once replied somehow like “No issues. Everything is ok.” For him this was a very cheap answer and Ho countered immediately “So, you don’t have issues. It either means you don’t work or you don’t change anything; you did not try anything new since we met last time. The day you stop improving what you do and how you do it is the day you start falling behind.”

The day you stop improving what you do and how you do it is the day you start falling behind.

Besides the request for continuous improvement and change his question implied that he did expect problems. Ho encouraged us and indirectly sanctioned issues and mistakes. He made the continuous search for better ways part of our business life. Ho never blamed someone if something went wrong. Instead, he expected us to name the issue, own it and suggest a solution. The worst crime one could commit in business life was the crime of not trying to get better every day.

Conclusion

Continuous improvement does not start with massive Lean Six Sigma or Innovation initiatives. To the contrary, continuous improvement needs to be part of the DNA of an organisation if you want to ensure that your aforementioned initiative is successful and lasting. Here are some simple tips that will help incorporating the habit of continuous improvement into the normal business life:

  • Ask for the change, not for the status quo. A question like “What have you improved since last month?” repeated during your business update will help sending the right signal. Over time you will get good answers.
  • Tolerate issues. Ask for solution ideas instead of searching for culprits. This will remove fear of failure that cannot be avoided in a dynamic environment. Discussing these with the whole team can be a great learning experience for everyone … after initial hesitation.
  • Enrich your set of KPI’s by upgrading the often under-represented Balanced Scorecard section Learning & Growth with some powerful short-term indicators. The KPI “one suggestion per year” does not help moulding an innovation culture. Encourage by incentives rather than procedures. You will get what you measure.

 

Lean Six Sigma, Service

Six Sigma In The Bloodstream

One day I was asked why I left the stable, “money-printing” ISO 9000 business to join the riskier Six Sigma environment. My explanation went something like this: “Well, I think it makes more sense to implement a real business improvement and management system than to hang a nice certificate in the CEO’s office.”

But is this statement really true? Does starting a Six Sigma initiative automatically mean you’ll have an effective Quality management system? Definitely not. The downside of this methodology is that there are currently no “standards”, nor an “official” certifying institution. There is no external body that checks whether everyone walks the talk.

Six Sigma is more than starting a few projects, training some Belts and educating some business leaders about what it all means. The Six Sigma criteria depend on the business implementing this approach.

The Criteria

Generally, Six Sigma criteria are not comparable to the ISO 9000 but to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria or the European Quality Award criteria. These Quality management system descriptions exceed the historical thinking of “Quality Management Systems” enormously. Companies that have won either the European or the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award have learned that successful Quality management encompasses business management tools including leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and results orientation.

Six Sigma aims to pursue the same target: “Completely Satisfying Customer Needs Profitably!” (Jack Welch). Therefore the criteria of a successful Six Sigma system are similar to the Baldrige criteria. One major difference seems to be that Baldridge shows just the shell of targets within those criteria whereas Six Sigma also describes a proven box of powerful tools and a rigid way to apply them.

The trick is how to plant this concept into an organisation. Here are some steps that most companies pursuing Six Sigma must go through:

Phase 1: Enthusiasm & Awareness

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Firstly, the Leadership team of the organisation decides to go for Six Sigma. They dream of increasing its net income with huge savings, continuing to portray the image of an outstanding company and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, with doubts of whether these concepts will actually work. Normally the implementation of Six Sigma starts with Leadership awareness training and a couple of improvement projects. When they choose their first projects, the company either shows its Six Sigma competence by selecting business related projects within the leadership team or demonstrates the old-fashioned Quality way by delegating the task to their Black Belts or a “Quality team”.

This phase also includes the first Black Belt/Green Belt trainings. If the projects only focus on manufacturing areas, the company will limit themselves to the playground of traditional Quality improvement initiatives. Instead, it makes sense to think cross functionally and recognize improvement opportunities in all key business processes.

Phase 2: Seeking Results

Secondly, it is critical for the Leadership team to pass the first tollgate: Are they tracking results from their first projects or are they losing interest? Successful organisations install a steering committee – often called a “Quality Council” – to make decisions about projects, especially about tying their selection to business strategy and customer needs, implementing improvements, and reward and recognition.

If the leadership team shows that they don’t care, then Black Belts will not be able to produce results. And if the Black Belts do not produce results, then the leadership team will lose interest. It becomes a vicious cycle. The trigger must come from top management.

Results also need to be communicated to the entire company. It is critical to sell Six Sigma internally and convince the sceptics. Otherwise, the company will not be ready for the next phase.

Phase 3: Implementing Measures

Thirdly, results from the first projects usually include a few measures that track the results and ensure that the improvement lasts. Successful companies do add these measures to their internal dashboard and customer loyalty tracking system. Some even share those results with their customers, which builds trust.

Customer satisfaction measures are key for project selection. Unfortunately, they are not always available or used. Scorecards (comparable with Balanced Scorecards) should be implemented to tie Six Sigma implementation to the reward & recognition system and the bonus system to drive business results in terms of process improvement, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and net income. This kind of scorecard contains deployment and result measures.

Phase 4: Implementing Six Sigma As BAU

Finally, to build Six Sigma into the “business as usual”, all departments should be involved. Six Sigma includes a powerful tool set. This can help to improve all key business processes – including administrative processes – throughout the organisation. Additionally, there are a few key departments who need to support the Six Sigma initiative. Finance should track the costs and the benefits. Marketing/sales should gather the voice of the customer and track customer satisfaction levels. IT should support certain projects with their technical competence. And, HR must support Black Belt and Green Belt selection and development. They should include it into reward and recognition, and track and analyse employee satisfaction.

By this phase, project selection is no longer driven by the Quality leader or business leader. Individual process owners use Six Sigma to achieve their own business goals. Therefore, they dedicate resources to the effort and gain the results.

Six Sigma In The Bloodstream

Consequentially, you will know when Six Sigma is in the bloodstream of your organisation, when it will no longer be necessary to talk incessantly about it. Then, it will be part of the culture. This is probably one of the major differences between earlier improvement efforts such as TQ and Six Sigma. There will be no need to get startled by the call of the ISO 9000 auditor asking for the date of the re-certification. Six Sigma is a different mindset. There will rather be a kind of a regular internal evaluation by the leadership team assessing the status of their own management system – comparable with EFQ assessment.

Six Sigma means

  • Incorporating customer requirements into business processes,
  • Integrating business management skills into each element of the organisation effectively,
  • Analysing causes of process and output variation with statistical and non-statistical tools systematically,
  • Instilling people with the ability to get involved, and initiate, their own improvement projects cross-functional and company-wide,
  • Tracking performance honestly over time.

Leadership’s role is critical, especially at the outset, because leaders communicate and reinforce the power Six Sigma has to achieve business objectives. Without buy-in from leadership, it simply will not work. It must be reinforced from high and adopted from each internal level and process area. When done well, Six Sigma has the ability to create a truly customer focused workforce – and organisation.

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Lean Six Sigma, Operations

Lean Six Sigma Deployment Q+A

Here are some typical Questions and our Answers regarding the Lean Six Sigma deployment in an organisation. If you have more questions, please feel free to add them as a comment and we will try to answer.

Q: Where does Lean Six Sigma come from?

Lean Six Sigma is not a “slim version” of Six Sigma. It is rather a combination of two powerful methodologies. Lean has been developed mainly by Toyota over the last 40+ years. Six Sigma is a result of Motorola’s work to improve the quality of their TV production line from 1985 to 1988.

Q: What is the difference between Lean and Six Sigma?

Lean focuses on reduction of waste with the main idea of getting rid of non-value-added steps in any kind of process. Six Sigma focuses on reducing the variation in processes that are really needed. Only combined can these two methodologies with their powerful tool sets achieve the best impact.

Q: Which company can apply Lean Six Sigma?

It is hard to answer this question because there is rarely an organisation that has no room for improvement. The wide application of this powerful approach speaks for itself. There is always use for an application of modern methods to close performance gaps. Whether these gaps and the environment need a customised approach and not the full suite of tools is something that needs to be decided case by case.

Q: How do we start a Lean Six Sigma deployment?

One of the most important tasks for the senior management is to explain why your organisation needs this. It is additional work for many people and they may not like the idea without understanding the need for a Lean Six Sigma deployment. Create a shared need!

Then, you should look for some projects that will definitely help the organisation and that will definitely succeed. Run these as pilots, use them to gain more buy-in and develop some belts on the way.

Before you start, make sure you do an excellent job in defining these projects.

Q: Who will be involved?

The senior management has the important job of explaining the “burning platform” at the outset, overseeing selection of projects and belts at the beginning, keeping the people involved motivated and guided along the way as well as challenging and monitoring results. If senior management is not committed, do not start a Lean Six Sigma deployment!

Sponsors are members of the management team who want to have their process “fixed”, have gaps closed and performance improved. They are usually attached to one or a few projects as the management representative. They usually do not sit in team meeting but join at important junctures.

Lean Six Sigma Deployments need Green Belts or Black Belts

Green Belts or Black Belts are the Project Leaders for Lean Six Sigma Projects

Black Belts and Green Belts are the project leaders. They have full responsibility for leading the team, application of tools, communicating with the sponsor, addressing issues and delivering results.

Team members are part of the project team in order to make sure that the team as sufficient knowledge and experience with the whole process to be improved.

Master Black Belts are internal or external coaches who are usually necessary in the first phase of deployment when belts and sponsors are inexperienced with the new approach.

Q: How much time do Lean Six Sigma teams spend on their project?

This is hard to say. A rule of thumb is: over a period of 4 to 6 month they should spend some hours to half a day, i.e. up to 10% on the project related work. During some periods, they will probably need more time due to voice of the customer collection or due to data gathering. Sometimes it is definitely less.

Q: Do we need to give the people involved some training?

Definitely yes. Black Belts and Green Belts will need to handle a multitude of new tasks involving new tools. They certainly need to be trained otherwise they can not perform the task. Green Belts usually receive up to 12 days of training – spread over a period of about 2 to 3 months. Black Belts are Green Belts with project experience and additional training of another up to 10 days.

Some sponsors think they do not need. Wrong. Over the course of the project they will recognise that their teams speak a language they do not understand. They then ask for training. Two to four days is a good start.

Even the teams deserve some basic introduction. A day could be a good start and a nice support for the work of the Green Belt.

Q: Who should be a Black or Green Belt?

For both of them, similar criteria apply: They are from lower to middle management levels, belong to your talent pool and are planned for a significant promotion mid-term. They have some leadership competencies like ability to drive change cross-functional, coaching skills, communication skills, ability to prioritise to the benefit of the company, project management skills and a great enthusiasm. And, they need some basic analytical skills enabling them to learn and run powerful analysis tools.

Q: What is a “good Lean Six Sigma project”?

The “perfect project” addresses a significant business issue, can show improvements in 4 to 6 months, has a committed sponsor, improves a process that cycles often, i.e. at least daily with data readily available, and needs to be tackled with or without Lean Six Sigma. Here are some hints:

  • A good project is starting with a “pain” that is measurable. Something like “Customers complain about the turn-around-time between submitting an application for a loan and receiving the decision.”
  • A good project has an objective, which is often only put in place after getting some data about the problem. A SMART objective would look like “Reduce the turn-around-time for small consumer loans from currently 92% above 2 days to 90% below one day until end of August.”
  • A good project has a sponsor who wants this problem fixed, a Black or Green Belt who has a stake in it and a team who is able to cover the process from beginning to end.

However, I have not seen many “perfect projects”.  🙂

Q: How do we “find” these projects?

There are plenty of sources highlighting process issues. These are customer complaints or feedback, employee complaints or suggestions, process issues seen in your KPI or dashboard system, your balanced scorecard or even your financials. Even things that do not look like process issues such as “Large Accounts Receivables” stem from some kind of process upstream. Even “lack of knowledge” of some frontline officers shows that either the recruitment process or the training and development process or the appraisal process hide some gaps.

If someone tells me that his company has no Lean Six Sigma project candidates, I would either conclude that he is not very serious about his business or he can not see the flow of his business in the process perspective.

Q: Are there other approaches apart from Lean Six Sigma focussing on process excellence?

Yes, definitely. There are other approaches that can complement or substitute LSS. Lean Six Sigma focuses on mainly common cause variation, i.e. variation that is immanent of the process. It is rather weak when it comes to fire-fighting. Unfortunately, we need fire-fighting sometimes. Kepner Tregoe or PSDM is the better choice for this. I do not really like to recommend something like TQM. I have never seen one clear definition of what it comprises. LSS is very structured, very rigid, very driven and therefore it will certainly deliver results.

Q: Why should someone be interested in participating as a Green Belt if this is that much additional burden?

This depends on your positioning. If you can make and communicate it as part of a staff development programme that only selected people can attend, people will queue in front of your door. When Jack Welch announced in 1997 that you can only get a promotion to a certain level at GE when you are able to show a Green Belt, thousands of managers started joining the programme.

On the other hand, many high-level leaders in companies like GE have been developed out of the pool of successful Black Belts or Master Black Belts.

Q: Is Lean Six Sigma similar to ISO 9000 or any of the Quality Awards like MBQA, EQA, SQC/SQA etc?

No, it is not. It is rather complementing them. The above mentioned frameworks show requirements an organisation has to fulfill if they want to achieve high customer satisfaction, process efficiency and staff motivation. These frameworks say, WHAT needs to be done. Lean Six Sigma has tools to fulfill the requirements. It answers many HOW questions by showing the way. For example, ISO9000 requires the organisation to make sure that representative measurements are collected in a repeatable and reproducible manner. LSS has Gage R&R to fill this gap with a very powerful approach.

Q: Is there any Innovation in LSS solutions?

Actually, this depends. LSS does offer creativity techniques to come up with more creative solutions if needed. It is a matter of how the project is scoped, how the team is led by sponsor and belt as well as how the tools are being trained. We will certainly work with Creative Problem Solving (CPS, Buffalo) tools when it comes to solutioning.

Q: What can go wrong during a Lean Six Sigma Deployment?

There are some drivers for success of a Lean Six Sigma deployment: As usual, firstly, the senior management must believe in it. Otherwise, it will most likely fail. Secondly, it is key to involve the right people. Selecting the HiPos sends the signal that this is important to the management. Thirdly, recognition and rewards should be part of the plan. This could involve even considering promotion for those who make it – consistently. Lastly, selecting the right projects that help solving company issues is a major driver for success. There are some more that only become important when the aforementioned are in place.

Cases, Lean Six Sigma, OD, Service

Driving Change With Clear Messages

Two weeks after joining Central Bank in Germany, I spend a full week in the so-called Black Belt Training by TE Capital Europe. Black Belts are the project managers for process improvement approaches at TE. This approach comes from Motorola and is called Six Sigma. The first two weeks in the new company, I have tried to understand Six Sigma and to learn about the methodology and steps, after I got somehow familiar with TE Capital and its terminology, our banking products and our bank itself. While my new colleagues could help me with the latter, the learning of Six Sigma seemed to be an unsuccessful venture, as nobody in my bank had more than a hunch about it.

Lean Six Sigma, Staff Development

Why Should I Become a Black Belt?

Becoming a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – and to a certain degree a Green Belt – is a major career move and should be considered carefully. There are not only the Pros; there are plenty of Cons. For you, it will definitely mean putting in more time. On top of someone’s normal job, the Black Belt is required to spend a considerable amount of time on the new commitment. Your additional time will not be rewarded financially at the outset. Your organisation will not be willing to put much money in something that is new and has not paid back yet.

Black Belt CandidatesWhy not Becoming a Black Belt?

You have no Power – You need People Skills

You will work with teams whom you – most likely – have no power over. If you cannot convince them with your knowledge, skills and especially your attitude, you will be running your Lean Six Sigma projects on your own. The same applies for the stakeholders, i.e. the process owners you want to help to improve their processes. If you think they need you, think again. When you appear in their office, you, basically, convey the message that there is something wrong with their processes. They will not be overly enthusiastic to see you … until you show that you are worth spending precious time with and lending scarce resources to. Interacting with, influencing and communicating with all levels in your organisation will be one of your key responsibilities. If your best friend is your computer whom you prefer to interact with, this job is not for you.

It is not only about Statistics, but there is Statistics

Although there is no need to be or become a statistician in order to do the Black Belt job, it is still about dealing with data, about data analytics. Collecting, plotting and analysing them – sometimes with advanced statistical tools – in order to draw conclusions for improvements is one of your foremost tasks. If you already get scared when your boss asks you to produce a histogram, you should consider giving this Black Belt adventure a miss.

You will be required to learn continuously

As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, you will not be able to show results short-term. Be prepared that you – and your stakeholders – need to have some patience until you, with your team, get to the real root cause of problems, develop effective solutions and enough data to back them up. If it would be easy to do this, it would essentially mean that the process owner does not know what he is doing. Fortunately, we do not have many of those. Unfortunately for you, you need to learn about the process, catch up with the process owner’s and stakeholder’s knowledge before you can be of any help. You will need time to study what you want to improve.

If you are frustrated now, do not give up yet. There are some benefits, too.

Why Becoming a Black Belt

You will have endless opportunities for learning

Being a Black Belt is one of the most interesting tasks you can think of. You learn more about a virtually unlimited variety of processes and issues in your organisation than anyone else. This demanding job rotation, i.e. rotation from one project to the next, has numerous rewards. One of them is the growing familiarity with your organisation, with your colleagues at all levels, with customers and their needs and with your suppliers and partners.

Contrary to an induction programme, you will learn “at the heart” of the processes. You will learn what makes your organisation tick – or struggle.

You will be doing things that really matter

By doing so, you will be able to contribute to the organisation’s strategy – if they take it seriously. You will do what matters and you will help moving your organisation to the next level, to prepare them for tomorrow. This makes your new job highly visible. More people in the organisation will know about you and what you do. Especially your management will recognise and challenge you. From time to time, you will get the limelight you can use for your personal development. Before these occasions, you will be honing your proficiency in presenting to the management. You will learn how to understand and speak their language and you will grow to be convincing in your pitch.

Even though learning will become your daily bread, it is just a means to an end. The ultimate goal is improving your organisation’s performance to satisfy customer needs profitably. The skills you learn in theory and especially by practising are not only applicable to your Lean Six Sigma projects. Over time, you will make use of them in all facets of your professional and even your private life. Who says that powerful influencing skills cannot be useful when dealing with your teen kids? It works for me.

We need a robust and systematic tool to select and train future leaders for our company. Personally, I do not know that much about Six Sigma, but what I have read so far was about focusing on customer requirements, managing and improving processes, changing the company’s culture, encouraging people and, last but not least, making money. This is exactly the job of our leaders.
Michael Malaghan. President, Learning Technologies

It will be rewarding for you

Although, there is usually no pay rise or other monetary award at the beginning, you certainly increase your own value over time. Your organisation will definitely recognise and reward you for this – or another organisation will. Your Black Belt certificate adds more value to your CV than many other papers you used to attach. This certificate is not only about theoretically mastering new skills. More importantly, this certificate testifies the application of these skills to generate value to the business and your customers. You will not only be seen as someone who has studied a new theory. You will be seen as someone “who has done it”.

In many organisations who practise Lean Six Sigma, previous Black Belts and especially Master Black Belts have taken over key positions. If you were able to deliver results as a Black Belt, you should not be surprised to find your name well positioned in the succession plan of your organisation.

Conclusion

Becoming a Black Belt is not for everyone. More important than statistical knowledge are personal traits such as openness and conscientiousness combined with some degree of extroversion. If you decide that you fit the bill and you go for it you should do it wholeheartedly and you will certainly benefit a great deal from it.

If someone asked you to join the Black Belt training and take over a project, it is usually a good thing. It usually means someone cares about you, wants to develop you and trusts that you are worth it. Do not forgo this opportunity; it may not come again so soon.
Your decision to become a Black Belt has the potential to change your life … as it did for me.

As Featured On EzineArticles

BPR, Lean Six Sigma, Staff Development

Increase Productivity – The Leadership Challenge

“We need to increase productivity!” What sounds very reasonable on a country scale could be damaging on a company level.

Now, after nearly two years of recession the economy is back on track, i.e. companies of all sectors sell more. This is good news, isn’t it? It brings our productivity to new heights, meeting and even surpassing the levels we had seen before the recession. Stop! This is not really good news. This is expected news. Every company – well managed or not – will be able to show these figures. The question is: have companies used the time of low productivity to expand the productivity potential in preparation for the future?

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