FRIDAY, AUGUST 01, 2014
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Ask Dr. Mikel Harry Organization & Strategy

Organization & Strategy

Can we say Six Sigma is a culture? How can we spread the word at the grass-roots level?

To begin, we must consider the idea of “organizational culture.” In the book “Organizational Behavior” by Robert Kreitner and Angelo Kinicki, the culture of an organization is defined as: “The set of shared, taken-for-granted implicit assumptions that a group holds…

Can you discuss a few of the common problems related to project selection and how they can be addressed in a large service organization?

The following is a list of some “big dos.”  Just flip things around to answer your question. 1) The project targets only one CTQ (for purposes of improvement).2) The target CTQ should be measurable – conveniently and economically so.3) The…

Do you know how many of the Forbes 100 ranked companies use Six Sigma?

On the general discussion forum of this website (www.iSixSigma.com), you will find a “thread” that provides a foundational answer to your question.  The built-in search engine should help you with this task.

Do you recommend that a company imbed Black Belts within business units or organize them in a central group that are "loaned out" to business units for project work?

In my deployment and implementation experience, Black Belts should not be pooled into a central organization and then farmed out like a bunch of “rented experts.”  To my knowledge, only a few organizations have successfully implemented this type of approach. …

Have government or other not-for-profit organizations benefited from the Six Sigma methodology?

The idea of a not-for-profit organization is eloquently simple – it does not operate for a profit.  Some people falsely believe that the very nature of such organizations necessarily implies some type of complexity that prohibits or otherwise precludes its…

How can an organization create "sustainable" Six Sigma projects?

I assume you mean “sustainability of project results.”  In other words, the resulting benefits are not to be enjoyed just one time – they are recurrent in nature.  The best way to ensure that recurrent benefits are continually realized is…

How can I make my organization see that Six Sigma has significant benefits?

As most of the world already knows, nothing sells better than sex, money, and hope.  Since sex would appear to have little to do with Six Sigma, we should focus on the merits of money and hope.  Most generally, top…

How can Six Sigma be applied to the Human Resources (HR) function?

You should reference the article submitted by Anonymous on 17 July 2003.  Truly, it is this form of reasoning (coupled with this example) that should “get you thinking in the right direction.”  Listed are some simple examples for Human Resource…

How can six sigma culture best be spread to the entire company?

The following references will provide a very nice overview of the field – from general theory to in-depth case studies: 1) Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations by Mikel J. Harry, Ph.D. and Richard Schroeder,…

How can Six Sigma failure be avoided when dealing with company cultural issues?

Today, many business leaders would agree that the “culture of an organization” is not a fixed quantity or preordained destiny.  Rather, it results from the unique blending of values (at the business, operations, process, and individual stratums).  In this context,…

How can we improve the growth and acceptance of Six Sigma?

We must always remember that the power brokers within and external to a corporation are the ones who render judgment about the success or failure of some initiative. Simply stated, the power brokers are only concerned with one matter –…

How do you determine a good consultant from a bad consultant? What selection criteria should be applied?

The first step to authenticating the legitimacy of a Six Sigma consultant is a thorough investigation of their published credentials.  In terms of today’s consultants, so many on the “lower end of the pile” use “upper end spin” to more…

How do you think Six Sigma will evolve?

To me, the ideology of Six Sigma will evolve in two distinct by complementary directions.  The first will be a focus on value creation, not just cost reduction and quality improvement.  The second will be an implosion of Six Sigma to the personal level.  I have been working with these two perspectives for quite some time now.

How does Six Sigma related to change management and project management?

Extensive benchmarking has revealed the “average company” to be about 4 sigma capable.  Compared to Six Sigma the difference is about 1,800X.  Obviously, if one aspires to such a plateau, change is certain.  If change is certain, it is prudent…

How should my company investigate Six Sigma and, once decided to move forward, sustain the initiative?

A really good way to begin your journey is to sell top management on the need for a “due diligence” investigation of Six Sigma.  Do not try to directly sell Six Sigma – only the “need” for conducting an investigation…

I am new to Six Sigma. Can you please help me understand Six Sigma step-by-step?

On its way to disrupting the historical business continuum and changing its performance trajectory, an organization passes through a number of milestones.  Assuming a “typical” business, our discussion begins at time T1.  This is when the organization is functioning reasonably…

I am new to Six Sigma…how can I apply Six Sigma in my organization?

Here are 7 progressive questions to help plan a project. 1) What decisions must be made?2) What do you need to know to make each decision?3) What form of visual will provide the information?4) What kind of tool will generate…

Is it possible for me to learn Six Sigma from home?

Personally, I believe the potential for “learning at home” is awesome these days.  I like the look and feel of it because all of the knowledge, information, communication, and analytical resources I need are within arms reach — right in…

Is it recommended to start Six Sigma in a single function, like Sales, temporarily ignoring all other business functions?

Simply stated, the deployment of Six Sigma in a single functional area (to the permanent exclusion of others) will most likely not succeed.  Generally speaking, Six Sigma is an “all or nothing” proposition.  However, if the overall deployment and implementation…

Is the implementation of an Six Sigma program worth the investment is a small business?

In terms of a Six Sigma Deployment and Implementation (SSDI), it is a natural tendency for newcomers to infer huge differences between a small and large business.  However, it is quite often the case that several “small businesses” defines a…

Many times people are skeptical of the benefits of Six Sigma. How can we counter this type of argument and show them the benefit?

Success factors such as business goal setting, global deployment planning, black belt project selection criteria and Six Sigma curriculum design are just a few of the key components that must be riveted together to form a common and uniform structure. …

Most companies in Europe have not heard of Six Sigma. What is the expected evolution of Six Sigma in Europe?

During the period extending from 1985 to 1995, many executives in the United States said the same thing about Six Sigma – its just a fad and will “blow over” in a couple of years.  Well, its still alive and…

My business is in power distribution. What types of issues might we use Six Sigma to solve?

Seems you already have a pretty good idea of what to do.  To quote your words, “… such as in buying power, billing for energy consumption etc and which will save money for the company.”  Life is fairly simple partner:…

Our CFO expects more from our projects and finds a gap in sales projects. The CFO would like to see more cost reduction. How can we do that with Six Sigma?

I find it most interesting that you experienced “typical” success in several other areas of the organization, but not within the sales function.  Were hard goals not established for this area?  Was this area not emphasized during the course of…

What are the roles of the director, champions, and MBBs in order to ensure Six Sigma deployment sucess?

As many corporations have experienced and attested, Six Sigma is a dynamic and evolutionary initiative that can produce phenomenal change in business performance.  However, the process of change must be carefully designed, managed and governed if it is to realize…

What is the main difficulty experienced during deployment of Six Sigma in government?

The main difficulties can be extracted from the following assertions: 1) Everyone is a “decision maker,” but every decision requires consensus. 2) The purse strings are many, and so are the knots. 3) The phrase “just around the corner” means…

What should we do when a project closes and the result is an employee relieved from the process, but is not reassigned to a new area because of political issues?

It sounds to me like you’ve been “trapped in a barrel and tossed overboard,” so to speak.  Where is your champion?  He or she is supposed to prevent things like this from happening (i.e., sound project selection criteria).  Your project…

What type of curriculum would you recommend for sales and marketing professionals who are focussed on increasing market share?

Generally speaking, the Six Sigma curriculum (i.e., Black Belt, Green Belt, and so on) for just about any type of service or support activity can be easily found these days – everybody has their idea of what such curriculum should…

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