How do you handle Six Sigma skeptics?

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As humans, we often seek insight by way of reasoning.  In this case, we are concerned with the reasoning of a “skeptic.”  Referencing the standard dictionary (Excel version), we define a skeptic as “somebody who questions the validity or truth of things that most people accept.” 

Of little surprise, it would be generally accepted that most people rely on factual evidence and logical forms of reasoning when questioning the validity or truthfulness of something.  As most would agree, this type of skeptic is beneficial to an organization.  Yet others question the truth (validity) of things just for the sake of argument.  This type of skeptic rejects the need for progressive reasoning based on facts.  Such a person feels justified in the rejection of accepted truth – just because they believe it so.

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Generally speaking, I will not grant the time of day to this variety of skeptic – for they are irrational and irresponsible corporate citizens.  They do not bring any form of tangible benefit to an organization.  In fact, they are value detractors.  They are anti-leaders.  Personally speaking, the “tailored approach” for handling such a skeptic would be to tailor their pink slip for “immediate termination of employment.”  In my opinion, there is no room in business for such irrationality.  Perhaps the practice of a metaphysical system of management constitues a valid subject at a university, but it certainly has no place in today’s business.  If anyone should “question” this assertion, just ask any analyst on Wall Street.

On the other hand, any person that steps forward to question the truth with opposing evidence should be granted the highest form of respect – our undivided attention and mindful consideration of their message.  After all, this is the way of Six Sigma – management by fact, not opinion.  If a person has brought forth evidence that contradicts an established “truth,” then we should hear what they have to say – see what they have to show.  In this manner, change can be viewed as a rational process – holding benefits for all to enjoy.

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By definition, a fact is “something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened.”  With this in mind, let us now review several facts related to Six Sigma:

1) It is a system of management that is based on the analysis of facts.
2) It is a repeatable and teachable process for creating improvement.
3) It has been deployed in many corporations with considerable benefit.
4) It has been endorsed by several of the world’s best CEO’s.
5) It is being taught in some of the world’s best business and engineering schools.
6) It can be applied to a wide array of products and services.
7) It has the capability to create stunning improvements in quality.
8) It has the capability to improve customer satisfaction.
9) It has the capability to deliver enormous “hard” cost savings.
10) It can be used to develop the future leadership of a corporation.

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As the old saying goes: “If even half of this is true, we would be compelled to action.”  It is my genuine belief that these 10 assertions will stand the test of scientific validation.  A simple literature review will produce a wealth of evidence to support this position.  Given this, the idea of a skeptic is somewhat moot. 

From my perspective, a skeptic is merely a person that has not yet been exposed to the facts – especially my facts.  If they have some contradictory facts, I will certainly take note.  But until then, Six Sigma is moving forward.

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