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 its aim.
Such factors as business goal setting, global deployment planning, black belt project selection criteria and curriculum design are just a few of the key components that must be riveted together to form a common and uniform structure. From a lofty altitude, it should be apparent that the various roles of Six Sigma serve as the boilerplate of deployment and implementation. These temporary positions have been distilled and summarized in terms of their general focus:
1) Corporate Leadership: Vision and mission of Six Sigma.
2) Corporate Champion: Global deployment planning and execution.
3) Corporate Master Black Belt: Six Sigma technology acquisition and transfer.
4) Business Unit Champion: Local implementation planning and execution.
5) Project Champion: Project selection criteria, execution, and reporting.
6) Master Black Belt: Instructional design, delivery, and application mentoring.
7) Black Belt: Six Sigma project design and execution.
8) Green Belt: Black Belt support (direct and/or indirect).
9) Individual Contributor: Six Sigma awareness and support.
Moving to the initial deployment of Six Sigma, the overriding aim is to realize a predefined, sudden and sweeping change in business performance. In turn, such change provides the psychological impetus and resource commitments necessary for fueling additional momentum during subsequent waves of deployment. Naturally, the primary focus is related to the effective and efficient transfer of knowledge (as well as its consequential application). This is what propels Six Sigma toward the realization of its originating imperatives. It is also what keeps catapulting the organization towards institutionalization.
Of course, when the initial process of change and forward momentum is halted or otherwise impeded, owing to inappropriate curriculum design (knowledge architecture) or unsuitable instructional content, a restart is often inescapable. During the course of resetting a Six Sigma initiative, it is often necessary to repair, amend or otherwise change the curriculum design, the supporting content or both. In turn, such changes in the structure of an organization’s knowledge capital base and supporting content can often drive the unwanted alteration of other governing factors and interrelationships.
Making such unwanted but necessary modifications could further trigger a series of costly events and disjointed actions intended to redirect, realign and reenergize the initiative. In the event that such a cycle of modification fails to rectify dysfunctional factors and relationships, the initiative is likely to stall, thereby preordaining its ultimate demise – as the initiative is reprioritized, operationally downscaled, integrated into some other agenda or simply abandoned.
Therefore, we must be vigilant about the knowledge we adopt, disseminate, and apply. We must also be just as watchful about and the roles we create to support such knowledge.