Tools are wonderful. Have you ever tried to unscrew a Phillips head screw with a wrench? Of course not. The right tool is critical to the job. Six Sigma tools are a wonderful technological advance that can transform an organization when used in the correct context. This is undisputable. Resistance is futile. But the ability to choose and implement the best change tool or process is not the only factor we must look for in leaders. Certainly their analysis and skill in choosing the best tool for the situation is critical, but again this is not the end of the story. There is another factor that in most cases will assure success of the goal.

C. Otto Scharmer discusses this factor in an article called Uncovering the Blind Spot of Leadership.He asks readers to question the source of the leader. He suggests 4 kinds of listening which describe how leaders and others listen to team members when group problem solving is occurring. Generative listening is the most effective of the four kinds because, “This level of listening requires us to access our open will—our capacity to connect to the highest future possibility that can emerge.”

When the leader and group members are listening from this place transformation and new visions are created from the group which can then be planned and implemented for the good of the organization.

I encourage all Six Sigma practitioners and leaders to check this article out. I plan to read his book on Theory U which outlines more in depth the author’s thinking on organizational development. I think it will give leaders and others who want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem some excellent perspective.

About the Author