Nayism 40: The year-end financials are out and Company XYZ who is using Six Sigma didn’t do well. Looks like Six Sigma is looking more like Sick Sigma.

It’s that time of year when Six Sigma naysayers turn to company year-end financial performance and try to lay blame on Six Sigma for companies that may not have ‘made the numbers.’ The publicity is enough to cause a nayism pandemic in some circles. Just how contagious is it? Here’s what I say. . .

Pointing fingers has always been a natural response to unwanted events. But there is a notable difference between pointing fingers and actually diagnosing a root cause. Fortunately, most business leaders have figured this out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop Six Sigma naysayers from seizing the opportunity to spread nayisms at a rate that can redefine the word ‘pandemic.’ For those of us who understand that “Six Sigma” is synonymous with the words “improving performance” and “increasing customer satisfaction,” it just doesn’t make sense. Let’s substitute these words in a typical nayism and see how it sounds. “The reason our company didn’t do well last year is because we’ve been improving performance.” Try this one: “The reason our company didn’t do well last year is because we’ve been increasing customer satisfaction.” Mind boggling isn’t it?

But regardless of any explanations, naysayers will always be on the sidelines ready and waiting to seize the opportunity where they can make a case (however weak) against Six Sigma and turning to a company’s financial performance is a great way to catch the eye of business leaders. Will all this naysaying turn into a nayism pandemic or is there hope for a cure?

Companies with a strong commitment to continuously improve their business with Six Sigma will survive. Their antibodies have been strengthened with doses of undeniable success that will serve to control the spread of nayism throughout their organization.

That being said, never underestimate the ability of naysayers to start a nayism pandemic in your company. Always be ready and willing to acknowledge what is being printed in the media and use it as an opportunity to help people better understand the real issues. Use Dilbert’s Six Sigma cartoons to your advantage by talking about the failure mode that the cartoon portrays and ways to prevent it (You can also have a good laugh about it.) Letting naysayers go unchallenged is a sure way to fuel a nayism pandemic. But don’t dwell on the nayism. The best defense is a good offense and in this case, sharing the zillions of Six Sigma success stories can go a long way in keeping naysayers in check.

Remember – a shot of Six Sigma success a day will surely keep the naysayers away!

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