Nayism 34: Every year our company sets unreasonable Six Sigma financial goals and we have to scurry around to find projects to meet them. It’s just too much for our organization to cope with.

This is a common nayism heard in organizations with a culture of “business as usual.” Should they back off a bit and give these naysayers some relief? Here’s what I say . . .

Organizations that have a culture of “business as usual” are most likely accustomed to setting what they call “achievable goals” meaning that if they run their business as usual, they will meet their goals. Calling these ‘goals’ is a misnomer and only serves to strengthen the status quo.

Real “goals” are targets that will drive the organization to work and stretch to meet them. Many times, when set, they seem unattainable but with focused effort, innovation and drive, they can be met. Not an easy task and it usually means a lot of ‘moaning and groaning’ to get there but after achieving the goal it becomes obvious that all that ‘moaning and groaning’ was actually growing pains as the organization stretched its potential to accomplish the unachievable.

Six Sigma financial goals are no different. Setting aggressive goals sends a clear message that the company is looking for cost reduction and/or revenue growth by changing their business processes instead of the old fashioned way of slash and burn. It will challenge the organization to look deep within their processes to identify cost and revenue drivers and then modify their processes to provide positive financial impact.

The real leaders will approach this challenge and come back with the “catch of the day.” As for the naysayers, tell them to “go fish.”

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