Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 18: I don’t see how Six Sigma will help the Communications Department. They need to know how to write, not how to do statistics!

At first this might make sense but after you peel back the layers in this onion, you might find something to cry about. I think Six Sigma is a perfect fit for the Communications department. So, here’s what I say . . .

I agree that it takes a special talent to be a good communicator. I also believe that how well you communicate is not measured by how talented your writers are but how effective your messages come across to your audience (aka customers). Did the audience get the point? Were you able to persuade or motivate or instill the wanted reaction? The effectiveness of communications can and should be measured. A classic method of measuring the effectiveness of communication is through feedback from a survey (i.e., data). Survey results take on a whole new meaning when analyzed with Six Sigma tools. Survey results are frequently shown by reporting the average score. The downside of this is that if half the audience really gets the message and the other half doesn’t get any of it, the average score is”middle of the road” and may not get the attention needed. So pull out the Minitab, do some basic stats, understand your standard deviation, plot a boxplot to show variation, run a hypothesis test to find out if there is any difference in understanding between different types of audiences and unlock the door to a whole new way of understanding the effectiveness of your communication.

So next time someone says that the only application of Six Sigma in the communications department would be to improve the cycle time it takes to get the newsletter published, I’d rate that comment as a ‘strongly disagree.’

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