With”The Discreditor” ranking a strong #5, “The Busybody” boasting the #4 spot, “The Egomaniac” landing #3, and the “The Whiner” grabbing #2, it’s hard to imagine who could possibly hold the #1 spot. Well ponder it no more, because this week it’s right here on the Blogosphere. The #1 position on the Six Sigma Most Wanted List of naysayers is held by none other than “The Charlatan.”

Mode of Operation (MO): This Naysayer may not look or sound like a Naysayer at all. That’s what makes them so dangerous. In public, they know how to say and do all the right things. But behind the scenes you will find a different approach. Only those close to this naysayer knows the truth which gives the Charlatan free reign to sabotage at will. You won’t even know it happened until it’s too late. And when it does happen, it is so masterfully choreographed that the Charlatan emerges unscathed.

Probability of existing without being detected: High – All outward signs tend to indicate that this naysayer is on board. Their ability to don their invisibility cloak when in their naysayer mode lets them move about the company virtually undetected.

Probability of having daily occurring nayisms: High – This naysayer must work behind the scenes on a daily basis to keep their cover. Their subtle yet intentional moves include commissioning projects with pre-defined solutions or reducing cost and shaping a Six Sigma project around it to claim savings. Both of these approaches are not easily discovered by an outsider. From the outside looking in, the Charlatan looks pretty engaged. After all, they are completing projects and reducing cost. For the moment, it might look good but without applying the Six Sigma tools, it is likely that the problems really didn’t go away. They just manifested themselves somewhere else.

Probability that their nayisms will have negative long-term ramifications: High – Because this naysayer looks like they are going through the motions, and achieving short term ‘results,’ they are not often challenged by people outside of their group or by their superiors. But people in the department are not so easily fooled. They can see what is going on and most folks don’t like it. Because of the way things are done, employees in the department do not view Six Sigma projects as a new approach but as the same old stuff reshaped to look like something else. Without an opportunity to really experience the power of a true Six Sigma project, they are probably destined to become the next generation of naysayers.

Overall Threat Level: HIGH + (ranked using Gianna’s proprietary naysayer scale)

Actions to Deal with Naysayer #1: It is the difficulty in dealing with this naysayer that puts them at the top of the Six Sigma Most Wanted list of naysayers. These naysayers are slick as snot. In some instances they may be in leadership roles making them even less approachable by the everyday Joe. Are there any options? Here’s what I say . . .

Approach this naysayer with caution and do not try to take them on by yourself. You will need a cadre of high powered supporters helping you through this one. First, evaluate the Charlatan’s sphere of influence and determine if they are worth the time and effort to approach. If not, move on. Your organization may be better served with you spending your time doing something else. If you must get this naysayer turned around, here are a couple of suggestions:

Try to recruit a strong Black Belt from “the inside” of this naysayer’s department. An insider may be more effective at squelching ‘fake’ projects before they are ever launched and possibly working a real project that can show others how Six Sigma really works. If you can identify some projects in another department that used Six Sigma methods to solve a problem similar to those experienced by the Charlatan’s department, then highlight these projects while keeping any ‘fake’ projects out of the limelight.

You might try to identify a large cross-functional project that can be co-championed by the Charlatan and a top leader in the company who is a Six Sigma enthusiast. The Charlatan will need to straighten up a bit to work with this leader or risk discovery by an outsider who may be more powerful or influential in the company.

If all efforts fail, don’t get too discombobulated. Keep building on the things that work well and work around the roadblocks and potholes. Focus your time and effort on things that you can accomplish. The important thing is to not give up. Keep sharing your passion for achieving excellence through Six Sigma with everyone around you. No matter how difficult or how stubborn or even how manipulative your toughest naysayer may be, in the end they will just fade away. And it will be the person with vision, passion and perseverance that will be remembered for making a real difference. And that person could be you.

After two years of talking about naysayers I think that I’m ready to have some fun with something else. So tune in next week and find out what I’ll be up to right here on the iSixSigma Blogosphere.

About the Author