Hundreds of companies embarked on their Six Sigma journey in 2000 and 2001. Today, Six Sigma deployments haven’t slowed a bit but instead have expanded and grown and are a driving force in achieving excellence in almost any type of business. And, because of industry experience and forums for sharing, are being implemented with the benefit of lessons learned from the early pioneers.

But what of those companies that have been at it for seven or more years? Are they experiencing the “Seven Year Itch” or are things just as exciting as ever? I think it’s the latter. Why? Because the one thing that has differentiated Six Sigma from other approaches is its ability to grow and shape itself to meet constantly changing business needs.

Keeping the excitement and engagement going for seven, eight, nine years, or however long it takes to truly shape a culture of excellence is not an easy task. It requires a solid and dynamic Six Sigma plan that 1) addresses your deployment strategy at least three years out, 2) reflects and complements your organization’s business goals and objectives 3) introduces a new tool, skill, or method every year that allows employees to continue to grow their skills and participate in new ways and 4) is flexible enough to react to changing customer needs.

The absence of these four components can create the perfect breeding ground for a bad case of the Six Sigma Seven Year Itch. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Act now and you may escape without a scratch!

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