I enjoy teaching, so if you asked me whether you could do too much training, my first response would be “no, of course not!”

But, on second thought, I would have to say, “well, maybe.”

It’s been my experience that knowledge alone is usually not enough to create an improvement. A lot of people enjoy being trained (a day away from the office, with lunch included) and also like knowing what could be done to create a better process. But, having a lot of knowledgeable people bumping around in your organization doesn’t necessarily mean that there are any improvement activities going in. It’s the doing – or execution, if you will – that separates thethinkers from the achievers. So the important question seems to be, when do you know enough to start improving things?

There is a train of thought that runs like this: “We don’t need to train our whole organization in Lean or Six Sigma; that takes way to long toget any ROI (Return on Investment). Let’s start by getting some project teams together and use them to drive improvements.”

There’s another train of thought that says, “Let’s not go shooting off in a lot of different directions. We’ll train our executives, then our other leaders, then our managers, then our front-line staff; we’ll come up with a deployment plan, and then we’ll be ready to do projects.”

So is there a “right” way to approach a Lean Six Sigma deployment?

Now, before you all write back to me tellingsaying that the answer is “IT DEPENDS!” I will ask the question a different way: Have you, in your experiences, ever found that an organization did too much training? Or that an organization did too little training? What were the effects or consequences? And what advice would you give an organization new to Lean Six Sigma, on the balance between training and project focus? Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!

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