My Business Is Different, Six Sigma Won’t Work

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If you think Six Sigma won’t work for your company, you are either ignorant or refuse to change. Every business process can be measured, improved and controlled using the Six Sigma methodology. Reading the iSixSigma Discussion Forum unearthed a thread about the application of Six Sigma to Facilities Management: When it comes to the implementation […]

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Facilitation: A Critical Soft Skill For Success

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Much has been written about the techniques and tools of Six Sigma. A large part of Black Belt training is focused on mastering the “hard” skills. Most case studies demonstrate the usefulness of tools or techniques. Any experienced, successful practitioner of Six Sigma will tell you that the soft skills of facilitating a group are […]

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7 Keys to a Change Deployment Process

7 Keys to a Change Deployment Process

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There is plenty of variation to be found among adopters of change programs – from widely successful to not so much. Most likely, your success lies somewhere in between. To move closer to wildly successful, mark off each one of these seven keys to success for a process improvement deployment.

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The Six Sigma Cycle of Change

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“Nothing endures but change.” – Heraclitus (fl. 500 BC). If only it were that easy. Achieving a specific change, like becoming a Six Sigma company, will not just miraculously happen, it will require a purposeful process focused on results. Change, like other processes, consists of a series of steps; each of which take time and must […]

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Integrating Quality with Integrity

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You never hear anyone say “I don’t have time for integrity – I have too many other priorities to take care of right now.” So why, as quality leaders, do we consistently hear how some of our business leaders and process improvement teams don’t have time for quality? Is personal integrity more important than the quality […]

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Why Don’t More Leaders Get It? Explanations for Six Sigma – Part 1

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This three-part article reviews three approaches to explaining Six Sigma that the author has seen backfire, along with an alternative. Part 2 looks at Traps 1 and 2. Part 3 looks at the third trap. Humankind has successfully split the atom and put people on the moon, but explaining Six Sigma to busy business leaders […]

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Organizing Your Quality Life

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Getting your “quality” life in order is no easy task. Project meetings, staff meetings, tollgate reviews, and business deliverables can wreak havok on our daily lives. Sometimes it seems as if there is nothing we can do to stay organized – until now. Just as we teach our businesses that processes are necessary to increase productivity, […]

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A Project Charter Communication Strategy Is Essential

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Six Sigma Black Belts, Master Black Belts and Project Champions, when embarking on a DMAIC, DMADV or Process Management project, need to be aware of the importance of establishing a communication plan when developing and validating a team charter. A finely executed Black Belt project can suffer disappointing results if an efficient mechanism is not […]

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Successful Six Sigma Project Reviews

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I cannot over emphasize the importance of communication in Six Sigma process improvement projects. As Patrick Waddick stated in his project charter article, “a finely executed Black Belt project can suffer disappointing results if an efficient mechanism is not already in place to ensure that vital information is relayed to those members who need it.” […]

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Six Sigma Project Review Sample Agenda

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You’ve selected your Six Sigma projects, even chartered one, and now you’re business is trying to figure out the status of the project and it should move to the next phase. Charles Waxer presented the article, Successful Six Sigma Project Reviews. I would like to help you make those words of wisdom a reality by […]

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Six Sigma Via Context

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I’m sure all of us experience daily memos, emails, voice mail, procedures, forms, and reports that are nearly meaningless due to lack of context. Some ramble on with obvious passion but fail to explain what the heck they’re talking about. Some are very beautiful with lots of statistical charts and graphs yet without simple contextual […]

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Building Team Consensus

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The Six Sigma quality methodology almost always requires a Black Belt or Green Belt to lead a team in solving a problem. When teams members interact – and no matter how well the Black or Green Belt can facilitate – opinions of the individual team members will inevitably differ and the team may end up deadlocked, compromising […]

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Meeting Action Item Planning Worksheet

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A tremendous amount of work goes into the design, planning and execution of a productive team meeting. Attendees should always know the purpose and desired outcome(s) of the meeting before getting too deep into the content. The meeting should start on time, an agenda should be set and previous meeting notes should be reviewed, if […]

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Words of Advice for Frustrated Black Belts

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“I entered the Six Sigma program with our organization in May as a BB candidate. Since then I have encountered a number of setbacks and frustrations. They aren’t unique to me, either. Many other BBs at my company are experiencing the same things. I’m hoping for some general advice. What can you do (as a […]

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Developing Change Leadership by Leveraging Experience

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The ability to manage and lead organizational change is in itself a competitive advantage. While companies often have the resources to execute individual improvement projects, the limiting factor in many change efforts is having enough talent to replicate, sustain and expand change efforts once they have been successfully piloted. Companies can leverage existing investments in […]

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Opposition to Lean Six Sigma

Safeguard Against 4 Forms of Six Sigma Opposition

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At some point in time, you are likely to encounter one of four types of resistance to Six Sigma: technical, political, organizational and personal. To resolve these negative forces, understand their root causes and adjust your deployment strategies accordingly.

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The Merits of ‘Know-nothing’ Belts and Champions

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In the musical Camelot, there is a landmark scene in which King Arthur discusses his dream of a new legal system with Pellinore, the scraggly old king that Arthur adopted into his court. This new legal system would have trials led by a judge and the ultimate verdict would be decided by a group of […]

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Overcoming Initial Resistance to Six Sigma

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“We don’t have processes. What I mean to say is, we don’t use them.” This was the reply of a Fortune 500 executive when asked recently about his company’s processes. Oddly enough, this response is quite common in spite of the inordinate amount of time and effort spent trying to convince managers otherwise. Most managers […]

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Developing Black Belt Change Agents

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The role of a Black Belt is typically described as a Change Agent and the two terms are frequently used interchangeably. Why then, if the change agent role is such an important part of the Black Belt identity, do we spend four to six months training the Black Belt candidates with maybe, just a few hours of […]

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Gain Support with Organizational Improvement Strategy

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Striving to improve should be the prime directive for all business leaders. If organizations do not improve, they run the risk of getting left behind. So the question is: What is the best strategy or approach for improvement? Over the last 20 years, many continuous improvement initiatives have been introduced, but only one seems to […]

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Preventing Conflicts Through Stakeholder Management

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A stakeholder of a Six Sigma project is anyone associated with the project either directly or indirectly. Examples of stakeholders are supervisors providing resources, team members, department heads and employees involved in the process. An up-front analysis of who the stakeholders are and how and when to involve them in the project can prevent potential […]

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Business Belt: Integrating Six Sigma and Business Sense

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As Six Sigma continues to be adopted and integrated across the spectrum of global businesses, from manufacturing, to finance, to pharmaceuticals, it is important to recognize the evolution of the role of the Six Sigma professional within those businesses. Traditionally, Black Belts and Master Black Belts were expected to be experts on applying the tools […]

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Voice of the Business, Customer, Process and Employee

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Business could not have been better. Customers were reacting positively to the company’s new and enhanced service portfolio, the company entered the market without much competition and customer satisfaction was at an all-time high. Profitability continued to rise, and the company’s efficiency rate was impressive. But then things changed. New account numbers abruptly fell. Some […]

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The Initial Focus – Strategy or Projects?

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Organizations often have a strategy and process improvement program in place, but eventually start seeing signs of waning momentum. The organizations experience a familiar realization that it is difficult to sustain improvements. Organizations including hospitals and health systems have encountered similar challenges. It is not easy to launch a major change initiative in healthcare, and […]

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