Lean Six Sigma: What’s in it for me?

As practitioners, we think Lean Six Sigma is an integral part of our life. But how can we help others see its value? This is a crucial step to building and sustaining a Lean Six Sigma culture.

One thing I learned through the Lean Six Sigma deployment is that people have to be personally motivated to sustain the learning and application of the methodology. The question is always “how does it help me personally, in addition to the organization?” The benefits to the organization and customers are numerous and have been elaborated on in many books and training materials. Less is discussed about how it helps us develop personally and professionally.

I can summarize it in three words. It helps us Think, Exe-cute and Communicate more effectively.

Think. Being effective requires getting the right things done. The first step is to ask the right questions, ofen the questions not asked. As we internalize LSS concepts, we start to see things that others don’t. This new perspective allows us to challenge our thinking and see new solutions.

Exe-cute. Execution is about getting things done right. Lean Six Sigma tools are a collection of best practices that enable us to get there faster, better, and more cost-effectively.

Communicate. Lean Six Sigma philosophy and practices, such as customer value, visual control, operational definition, metrics and data, simplify and standardize communication across functions and organizational layers. Now everyone can collaborate with anyone using a universal language.

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Learning and practicing Lean Six Sigma has certainly reshaped how I think, exe cute and communicate. How about you?

Comments 3

  1. michael cardus

    You have touched on perhaps one of the largest reasons for 6S project failure – Lack of buy-in from those who are not on the 6S team.

    The Whats in it for me (WIFM principle) drive internal and external team buy-in. Also as 6S people we must remember that many DO NOT LOVE IT LIKE WE DO. Also we have spent many hours in training, meetings, discussion, etc.. planning, challenging each other and thinking it through.

    WHen you roll out the plan to non-6S-employees they have not been in the trenches with you in the development of this project. This is where your Champion and the Supervisors of those effected are necessary.

    Working with people to determine the relevencey of the project showing and explaining who and how it will impact them. Also knowing the internal customer you are selling to, knowing and be empathetic to the change and upheval of work stations, existing processes, etc…

    So illustrating relevency and knowing your internal customer will lead to greater 6S project success.

  2. Fang Zhou

    I agree with Michael’s comments. There is a life outside Lean Six Sigma.

    Six Sigma people have to communicate to all stakeholders how the methodology can help them, not us, in their particular situations. Everyone has responsibilities and competing priorities beyond the project we are leading or supporting.

    When I introduce a LSS concept or tool, I often tell people "if you cannot see how it helps you think differently, do it better or communicate more effectively, don’t bother."

    We have to focus on getting things done effectively, regardless of the methodology used.

  3. Richard Dennis

    You make a great 3 points. I think that’s a great way to communicate the message of Lean and how it can benefit employees "outside" of the work place.

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