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I Am Your Customer

This was handed out at an all-hands today – not my words, and a great reminder of why we do what we do. I am your customer. Satisfy my wants, add personal attention and a friendly touch, and I will become a walking advertisement for your products and services. Ignore my wants, show carelessness, inattention…

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Teaching Lean Without Toyota?

When I teach lean tools, I naturally reference the Toyota Production System and talk about their journey (which they don’t call lean!) as an introduction to the topic. Naturally, in the healthcare setting, I don’t dwell on the assembly-line function too much, but I have always felt that it’s helpful to put the approach in…

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Got Energy? Come Speak at the Energy Forum

Have you completed a process improvement project that has saved your company millions, delivered breakthroughs in productivity or safety, or grown its top-line? Do you have an inspirational story to tell and lessons learned from your experiences with CPI in the energy industry? Let iSixSigma know what topic you would like to present or see…

Top 5 Memories at the iSixSigma Live! Summit

It’s been a full week since the iSixSigma Live! Summit & Awards in Miami, and I’m still digesting the full meal of process improvement informationserved during those four days. As Steve Wilson of Quality Conversations mentioned in his opening address, nooneleft the conference”hungry” last week. Now that I’m back to my office routine, there are…

Teams Match Wits at iSixSigma’s Project Bowl I

The streets of the French Quarter are no doubt still packed with happy Saints fans following Sunday’s surprising and convincing win against the favored Colts. As first-time champs, it’s a feeling the players and fans will never forget. We at iSixSigma are also enjoying the afterglow of a first-time Bowl event: iSixSigma’s Project Bowl contest,…

Lean, Lean, Lean Song

At the recent iSixSigma Live! Summit & Awards in Miami, attendees got something to sing along to. J.D. Sicilia shared a song, called “Lean, Lean, Lean” before his presentation on “Performance Management in the Worldâ??s Largest Organization.” Sicilia is the director of the Lean Six Sigma Program Office at the U.S. Department of Defense. Not only…

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iSixSigma Recognizes the Best of the Best at Miami Summit

  In a couple of days, Miami will be aflame withSuper Bowl fever. South Beach’s Ocean Driveis sure to be covered in either blue-and-white or black-and-gold confetti on Sunday night, depending on who holds up the Lombardi Trophy. Earlier this week, however, there were some other trophieshoisted maybe not with quite as much hoopla as…

Keynotes Set Inspiring Tone for iSixSigma Summit

After a tasty appetizer of seminars and the hands-on work at the Project Bowl on Monday, iSixSigma Live! offered it’s main course yesterday in Miami to start the first official day ofthe summit. Steve Wilson, of Quality Conversations, may have summed it up best in his opening remarks when he said of the conference’s many…

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Why We Should Still Admire Toyota

We’ve all sent the news of Toyota’s recall problems, including the latest decision to pull the andon as it were and halt production until the defect is sorted out. Suddenly the company, and its venerable Toyota Production System do not appear to be as infallible as it has in the past. Indeed, some analysts are…

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At the End of the Day . . .

People may not always agree with what you say or find value in what you offer, but at the end of the day, if only one person walks away with a different question, thought or idea, then you have made a difference.

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Meeting Dynamics

I am spending January travelling around the country running process workshops. This means lots of travel and time to ponder on the dynamics of the meetings.……. Cross-functional Teams A group of people with different functional expertise who work toward a common goal, it may include people from finance, marketing, operations, research, engineering, and human resources…

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All or Nothing at All?

“All or nothin’ at all… Half a love never appealed to me If your heart, it never would yield to me Then I’d rather, rather have nothin’ at all.” (Song composed in 1939 by Arther Altman, lyrics by Jack Lawrence – a big hit for Frank Sinatra) I was thinking of these lyrics the other…

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Current Focus

I re-read Ken Miller’s book ” We don’t Make widgets” recently and rediscovered a wonderful resourse for our current times. Now more than ever this is the work that needs to be done.

Hear Miami Keynote Before Seeing Him in Person

Former Formula One and Indy 500 racecar driver, Derek Daly, is coming up as a guest on Quality Conversations on BlogTalkRadio â?? hosted by Steve Wilson, emcee of iSixSigma Live! Summit & Awards. Click and listen on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 8 a.m. PT to a discussion on “The Championâ??s Model.” Although the language of sports…

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Holiday Carols, anyone?

I have the good fortune to sit in an office right next to a hallway speaker, which has been loudly proclaiming the festive season since the day after Thanksgiving, in about a 4-hour loop. Naturally, I can’t help but think of work-related words as the songs repeat… and repeat… and repeat… Here are some of…

Christmas Quiz

There are five hats, two Black and three White. In a room sit three people, two can see and one is blind. The room is darkened and a hat is placed at random on each person’s head. People can only see the other hats not their own. The first person on seeing the other two…

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Silent Workshop

I have always thought the toughest parts of DMAIC are I(mprove) & C(ontrol). One of the reasons for this is that to deliver a sustainable solution means asking people to change. The opportunity to resist change and revert to status-quo being one of the challenges faced. What early indicator can you use to measure if…

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So Ya Wanna Be a Black Belt

Lately I have been bombarded with well-meaning, intelligent, conscientious, motivated people asking me how they can get Black Belt certified. They’re not in a Six-Sigma environment; they just want to be able to learn how to improve their processes more effectively. So do they need to be a Black Belt? Here’s what I usually tell…

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A Spoonful of Sugar

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about resistance to change. The RogersAdoption / Innovation curve (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards) is referenced in some form by most people involved in change management. Now, I’m not an innovator myself. My special form of creativity doesn’t manifest itself by coming up with new ideas…

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Who Should Be in the Hall of Fame?

Last year, we celebrated Bill Smith, widely known as the Father of Six Sigma, as the first inductee into iSixSigmaâ??s Six Sigma Hall of Fame. We are now identifying who should be the next person to join the Hall of Fame as someone who has made significant and lasting contributions in the Lean Six Sigma…

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Thank You, Six Sigma Community

Dear iSixSigma Blogosphere Readers, Back in January 2005, I started up a little blog about Six Sigma companies. It caught the eye of iSixSigma’s very own Mike Cyger and he invited me to join his growing team of forward thinking Six Sigma zealots dedicated to providing the best information about Six Sigma to the masses….

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The Psychology of Awards

There’s a definite honor in being “award-winning.” I experienced this firsthand last year when iSixSigma Magazine received editorial excellence honors. The awards provided an opportunity for us to pause and recognize the work that goes into our editorial efforts and to celebrate the accomplishments. But, as I said in my Editor’s Notes following the announcement,…

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Roping Process Improvement, DoD Style

You may have seen the cover of the September/October issue of iSixSigma Magazine, featuring J.D. Sicilia and “The DoD Roundup.” The western theme continued into the DoD Breakthrough Convention, Oct. 14 to 16. Here’’s a sneak peak of the fun: Jeannine Hall, director of events, taking a hand at roping a bull. Yes, this may…

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Top Ten Best Places to Work Announced

The scoring is complete and the 2009 Top 10 Best Places to Work for Six Sigma professionals is out. Here is the Top 10 List in alphabetical order: I repeat, alphabetical order. Cardinal Health Inc. Computacenter AG & Co. oHG Ecolab Inc. McKesson Corp. Merck & Co., Inc. Pfizer Inc. Piramal Healthcare Ltd. Starwood Hotels,…

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TRIZ with Ellen Domb

Next month (yes, I’m giving you early notice so you can put this in your calendar)TRIZ expert, Ellen Domb, will once again be on air with Steve Wilson of Quality Conversations, discussing practical applications of TRIZ. Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, 11 AM Pacific. Be there. Ellen is also speaking at the iSixSigma Live Summit & Awards…

The Ultimate Organization?

I’m going to go out on a limb and open up a discussion on the “Ultimate Organization” here. In my last two posts, I talked a little bit about integrating the 6S culture in an organization (vs keeping it at a specialist level only) and organizational fear. I figured a logical progression of the overall…

With Thanks

I had a very nice phone call today, from a colleague who had chatted with me earlier about a current project. She called to say thanks for allowing her to bounce ideas around, which helped her clarify some things about herapproach to the process. Naturally I felt good to receive this feedback, and it made…

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The Fourth Musketeer

“One of all and all for one!” Or, in the original French, “Tous pour un, un pour tous!” In the story by Alexandre Dumas (1844), the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, were joined by the musketeer-wannabee D’Artagnan, without whom the first three would have led very boring lives. I was reminded of this the…

Research: Misused Lean Six Sigma Tools

The latest iSixSigma Magazine research is about to be released in the upcoming November/December issue. For this research we surveyed over 800 Six Sigma practitioners and asked them all about the tools they use, the tools they don’t use, and what tools they think are misused… The chart at the leftis the top 10 tools…

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It’s a “Circle of Life” Thing!

I used to be really annoyed with people who took a wait-and-see approach to change. They’re not resistant, exactly, and they might be classified as “late adopters.” But I could understand active resistance better than passive indifference. Now, however, I have a little different take on things. Because I have realized that if you wait…

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Customer W.O.W. – The Time Is Now!

As families struggle to make ends meet, the value provided for the dollar spent is more important than ever. What should we do? Panic? No – we don’t need to stinkin’ panic. . . we got Six Sigma!

Seventh Annual iSixSigma Global Salary Survey

Now accepting salaries! Each year iSixSigma analyzes the data from its own iSixSigma Job Shop to create a comprehensive Six Sigma Salary report available in the March/April issue of iSixSigma Magazine. Last year data showed that the average Black Belt in the United States made an average salary of $88,438. Master Black Belts brought home…

Culture Change and Fear

There’s no doubt that fear can prevent an organization to be what it could be, but what can be done about it…how many times have you been in a situation where there were problems to solve, but no one stepped up to the plate to solve them because of fear? Piggy-backing on my previous posting,…

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Six Sigma TRIZ

Tomorrow (Wednesday,Sept 30), Ellen Domb, founder of the TRIZ Journal,will be on Steve Wilson’sshow Quality Conversations, hosted by blogtalkradio. Steve has interviewed a plethoraof quality professionals in the past. Guest appearances include Tom Kubiak, Forrest Breyfogle,Mark Graban,Jessica Harper, as well as yours truly. Ellen and Steve will be talking about Six Sigma Trees. Not the…

Alice in Processland

A quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1865: “The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked. ‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ’and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’” I am sure I’m not the…

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Quality Conversations

On Monday, Sept 14, I’ll be speaking with Steve Wilson on his show Quality Conversations, hosted by blogtalkradio. Steve has interviewed many quality professionals in the past, including Tom Kubiak, Forrest Breyfogle,Mark Graban and our very own iSixSigma editor-in-chief, Jessica Harper. I am happy to join the ranks of Steve’s guest list. We’re going to…

The Religion Behind Mandated Leadership

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the effect the current economy is having on businesses, it’s the polarization of Six Sigma. Programs have either been seen as the reverent coming of the messiah or the two-bit television evangelist that needs to be turned off and forgotten about. For those companies that feel they are…

Open Season For Awards

iSixSigma is pleased to announce the opening of award nominations for the iSixSigma Live! Summit & Awards in Miami in February 2010. Here’s what we arelooking for: * iSixSigma’s Six Sigma Hall of Fame: iSixSigma will recognize individuals who have significantly impacted corporate growth and shareholder value through the use of Lean Six Sigma by…

The Best Place to Work

Nominations are open for iSixSigma’s second annual Best Places to Work List. If you are working for a top notch company using Lean Six Sigma, go ahead and nominateit to be included in ourlist of Best Places to Work. Last year 10 companies made the list. McKesson took home the #1 spot, followed by Vought…

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Will the Real Process Owner Please Stand Up?

When I was leading a department, I never thought of myself as a process owner. It wasn’t in my job description, and I never heard anyone used the term. It’s one of those useful concepts that I wish I had known, prior to my Six Sigma and Lean education. Here’s my working definition: The process…

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My Favorite Tools

Well, maybe I have more than one favorite tool – but there are 2 that arefun to use with a group. One is sticky-note brainstorming. It avoids the perils of the regular “everybody call out their ideas” brainstorming, because (a) you get 100% participation; (b) you can get LOTS of ideas in just a few minutes;…

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