Six Sigma is a data-driven and analytical approach to solving business problems that focuses on not making mistakes, or defects. The Lean Six Sigma definition of the word “profession” includes:  A pledge to an ethical principle,  High competency requirements, and  The requirement to enact your pledge by adhering to the core Six Sigma principles .
Overview: what does profession mean in the Lean Six Sigma world?
A profession is a belief system, or set of values or behaviors, that drives an individual to reach their optimal level of performance and creates the highest quality of customer service. It can also be thought of as a training ground for lifelong professional development, which means time spent in developing your profession equates to increased sales success for your business.
It is all about pledging appropriate behavior to ensure your projects are effective in the long run. This definition becomes especially important when attempting to successfully implement a Lean Six Sigma project in your business: if a project isn’t built based on Six Sigma’s core values of customer focus, respect for people, and continuous improvement, it’s not really Six Sigma. It might be lean, it might be Kaizen, but any problems you encounter with the project will stem from lack of utilizing the core Six Sigma principles.
3 Benefits to the LSS Profession
LSS is not just a tool or a series of processes for improving businesses or products. It’s a philosophy with guiding principles and core values that help drive progress and development, and it’s built on the careers of millions of professionals around the world.
1. Not only is implementing a successful LSS project important to your organization’s improvement goals, but it is also an effective way to remain viable in the marketplace.
Many organizations are being recognized for their accomplishments in Lean Six Sigma, citing improvements in delivery and quality of products/services. And with the global recognition of Lean Six Sigma as a profession, more and more people will be looking for careers in the field, so it’s becoming increasingly more advantageous to establish your business as one that follows LSS initiatives.
2. It is ethical.
LSS projects start with a pure desire to improve processes, not get rich or be famous. If a business wants to gain benefits from LSS then they must have faith in the process of continuous improvement, focus on the customer, and respect their employees. This is the “profession” of LSS: it requires you to stick to the core values of ethics for the duration of the project and beyond.
3. Enhanced credibility.
LSS professions are known for being credible. It’s a massive benefit that is passively achieved simply by always acting in ways that follow the LSS philosophy of professionalism. Honestly, transparency, and accountability all lead easily and quickly to credibility. This applies even when mistakes are made, provided they are corrected and not repeated, which is the goal of Six Sigma.
Why is profession important to understand?
Your project team must have the highest level of professionalism in its conduct. Every action the team takes – from planning to conducting analyses and developing solutions, to creating measurement systems, to implementing improvements and controlling results – must be aligned with the organization’s vision and strategy, as well as its behavioral standards and core values.
LSS is a systematic approach to problem-solving that achieves dramatic and sustainable reductions in variation-related costs, including scrap, rework, inspection, and delays. The LSS professional and their dedication to the LSS idea of profession is the driving force behind this breakthrough improvement methodology. Without this understanding, the initiatives are destined to fail.
An industry example of profession
An industry example of LSS professionalism at work is using a customer’s voice to solve a problem. International companies like Starbucks Coffee and L Brands – the parent company for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works – use their customers’ opinions to find solutions for improving the customer experience. They have implemented internal flow systems that allow this information to directly reach the policymakers. Few initiatives are as effective at driving customer loyalty.
4 Best Practices When Thinking about Profession
All effective organizations have a set of values that forms its beliefs and, in turn, creates its culture.
1. When selecting project professionals for projects that involve an entire organization or service processes, it is critical to hire employees who exhibit these values.
The members of a team will follow the example set by and adopt the same characteristics as their leader or project manager.
2. For each project that a team leader takes on, a detailed work plan and approach should be required.
It is important for the project leader to review tools for data collection and analysis, so they know how to analyze the data and conduct studies. The plans should be designed that not only keeps company best practices in mind, but also uses them. Team leaders that can create control charts are also typically able to meet high standards, and set high standards of their own.
3. Compare results.
Those involved in true LSS professions know that part of the results evaluation process must include comparisons to industry benchmarks. Furthermore, these comparisons must be carefully researched and used to create relevant and productive action plans.
4. Early involvement.
In the past, LSS professionals often got involved too late in a project and were asked to solve problems that were not well understood by project managers and team members. The professional’s lack of understanding was compounded by the lack of a formal, common language. As a result, projects were derailed because of miscommunication and repeated mistakes across the organization.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Profession
Q: What does it mean to be part of a LSS profession?
A: LSS professionalism means that your project team will always make decisions based on the organization’s vision and strategy, as well as its behavioral standards and core values. It also means that your team will be open to feedback, willing to perform root cause analysis with the rest of the organization, and help other teams improve their processes so they are able to achieve world-class results.
Q: Is profession the same as business? If not, what’s the difference?
A: They are not the same and have notable differences. A profession is a standardized body of practical knowledge. Examples of professions are teaching, medicine, law, and accounting. A business generates revenue and is sustainable. Common types of businesses include manufacturing, services, and retail. Another key difference is that businesses exist for profit, whereas the mission of a profession is to serve society.
Q: How do I advance my career in a LSS profession?
A: Advancement is achieved by obtaining green and black belt status. A LSS green belt is someone who can plan and execute projects related to LSS. Becoming a LSS green belt generally requires a degree from an accredited college in business or engineering, as well as two years of experience in a field related to LSS.
Becoming a LSS black belt generally requires a bachelor’s degree, four years of experience, and further training in a field related to lean six sigma.
The green belt training course provides those with a basic knowledge of the principles of Six Sigma with the opportunity to advance their LSS skill set further. The black belt training course is the highest level of continuous improvement training available. Designed for those who are looking for a career in LSS, the content of this course can prepare you for work in a number of different industries.
Profession with Impact
As a profession, Six Sigma gives professionals the ability to make an impact at both micro and macro levels, from the value of small gains in substance quality to the impact on entire business units and processes. Six Sigma professionals are change agents that partner with business leaders to improve their processes and gain greater market share.
Six Sigma may not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in making a tangible difference at a critical time in our economic history, it’s certainly worth exploring. Incorporating not only the LSS methodology but also the LSS mindset into your professional practice isn’t just something that helps you climb the ranks in business; it’s a way of life, one that enables you to make a real difference in the world—and that’s never stripped away once you’ve achieved certification.