When I first went to Six Sigma training, I was very enthusiastic about it and shared everything I learned over the dinner table with my family. I talked about my projects and the tools, my successes and failures. I always thought they listened politely and then forgot about it. You know, Mom talking about work AGAIN, yada-yada-blah-blah-blah.

Then one day recently my husband came home and asked me to help him transfersome process maps into an electronic version. With a team from his workplace, he had facilitated a current state and future state map, and then asked the team to come up with goals for the project. They included:

– Identify opportunities for flow

– Eliminate duplicate steps

– Standardize process

– Meet stakeholder requirements

– Ensure that accreditation requirements are met

– Develop metrics for monitoring the process long-term

Now, he had talked about doing an improvement project at work for this particular process, but I hadn’t quizzed him on the details. So I was surprised and pleased that his project incorporated so many elements of the Lean and Six Sigma methods.

“Wow, honey, that’s great!” I said. “You really learned a lot from hearing me talk about my job at the dinner table!”

“Well, not really,” he replied, “it’s just common sense!”

Now, while his answer was not particularly tactful, I did like it for one reason. It made me reflect thatit would be great to livein a world where utilizing process improvement tools and concepts is “just common sense!” – instead of the resistance-laden, data-poor, time-crunched activity that it sometimes is.

I’ll think I’ll spend a few moments inthat imaginary world, before returning to the next task on my to-do list!

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