The Agreement Process: 3 Steps to Achieve Buy-in

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Anyone who has implemented continuous improvement programs understands that employees are the people who make the changes happen. You can force their hands and use managerial authority to direct change, but if team members do not accept and embrace change management, you will not reap the full benefits of change, and sustaining the change will […]

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How to Win Support for Continuous Improvement Programs and Projects

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Gaining support to implement and sustain a continuous improvement program is an oft-voiced concern of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) practitioners. These concerns reflect frustration in both senses of the term –  feeling frustrated personally and encountering attitudes that frustrate the effectiveness of the program. Three sets of skills and methods have shown success in gaining […]

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Leadership and Lean Six Sigma

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Is leadership from the bottom-up better than top-down? How can employees convince and excite their leaders about the opportunities waiting for them with a Lean Six Sigma deployment? The best leadership references on iSixSigma can be found at the following links: Ask the Expert: The Topic – Six Sigma and Employees Developing Change Leadership by […]

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How to Develop a Lean Six Sigma Deployment Plan [VIDEO] – With Gary Cone

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Starting a Lean or Six Sigma initiative at your organization is no easy task. The task is easier, however, when you build a comprehensive deployment plan. In this video, you will learn everything you need to know about a successful Lean or Six Sigma deployment plan, including: What is a deployment plan and why is […]

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Make It a Team Effort: Involving Employees Can Lead to Lasting Solutions

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Problem solving teams are often confronted with resistance to change. Even if the change is positive, employees are not always willing to embrace the improvements identified through DMAIC projects. However, by involving the employees to solve problems together, instead of providing solutions for them, practitioners can help assure that employees not only buy into process […]

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Using the DMAIC Model to Achieve Buy-in

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When project managers begin studying Lean Six Sigma, the first question asked is often, “How will I get buy-in?” Although the core concepts and methodologies may make sense to project managers, the question of buy-in sometimes overshadows this powerful methodology for process improvement. There are many root causes for why people are reluctant to lend […]

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Managing Six Sigma Change Resistance

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A critical component of any successful Six Sigma project is to overcome resistance to change. The reason: Without user acceptance, any process improvement is doomed to fail. Therefore, proper anticipation and understanding the approaches to various resistance tactics is essential to success. People resist change in the workplace in many ways, but among the more […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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12 Tips for a More Motivated Team and Better Results

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Lean Six Sigma, a process-driven program to reduce defects, relies heavily on a decidedly process-free emotion: passion. A motivated, driven team can make the difference between success and failure. I know about the power of motivation – I learned to walk again with braces and crutches after a 55-foot fall that left me as a […]

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Sustaining Change Requires Focus on Stakeholders

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A Six Sigma initiative – or any change process for that matter – is only successful in the long run if the stakeholders truly adopt and sustain the change. Process and technology change cannot be implemented without a change in the hearts, souls and behaviors of the people involved in or impacted by the change. […]

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Converting Skeptics and Keeping Them On Board

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A powerful process improvement tool since the 1980s, Six Sigma has grown in popularity over recent years while less effective initiatives have faded away. Yet some still believe Six Sigma will ultimately share that same fate. These skeptics are people who feel burdened by the disruption Six Sigma has caused in their responsibilities and authority. […]

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Change Dynamics: Prepare for Optimal Buy-in

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We are constantly hearing about change. Change in the political environment, change in the economic environment, change in our personal lives and change in the business environment. Change has become part of everyone’s life. For instance, no one uses a briefcase-sized cell phone anymore, and mimeograph machines have long been relegated to the storage room. […]

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Gain Support with Straight Talk and Exit Strategy Tools

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Effective cultural change is not simply the result of a large group of people accepting the arguments of other influential people – it is the sum of the change of that population’s values, operational knowledge and habitual behaviors. Essentially, culture is not changed until a majority of the population is thinking and acting differently from […]

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Trailblazing Efforts Drive Strategic Objectives

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Turning strategic stretch goals into daily behavioral change has never been easy for big companies. While executives talk about customer focus, what passes for intimate financial interactions in a busy call center is often laden with tedious work-arounds, risk-adverse rules, hopelessly complex technical redundancies and platform interactions. At one of the world’s largest mutual fund […]

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Ten Ways to Boost Up a ‘Pretty Good’ Six Sigma Program

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Many process improvement efforts are doing well enough, limping along with casual support from the management team, blissful ignorance from most first-line employees, some frustration from overtrained and underutilized Belts, and savings and improvement that are neither earth-shattering nor close to entitlement. Here are a few relatively simple and straightforward actions to take to turn […]

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