iSixSigma

Change management

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Change management

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #33224

    Vexed BB
    Member

    The compnay I work for has been using six sigma for around 2 years and has had a successful roll out.
    At the business unit I work at we have had problems with change management and in particular the top level of management not really listening to its internal consultants (BB’s). Recently we have brought in some outside consultants to help the business with a number of critical areas.
    Working with these consultants revealed that they were listening to the BB’s and basically re-packaging it for the management to buy-into.
    Is this a situation that anyone else has witnessed with the top level of management prefering to listen to outside consultants rather than its own.?

    0
    #89562

    R Amin
    Participant

    Thats the basic psychic of  the people and consider outside people are better than inside people. and when you hire a consultant  the hype it follows makes the people to listen  him , even at times whatever he says is known to inside people already
    And there is one more advantage in it (as i heard from a CEO) .if anything fails , its easy to pass the buck on the consultant!!
    hope this is provoking your thinking.
    R Amin
     

    0
    #89582

    DaveG
    Participant

    R,
    I’m happy to say, in complete seriousness, that I felt nauseated (proving that I am an ethical being) about the comment made by the CEO, for whose sake I hope no hell exists.  I might never make a 6-figure salary, but I have always been accountable for my actions.

    0
    #89749

    jagdish
    Participant

    If the CEO is serious about Six Sigma they will not look for exernal consultants. I don’t think any CEO can get away saying the the Consultant didn’t do the job. I hate to say this but people in this forum cannot make such loose statements about the CEO when our jobs are to find what can we do to be good change agents.
    Coming to why the people listen to consultants more than their own black belts – in my opinion it is
    a. The BB is incompetent to understand the business pain areas and address it
    b. Lacks the knowledge of the tools and depth to make it work for the organization
    c. Unwillingness to share and teach others in the organization in the fear of someone else getting better of him/her
    d. Most importanty – A wrong person being chosen to be a BB. A Black Belt has to be a Business Leader who knows the business, who can influence decisions with regards to Six Sigma initiative, who can convince the management that he can help solve business issues.
    BLACK belts who are mere statisticians or who have no appreciation for business add no value to the business. He has to be a mix of both the skills.
    Don’t blame the CEO. Blame the BB for not taking charge and making Six Sigma work.
    Jagdish

    0
    #89751

    Vivek Shrivastava
    Member

    As Jagdish has emphasised in strong words that its the black belt who is to be blamed…. I’ll take his point of wrong person being made a black belt further……I have seen in organisations that people are made black belt due to political pressures instead of actually going through the abilities of a person in business acumen, his ability to find music in the data and not just numbers, and above all the softer skills like his leadership qualities, his commitment and ability to influence the situations… The black belt is the backbone of the whole six sigma movement… and hence having a wrong person as a black belt just parlyses the whole journey.. and hence the top management must also share the blame at least for choosing the wrong person for a black belt…
    Vivek

    0
    #89755

    DaveG
    Participant

    Jagdish,
    Why would a responsible CEO allow such people to be BBs in his or her company?

    0
    #89756

    Leigh Wilkinson
    Participant

    Often, there is a deeper flaw than the BB or Mgmt individual issues; it is in the Six Sigma program design and implementation. Companies rush into SS and appoint BBs not based on talent and role but on a more emotional and internal politically charged basis – ‘favorite sons’ if you wish. So, first of all – there should be clear and very specific requirements for selection of BB’s
    Secondly – and perhaps most important, how are Champions and Executive sponsors trained? Are they willing to be trained on the basics of SS based decision making? If Execs refuse training or assert they ‘understand’ the program and don’t need orientation – be afraid, be very afraid. They have just informed you that their ego will not allow for a learning and implementation curve.
    Third – how are SS results communicated? Are reports to Execs filled with charts and jargon without clarity or bottom line recomendations? If so, then don’t expect the Execs to pay attention. They want to understand without too much effort and expect a ‘go-forward’ recommendation. This is why they often use consultants. External consultants first and foremost understand the value proposition of understanding executive needs, configuring their recommendations in as elegant and simple a framework as is possible, and making the business case.
    Six Sigma programs often create internal groups who communicate in closed loops using jargon and statistical charts to build understanding with each other, ignoring the decision makers and general population. The general population see SS participants as eletist and divorced from the ‘real work’ of daily production. They often are – by design and default- and SS BB and champions need to recognize the value of translating their work into everyday terms that all levels of the company can embrace. By the way, if the Executives aren’t listening, you can bet that middle management and the front line leaders are downright ignoring you. Sure, they nod and agree in the moment but when you walk away they go back to hoping this ‘flavor of the month’ will end soon. Executive behaviors often reflect the beliefs of a few informal leaders  that they trust in lower levels of the company. Despite all their strategic planning and lofty goals, Executives measure progress by daily, front- line results. Have you communicated results in this light?
    Remember Demings’ adage about the greatest source of error was not in the individual but in the process…look at your program. Where are you missing the point in communicating with all levels of the company? How well have you structured your SS implementation? 
    Leigh

    0
    #89759

    Dean
    Participant

    It is all too common that we look for scapegoats. Some have suggested the BB’s are the red x, others the CEO. Sometimes those who seek perfection in everyone else are themselves poor patients. The fact is, all systems are imperfect and harbor blind spots. Change management is and always will be a messy business and none of us, even BB’s with “perfectly” designed roadmaps, or errorless CEO’s, are immune to its realities. Deming said most systems are incapable of changing themselves, and must utilize some outside assistance from time to time to “recalibrate” and achieve “synergy.”  

    0
    #89763

    DaveG
    Participant

    Leigh,
    I think yours is the strongest and most insightful post I have seen on this board to date, and makes some invaluable points about leadership.  Can you cite sources, or your own experience, in more detail?

    0
    #89771

    Leigh Wilkinson
    Participant

    Thanks Dave… I learned the hard way. I implemented SS training and rollout in a well known internet company for two years before going out on my own as an Organizational Development consultant. I now work with a variety of companies struggling to put into place process improvement programs from lean to SS as well as leadership development programs (hence my insights to Executive mindsets). My work has proven time and again the necessity to plan well, realize it takes much longer than you think, and that all stakeholders are critical to success.This is pure project management from the PMBOK. Look at the ASQ guidelines for MBB certification and you will see much of it duplicates the PMBOK.
     If you ignore just one group or try to accelerate past the basic steps of education and communication, you have insured at the very least some delays and difficulties if not the absolute failure of a program. For example, in the internet company, it took a full two years to educate all levels of the organization regarding the value of SS. This is classic change management theory from Organizational Development concepts but somehow, everyone thinks (or hopes) that an organization can shortcut their way to success. My experience is that the more shortcuts that are attempted, the longer the delays.
    For good resources I would suggest the usual SS texts by Breyfogal and others but also suggest Senges Fifth Discipline and the related fieldbook along with Dance of Change,edited by Senge… The systems thinking folks got it right from the beginning when they put their focus on balancing process with attention to impact on people engaged in the process. Also watch for an upcoming book from an author Tom Devane and Pfeiffer press soon to be published…it will help you look for gaps in the process of SS rollout.
    Leigh
     

    0
    #89775

    DonB
    Participant

    I have seen several such examples in my career of this, and there have been some lessons learned for me:
    A) At one company there was a “Quality Coordinator” who really knew a lot about quality and what the company needed to do.  The fact was she didn’t have the ability to get anyone to listen, so she gave up frustrated.  After she left, another Manager (me) with less knowledge about Quality, but more knowledge about how to create change, and sell Management put all of the package together and got it all done.
    B) At another location, a General Manager hired a brilliant technical guy that had been in the business a long time-but was a “blue collar guy”.  He told the GM what needed to be done.  The GM didn’t listen until he spent $200k on three consultants to come listen to the tech guy and present back everything he said. 
    This is only two examples: The bottom line- to create big change, takes some big clout and some great presentation and salesmanship.  Sometimes it’s paying for a guy with a plane ticket and a briefcase that makes a difference, sometimes it’s credentials on paper. Sometimes it’s hard for people who are strictly technical to communicate all this or see a bigger picture of what Management’s hot button really is (example: lack of blame.).  In BB training, they teach you a lot of skills-including what is needed-management support- but they don’t really teach you the sales skills of how to gain that support.
    Good luck.

    0
    #89780

    Williams
    Participant

    I have read all posts and find many of the comments helpful in my own situation. I am in agreement on PMBOK comments and appreciate references for further study.
    I believe there may be some truth to comments about the wrong person being selected for the job. Yet, I cannot go all the way with the comments suggesting that the so-called change agent should bear all of the blame for failure(s). The very essence of change management is getting a different response or different behavior than status quo. Organizations that resist change and get away with it have preserved the status quo. Unless there are repercussions, their behavior has been reinforced.
    How is change best accomplished? I believe a change is best done in a top-down manner unless the bottom-up manner is sanctioned. If successive levels of management in your company don’t listen to the level that precedes it, you can’t expect change to come from the bottom-up. If you do, you are not living in the real world.
    Some people say get some wins and you can affect change in a bottom-up manner. Certainly anything is possible, but how much time do you have? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Is this what you want for your career? If you are a member of this forum, I assume you are more ambitious than that. Yet, there are some people who can be productive in environments where they are unfulfilled, underutilized, and not progressing toward their aspirations.
    I find it difficult to be productive in such an environment. Regardless of the management structure that a company thinks it has, rewards, promotions, demotions, and/ or severance come from the top. Therefore, the buck stops at the top.
    If a company has flavor of the month programs, it is because the CEO and corporate executives are not doing their jobs and should be replaced with more competent individuals. This applies to the Board of Directors too. The leadership in a corporation is paid to lead not to manage and have fiduciary obligations to its investors. Therefore, the leadership should be the first to receive training for any new program.
    If the executives thought it was a waste of time, it would be wasteful and irresponsible for them to allow it to be deployed across the corporation. Likewise, paying consultants for knowledge that exists in-house is a wasteful and irresponsible.
    In closing, you must have a mandate to affect change in a corporation. This means, the need for change has been recognized at the top and communications have ensued relative to the new direction. The compensation structure as well as promotions and retention should be linked to the change. This is solely a matter of accountability. As for accountability: Board of Directors is accountable to investors for the change, CEO is accountable to Board of Directors for the change, Executives are accountable to the CEO for the change, etc. Otherwise, if there is change, it will not be lasting change.

    0
    #89827

    Bob Peterson
    Participant

    Vexed,
    This is an all-to-common situation where the upper and not-so-upper portions of a company have communication difficulties.  What has the top management team answered when you asked what they need from your work?
    Without knowing the specific situation it is a bit difficult to advise.  Three items that come immediately to mind include impact, how you communicate upward and sponsors (or champions if you prefer).
    Work hard at the beginning of your work to be certain what quantifiable goal is expected, and that the management team concurs.  Monetary and measureable direct impact on customers are preferred. 
    Communication should take a similar path, and MUST be concise and positive yet reflect reality.  You are in the position to supply answers, not more problems. 
    Identifying a sponsor or champion is an oft-overlooked component.  Find someone at a level above the team who cares about or is directly impacted by the outcome but is a bit outside of the day-to-day.  This person is the salesman and can be quite beneficial bridging the communication gap.
    I would ask you to consider how successful your program has been over the past 2 years if this issue has persisted this long.
    By the way, I am one of those consultants.
    Bob

    0
    #89831

    CB
    Participant

    Sounds like the Six Sigma run around. (no wonder SS is a big joke and bs) Just go ahead and improve things and don’t take the credit. Do that and smile.
    Remember….Quality is Everything!

    0
    #89846

    Bob Peterson
    Participant

    CB,
    Sorry you feel that way.  I failed to make the connection with personal credit, for I took the issue to be communication both up and down.
    Bob Peterson

    0
    #91366

    sandrine berthet
    Member

    If you send to me your email address I will send you excellent “change management” articles (written by me),it will help you to find answers for your questions,those articles are based on actual successful change management experience,    best regards.   Sandrine

    0
    #91383

    DaveG
    Participant

    [email protected]
    Thanks!

    0
Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.