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How do I pitch the idea of Six Sigma to The Man?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General How do I pitch the idea of Six Sigma to The Man?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Shelby 12 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #46004

    David Hellmer
    Participant

    I am a new employee at a publicly traded Real Estate Interest Trust (REIT) Corporation, providing Class A business suites to corporations, complete with design/build and management services, and I know there is always room for improvement in business process with regard to service oriented businesses.  My last company, TYCO, taught me about the Six Sigma way, and I am familiar with its benefits.  My issue is this:  I am an employee at the very bottom of the food chain, how do I convince my management all the way up the corporate ladder that this is a legitimate process to consider?  Our Company is between 300-400 employees over 5 states and 4 business divisions.  Any help would be great.  I feel like I am too small a person to make the “big guys” understand how beneficial this program can be.  Thanks in advance for any advice.

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    #151334

    Darth
    Participant

    Selling SS via the enema approach is rarely successful.  Snoop around to uncover some of the key issues and what keeps the “Man” up at night.  If SS happens to be the way to deal with those issues, then you might be able to capture his attention.  Trying to sell upwards based on platitudes and anectodal stories doesn’t seem the way to go on this.  If the Man has no burning platforms then just do your job, climb the ladder and at some point you might be an influencer.  Good luck.

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    #151336

    David Hellmer
    Participant

    Perhaps by using the “the man” rhetoric, I may not have conveyed the intent of my question properly.  Our business model has a very “open-door” policy in place for the improvement of our process with respect to our tenants’ best interests.  My question is less of “How do I kill a dragon with only a cup of water,” rather “How do I explain the benefits of SS to the listening ear of our CEO?”  I would like to not think of this as a pleasant placement of an idea in the sphincter of the scowling tight-wad, but exercising a planned approach to efficient explanation of SS to an executive team who is likely going to be receptive to the idea, so long as it is presented well.

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    #151337

    Carl
    Participant

    I feel like I am too small a person to make the “big guys” understand…
    Regardless of how small in stature you believe yourself to be, you are nonetheless articulate and have past positive experience in the benefits derived from properly applied Six Sigma analytics.    You don’t need guidance from this forum’s participants.
     
    Recall your past Tyco successes, apply appropriate comparisons to your current situation and make your cost benefit analysis case to your management, make it again and make it again, all the while remaining professional and helpful.    Logic and positive intentions win out, regardless of how tiny you might be.      
     

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    #151340

    Darth
    Participant

    You are taking a slightly different positioning now.  I don’t feel telling Motorola or GE stories or the history of SS will have much impact.  You can get them one of many SS books in the marketplace for that.  What will be more powerful will require more work on your part.  I still think you will make the biggest impact by identifying the key issues and what keeps him up at night worrying.  Link those to specific SS based solutions.  Try to find specific examples where it worked and if necessary use analogous situations both within and outside the industry.  Try to identify some specific processes within the business that are obviously “broken”.  Do a little interviewing of other managers in the business and see if you can find out their burning platforms.  Showing specifically how you would apply the LSS approach will have impact.  Offer to do a small pilot and show that it works.  Demonstrating success in your own organization is the best way to get people on board.

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    #151341

    MSSBB 23
    Participant

    If I might add a little further input.  Big or little, money talks. But timing is everything!
    Until someone’s butt is in the sling you will not be noticed.  The problem or condition needs to be painful enough for people in responsible positions to “pulled” in to a solution.  Be patient as mentioned, continue to be vigilant, advertise/celebrate your successes, in time people will take notice, it’s inevitable!

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    #151343

    BTDT
    Participant

    David:David Hellmer to Big Honcho elevator speech”I’d like to present you with some ideas to reduce our variable costs by 10-15% over a one year timeframe. This is based on some continuous improvement projects I conducted at TYCO before coming to XYZ. This will take about an hour. Could I have some of your time toward the end of next week?”The pitch:(1) Identify the two or three burning issues of the business. Use the annual report, informal interviews with tenants or customer service reps, whatever you need to get to find the, “what keeps you awake at night” idea.(2) Show what may happen if the business fails to do anything.(3) Present successful solutions from parallel businesses or competitors. Use specific examples that show the use of tools in a team setting.(4) Present the likely benefits of using Six Sigma or Lean tools (1 year, 2 year, etc.) and the potential impact on the burning issues identified in (1) above.(5) Call to action or decision.I saw a 10/20/30 approach for pitching to investment bankers: 10 slides, 20 minute presentation, 30 minutes for questions and answers.Cheers, BTDT

    David:

    David: David Hellmer to Big Honcho elevator speech (15 seconds) “The reduction of variable costs is one of the biggest
    issues for our tenants.* I’d like to present you with some ideas to reduce it
    by 10-15% over a one year timeframe. These ideas are based on some continuous
    improvement projects I conducted at TYCO before coming to XYZ. This will take
    about an hour. Could I have some of your time toward the end of next
    week?” * Burning business issue not typical, your mileage may
    vary. The purpose is NOT to sell Six Sigma, but to get one hour of
    his/her time. The pitch: ·       
    Identify the two or three burning issues of the
    business. Use the annual report, informal interviews with tenants or customer
    service reps, whatever you need to get to find the, “what keeps you awake at
    night” idea. 
    Show
    what may happen if the business fails to do anything.
     
    Present
    successful solutions from parallel businesses or competitors. Use specific
    examples that show the use of tools in a team setting.
     
    Present
    the likely benefits of using Six Sigma or Lean tools (1 year, 2 year,
    etc.) and the potential impact on the burning issues identified in (1)
    above.
     
    Call
    to action or decision.
     I saw a 10/20/30 approach for pitching to investment
    bankers: 10 slides, 20 minute presentation, 30 minutes for questions and
    answers. Cheers, BTDT

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    #151346

    TVI
    Member

    Darth as usual provides stellar advice….i have seen multiple pitches and attended multiple training events where the same tired, historical reiteration was…..reiterated…….
    Here is an idea.  Don´t tell him anything and pitch nothing.  Determine your scope of influence and apply the tools and techniques to the BP issues-elements within your scope of influence.  If successful, others will inquire as to your methods and you have already sold the skill set. If not, you havent stuck your neck out there as the 6S guy who fell promptly on his face.   And you have kept the skill set viable for a future roll out when and if the proper resources become available.  Good luck.

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    #151348

    Silviu
    Member

    In our case (a telco company), we brought in a GE MBB to “sell” 6S to Executive Members Board. Their questions were answered and a “go” to 6S was given, with tasks to select projects, BB, training company…
    Next we bring in “core” projects to the same board and this time 6S is stopped due to lack of IT resources. Same projects are later approved to be executed by our PMO.
    The lesson: unless your CEO is excited about 6S or at least a division director, your have small chances to succeed.
    Silviu

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    #151355

    Ronald
    Participant

    Your business not well suited to SS.  Even business that should be suited like Ford not work as well it could.  If you fail – your head be on chopping block.

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    #151357

    OLD
    Participant

    David:
     
    As a new employee to this company, you may want to take a little time to get the lay of the land to determine which way the wind blows. I’m guessing they have been successful (by their standard) to some extent? Just because you feel SS was successful at Tyco doesn’t correlate to being the means to an end at your new company.
     
    Learn the business, learn about the company, and get to know the people. Learn first hand about the problems. The goal should be to eliminate problems and continuously improve (using whatever method works) rather than having the goal of introducing another company to SS. As TVI said, create a name for yourself by demonstrating what you’ve learned and you will garner the attention of the appropriate people.
     
    If it is your goal to sell upper management on SS so that you can become the leader of the effort, I can see the reason for your question. If not, take your time to learn the business and understand the company’s problems/opportunities/future.
     Good Luck!  OLD

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    #151726

    bertever
    Participant

    I like all of the advice given here. I have been in the Quality business a long time, Management strategy even longer, only  a short time in LSS. My condensed version is you must relate your “burning issues” to the bottom line. If you can do what these experts are suggesting to you and show bottom line savings in $$$ or customer retention, you will be a hero. One word of caution – know the informal organization before making suggestions about improvement. Do not be seen to criticise your manager or other managers to the “Man”. Revenge will be swift.

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    #151747

    Shelby
    Member

    You can of course use your local manager as a sounding board to learn about the companies culture for trying new problem resolution methods.  Then act within the guidelines provided.  This may or may not have success. 
    Therefore, a second approach is to build trust by doing.  Seek out issues that fit as good projects and get approval to solve them.  Do not speak of methods, just speak of resolution.  Follow the DMAIC process.  Communicate, communicate, communicate (including toll gates); but don’t through in a bunch of buzz words and SS jargon.  These terms and methods can seem intimidating to people not expecting to deal with them.  When you solve the issue(s), perform a report out. Use headings in your report out such as Define, Measure…..  Without getting into the entire discussion of what SS is, everyone can relate to those headings. With success in your back pocket, you can begin the cultural change. 
    If the second approach is needed, build your momentum slowly at first and allow it to grow.  You are new and on the ground floor.  You can only change culture at a pace acceptable to the culture.  If you discuss idea one first, you will probably have a good feel the cultural rediness.
    Maybe I should have started with this.  What is most important, convincing everyone to try SS or introducing problem resolution by data backed decision making?  I have been a proctitioner for years.  For me, the most important aspect is proper usage of the tools and using them for the right reasons. 
    I hope this helps.

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    #151745

    Deanb
    Participant

    I concur with Darth and other comments here. I would avoid evangelizing any form of process improvement until your “internal clout” and “management invitation” are iron clad. Remember that change management is risky and its leaders-even the good ones- often face higher turnover rates. The most important thing to remember is your prime directive, which is why they hired you, and to deliver that with excellence first.

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