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Management Support….REALLY?

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  • #49195

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    If Six Sigma delivers such mind-numbing-bottom-line financial results as we say it does, then why do we constantly complain that we lack management support?  Support should be a no-brainer given the potential ROI as we tend to see it.
    My benchmark for this query is SAP.  I look at how many organizations flock to integrate SAP which has huge operating expense and capital investment with very little quantifiable savings.  And then I consider Six Sigma, where yes the expense is high (at least in the short term) but the investment in capital is relatively small and the quantifiable results are huge.  Yet we constantly complain of lack of mgmt support.
    Why are we so ineffective at convincing management of its value?  Are we just using them as our excuse for being ineffective?

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    #167761

    Deanb
    Participant

    You raise a valid point.Investment in SAP is often considered a “costs of doing business” whereas SS tends to be viewed as incremental choices to be selectively justified. This is the main SS problem I see in companies. I constantly advise upper mgt that CI “infrastructure” needs to broadly budgeted, as a similar cost of doing business, rather than being incrementally selected. Knowing what the difference between “infrastructure-and selective costs” is everything.The world class companies tend to see SS infrastructure as a cost of doing business. Those who try to justify every element cripple their initiatives severely IMHO

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    #167763

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    It’s simple.  SAP doesn’t require management to actually do anything other than say go do it and pay for it.  Six Sigma requires their time and effort.  At least, that’s how they view it.  Management by remoite control is always a lot easier than leadership by participation.

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    #167764

    Deanb
    Participant

    Good point Shooter. Mgt sweat equity is part of the required investment in SS.

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    #167769

    Brandon
    Participant

    Really, Six? You believe corp. mngt. is poor they don’t really want to work? Sorry, I can’t buy that. American, well World industry does not accomplish what it does with mngt on “remote”.
    Just a guess but I would put most mngt highly engaged and highly competent. And, I disagree with the original poster. SS is well known and embraced by thousands of companies. However, as has been discussed previously, success is dependent on many factors; SS being just one helpful discipline.
    Reasons for less than spectacular performance are numerous and I won’t try to list them. Maybe mngt is knocked so much here because so few here are mngt – easy to put it on “them”.

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    #167770

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    “Unfortunately this forum has taken the direction of – post your opinion then the next 20 or 30 posts are about how inappropriate the first response was.” 
    Refresh my memory, was this you that posted the above? 

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    #167774

    Brandon
    Participant

    Oops, yes that was me.

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    #167775

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    No worries, Brandon.  We have a passion for what we do.  Differing opinions and experiences are a good thing.  They make us think and learn.

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    #167776

    Szentannai
    Member

    Hi,
    I don’t think this is a fair comparison. SS is first and foremost a cultural change – if done correctly it will change in many ways the relationship between management and employees (see data driven decisions for example). I do not believe that introducing SAP has a similar impact.There are different levels here: while a competent and result driven higher management will necessarily favor SS, there might be very different feelings at middle management level. Many will see SS as a loss of power and prestige and react accordingly. Regards
    Sandor

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    #167782

    SSBB
    Member

    Honestly, how much management involvement does there need to be in a SS project.  Their responsiblity here is to sponsor you and smooth out any roadblocks that you may encounter.  Their involvement should be minimal at best.  Really it is up to us to do the legwork here, that’s why we have a job.  If your management is lacking buy-in because of the time and effort that is required of them, you are probably not doing your job.  Yes, they need to be involved, but as with any other job it is really your job.  They have their own to do.  You should be making theirs easier, not complicating it.  If that is what you continue to do they will either give you less support every time a project comes up or just find someone who will make their job easier.  Of course, as a member of management, my point of view here may be skewed a little bit away from yours.

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    #167783

    Brandon
    Participant

    OK, Sandor…I agree, good observation. Relative to SS, middle mngt could be concerned upper mngt might think “Why haven’t they been able to do this before?”.
    Little story..did a deployment kickoff with a mid-sized firm. CEO and his 12 direct reports participated. Beginning the 2nd day the CEO ask for the stage. He said to his people….I realized as I was going to sleep last night many, if not all of, you are thinking – OK, now he expects more from us. CEO said – you are right. But I don’t expect more effort from you…you are all already busting your butts far more than I would like you to. I have brought SS in here to help you do more. Not because you are deficient…but because you are all giving all you have and we all want to accomplish more. SS, I’ve determined, will give us capabilities to do more…correctly and perhaps with even less effort on your part.
    As you may be able to imagine it was a very impactful speech. And, goes to the heart of what SS should do for an organization and how it should be teed up.

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    #167785

    annon
    Participant

    My experience would lead me to say that not creating demand for the skill set is the primary manifestation of no ‘top down support’.  When process owners provide robust, actionable project charters and a BQC assesses and assigns a solid change agent with appropriate resources, that is the bulk of what I would require of  mang.
    Giving responsability without authority is an indication of poor leadership and not an uncommon mistake.  

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    #167786

    Szentannai
    Member

    Well,
    some stories to show what I would expect middle management NOT to do: at big company, very famous for implementing Six Sigma, I was asking a BB to come up with project ideas. Instead he send me confidentially an email his boss sent to everybody forbidding any six sigma projects until a deadline was reached (just FYI, that deadline was about a year away).Same company, same department selecting a new BB for a team. The guy who was proposed had very bad rating at the last performance review so before the next review his managers calls me and tells me – “we have to give him a high rating this year otherwise we cant make him a BB” :))Regards
    Sandor

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    #167787

    SSBB
    Member

    While I would agree that management buy-in is essential to the project’s success, I would also like to say that I completely agree with the thought that responsibility without authority is a sure recipe for failure.  However, Sandor, I believe that your outlook is the result of working for the wrong company with the wrong management team.  If your company is promoting prople based on the fact that “we have to give him a good rating this year” then they are clearly working towards the wrong goals.  If you give him a poor rating, find a way to cut him loose.  Replace him with someone effective.  Or else close your doors and start pumping gas.  This is clearly a case of management not being willing to make effective decisions or the hard choices that come with responsibility.  Too bad for you.  Jump ship now before they drag you down with them.  I’ve been in management too long to believe that this is a good practice, or the right example to set for your employees.  If this is how they choose to lead, find someone who knows how to lead.

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    #167789

    Gastala
    Participant

    Top management are concerned with strategic issues and in many cases regard process improvement as a tactical issue. They see SAP as a strategic investment.
    Where Six Sigma has been successful it has been sold to top management as a strategic issue, most notably of course at Motorola and GE.
    It does not necessarily follow that top management are short-sighted, in many companies cost reduction and quality improvements are not strategically important as long as they are broadly in line with the competition. They are strategically important in industries where competitors have converged and are jostling for position e.g. automotive, and those industries are right on it.
    In many companies cost and quality are strategically important, but management haven’t realized yet; those are ripe for Six Sigma.
    Middle managers in many companies are very tightly constrained. They may have apparently enormous power and enviable budgets, but very little discretion. If process improvement is not in their budget they can’t spend a hundred dollars on it. That’s why you need top management support.

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    #167792

    New MB
    Participant

    What  a  shame?

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    #167797

    Szentannai
    Member

    Hi,
    I completely agree – and I do not work for that company any more :)I just wanted to give this as an example how middle management can ruin a six sigma implementation even if higher management is entirely in favor of it. I do not think this is company specific either – I have similar experiences with other companies as well. One MBB at an other, quite well known six sigma company, resumed it with the words “wash me but don’t make me wet” , in my opinion a quite good description of why SS implementations fail in many cases.
    Regards
    Sandor

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    #167799

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Do tactics exist in a vacuum?  Are they a stand alone issue – out there by themselves, disjointed and doing there own thing?  Or, are they a critical element that is required for the execution of the corporate strategies on a day by day basis – a part of the overall system?  If the things we do in our daily work do not directly tie to the achievement of our long term strategies, the question must become: why are we doing it?
    This is exactly one of the issues that the balanced scorecard was designed to resolve.  By using strategy maps to determine the long term strategies and then to tie them to the various elements of the business and their tactics, we can establish the goals and objectives and measure performance, adjusting as necessary.  No plan is perfect, due to the unknown and unknowable.  They require constant monitoring and adjustment at all levels. But balanced scorecards, goal setting, monitoring and review are not enough.
    Unfortunately, once a directive or edict is made by the higher levels of management, their focus moves on.  Sure, they will have the monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual reviews. but they miss a critical element:  the ongoing coaching and mentoring of their direct reports and the organization as a whole.  This is what I meant in my former posting regarding management “running on remote control.”  The edict has been made, issue handled, now move onto the next issue.
    There was an interesting article a few years back – I can’t remember by whom – that cited one of the biggest problems with American management is overconfidence.  This overconfidence in their skills and abilities leads to a lack of learning and gaining of knowledge and to the belief that once the directive has been made, things will happen as planned, thus no need to do anything else but hold the status and review meetings.  When performance doesn’t meet expectations, issue new directives, kick a few behinds, and move onto the next issue, one firefight after another.
    And here is the fundamental flaw we encounter, as I see it and have experienced in my career: there is a tremendous disconnect between the front office and the line operations.  Middle managers, who often see us as a threat to their authority and control, will go out of their way to kill our efforts, even in light of great progress and achievement.  They are not coached and mentored by the higher up levels on the new beliefs and behaviors that are congruent and required for the organization to succeed with a team-based continual improvement approach.  Setting goals and objectives, even when tied to performance reviews and incentives, is not enough.  People have to learn and apply a different way of working, thinking, and acting / reacting to the daily issues that arise.  Many require a different view of people and how they contribute to the execution of strategies and tactics.  It’s the old Theory X, Theory Y thing.
    Dr. Deming said that knowledge only comes in from the outside, and only by invitation.  So, what are we to do when the doors are closed and there is no learning of the new way?  This is where I see the C-level types not doing their work.  Many often have the mistaken belief that once they make the edicts and give “permission” to go forth and do this or that, they have done their job and all is well.  In my humble opinion, the directive to do something is just the first shot of the battle.  Their job then becomes one of not just selling the idea, but one of mentoring and coaching, becoming the model for change, and establishing their role as true leaders of the initiative, not just the managers of it.   And all of this requires a lot of time and effort, which many of them are either not willing to put into continual improvement, or they believe they don’t have the time to begin with.  After all, they have too many other things on their plate and they will handle it one firefight at a time.  They do not understand that their decision to apply six sigma, lean, TQM or whatever the current CI approach requires some fundamental changes to their approach in conducting business and the human interactions that go with it. 
    This is not something they can delegate or that can be handled in the mistaken belief that since they have a bunch of black belts and masters as “change agents” running around the place, that all will be well.  They have to be active and participative, leading the way.  It’s the old ham and eggs analogy: When you had ham and eggs for breakfast this morning, the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed!
    I am sure that there will be some that think this is just another theoretical rant on my part.  So be it.  I ask: what is more fundamental to our work as continual improvement professionals?  You can have all of the knowledge and skills in applying the tools, but if you do not have an environment wherein they can be applied to the benefit of the organization as whole, you will always be pushing against the organization and your efforts will be sub-optimized.  Our ability to assess and understand the playing field and our opponents is critical to how we play the game and win.  The win isn’t just for ourselves and our careers, it is for the business and the people who work in it.

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    #167802

    Brandon
    Participant

    Great commentary Six. I’ve always held the greatest weakness of SS…or Lean or any other improvement effort is the fact that they must be implemented by people. And people are unpredictable….or, unfortunately, predictable in some responses.
    If we could only invent machines to do everything we could hit 6s in all processes.
    Of course we would have to invent machines that did maintenance on the other machines too.

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    #167803

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Yes, Brandon, nothing gets done without people and they are the greatest source of variation that we encounter.  As CI professionals, we must learn to deal with these sources of variation, so a good dose of human psychology goes a long way in achieving our objectives.  We ignore this element of CI to our peril.
    Best wishes on this cold, but sunny, day in East Texas,
    Shooter

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    #167805

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Six Sigma Shooter,
    I like what you wrote and even better when you do those long rants it keeps Stevo off my butt for being verbose.
    I hate to keep refering to the model that Watts Wacker put in his book “The Deviant’s Advantage” but it hold true on SS. As we have watched SS move from the Fringe to Social convention it has lost original content to the extent that some products that are delivered as SS can’t even be recognized as SS. In one case we were asked to fix a deployment that had trained BB’s for 5 weeks but the tools that were normally delivered in a 5 week training session were delivered in 3.5 days. Most of it was Change Management and the combination didn’t work. Did these people have trouble with Management support? Of course. The average cycletime of a project was 355 days and in general they delivered crap. Of course they did not get supported.
    We also have the complication of the people you see getting selected as BB’s. There is a fair number that believe their job is to sit at a computer, have data delivered, and email solutions from their analysis and if the organization tells them to p__s off then it is poor management support. Here is your remote control and it is more common in the BB ranks than it is in management ranks.
    Between the incresed probability of getting some generic one hit wonder to do the teaching, immasculated material and an increase in completely inert BB’s when you crank that into a rolled throughput model you aren’t getting something that management will or should support at least not very often.
    When you see the posts where people are wrapping themselves up in some inane “professionalism” flag if someone sounds a little cross with them and then they whine about being mistreated – guess what it gets a lot worse than that when you are trying to drive change. If you wear your feelings on your sleeve you are in the wrong business. Will management support a BB that hides in their office after the first time someone isn’t nice to them? No and they shouldn’t. You are being paid to get results, stop whining and do the job.
    As for that guy that said SS is first and foremost culture change. Guess what, that is crap. It is whatever the company wants to use it for. If they want to use it to fix some problems and they like the culture they have and you want to curl up with your cup of herbal tea and pontificate on why they need to change to your (not their) SS culture you are not going to get supported. You take full advantage of the opportunities you are given and if you want to ride in first class rather than coach you pay for the upgrade. Nobody owes you anything.
    That was cathartic. Sorry about the rant looking like it was focused on your post. It wasn’t meant to but after reading some of the nonsense that was posted it just came out.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #167806

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    I think SAP implementations require more culture change than you suggest.  Try talking to general accountants who have to work in a completely different way or IT analysts who have a new behemoth to support or MIS specialists who are exposed to more information than they ever dreamed possible.  Making effective use of SAP necessitates rethinking how to get stuff done for a whole lot of roles and that, in my mind, is a cultural change.
    The fact that we tend to elevate Six Sigma to the grand level of cultural change as a primary (“first and foremost”) objective may be part of our problem.  It’s about process improvement.  It’s about driving impact to the bottom line (or as close to that as our SAP system will let us measure).  But when we start talking about culture change I think we are telling management to pick up the remote and change the channel.
     

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    #167807

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    I think SAP implementations require more culture change than you suggest.  Try talking to general accountants who have to work in a completely different way or IT analysts who have a new behemoth to support or MIS specialists who are exposed to more information than they ever dreamed possible.  Making effective use of SAP necessitates rethinking how to get stuff done for a whole lot of roles and that, in my mind, is a cultural change.
    The fact that we tend to elevate Six Sigma to the grand level of cultural change as a primary (“first and foremost”) objective may be part of our problem.  It’s about process improvement.  It’s about driving impact to the bottom line (or as close to that as our SAP system will let us measure).  But when we start talking about culture change I think we are telling management to pick up the remote and change the channel.
     

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    #167808

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Mike,
    If you’re interested in some one hit wonders and not in lasting improvement, I guess your approach works.  If you want something that moves the business towards anything that resembles continual improvement, you’d better give a darn about the culture that enables it.  Many businesses haven’t and they may have some successes, but they are very short lived.
    You are right, it’s up to management how they run their business, but how often have you heard them say they want lasting change – we’re going to “teams” and continual imrpovement – only to ignore their role in creating it and the culture that enables it.  So, if they aren’t going to change their command and control culture, don’t put out a bunch of garbage that they are embarking on a new and enlightened way of doing things.  And then some wonder, how does Six Sigma, Lean whatever get the false starts and failures.  Why not just own up to the fact that they don’t give a rats behind about the people and just tell them what to do without raising the expectation levels.  Just tell them they are a replaceable resource, like the machines they run and operate.
    So, I guess this is one where we’ll have to agree to disagree.
    As for the herbal tea thing – you know better than that.  You and I both have more scars and wounds than we care to talk about.  And frankly, I ride where the work is, be it in coach or in first class.
    Just my opinion,
    Shooter

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    #167809

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Let it now be known that the monumentally cynical comment about management “remote control” has been reedemed!
    Many points to agree with here in Shooter’s  post (not withstanding the dangerously broad generalizations) and others by Brandon, SSBB, etc.
    But it seems that the question I was originally trying to ask has been lost.  It seems pretty obvious that management support with links to effective strategic planning and tactical management are critical.  Not many of us will disagree with that.
    My point is that why are we ineffective at selling Six Sigma?  Not why is management unreceptive to it.  They are two different discussions.
    And I think Sandor got real close to hitting the nail on the head.  We are not great at convincing process owners of the value of the approach.  So if that is the case, what are we doing wrong?
    We (and I am as guilty as anyone here) have to quit complaining about management not supporting us and figure out how to make it happen.
     

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    #167810

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Six Sigma Shooter,
    I knew I should have broken that post up to the different posts rather than do it all under your post. I know your track record so I know you aren’t a one hit wonder and you have scars. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
    Not every opportunity you get will be a culture change opportunity. That doesn’t mean you have to walk away from it. When they open the door you take what is there and deliver results. That normally will open the door to a better opportunity. If you take a look at the book “Leading With Safety” they talk about two types of management (pg 38) Transactional and Transitional. You never see 100% of one type in a Leadership team. You can delever results for both types but you need to understand which is which. A deployment can morph itself over time so you can be a person that shapes that direction but it doesn’t always go to culture change immediately.
    Even given the opportunity to deal with purely transactional leadership that isn’t interested in culture change I would take the opportunity. They won’t be any worse off having a problem solving methodology. If they don’t buy into a continuous improvement cuture they are still better off than they were before.
    The herbal tea thing was for Condor or whatever the name was.
    Regards 

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    #167811

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Could it possibly be that many of us are in the Six Sigma world because we weren’t exactly stellar at functional management positions?
    Not that that is a bad thing, no one expects us to be great at everything.  However we do need to stop using the same approach that got us ostracized from the management track in the first place: complaining about others, shifting responsibility, and preaching “culture change”.  Now that we are in roles that empower us to change all the junk that we dislike about organizations we need to figure out how to make it palatable to the managers that we disdain.
     

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    #167812

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    VB,
    “We (and I am as guilty as anyone here) have to quit complaining about management not supporting us and figure out how to make it happen.” I can’t comment on you personally (now I can comment on you and I have never know you to blame management – the wonders of posting and doing email simultaneously when you have a Blackberry) but I do agree with this statement. More times than not this is an excuse for people who are afraid to drive change themselves.
    As far as the other posts I didn’t anything of value in Condors post and thik SSBB had it pretty close. Six Sigma Shooter as always was pretty dead on even though I screwed that response up pretty well and irritated him – sorry about that.
    Results sell. There is this always this strategy that says get quick wins. Somehow that translates to get easy projects. If you fix something easy everyone knows you fixed something easy. Fix something hard and don’t screw around. Fix it fast and don’t waste time looking over your shoulder to see if management is there to support you. That type of project sells itself.
    Just my opinion.

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    #167813

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    VB,
    If you look at the information from Predictive Index (PI – see the blog site for information on this) the profile of a stellar functional manager is probably extremely different than that of a stellar Black Belt.
    Does that mean that companies aren’t all that good at getting the correct type of person into the correct job? The profile that is generally the optimal for a BB is the same one that was common to about 200 self made European millionaires – I doubt that is an easy fit into the corporate world. 
    Regards

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    #167814

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Mike,
    Stated this way, we are in total agreement.  I take any opening I can to get with a client if I think it has any chance for getting results.  I then will take the goodwill created and start pushing the comfort zones. The art is in knowing how hard and when to push.  Sometimes, you just have to do what you were brought in to do and leave it at that.  No place is “perfect” – if it were, we would be out of work because we wouldn’t be needed.  I don’t think there is any fear of that ever happening.
    Sorry that I took your previous post the wrong way.  Just one of those friendly, but lively, grunt / squid things.  We may argue amongst ourselves, but nobody else better mess with us (thump)! ;-)
    Best always,
    Shooter 

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    #167815

    CI Guy
    Participant

    An interesting phenom I have experienced over the last 20 years is:
    – The best CI folks I have seen were middle, senior management, plant management, and KNEW how to relate to these folks.
    – The worst CI folks I have seen never managed an operation, department or section, and didn’t have a clue how to relate to management, or how to sell them anything but donuts, maybe…
    There are companies out there that only pick their CI people that already were experienced as plant or department managers.  This does 2 key things:  1) ensures they recognize opportunities and can evaluate them realistically, pragmatically, and effectively, and 2) they are highly redeployable as department or plant or division managers, with the additional skills learned, and are more effective.
    A lot is said about the difficulty of ‘selling’ to management.  But if the right people are picked and trained, they blend their knowledge with experience, and truly impact their organization.
    Nuff said?

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    #167818

    Ronald
    Participant

    Six Sigma Shooter,  thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts in this detail.  I could not agree with you more and truly appreciate your comments.

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    #167819

    Deanb
    Participant

    Mike,I wondered how long it would take for this thread to get under your skin. I agree that not every organization wants or needs culture change. As much time as I have spent in the culture change area, I have had stints where I advised against that direction due to the unique strengths in a culture that ought not be put at risk.I have seen many great managers, many pathetic ones, and everything in between. I do think it is getting harder for the truly talented managerial types to get their opportunities to rise. Not sure why.Being the best CI/SS BB, or the best in any function, ironically can often actually hold one back in mgt promotions. The incompetents above are already taking credit for your work, and do not want to lose that. I am seeing more of this, and again, am not sure why. Getting promoted into mgt seems to be a skill in and of itself. Dean

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    #167828

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Six Sigma Shooter,
    If you have seen the movie Grumpy Old Men we may be creating our own version of Grumpy Old Black Belts/CI/ whatever you want to call it.
    The part that really irritated me was the statement (not yours) was that Six Sigma is first and foremost a culture change initiative. What complete nonsense.
    Regards

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    #167830

    Mikel
    Member

    May I  joint  your  special  club?

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    #167837

    Szentannai
    Member

    Hi,
    the way the accountant has to work will change, but the content of his work will not. Contrast this with the change in thinking that is required to move from departments to processes or from hierarchical decisions to data driven decisions.
    Just remebering the face of an accountant when a BB asked for data about the last quarter, for the first time  …
    Same for IT – as an ex-IT guy I think behemoths to support should not be an extraordinary thing for them . Asking them to regularly survey customer needs before deciding on projects was a much greater shocker in my experience.
    Regards
    Sandor 

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    #167838

    Szentannai
    Member

    Hi Mike,
    moving from thinking in terms of departments to thinking in terms of processes, using DMAIC instead of  quick fixes, data and VOC instead of gut feelings …
    Of course, it is not that you can not run an isolated project without these – but will it last?
    Regards
    Sandor 

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    #167840

    Szentannai
    Member
    #167842

    Grumpy Old Shooter
    Participant

    Mike,
    Again, my apologies for being grumpy yesterday.  I would say that culture change is often a part of six sigma, but I agree that six sigma is not first and foremost about culture change.  It’s about improvement.  There are companies that work well and the people are satisfied with a more traditional culture of command and control versus the empowered team approach.  One culture does not fit all circumstances. 
    Shooter

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    #167843

    Grumpy Old Shooter
    Participant

    Stan,
    We need a president.  Interested? ;-)  We’re in good company.  Deming was often considered grumpy by many.  I’m no Deming, but I at least had the grumpy part pretty well handled yesterday.
    Shooter

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    #167844

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Sandor,
    That nonsense that you posted yesterday was irritating enough but a second dose is even worse.
    “Of course, it is not that you can not run an isolated project without these – but will it last?” This is that herbal tea pontification crap. If a person wants a methodology and are happy with their culture and you shove this existentialist nonsense at them you get nothing and that the nothing will last. You deliver what they asked for or better and in the right circumstances see where it opens up.
    “moving from thinking in terms of departments to thinking in terms of processes, using DMAIC instead of  quick fixes, data and VOC instead of gut feelings …” This is so deep I will really need time to think it over and see I can possibly fathom this concept.
     

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    #167845

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Why didn’t you show this in the first place. I can’t imagine ever doing Six Sigma again unless there is culture changed involved.
    I am a completely changed person. Thank you so much.

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    #167846

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    This was intended to be a response to Sandor’s link.

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    #167847

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    VB,
    You started this because a couple glasses of wine hadn’t kicked in yet.
    You need to talk to him for a while since you were going to hit him in the head with a nail or something like that.
    Regards

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    #167848

    Stevo
    Member

    Ok, it took me like a week to read through this post and all I got from it was:
     

    People have different opinions of what Six Sigma is.
    Screw variation – management is the enemy.
    People are grumpy.
     
    Seems like a bad version of “Groundhog’s day”.  Same old crap.  One of my goals is to learn something new every day.  Guess I got to keep searching.
     
    Stevo
     
    Ps.  Mike – Just because other people are verbose, does not make it right.

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    #167849

    Szentannai
    Member

    Mike,
    that`s the cultural change I mean.
    I did not intend to change you, I was merely using the data from a source I trust, to underline my point. Given that this is a discussion forum I would have expected some discussion. You chose to simply pontificate without any sensible arguments. You might think that sarcasm and ex-cathedra arguments are good enough in a discussion – I do not. I believe that reasonable arguments supported by good data are the way to reach a conclusion, moreover this what I teach my BBs.
    As you might see, this IS quite a cultural change if you compare it to your own style.
    Regards
    Sandor 
     

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    #167850

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stevo,
    I think you missed a point. Some think management is the enemy. At least three of us believe management support is being used as an excuse.
    It is a bit early to give up believing you will learn something new today. If it is getting close and you still haven’t learned anything contact Sandor I am sure he can conjure up a link or two to help you out.
    I didn’t say it made it right. Shooter can definately put the length of my posts to shame.
    Regards

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    #167851

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stan,
    I will second GSS’s nomination. You get to be president. You have to go pry Darth out of his shell. Something is missing without him.
    I think Doc may be old enough to qualify as well.
    The last time I was on Calle Ocho the guys in the domino club told me I was to young to join. This is the first year I am old enough to join. These are great opportunities. AARP is next.
    Regards

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    #167853

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Sandor,
    I told you that you touched my life and I am a changed man.
    I think Venerable Bebe wants to swap posts with you now.

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    #167857

    Stevo
    Member

    Mike,
    Me miss the point!?! No??  Not that surprising since I usually just read the first couple of words.
    As for learning something new – If I learned from my mistakes, I would have this requirement knocked out my 7:00am.  But I don’t so my journey continues.
    Stevo

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    #167860

    MrMHead
    Participant

    Where I’m at, the Six Sigma program seems to be supported and promoted by Senior Management.  They at least talk about it in a positive light….and I get my paycheck regularly!
     
    But support is lacking for the GBs in that the excuse is “no time” for improvement projects, we have to keep up with our daily jobs – and that comes from the middle managers.
    So in that sense, it would need to be a cultural change to accept that CI is part of your daily job.
     
    Now that I’m in a BB role, I hear “official DMAIC projects” are not that easy to come by either.  The population isn’t beating down our doors with projects to help them.
    Is that a “cultural” thing too?  Do the operations not know how to recognize opportunities?
    I get the sense that much of our work comes from former BBs (because they can see opportunities?).  So by rotating through the program, and getting back into the field, we are slowly promoting the culture change of recognizing and utilizing CI/SS/etc.
     
    I don’t think the majority of the population really knows what we do as BBs.  So as we work our projects and work with people we need to promote our roles and the SS ideology.  And I say “ideology” and not “methodology”, because I interpret “methodology” as a way to use tools, and “ideology” as a way to think.
     
    So where was I going with this?  … I guess CI/SS is cultural at least at some level.
     
    That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.  ;-)
     PS – Didn’t you recognize the weekend had come… and gone?  You guys were posting throughout, and at all hours.  I thought that was the purpose of Haiku Friday! – To bring awareness to the coming weekend. 

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    #167870

    Deanb
    Participant

    Before we preach culture to anyone we first must be responsible culture players ourselves by:-Understanding, accepting, and respecting the cultures we got.-Accommodating some unpleasant cultural realities and succeeding anyway.-Leaving culture factors better than we found them by improving open communication, teamwork, reducing firefighting and risk, promoting root cause focus and consensus, avoiding deception, and helping affected parties better cope and succeed. -Assuring that our projects do not make these culture factors worse, even if accommodations impinge on some of our objectives.If we live by these principles our projects will be more easily executed, more welcomed next time, and our voices will have cultural credibility if and when we are invited to share them.My 2 cents.Dean

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    #167871

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Dean – this isn’t meant as a direct response to you – it’s just a convenient place to put it. 
    I learned quite some time ago that some clients are better left alone and one should walk away from them, wishing them well and God’s blessings.  I find myself in that situation with the Forum.  That said, I wish you all well and God’s blessings.
    Shooter

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    #167875

    Brandon
    Participant

    No, Six….don’t do it….we need you here.

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    #167877

    Deanb
    Participant

    I have benefited from many of your posts. Hope you hang in there.

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    #167879

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    MMH,
    You will always teach the methodology (when they ask for SS) because the ideology is a paper tiger without it. Most of the time we get to do the ideology as well. We have had customers that did not want to hear the term SS but wanted the thought process. That works as well. At the end of the day it doesn’t mater how much of it you teach if you can deliver any part of it they are moving forward i.e. Stevo wants to lean something new every day.
    There is very likely a strong link between the term “official DMAIC projects” and “GB’s don’t work. That is typically the first thing that breaks down when someone creates a convoluted definition of a SS project. Simply by using the term “official DMAIC project” you have created a problem. Make life easy. Select your most cooperative Process Owners and ask them to list the things they have committed to work on and must complete. Pick a project in that group. You might be surprized how easy this is when they realize the methodology works on every day projects and they don’t have to search for this elusive “official DMAIC project” considering they probably have no idea what they are looking for to begin with adn since it isn’t on their current project list you are just asking them to do one more thing.
    Just my opinion.
    PS “all hours of the night” that would assume that when it is night by the iSixSigma clock it is night in the rest of the world. It isn’t.

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    #167880

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stevo,
    If you only read the first couple words then what difference does it make if our posts are long or short?
    Here is something to learn (I had to learn this a couple hours ago) Who is Venerable Bede (the real one).
    Regards

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    #167881

    Stevo
    Member

    Mike – That’s my point.  I have Six Sigma Attention Deficit Disorder or SSADD.  I need you smart guys to sum it up.  CNN.com is starting to do this for me (story highlights).
     
    You got to remember, I was that kid in school that ate paste and ran to the window every time a fire truck went by.
     
    Stevo
     
    Ps.  I believe I bought Bede’s last CD of chanting.

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    #167882

    Brandon
    Participant

    Mike, good typo…”Stevo wants to lean everything”…how appropriate.

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    #167883

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Deanb,
    I missed your post in the adrenaline rush of the last few hours.
    Damn I hate being predictable. I did figure we were going to see more of Stan on this one.
    I agree with what you wrote. It doesn’t make any sense to think you have this checklist and you have to do every box in every place. Company cultures are to diverse for that to work. This issue “first and foremost it is culture change” doesn’t fly. What flies is what works and there are places where evolution works and there are places where revolution works and there are places where you are doing both. There even some places you are better off leaving alone and letting the company culture deal with them.
    As far as promotions go? Work for yourself. If that doesn’t work for you let me know if you have some experience running blow molding machines. We are growing fast.
    Regards

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    #167884

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Stevo,
    Get that channel that has the reporters, the stuff on the side and the ticker tape on the bottom. Custom made for people with ADD. You don’t even have to change the channel.
    Be thankful you aren’t OCD and ADD. Then you keep having to find new things to be Obsessive about.
    Regards

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    #167885

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Pure serendipity.

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    #167886

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Good point, Sandor – arch rival of Godzilla and ally to Mothra – sorry just poking fun at the sound of your pseudonym, but one of the novelties to a few of my SS for software/IT experiences was the whole exercise of defining customer requirements that SAP forced them into.
    Not worth picking at nits here – and I will agree that SAP is not nearly the culture change that Six Sigma can or really should be, but to say there is none is over the top…. 

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    #167888

    Szentannai
    Member

    :)
    It`s actually pronounced like Shandor – does the analogy still hold?
    Regards
    Shandor

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    #167889

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Wait, people, clearly there are many that have fulfilled the “grumpy” requirements…..but just what do you mean by “old”? 

    0
    #167890

    SiggySig
    Member

    Wait, isn’t the whole reason to use SAP is because the SAP processes have been deemed to be “best of breed” for whatever industry it’s modules are for? Perfect for a company who has chaotic processes, and better yet, no will to improve them through change management and hard work. Just bring in SAP, fork over several hundred $K to the implementors, and voila! New processes. And the SAP system makes a great scapegoat – no feelings to hurt, not going to leave in a huff, or otherwise sabotage the business…

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    #167892

    Six Sigma Shooter
    Member

    Dean and Brandon,
     
    I do thank you for your kind words and because of them, I feel I at least owe you a bit of explanation surrounding my decision to take a sabbatical from the forum.  It really has nothing to do with the forum, but more with my own personal circumstance. 
     
    When I unjustifiably attack one whom I consider to be a friend and ally, Mike Carnell, in a heat of the moment response, without thinking, it causes me to take pause and evaluate my behavior.  Aside from making a public mia culpa and asking Mike’s forgiveness, I need to take a a break and get myself a tune up, focus on some things that have me in a negative mindset, and then come back when I am able to be more thoughtful and positive.  Mike knows the things that caused my reaction to him the other day and all I can do is ask for his understanding and forgiveness.  I’ll be back, but not until some personal issues are behind me and I can be more positive in my outlook.
     
    Best to all,
     
    Shooter

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    #167895

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    SSS,
    I understand your reasons as you said.
    Under no circumstance do you owe me an apology. I took a short cut knowing that the written word can really suck as a form of accurate communication particularly in my hands.
    Take care of business and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Us grumpy old guys got to stick together.
    Regards

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    #167896

    Brandon
    Participant

    Thanks Six…I wish you the best. We all hit a wall occasionally…and it sounds to be a bit more than just the exchanges here. I’ve gone through a challenging time of late with relationship issues and am now coming out the other side….the sun does shine, eventually. I found solace in my religous upbringing…might try looking there. Don’t mean to be too “preachy” but sometimes we need the perspective from there.
    Best wishes.

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    #167897

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    VB,
    If all your suits have long pants and none of your dress shoes have square toes (especially the long ones) and you don’t wear clogs – not even around the house.
    Regards

    0
    #167899

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    MrMH:
    Nice to hear somebody has support.  You sure did make it sound like a thread of culture change is taking place where you work.
    Now if you want to make turn “involvement” into “commitment” (per the hen-and-pig-at-breakfast story posted earlier), convince your management team to make project selection and planning (along with resource allocation and career development of GBs and BBs)  part of the AOP process as well as the interim forecasting process.  And then, to make things really fun, get them to tie compensation of process owners to the ability to meet AOP and forecasts.  It does wonders to put action behind words.  

    0
    #167900

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    and the fish on Mars don’t have bones, regardless of the wavelength
    what(?)

    0
    #167901

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    VB,
    I told you that you need to stop reading that Meserscmidt Gelder Bach stuff. It makes your head spin around.
    Regards

    0
    #167902

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Stevo & Mike:
    I think I died in 735 in Durham, England.  I wish I could take credit for the chanting, but there wasn’t much singing going on in my day given all the fun that the Anglos, Saxons and Jutes were creating.
    There was, however some chanting happening among the Franks at that time under Charlemagne’s predecessor but it never officially entered the Church liturgy until after Charlemagne was coronated sometime after 800.
     

    0
    #167905

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    I know this thread has devolved to a point beyond all recognition but I have to return to the beloved “culture change” notion.
    If you happen to be in a situation where senior management embraces Six Sigma for its culture change impact alone, then congratulations on your mystical ascension into the fullest grace of Six Sigma nirvana.  And if at the same time you use Six Sigma according to its original intent: business results first, culture change a happy side-effect, then you will be in a great situation since any resistance to the culture thing will be swayed by the practical results (assuming you can communicate them).  And you will be able to justify your existence (or at least have a shot at it) when that management team changes.
    The reality is that given the performance pressures which most management teams experience (regardless of the level in the organization) there is no patience for “culture change”.  The only problem is that we don’t seem to be particularly adept at communicating the potential in their terms, which is exactly what Six Sigma was once designed to do.
    The cynical side of me says that the success of Six Sigma in the last 15 years or so has made us lazy and I think many have lost focus on what really drives performance in the organization.

    0
    #167906

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    You forgot the part about the books.

    0
    #167907

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    they were big sellers for a while but no really reads them anymore ….kinda like books by Jack Welch.
    Something about the wrting style….frankly I don’t see what the problem is. 
    By the way, there’s a homunculus in our midst.  Check out his post in the forum on the homepage…..

    0
    #167909

    MrMHead
    Participant

    Methodology vs Ideology:  I was refering to when we work with non-SS associates in a non-classroom setting.  If I try to teach them Minitab they glaze over, but I can talk to “minimize variation”. (and probably still put them to sleep)
    “offical DMAIC project” and lack of GB success – You are correct in that they (or their bosses) don’t know what they are looking for.  We do work on most any tasks needing improvement and try to steer it towards a DMAIC structure, but we don’t want to just create a process map and call it a completed project, or have to “make this work” when it’s really a DFSS.
    And yes, I would have to admit, after a number of years of the SS program in our company, it is slowly taking root into the culture of at least some spheres of influence.  You cannot “slam-dunk” culture. It’s like trying to “force” someone to believe.  Either they do, or they just say they do.
    “all hours” was my quote, “of the night” was your perception  ;-)
    .. and I didn’t mean for the PS to be larger type, as if I were shouting…

    0
    #167910

    Deanb
    Participant

    VB,Hoping for “results first” and “culture change as a happy side-effect” may be missing a key point. Getting to project success in the first place most of the time requires addressing some culture issues in the scope of the project. Projects are excellent ways to uncover cultural constraints in the system. Sometimes solving a constraint at the project level can inspire changes well beyond the project. I have seen a couple of cases where the culture was such a bar-room brawl that mgt recognized they needed a culture intervention first. In each case, they asked for this, I did not push it on them, and if I had they probably would have ignored me. They were wise and correct to recognize their problem and to target it directly. In both cases fixing a few constraints made projects possible for them, however it was the projects that followed that really contributed the most real culture change.IMHO, in the vast number of cases most of us probably see, culture improvement begins wherever we are, on every task on every project. Cheers.

    0
    #167912

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Its the second syllable, the -dor part that is key so yes the analogy still holds.
    But of course I will say anything to placate a giant platypus capable of shooting radioactive neurotoxins from his armpits.

    0
    #167913

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Mr Carnell:
    You’re right, I’m pretty much a dork.  And I need to quit trying to translate and just think in Texan.  I once had a dream in Texan but the nightmare woke me up.  I didn’t sleep for days afterward.  I just hung around reading this forum.
    Don’t knock Gödel, Escher, Bach, man, Douglas Hofsadter won the Pulitzer for that one. 
    BTW what’s wrong with clogs?
     

    0
    #167915

    Venerable Bede
    Member

    Deanb:
    I like most of what you said, especially about the need for culture change to make projects successful.
    And I think that reinforces my point: focus on process change to yield business impact and culture change will result (“if you build it, they will come”).  The reverse, it seems to me, doesn’t necessarily hold true.
    Have a most righteous day!

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