Mike Carnell – The Way We Work, Question

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Mike Carnell – The Way We Work, Question

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Carnell 15 years, 5 months ago.

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    I enjoyed your ask the expert column this week. We passed it around our quality meeting this week to discuss and a great deal of discuss ensued!
    At one point within the article you said, “When you get that level of “pull” from the organization, then you are doing things correctly.”
    In your opinion, how many years does it take to get to this point? I’m sure it varies greatly between companies and even some industries or company maturity levels will be a factor, but is there a general rule of thumb that you can say?
    Even when you have “pull” from within the organization, might you still have a deviant contingent? For instance, I have a friend that started at GE within the past year and he’s doing all he can to stay away from Six Sigma because he has to learn how to do his job well, let alone spend time on learning a whole new skills set. (I’ve tried to convince him that he’s thinking about it all wrong, but you know how some people can be.)
    Look forward to your thoughts and more articles! Thanks again.


    anil bakhshi

    Your friend is one of those CAVE people ( Citizens against virtually Everything) who will treat quality & change initiatives as just passing management fads. The open minded one continue to learn even from  fads and contribute.



    I’m curious how your friend “connects” with the rest of the organization.  Is his management tolerant of the “avoid SS” mindset?  Do they promote it?
    You’d think GE’s “immune system” would reject person(s) with that mindset.  Or are the barbarians at the gate?


    Mike Carnell

    I am sorry I took so long to get back to you. The day you posted I was getting on a plane in Brisbane and wasn’t checking the site (it is an excuse). Scot Shank called me today and told me about the post.
    When we did the thing with the janitors in Seguin it was 1990 and we were only 2 years into the initial deployment. That was a function of good Corporate leadership flowing down to a great Sector leader in Dr. Marty Rayl to a good plant manager in Lee Craft. The stars were all in alignment and Seguin was a hotbed to get things moving. Seguin had also benifited from John Lupienski dropping by for a few months to enlighten them (the phone call from Craft to Marty asking how to get rid of John and Marty telling them to just do what he says didn’t hurt either).
    This whole thing is a function of people and situations. It is about being visible around the process, staying involved, supporting the people doing the job and getting rid of the ones who either don’t want to or are just going through the motions.
    You need to understand that the top down thing has to be there to get it started but that won’t create pull. They open the door but sooner or later you have to earn your own place. When I read so many of the “We don’t have leadership support” posts – you have to realize that you are there – that is some level of visible support. There will be organizations like GE where a Jack Welch makes life easy (day to day) but if you aren’t delivering results there will be a day with Jack Welch that will be one of the worst days of your life. There have been a lot of other deployments where the drive was less and it depended on you standing there and making it happen (standing nose to nose with some plant manager in Agua Prieta, Mexico and knowing if you take one step backwards the deployment is over in that plant). The thing you have to realize is that if you want pull you have to produce results no matter what it takes – top down support creates superficial pull. I hope that rant made some semblance of sense. The short answer is it depends on creating results that the organization places value on and making sure everyone knows what happened. I wish it were more definitive.
    There are two groups that are key to a programs success and ultimately creating the desire in people to join the deployment. First people are the Financial people (I prefer a finance person to an accounting person). They institutionalize a system to evalate and collect results that are auditable. When you go to a meeting and you get challenged on results you don’t talk – they do. The second one pains me to say but you need to get HR involved (the assumption is they have OD capability). Change Management doesn’t happen by chance and these people should be the resource to make that happen. If you can put this team of SS, Finance and OD together it will look a lot different to the organization.
    Your buddy is obviously pretty intelligent or GE would not have hired him (on purpose). There is a big difference between intelligence and being smart. Smart says that taking on SS in GE is probably not a career enhancing move. They will tolerate deviance in introducing new tools, tweeking a methodology, etc. but ignoring it will have some long term ramifications. The other issue is that telling them he needs to do his job well is even worse. Nobody at GE is handing one thing – not the culture. SS was rolled out under Gary Reiner the CIO. Just imagine the difficulty of being Cyber Czar (from a magazine – no disrespect intended) for GE and then lead a corporate wide SS deployment. I am guessing with the Leadership team walking the walk they are probably pretty short on their tolerance for excuses. He has really chosen a bad strategy.
    I would be interested in what went on during your discussion. Let me know if we can talk about it.
    Sorry I took so long to answer. Good luck.

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