Re-branding Lean Six Sigma Process Excellence

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Chris Seider 11 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    A little background to start the discussion.

    Our old CEO of 10+ years left last year along with the COO this year. Our new CEO has worked here before a few years ago in a different capacity. I thought he was a supporter of the Lean Six Sigma Process Excellence program we had at the organization. The old CEO was the person who implemented this program over 10 years ago though. I am now receiving feedback from my current leader the new CEO might not be a supporter of these type of improvement programs, but I haven’ actually heard it from the “horses mouth”. I am hearing this from other leaders in the organization as well.

    Basically my question is have any of you ever had experience re-branding Lean Six Sigma at your organization and was it successful?

    If you would be willing to share your experience or thoughts about this topic I would appreciate it.


    Robert Butler

    It sounds like you are dealing with an individual who is more concerned with form than substance. My recommendation – dream up any whiz-bang name you can think of and put together a shallow power-point presentation complete with all of the usual meaningless eye candy and see if he/she buys it.

    I’m sorry for being so cynical but I think re-branding is a complete waste of time and effort. People who have a need for such things are a real pain in the neck…and my opinion of them is much lower.

    The couple of times I’ve had to try to do this did not go well. In both cases the individual in question was impressed by the flashy sales presentation of the panacea peddler of the moment and no amount of evidence or reasoning changed his mind. When common sense finally reclaimed the high ground all we had to show for the effort was a lot of money spent and zip return on the investment. Given my experience – I would say the best thing you can do is try to offer reason and evidence for the current methods and if that fails try to hang on until sanity returns.



    I agree with @rbutler but there are times when people have preconceptions that you can only get around by avoiding certain “buzz words”. Many moons ago I was involved in a project where various internal systems that were developed independently and had different data formats and values were to send basic business transactions such as shipping orders to each other. I proposed EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) using ANSI X.12 standard format and coding, with which I was quite familiar, and got shot down because EDI is “really expensive and complicated”. They were thinking about the value-added networks, licensed software, and so on from past experience, none of which was needed here. If I’d simply said look, there are simple, accepted and proven standards for transaction formats such as shipping orders and industry standard codes such as standard-carrier-alpha-code to identify freight companies. We’d be wise to use those. But as soon as they heard “EDI” my approach was a no-go and they went for reinventing the wheel. It didn’t turn out well, especially after they began having to do EDI with customers and suppliers where they needed these standards.

    If your assumptions about your new CEO are correct I’d advise you to avoid “buzz words” and “trigger words” and talk simply in terms of basic business concepts such as customer satisfaction, efficiency, waste elimination, cost/benefit, statistical analysis, pilot projects. Same tools. Same methods. But no re-branding. Giving it a new name is even worse because then you’ll have to sell it as something new, different, and better.


    Caryn Jarvis

    Before embarking on your re-branding project, might I suggest investigating why the new executive is not on board. What might be needed is executive coaching. If the executive was at the company and left, find out what projects were created since his departure and the value of those projects. Real data that supports the efforts.


    Chris Seider

    Another take on “rebranding”….

    Have the executives say what they’d like to “program” to focus on…more safety or more hard savings or more output–all business dependent but safety should always be a focus.


    Jason L.

    To Anonymous:

    You wrote in part, “I am now receiving feedback from my current leader [that] the new CEO might not be a supporter of these [Lean Six Sigma Process Excellence] type of improvement programs, but I haven’t actually heard it from the ‘horse’s mouth’. I am hearing this from other leaders in the organization as well.”

    I believe it would be in your best interest and in the best interest of your boss, to fully understand WHAT the new leader’s position really is along with the reasons WHY. Then you can plan your response. Until you verify the new leader’s position, you risk preparing the wrong message.

    Been there, done that, lesson learned & shared. Happy New Year!


    Mike Carnell

    I had a group that wanted to hear about the next big thing because they were way past SS. I discussed this with an excellent MBB, Rob Tripp. Rob came up with Random Variable Analysis (RVA). I took my normal SS Presentation and did a search and replace on SS for RVA and Random Variable Analysis for Six Sigma. It went well.

    About 2 months later I walked into an office in a completely different hemisphere and the first question was “What is Random Variable Analysis? We heard it is the next big thing.”

    I would get 1 on 1 with the CEO and ask him/her what their issue is. If they don’t like data and stats then you need to quit. If they prefer box plots to dot plots you can work that. “The new CEO might not be a supporter…” doesn’t mean anything. The new CEO could also be a supporter. Basically the person that makes a comment like that is not passing on information. That is called gossip. Go ask for yourself and figure out what the issue is and talk through what and how they want to accomplish it. You might be surprised at how much respect you will garner with that approach. C level people tend to be High A’s. They respect confidence (don’t stand on his desk when you speak to them. That is to much confidence)

    The cool part for you is all those people who ran to you with the gossip you can label as sheep and they are really irrelevant to your success.

    Just my opinion


    Ashley Leonzio

    We have spoken about re-branding our “Six Sigma” function a few times but have never found a good enough reason to. I agree with a lot of what has already been shared. I will simply add that just because you may not change your name, you still may want to consider re-MARKETING your team. Even if your CEO is supportive, it doesn’t sound like you have all of leaders/decisions makers in your corner.

    I recently launched Six Sigma into a newer part of our business and I conducted a ‘road-show’ to highlight what my team does, what the organization can expect (the WIIFM), and a few small asks I had. This had a HUGE impact in helping to set expectations both ways and to foster new relationships.


    Chris Seider

    Nothing tells a reason like success stories!

    My friend and colleague @mike-carnell is one of the best at story telling about getting successes.

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